Divided Loyalties: East German Writers and the Politics of German Division 1945-1953

Peter Davies
7 June 2000
281 pp
Paperback: 978-1-902653-21-1

This study aims to shed light on the relationship of writers with power in East Germany by setting their work in the context of Soviet and SED German policy after 1945. Peter Davies provides an analysis of the politics of German division as it affected visions of German national identity within the East German artistic community, and shows how this can give us a profound insight into contentious questions of artistic 'decadence' and 'conformity'. The second part of the study develops these ideas through a series of case studies of important individuals such as Johannes R. Becher, Peter Huchel, Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, analysing the complexities of their relationship with the power structures and ideology of the East German state in the institutional context of the Deutsche Akademie der Künste. The study concludes with the account of the consequences of the June 1953 uprising for these artists' view of their role in the GDR.