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Youth Politics in East GermanyThe Free German Youth Movement 1946-1968$
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Alan McDougall

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276271

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276271.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Youth Politics in East Germany


Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of how throughout the 20th century, the government and political movements in Germany sought to win over the young generation to their ideological cause. It then focuses on the founding of the Free German Youth (FDJ) as a ‘non-partisan, united, and democratic youth organization’. It discusses the limitations of a one-sided ‘Stalinization’ approach to the FDJ's early years, which serves as an effective starting point for one of the central premises of this book: namely, that the FDJ's experiences during the fifties and sixties wholly discredit the ‘totalitarian’ paradigm as a valid means of explaining and understanding the character of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany's (SED) dictatorship.

Keywords:   ideology, Free German Youth, Socialist Unity Party of Germany, totalitarian paradigm

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