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The Stalin Cult in East Germany and the Making of the Postwar Soviet Emp

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This book examines the construction, dissemination, and reception of the Stalin cult in East Germany from the end of World War II to the building of the Berlin Wall. By exporting Stalin's cult to the Eastern bloc, Moscow aspired to symbolically unite the communist states in an imagined cult community pivoting around the Soviet leader. Based on Russian and German archives, this work analyzes the emergence of the Stalin cult's transnational dimension. On one hand, it looks at how Soviet representations of power were transferred and adapted in the former "enemy's" country. On the other hand, it reconstructs "spaces of agency" where different agents and generations interpreted, manipulated, and used the Stalin cult to negotiate social identities and everyday life. This study reveals both the dynamics of Stalinism as a political system after the Cold War began and the foundations of modern politics through mass mobilization, emotional bonding, and social engineering in Soviet-style societies. As an integral part of the global history of communism, this book opens up a comparative, entangled perspective on the ways in which veneration of Stalin and other nationalistic cults were established in socialist states across Europe and beyond.
Alexey Tikhomirov is assistant professor of East European history at Bielefeld University.
List of Figures Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction Chapter 1 The Premodern and Modern Foundations of Personality Cults Chapter 2 The Empire of Stalinism: The USSR and East Germany after 1945 Chapter 3 From the "Red Tyrant" to the "Liberator": The Image of Stalin in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany Chapter 4 "The Best Friend of the German People": The Making of the Cult Community in the GDR Chapter 5 "The Fierce Enemy of the German People": The Personality Cult and Iconoclasm in East Germany Chapter 6 "We Wanted to Make a God but He Turned Out to be the Devil": The Politics and Practices of De-Stalinization in the GDR Conclusion Bibliography Index About the Author
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