chapter  5
22 Pages

An Evening with Friends and Enemies: Political Indoctrination in Popular East German Family Series

ByKATJA KOCHANOWSKI, SASCHA TRÜLTZSCH, REINHOLD VIEHOFF

Germany was divided into two states with diff erent ideologies but with a shared cultural heritage and language from 1949 until 1989. State-owned television production in East Germany (German Democratic Republic; GDR), like the entire political and social system of the GDR, was indissolubly tied to this division of Germany after World War II. The two-state solution also aff ected TV productions in West Germany although for different reasons. TV programs in the GDR were faced with a double bind. On the one hand, they were obliged to fulfi ll the Eastern bloc’s expectations to spread the socialist ideology and program. On the other hand, the GDR found itself in constant rivalry with the West German economic and political system and its TV programming, which presented a permanent temptation for East German viewers. This dilemma set the frame for the establishing and performance of the GDR’s TV system from the very beginning. The GDR responded to this problem by waging “class warfare on the air” by developing programs fi ercely hostile and diametrically opposed to any outcomes and innovation in Western TV programs (Dittmar 2010).