Literature of the GDR

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Pól Ó Dochartaigh (University of Ulster at Coleraine)
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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.

In contrast to West Germany, where 1945 was generally regarded as a “zero hour”, a phrase…

3988 words

Citation: Ó Dochartaigh, Pól. "Literature of the GDR". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 July 2005 [, accessed 06 December 2023.]

1478 Literature of the GDR 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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