Stasiland theme of Authoritarianism and the East German State Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Stasiland theme of Authoritarianism and the East German State Deck (14):

What is Funder's central belief of East Germany

Stasiland posits that in general East Germany left a black mark on German history, from which the country is still recovering.


How did East Germany stay in power'

Explanation and 4 factors

Through the Stasi, anyone who openly opposed the East German state’s leaders or policies could be arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and executed.


Secret police (Stasi)




Role of propaganda

East German propaganda ridiculed Western, capitalist values—there was even a channel, “the Black Channel,” whose sole purpose was to make fun of TV programs in West Berlin. Propaganda was instrumental in maintaining a sense of unity, optimism, and obedience in East Germany for many years.


How does Funder portray the East German State

She portrays the East German state as a tyrannical, authoritarian organization, and the entire book is centered around this theme. Some of the state officials she interviews genuinely believe in the virtues of Communism, or argue that the West has “smeared” East Germany to benefit their own image. However, Funder makes it very clear that East Germany was exactly what it appears to have been: a corrupt, tyrannical regime.


What is Funder's premise and what does she explore over the course of the text

Funder begins from the premise that the East German state was responsible for untold amounts of misery, frustration, and guilt. Over the course of Stasiland, she explores the ways that various East Germans have dealt with their government’s authoritarian behavior.


Identity card quote

"The demonstrators, in shock, obediently pulled their cards from their wallets."


Identity card quote analysis

A serious theme that Funder explores throughout the book: the way that decades of authoritarian government have imprinted themselves on East German citizens. The demonstrators who raided the Stasi headquarters had been conditioned to obey the Stasi throughout their lives—and even after 1989, this obedience and respect for authority continue to be seen in German society.


Fake story quote

"'You people want an underground escape organization? Well, I'll give you one then.' Fleischer had won."


Fake story quote analysis

Effective in conveying Miriam’s own disorientation at the time of her interrogation: she couldn’t tell if Major Fleischer actually believed that she had received help, or if he was only trying to exploit his power over her. He “wins” by pressuring her into giving up names, but the names are lies. The Stasi had the resources to torture and bully thousands of people like Miriam, whose only crime was trying to visit another country


Why does the Party seek power

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. The object of power is power."


Inside you forever quote 1984

"'They can't get inside you,' she had said. But they could get inside you. 'What happens to you here is forever,'"


Inside you forever quote analysis 1984

Winston has been released from the miniluv, having been tortured into loving the Party. He is recalling a moment when Julia had told him that no matter what the Party did, "they can't get inside you." Winston's time being tortured in miniluv disproves this fact. The horror of Room 101 lies in the fact that, when faced with their greatest fear, a person will betray everything that is meaningful to them, thereby losing their sense of self. Winston knows he will never be able to "recover" from the moment when he betrayed Julia, and because of this will never have enough agency to be able to resist the Party again. 


Herr Bock quote

"Here he is once more getting the trust of his people and selling them cheap."


Herr Bock quote analysis

Bock has managed to prosper in new Germany. He works as a business consultant, helping West German companies buy East German competitors. Bock had no particular loyalty to the GDR, he just sells his services to the highest bidder. Funder makes no secret of her disdain to the reader. Funder is willing to respect some Stasi agents who believed in socialist ideals; however, she has no respect for a “hired gun” like Bock.