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Book Cover
Author Landsman, Mark, 1966-

Title Dictatorship and demand : the politics of consumerism in East Germany / Mark Landsman
Published Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2005
Online access available from:
ACLS Humanities E-Book    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (xii, 296 pages)
Series Harvard historical studies ; 147
Harvard historical studies ; 147
Contents Production and consumption : establishing priorities -- The contest begins: the currency reform, the Berlin Blockade, and the introduction of the HO -- The planned and the unplanned: consumer supply and provisioning crisis -- The rise, decline and afterlife of the new course -- Demand research and the relations between trade and industry -- Crisis revisted: the main economic task and the building of the Berlin Wall
Summary Annotation An investigation into the politics of consumerism in East Germany during the years between the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 and the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, Dictatorship and Demand shows how the issue of consumption constituted a crucial battleground in the larger Cold War struggle. Based on research in recently opened East German state and party archives, this book depicts a regime caught between competing pressures. While East Germany's leaders followed a Soviet model, which fetishized productivity in heavy industry and prioritized the production of capital goods over consumer goods, they nevertheless had to contend with the growing allure of consumer abundance in West Germany. The usual difficulties associated with satisfying consumer demand in a socialist economy acquired a uniquely heightened political urgency, as millions of East Germans fled across the open border. A new vision of the East-West conflict emerges, one fought as much with washing machines, televisions, and high fashion as with political propaganda, espionage, and nuclear weapons. Dictatorship and Demand deepens our understanding of the Cold War
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 223-287) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Consumption (Economics) -- Germany (East)
Socialism -- Germany (East)
Germany (East) -- Economic conditions.
Germany (East) -- Politics and government.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2004054334
ISBN 0674039920 (electronic bk.)
9780674039926 (electronic bk.)
(alk. paper)
(alk. paper)