chapter  9
Legitimation, repression, and co- optation in the German Democratic Republic UDO GRASHOFF
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The German Democratic Republic (GDR) was created by the Soviet power. Therefore, all efforts to gain the acceptance of its own people should be considered as actions to compensate for its general intrinsic lack of legitimacy as a nation state.1 Moreover, the idea of nationalism in East Germany took on a subversive meaning because of the division of Germany. The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) claimed to represent all Germans, which made the political leadership of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED, Socialist Unity Party of Germany) seem questionable. The Communist Party could only partly rely on national values and was forced to establish substitutes. Furthermore, the permanent rivalry between the two German states and the fact that Communists were a minority within East German society put strong pressure on the SED to legitimize its dictatorship.