Repainting the Little Red Schoolhouse: A History of Eastern German Education, 1945-1995

Repainting the Little Red Schoolhouse: A History of Eastern German Education, 1945-1995

Repainting the Little Red Schoolhouse: A History of Eastern German Education, 1945-1995

Repainting the Little Red Schoolhouse: A History of Eastern German Education, 1945-1995

Synopsis

Repainting the Little Red Schoolhouse is the first English-language study of GDR education and the first book, in any language, that traces the full history of eastern German education from 1945 through the 1990's. It traces the full history of the GDR's attempt to create a new Marxist nation by means of educational reform. The scope of the book goes beyond previous investigations of the subject, both in the sense of its comprehensive inclusiveness of topics beyond education in narrowly conceived terms, and in its extension of the historical narrative to post-GDR life.

Excerpt

It is not the neutrals or the lukewarm who make history.

Adolf Hitler, April 23, 1933

Hitlers come and go, but the German people and the German state remain.

Josef Stalin, February 1942

Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

Of Carnivals and Graveyards

August 12, 1951. It's a brilliant Sunday afternoon in the eastern sector of Berlin, the DDR's capital, nowan urban showplace of 1.7 million residents and proudly known on road signs as Berlin, Hauptstadt der ddr—a simple declaration of the SED's ongoing claim to the entire city as ddr territory. the boulevards are clean and neat in Alexanderplatz, the downtown area of East Berlin. Windows are bedecked with flowers, and flags from every nation of the globe festoon the buildings, which are draped with tapestries displaying the goal of world socialism in dozens of languages: Friede, Pokoj, Paix, Beke, Pax, Pace, Peace.

But a walk off the main drag casts doubt on whether there is much cause to preen: six years after the war's close, block after block of row houses are still gutted. the decrepit trolley cars are slow-moving war survivors; postwar automobiles are nowhere to be seen, except for a few “official” vehicles of the government and People's Police. Rubble lines every side street. the National Reconstruction Program, a much-publicized campaign to repair the DDR's war-scarred cities, is not slated to begin until late fall. Economic reconstruction is barely under way.

But ideological reconstruction is well advanced. Waves of Blueshirts, 100 abreast, pass at the rate of 30 ranks per minute in the gala marking the climax of the two-week World Festival of Youth and Students for Peace. Sponsored by the international Communist Youth Organization, this year's festival dwarfs its predecessors in Prague (1947) and Budapest (1949), as well as the “Storm Berlin” Deutschlandtreffen (German rally) of 500,000 youth in May 1950. the theme for the 1951 festival is “Stalin's Call to Arms for Peace.” the vast majority of the . . .

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