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“One Would at Least Like to Be Asked”

Habermas on Popular Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and German Unification

Peter J. Verovšek

with any demand that does not respect the procedural issues required by a transformation of the political system. — Jürgen Habermas, private reflection, November 1989 The fall of the Berlin Wall took everyone by surprise, including the leadership

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“This Other Germany, the Dark One”

Post-Wall Memory Politics Surrounding the Neo-Nazi Riots in Rostock and Hoyerswerda

Esther Adaire

post 1989. The first half focuses on the riots themselves and the intense political debates that followed. The second half situates these debates within a longer timeline of West German memory politics. What analyzing the events of Rostock and

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Spatial Patterns of Thermidor

Protest and Voting in East Germany’s Revolution, 1989-1990

Marko Grdešić

Introduction East Germany’s revolutionary events of 1989-1990 have been analyzed from a variety of perspectives. 1 The final outcome of the Wende is well known: the abolition of the SED’s dictatorship and the unification of the two Germanys

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The District Leadership Cadre of the Stasi

Who Were These Men and Why Did They Not Crush Mass Protest in 1989?

Uwe Krähnke, Anja Zschirpe, Philipp Reimann, and Scott Stock Gissendanner

the district offices, one for each of East Germany’s fifteen administrative districts. These, in turn, supervised more than 200 regional county offices and seven special offices attached to strategically important facilities. At the end of 1989, the

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Reflections on 1989

When Poland’s future opened up, Solidarity’s sense of agency disappeared

David Ost

Perhaps the most surprising part of my recollection of 1989 is to recall the large part of it that was not surprising at all. Because nothing had gotten back to “normal” in Poland in the 1980s, the political events of that decade always happened with Solidarity as the “other.” Because the political situation never seemed resolved, it was always in flux. What happened in 1989 was thus treated initially as part of that flux, by me and by Polish political actors themselves.

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(Post-)colonial Myths in German History Textbooks, 1989–2015

Florian Helfer

strongly influenced how history textbooks approach the topic. This article presents a case study of two textbook series between 1989 and 2015 in the context of the North Rhine-Westphalian history curriculum. The past three decades are especially

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A Romanianist’s perspective on 1989

Katherine Verdery

Like other area specialists, I was astonished when, in the spring of 1989, the Hungarians took down the barbed wire separating them from Austria and the Poles elected the first non-communist prime minister, without arousing repercussions from the Soviet Union. I followed with amazement the news of what was happening in East Germany in late summer and fall—the hoards of people camping out in embassies, the ever-larger demonstrations in Leipzig.

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Remembering 1989 and its aftermaths in the depths of Russia

Caroline Humphrey

From a distance—I was glued to television and newspapers in Cambridge—nothing dramatic seemed to be happening in the Siberian provinces of Russia in 1989. All attention was focused on the amazing events in Germany, Czechoslova- kia, Romania, and Bulgaria; yet I remember not only my astonishment at the tumbling of regimes but also constant twinges of regret and impatience that I could not be there.

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Anthropological adventures with Romania's Wizard of Oz, 1973-1989

Katherine Verdery

Throughout the Cold War, most people in the US saw the communist party-states of the Soviet bloc as all-powerful regimes imposing their will on their populations. The author, a child of the Cold War, began her fieldwork in Romania in the 1970s in this belief. The present essay describes how her experiences in Romania between 1973 and 1989 gradually forced her to see things differently, bringing her to realize that centralization was only one face of a system of rule pervaded by barely controlled anarchy and parasitism on the state. It was not simply that the regime had failed to change people's consciousness; rather, the system's operation was actively producing something quite different. These insights contributed to the author's developing a new model of the workings of socialism.

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Access to Secret Police Files, Justice, and Vetting in East Germany since 1989

Gary Bruce

In order to situate the current debate on whether the Federal Commission for the Files of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (the Stasi Archive) should cease to be an autonomous institution in the larger context, this article traces the history of the Stasi Archive and of the Stasi Files Law since 1989. Key to understanding the Stasi Archive and access to its files is the 1989 revolution which saw demonstrators demand access to information gathered by the secret police. Although the research quasimonopoly that the Stasi Archive enjoys would be ended by integration into the federal archives, file access for Stasi victims-the raison d'être of the archive-would be jeopardized. Calls for the dismantling of the Stasi archive are, therefore, premature. Some criticism can be directed at the vetting and trial process in East Germany since 1989, but it is important to remember that the Stasi Archive acted only in a support capacity for those activities.