Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent: The East German Opposition and Its Legacy
by John C. Torpey
University of Minnesota Press, 1995
Cloth: 978-0-8166-2566-6 | Paper: 978-0-8166-2567-3
Library of Congress Classification DD289.T67 1995
Dewey Decimal Classification 320.943109045


Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Once the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the people of East Germany had little use for the dissident intellectuals who had helped bring it down. Intellectuals, Socialism, and Dissent offers a penetrating look into the circumstances of this fall from grace, unique among the former Communist states.

John Torpey traces the dissident intellectuals' fate to the peculiar situation of the East German regime, which sought to build "socialism in a quarter of a country" on the anti-fascist foundations of Communist opposition to Nazism. He shows how the regime's unusual history and subnational status helped sustain the East German intelligentsia's conviction that socialism could be reformed and humane-that there was a "third way" between Soviet-style socialism and the capitalism that took root in West Germany. How the pursuit of this third way both supported and undermined the regime, and both galvanized and alienated the East German people, becomes clear in Torpey's nuanced analysis. His book makes a powerful contribution to our understanding of the politics of intellectuals during one of the most painful chapters in modern German history.

John C. Torpey is currently a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence.

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