The Cultural Politics in East Germany and China: Literature and Art (1949-1979)




Ge, Liping

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East Germany and China, two modern socialist countries were established in 1949 during the Cold War era. The developments of socialism in these two countries were different: the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was indoctrinated socialism by the Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), while China was led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a party that believes in Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. Nonetheless, they had much in common, such as their political structure, economic strategies, guiding ideologies. The leaders of these two countries, in East Germany a succession of heads of states and in the People’s Republic of China one chairman, took advantage of culture as an instrument to maintain certain ruling relationships, which is part of the daily life of people and can become a significant and invisible mean of social control. This thesis analyzes specific incidents in relation to literature and art from 1949 to 1979, when the combination of politics and culture reached the peak such as the “Bitterfeld Way” (East Germany), and “Cultural Revolution” (China), and it explores real life experience and influential work of contemporary writers and artists. Finally, the underlying purpose of applying cultural politics in these two countries will be drastically exposed in socialist film comparisons, as the political figures tried to reconstruct citizens’ ideologies to control people’s minds and further consolidate their regimes.



East Germany, China, History, Cultural Policies, Socialism, Film