on the 450th anniversary of Luther's nailing his ninety-five theses on the door of the church at Wittenberg. But the Lutheran church authorities had refused to participate in the official celebrations because of the generally hostile attitude of the communists toward the church. The communist efforts bore fruit in 1983 at the Luther Jubilee. The regime's spokesmen emphasized Luther's human qualities, while church authorities continued to stress the reformer's devotion to God. This eventually led to an accommodation between the two sides. After the Luther Jubilee, it was possible for an East German citizen to work for the success of socialism while, at the same time, be devoted to Martin Luther's church. The state and the church began to cooperate, and the cooperation extended to the state-sponsored peace movement that was neatly tailored to the centuries-old preaching of peace by the church.
After 1983, the communist leaders achieved a momentous breakthrough. The loyalty of Lutheran Christians was redirected toward the communist state. At the least, the two loyalties could now be merged, and through this, the state acquired a certain measure of internal legitimacy. In spite of this, the communists were unwilling to abandon their antireligious stand which they had traditionally espoused.
The balance was maintained by the Honecker regime with the cooperation of the Lutheran church leaders. The church leaders, on their part, did not have to give up their dream of creating a German Gemeinschaft of all religious people, regardless of their state affiliations. The communists, on the other hand, continued their efforts at delimitation. Their aim never changed; they wanted the recognition of East Germany as a separate, socialist German nation. The results were obvious in 1989, when tens of thousands of East Germans once again voted with their feet and crossed over to Czechoslovakia and then to Hungary and from there to Austria on their way to West Germany. At that time, the East German Lutheran church authorities counseled the people not to leave East Germany. Although it appeared that no one would heed this advice, the church leaders had shown how far their accommodation with the communist state had taken them. After the unification of Germany, the Lutheran church withdrew behind the bastion of its traditions and no longer participated directly in politics.
Ash Garton T., "Swords into Plowshares: The Unofficial 'Peace Movement' and the Churches in East Germany," Religion in Communist Lands 11.3 (Winter 1983), pp. 244-250; Beck Dan, "The Luther Revival: Aspects of National Abgrenzung and Confessional Gemeinschaft in the German Democratic Republic," in Pedro Ramet, ed. Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics ( Durham, NC, 1989).
Social Change in East Germany. The East German state tried to eliminate all social classes and to create the communist utopia of a classless society. The road to this goal was, according to the regime's ideological experts, through the elimination of all ownership of private property. In East Germany, the official view held that only two classes survived, namely, the working class and the peasantry. The stratum of the intelligentsia was not considered a separate class, nor were the remnants of various