Free Ghosts Of Communism And Ostalgie In Berlin: Karl-Marx-Allee Essay Sample
An Overview Statement on the Literature on the Topic
The discussion tackles the source of materials that have been used to sustain the discussion on the topic, Ghosts of Communism and Ostalgie in Berlin: Karl-Marx-Allee. The materials comprise four books, two peer-reviewed journal articles and an online material. The materials are all secondary sources and divulge on the reality of the ostalgie, the point of connection between the ostalgie and the total way of life of Germany and the dominant thoughts on the ostalgie.
Commentary on Key Themes of Interest to me
Several themes come out as being of great personal interest. One of the themes that come as noteworthy is the strength of ideology. It is interesting that what fundamentally brought about the ostalgie is the theory of class consciousness and conflict, as is (or was) found in the Communist Manifesto. Karl Heinrich Marx and Friedrech Engels are the ideologues who were behind this theory. Russia and most countries in Eastern Europe had formed the Union of Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR) while the pro-capitalist US was backed by the West. Germany was torn between the two ideologies, with the Eastern bloc supporting the USSR and the Western, the capitalist and democratic US. The Berlin Wall was erected to divide the two hemispheres and to keep the inhabitants thereof from crossing over. The two political hemispheres took on different cultures. To this effect, it is important to note that even 25 years after the fall of communism and Berlin Wall, vestiges of the socialist leaning east still abound. Not only do such vestiges abound, but there are many others in Berlin and the larger Germany who are overcome with nostalgia for the eastern bloc and the ideals the bloc stood for. As a matter of fact, to some analysts, the ostalgie is an indictment against the post-war Germany to deliver its promises.
Another important theme that comes out is the manner in which people will always relate with history. The ostalgie not only shows the socialist aspect of the eastern bloc but also, the historical aspect of the country. It is for this reason that the ostalgie provides a chance for academicians and politicians to give an interpretation of the same from different perspectives such as literature, politics, historiography, museums and memorials. The strength of the historical aspect of the ostalgie is also seen in the manner in which the ostalgie have become a source and object of tourism, income generation and cultural preservation.
Preliminary Reflections on Where the Topic Sits Within This Discourse
The topic of the discussion is to emphasize the reality and presence of the ostalgie in Germany. This is consistent with the reality of Berlin, since Berlin and other towns and cities of Germany are graced with ostalgie. Similarly, the same helps inspire understanding of the history of East Germany, the ideological tussle between the US and Russia, in light of the vestiges of socialism.
Again, because of the study, it becomes possible to determine whether the advent and rise of the fame of the ostalgie is indeed an indictment of the failure of the contemporary Germany to deliver on the promises that were made during the Unification of Germany. This is because, it is worth noting that those who hold on to the ostalgie as being important (especially the easterners) have cited the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor was inexistent, the affordability of healthcare, education and other forms of basic needs as reason for their reminiscence.
Gwyneth, Cliver, 2014, ‘Ostalgie Revisited: The Musealization of Halle-Neustadt.’ German Studies Review, 37 (3), pp. 615 - 636
This is a peer reviewed article which makes an analysis of the artistic, theatrical and promotional efforts that have been made to make Halle-Neustadt at the turn of the 21st century. This was an attempt to revitalize the city and attract visitors. This feat was achieved by displaying the Halle-Neustadt’s socialist aspects. Halle-Neustadt was not a popular ostalgie as many people would think, but a desire for East Germany commodity culture.
Hodgin, Nick & Pearce, Caroline, 2011, The GDR remembered: representations of the East German state since 1989, Camden House
This book is useful to the study since it helps shed light on the manner in which ostalgie has found its use in the post-GDR state with some uses being political, cultural and even economic. Similarly, the book contends that the ostalgie provides an occasion to reflect on the history and heritage of the GDR and the manner in which the Germans remembered it. The argument is advanced from different perspectives such as literature, politics, historiography, museums and memorials.
Huyssen, Andreas, January 15, 2003, Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory, Stanford University Press
This book attempts to show how memory of historical trauma can generate works of art. The relation between public memory and major political and social traumas are addressed at this point. The book compares the memory of the Buenos Aires (because of its stint with dictatorship in the ‘70s and ‘80s), Berlin (the fall of the Berlin Wall) and New York City (terror attacks) in respect to their symbolic value to underscore its theme. The book argues that the monumentalization of the ostalgie portrays different media practices and that the book shows the transformation of temporal and spatial experience of the ostalgie as memory politics as a principal cultural effect of globalization.
Kapczynski, Jennifer, 2007, ‘Negotiating Nostalgia: The GDR Past in Berlin Is in Germany and Good Bye, Lenin.’ The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory, 82 (1), pp. 78 - 100
This peer-reviewed journal article analyses the representation and treatment of the GDR in Ostalgie, specifically in Berlin Is in Germany by Hannes Stohr and Goodbye Lenin. Kapczynski says that the ostalgie marks the chasm between the past nostalgic constructions and the postnational perspectives of the present. Kapczynski points out that the differences (chasm) play out even in later investments in the ostalgie and this involves both the narrative and aesthetic forms of ostalgie. This article demonstrates that ostalgie (specifically, Goodbye, Lenin and Berlin Is in Germany) portray diverse perceptions of the post-Wall German identity and trends in contemporary German culture.
Macdonald, Sharon. Memory lands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today.
His is an investigation of the nature, heritage, understandings and memory of the Cold War Europe. Material remains such as museums, memorials and heritage sites. The topics that are covered in the discussion include temporalities, authenticity, commoditization, embodiment, ostalgie, westalgie, the musealisation of contemporary lifestyle, the commemoration of the Holocaust, the heritage of Islam, narratives of war, transnationalism and future of historical heritage.
Todorova, Maria & Gille, Zsuzsa, 2012, Post-communist nostalgia, Berghahn Books
The book argues that the pervasive popularity of manifestations of the ostalgie was because of the failure to meet the enthusiasm which people had at the end of the Cold War. The ostalgie is therefore a manifestation of a yearning for dignity and the regaining for sociability. The same is also spoken of as being indicative of growing curiosity and longing for the recent past. The book also analyses how the ostalgie vary among generational clusters, gender disparity, political orientation and the rural-urban divide. The book also through its analyses, concludes that the ostalgie is not an expression by Germans to go back to the past, but a manifestation of a complex healing process and an attempt to acknowledge the characteristics of the communist era and the inequalities that have come with the post-colonial era.
Saunders, Anna and Pinfold, Debbie, 2012, Remembering and rethinking the GDR: multiple perspectives and plural authenticities, Palgrave Macmillan Anna Sanders as a senior lecturer at the University of Bangor, UK is working on the memorialization of material culture that is specific to the GDR.
The importance of this book to this discussion is that discusses how the ostalgie brought about different political, cultural and social aspects of memory shifts and how the media helped in the transmission of these shifts. The book also discusses the manner in which Germans and the world has been remembering the GDR since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The book also discusses the manner in which the memory of the GDR impacts the economic, political and social life of contemporary Germany. The chapters of the book are equally graced with diverse perspectives on the GDR, apart from discussing the different ways in which the memories have been expressed in the form of monuments, museums, historical narratives, literature, music, film, everyday discourse on matters touching on the GDR and commemorative events. Through the consideration of this book, newer insights into complex relationships between the present and past GDR are expounded.