so-called Ro-Ro-Ro books (acquiring their name from Rowohlt Rotation Novels, named after their publisher Ernst Rowohlt), tried to fill the vacuum. The books were issued in paperback form, a novel idea in postwar Germany. They included translations of works previously not available in Germany. Eventually, the classics were published, including the works of Thomas Mann, Bertold Brecht and others. They were eagerly picked up by a public that was saturated by Marxist-Leninist propaganda.
The end of the Stalinist terror after the Soviet dictator's death brought some relaxation in cultural policies in East Germany. Nevertheless, the basic policies remained in force, and the communist state never gave up its efforts to control creative people and their product. Perhaps the greatest change came with the universal spread of television sets which could be directed for viewers to see programs from Western Europe, especially from West Germany. This resulted in a great emphasis being placed on reinforcing Marxist-Leninist indoctrination among the population. Anti-Western propaganda, directed especially against West Germany, was intensified. The communist leadership made a tremendous effort to contain East German cultural life within the confines of Marxist-Leninist ideology. In the end they failed.
After the Helsinki Conference on European Security and Cooperation, the East German leaders felt more secure, and there was some relaxation of censorship and other restrictions on cultural life. Nevertheless, cultural life was never completely free of the communist censors until communism as such was swept away and Germany once again became one country.
Held Joseph, "Cultural Developments," in Stephen Fischer-Galati, ed. Eastern Europe in the 1980s ( Boulder, CO, 1981); Malzahn Manfred, Germany 1945-1949. A Sourcebook ( London, 1991).
Democratic Peasant's Party in East Germany. Established in 1948, this party served as a communist front organization in the rural areas of East Germany. Its strength/weakness was never tested in free elections. Originally it served to split the anticommunist sentiment among the peasants and to convince nonsocialist rural folks that the Socialist Unity party was following the "correct course" from which they would eventually benefit. This institution was also set up to confuse peasant organizations in West Germany and to bring them around to support the policies of the Ulbricht regime. In the provisional parliament, the Democratic Peasant's party was given fifteen deputies, while the communists controlled 75 percent of the representatives. Yet, the Democratic Peasant's party was given representation in the government and in mass political organizations. Its leader was a member of the Council of State, "elected" by parliament.
In reality, all leaders of this party were communist collaborators or even secret members of the Socialist Unity party. They always followed communist policies obediently. The Democratic Peasant's party held its congresses, as well as other activi