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That Was the GDR: A History of the Other Germany

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

English narration & German dialogue with English subtitles where needed.

This astonishing chronicle of the German Democratic Republic (or as we called it, East Germany) features illuminating interviews complimented by rare archival materials from film, photographs, posters, caricatures, popular songs and speeches. Former citizens both prominent and unknown reflect on cultural, economic, and political developments from the founding of the GDR in 1949 to German unification in 1990. This is the ultimate film history of events such as the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, economic stagnation, Stasi activity, and the popular upheavals that finally brought down the state.

CHAPTER 1: I Was a Citizen of the GDR
Former East German citizens -- from Holocaust survivors, to artists, officials, civil rights activists and ordinary people -- talk about their personal feelings, experiences, and attitudes toward the GDR.

CHAPTER 2: From "Zone" to State
Events the led up to the construction of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961 and the final division of the two German states.

CHAPTER 3: From Economic Plan to Economic Collapse
The development of the GDR's planned economy, from its beginnings to its failure.

CHAPTER 4: For the People's Welfare
"Unity of economic and social policy," the program of the SED (Socialist Unity Party), became the trademark of the Honecker era.

CHAPTER 5: Intellect and Power
The history of literature and the art in the GDR was punctuated by State repression; such breaks reveal contestation between intellectuals and state power in the GDR.

CHAPTER 6: Shield and Sword
From its founding in 1950, the Ministry for State Security and its political secret police (the Stasi) were the central instruments of domination; this "shield and sword of the Party," was seen as a defense against external and internal enemies.

CHAPTER 7: We Are the People
This was the chant of the thousands of protesters in the streets of Leipzig and other East German cities in the fall of 1989.

Review

An illuminating history of the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990). Highly recommended! --Video Librarian

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Angelika von Charmier, Reinard Bar, Jurgen Kuczynski
  • Directors: Gitta Nickel, Gunther Scholz, et al
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: October 20, 2009
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002HOP42G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,249 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By L. Brennan on January 19, 2012
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My wife discovered her country had departed, so I was delighted to find this DVD for her. She still loves her country - the GDR! The more I learn of the GDR, the more one realises the positives that were kept from my awareness, when growing up on the other side of the globe. A fascinating film of a fascinating period in Europe's history. Amusing, informative and enlightening. Oh yes, definately worth buying.
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As a former resident of The Former GDR I was thrilled to finally find a comprehensive history of that country on DVD. This very detailed and organized history is loaded with actual archived footage and tons of interviews with people who bring the facts and figures to life. The only aspect of The GDR that I felt deserved much more attention was the GDR's education & political instruction of its youth...JP, FDJ, GST, etc.
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I found this movie factual and informative. My wife is from the former GDR and found the film interesting and nostalgic. This would make an interesting addition to the study of German history regarding the seldom discussed story of life in the GDR.
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This is a very informative and comprehensive documentary. I do not endorse the views expressed in large measure but that does not detract from the volume of information presented. Interviews with key dissidents (a number of whom I met back in the 1980s and got to know well) are a commendable feature of this documentary particularly insofar as their role in underappreciated.

Bruce Allen
Author of Germany East: Dissent and Opposition
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