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The Berlin Wall and the Battle for Legitimacy in Divided Germany

The Berlin Wall was a key site of contestation between the Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic in their Cold War struggle over political legitimacy. On both sides, the Wall became a tool in intense publicity battles aimed at building legitimacy and collective identity at home, and... Full description

1st Person: Ahonen, Pertti
Source: in German politics and society Vol. 29, No. 2 (99) (2011), p. 40-56
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Type of Publication: Article
Language: English
Published: 2011
Keywords: research-article
Online: Volltext
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520 |a The Berlin Wall was a key site of contestation between the Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic in their Cold War struggle over political legitimacy. On both sides, the Wall became a tool in intense publicity battles aimed at building legitimacy and collective identity at home, and undermining them in the other Germany. The public perceptions and politicized uses of the barrier evolved through stages that reflected the relative fortunes of the two German states, moving gradually from extensive East-West parallels in the early 1960s toward a growing divergence by the 1970s and 1980s, which became increasingly indicative of East Germany's weakness. 
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