Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain


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Based on exhaustive research, the book explores the local complicity in the construction, maintenance, and subversion of the barrier, illuminates the human dimension of the German division, and explains its lingering post-unification effects. Recivilizing Germans, "Edith Sheffer provides fascinating glimpses of the ways in which the Wall between East and West Germany was constructed-in every sense-by Germans on the ground, and in turn affected the character of life on either side. Significations of difference, emotional ties, misapprehensions, and mutual hostilities, were a living reality, changing over time and persisting in new ways long after the Wall itself has disappeared.

Generations and Violence through the German Dictatorships "Edith Sheffer powerfully contributes to dismantling established views on the Cold War.

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Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain

Locals had a constant role in producing the border and, in a bitter irony, neither efforts to evade nor ways of considering the border 'normal' overcame the sense of estrangement among former neighbors. Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video.


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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. A really interesting study.

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From two local communities' fate a clear analysis of how a border keeps people united and divided. It goes well beyond the drama of Cold War Germany.

This book provided a great case study into the impact of the division of Germany during the Cold War. It was well written and thoroughly researched. One person found this helpful. There is a certain professor at Case Western Reserve University who rants against the "feminization of academia. This monograph shows also that further people-centered perspectives are necessary in reaching the full human dimension of our species' history. In surveying the impact of this barrier on one locale, she manages to encompass the entire Cold War - and the entire deployment of history since.

The main topic is a necessary revision of Der Mauer's origin, a barrier that extended far beyond the Berlin city limits. Although the division was forced upon Germany and this region by its occupiers, social reality on the ground reinforced high politics in preparing the population for eventual apartheid. A flood of refugees - economic, political, and expellees - turned the border into a free-wheeling frontier zone in central Europe. Cries of higher crime, unemployment, and competition alternated with profiteering off the desperate and displaced.

Contrary to the Western mythology of a welcoming hand, Easterners were frequently driven back over the border like stray cattle in the early period of easiest accessibility. The story of reunification has been often told, but Ms. Sheffer goes one step further in offering its deepest and most troubling lesson. Globalization is credited with sweeping away this barrier, South African apartheid, and other impediments to human community.

As spokesmen of the New World Order triumphantly crowed over the End of History, its architects were using the blueprints of the Old. Those defending freedom and global opportunity seem unable to construct any solution superior to the builders of tyranny: A question that Ms. Sheffer does not directly address is how the GDR could have solved its labor drain in any other manner.

Western Germany was always a wealthier, industrialized region compared to the east. Rural to urban, east to west, was a longterm trend in its own right, though sorely exacerbated by postwar division. There were alternatives, either as substitutes or combined with border security, that could have mitigated the dilemma: Or East Berlin could have changed its policies to give the average Ossi more of a stake in the system: Such tactical flexibility could not have stemmed the entire outflux - again for reasons that predate the cold war - but might have left a desperate West building its own wall.

Rejecting such options as too inexpedient or blasphemous, Walter Ulbricht could react only with pre-emptive force, leaving the East to bear the moral and financial costs of construction. Kudos again to Ms. Iron Curtain, 8. Life in the Prohibited Zone 9. Life in the Fortifications New Divides Notes Bibliography Appendices.

Searching for East Germany's Communist Cuisine

The book suggests that through daily actions borders can become instruments of demographic control, both violently coercive and encouraging complicity from average citizens. Her sensitive biography of a divided German community, ranging across the entire Cold War through reunification, is filled with arresting detail, fresh evidence, and surprises.

This book helps us understand not just the trauma of the Cold War but also the many troubles Germans have faced in knitting their fractured nation together after the fall of the Wall in An outstanding and innovative work. Hitchcock, University of Virginia. Close Encounters in Occupied Germany. Based on exhaustive research, the book explores the local complicity in the construction, maintenance, and subversion of the barrier, illuminates the human dimension of the German division, and explains its lingering post-unification effects. Significations of difference, emotional ties, misapprehensions, and mutual hostilities, were a living reality, changing over time and persisting in new ways long after the Wall itself has disappeared.

Generations and Violence through the German Dictatorships. Locals had a constant role in producing the border and, in a bitter irony, neither efforts to evade nor ways of considering the border 'normal' overcame the sense of estrangement among former neighbors.

Burned Bridge - Edith Sheffer - Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Academic Skip to main content. She is rather less effective in her claims that Neustadters and Sonnebergers created the iron curtain by acquiescing in its construction and in the authority of Soviet, American, DDR, and BRD officials and policies.

She assumes that this quiet acceptance of the status quo was a matter of social discipline, stemming from horizontal ties amongst Neustadters and amongst Sonnebergers. However, given the recent and catastrophic defeat of Germany in a six-year long total war, the pervasive violence that followed in the East, and the presence of men with guns on and around the border even if not initially in great numbers , it seems more likely that East and West Germans acquiesced in the border because they felt they had no choice but to do so or to incur the wrath of Berlin and Moscow.

Indeed, the fact that the authorities in East Germany did crack down, and crack down hard, on border-crossings in , when mass crossings threatened, seems to support this interpretation. In this sense, geopolitics and overarching, formally constituted and potentially violent power structures were very much acting upon society, rather than vice-versa.

Two groups come to the fore in her narrative: Beyond this single distinction, she says little of class, gender, background, or politics SED party members vs.

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Important dimensions of border life are thus neglected. Nov 13, Kayci rated it really liked it. Very good read and well devised narrative. Some of its argumentative weaknesses can be attributed to the fact that it began as a Ph. In light of this fact, it is actually fantastic.

She describes the gradual development of a "mental" border in the minds of East and West Germans, and how this border was in many ways more powerful than the physical boundary that is so well known. Rather than focusing on Berlin, her story concerns the German towns of Ne Very good read and well devised narrative. Rather than focusing on Berlin, her story concerns the German towns of Neustadt West Germany and Sonneberg East Germany , which have a history of collaboration and rivalry, but which develop a deep mental division within their populations before the physical boundary between them is put in place.

Especially interesting is her albeit brief discussion of how imperfect their reunion was. Rather than providing only the image of East Germans rushing over the border into welcoming Western arms, she discusses German reactions that went beyond the initial border collapse, and how difficult it actually was to reconcile two towns whose citizens had learned to consider themselves divided. May 17, Cynthia rated it liked it Shelves: It's clear that the residents of the two towns at Burned Bridge made each other's lives difficult before the construction of the wall between them, but Sheffer could possibly have better supported her thesis that it was the case afterwards, as well.

Otherwise a thorough and well-researched Alltagsgeschichte, written in an engaging and straightforward tone. If you want to understand what a border means A really interesting study. From two local communities' fate a clear analysis of how a border keeps people united and divided.

It goes well beyond the drama of Cold War Germany. Alorks rated it it was amazing Dec 23, Marshall rated it liked it Feb 02, Ken rated it liked it Oct 27, Ray Shea rated it it was ok Jul 10, Amanda rated it liked it May 21, Bryan Schwartz rated it really liked it Feb 10, Sarah rated it really liked it Apr 07, Kim rated it liked it Dec 08,

Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain
Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain
Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain
Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain
Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain

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