Literature of the GDR

(4036 words)
  • Pól Ó Dochartaigh

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

1. Anti-fascism (1945-49)

In contrast to West Germany, where 1945 was generally regarded as a “zero hour”, a phrase that was intended to define a new beginning after the horrors of Nazism but could also be seen as implying that what happened before 1945 was best forgotten, the authorities in the Soviet Zone of Germany and later the GDR clearly defined culture as both springing from a largely Communist “antifascist” tradition and at the same time being a lineal descendant of the liberal humanist cultural inheritance of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This led to a combination of older bourgeois literary and contemporary Marxist (including Soviet) influence on early GDR culture.

The humanist v…

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Ó Dochartaigh, Pól. "Literature of the GDR". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 July 2005
[, accessed 23 May 2015.]