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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

History

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2013

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

DEFA, film, East Germany, memory, Third Reich, Second World War

Abstract

This study will explore how East German films released from the 1940s to the 1980s played a central role in both reinforcing and chipping away at the national foundational narrative of the German Democratic Republic. This narrative looked back at the memory of the Third Reich and classified communists as heroes, Nazis as villains, and the majority of Germans as dangerously apolitical while also emphasizing the contemporary Cold War division between the east and the west. This thesis argues that DEFA films utilized the memory of the Third Reich to support, question, and expand this dynamic foundational narrative which remained malleable and contested throughout the state’s existence.

First Advisor

Jon Berndt Olsen

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