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Youth Opposition in the GDR, 1945-1965

Fenemore, Mark (2015) Youth Opposition in the GDR, 1945-1965. Totalitarianism and Democracy, 12 (2). pp. 249-268. ISSN 1612-9008

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The SED leadership had a whole arsenal of weapons of coercion at its disposal, which were regularly used on those young people who were seen to be straying from the path set out for them by the Party. In schools and on the streets, instances of indiscipline and unruliness were routinely interpreted by the authorities as “attacks on the state”. The regime’s need to generate rituals and proofs of loyalty led to repression against individuals when they failed to live up to its expectations. It claimed to have a monopoly on youth and the power to mould young people as future citizens. Youth was prized as a particularly creative and malleable part of the population. Being put on a pedestal like this was flattering but also dangerous for teenagers.

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