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The “Better State”: Competing Images of West and East Germany in the 1960s | NCGS Seminar
February 3 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
During the Cold War, a competition emerged between East and West Germany over their political legitimacy based upon their mutual goals of leaving the Nazi past behind and offering a more promising, yet distinct, model for the future. As time passed, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) pointed to its economic miracle, successful Western integration, and developed democratic society. The German Democratic Republic (GDR), in contrast, emphasized the successes of the “revolutionary tradition” and the “liberation from fascism.” Each state worked to represent and distinguish itself in international cultural diplomacy as the “better” German state and society, in large part through the creation of a distinct Deutschlandbild with the aim to find more international recognition. One important tool for this mission were the illustrated magazines GDR Review produced by the East German foreign ministry and SCALA International published by the FRG government.
Lorn Hillaker is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at UNC-Chapel Hill. He specializes in modern German and European History, media history and diplomatic history, in particular cultural diplomacy. Currently he is finishing his dissertation, entitled “Promising a Better Germany: Competing Cultural Diplomacies between West and East Germany, 1949-1990.”
Moderator: James Chappel | Duke University, Department of History