|Professor Leonard Goldstein|
Goldstein was a disciple and close friend of Karl Niebyl.
He received his Ph. D. from Brown University in 1955, then
taught English Literature at Brown, Georgia Tech, Rutgers and
Fairleigh-Dickinson University until 1962 when was forced to
emigrate due to political blacklisting. He went to the GDR where
he taught at Postdam University. He resides now in the Federal
Republic of Germany.
This is a text of a lecture given at the Niebyl-Proctor library
in October 1991.
The Unification of Germany by Lenard Goldstein
The collapse of socialism in the German Democratic Republic was the result of a combination of economic and political causes. If I confine my remarks to the events in the GDR, I am not unmindful of the fact that not only the whole of Eastern European socialism has disappeared, but we are also watching the death throes of socialism in the Soviet Union.
The GDR as a state was created October 1949, a product of the post-war settlement between the Western capitalist powers and the Soviet Union. It was created out of the Soviet Zone occupation shortly after the Western Allies had unilaterally created the Federal Republic in September 1949 under the leadership of the USA as a bulwark state to spearhead President Truman's anti-communist crusade in Europe. This action forced Stalin's hand at every stage from 1946 onwards. By 1949 the cold war was on, and repeated efforts of the Soviets to reunite Germany as a democratic and neutral state (1949, 1952, 1954) met with no response, and when the FRG was brought into NATO, the Soviets gave up the effort. The GDR was created in response to Western antagonism and under the occupation of the Red Army which enabled the development of socialism there. Thus the Soviet Union, under Stalin, dominated the process. The key to an understanding of the defeat of socialism lies in the nature of the Soviet economy and the subordinate relation of the GDR to that economy.
This being the case, it is necessary to say something about the Soviet economy and how its condition affected the economy of East Germany.