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Transitions from Nazism to Socialism: Grassroots Responses to Punitive and Rehabilitative Measures in Brandenburg, 1945-1952

Deering-Kraft, JN; (2013) Transitions from Nazism to Socialism: Grassroots Responses to Punitive and Rehabilitative Measures in Brandenburg, 1945-1952. Doctoral thesis (PhD), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study examines transitions from Nazism to socialism in Brandenburg between 1945 and 1952. It explores the grassroots responses and their relative implications within the context of both punitive and rehabilitative measures implemented by the Soviet Military Administration (SMAD) and the communist Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). The present study is based on archival and oral history sources and addresses two main research questions: First, in what ways did people at the grassroots attempt to challenge the imposition of punitive measures, and did their responses have any effect on the manner in which these policies were implemented at a grassroots level? These punitive measures were designed to remove remnants of Nazism and included punitive Soviet practices, Soviet NKVD camps and denazification and sequestering. Second, to what extent did grassroots Brandenburgers participate in political organisations which were designed to integrate East Germans during the rehabilitative stage and what impact did these responses have on the post-war transition? This study focuses on the National Democratic Party and the Society for German-Soviet Friendship as well as examining wider factors which may have impeded and facilitated the processes of post-war transitions. Two main arguments are proposed. First, the imposition of wide-ranging punitive measures often posed an existential threat at a grassroots level, and therefore at times elicited grassroots actions, albeit severely restricted by practical and political constraints. In turn, these grassroots responses could occasionally have some local impact and somewhat affect the manner in which policies were implemented at a grassroots level in Brandenburg. Second, it is argued that the rehabilitative stage, despite some challenges, generally provided a favourable system for grassroots integration in which the needs of the policy makers and a significant proportion of grassroots individuals somewhat converged, eventually contributing to the partial stabilisation of the emerging East German socialist state.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: PhD
Title: Transitions from Nazism to Socialism: Grassroots Responses to Punitive and Rehabilitative Measures in Brandenburg, 1945-1952
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1416290
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