My research analyses a selection of a previously unresearched collection of letters written by citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to the BBC German Service’s weekly ‘Letters without Signatures’ radio programme, which ran between 1955 and 1974, regarding their opinions and experience of living within the socialist state.I am particularly focusing on letters from the period prior to, during, and immediately after the construction of the Berlin Wall as a key event in the history of the GDR. The letters have never before been subject to academic analysis and can provide a key contribution to the debate around the nature of dictatorship and role of the state security services (Stasi). The letters provide a unique insight into the ways in which ordinary East German citizens constructed an image of the GDR for an audience in the West. They demonstrate what the authors sought to relay about the country they lived in to an international audience. Analysis of the state’s response to these letters, as seen in the Stasi files, can show in turn how GDR authorities sought to contain these expressions of discontent.
- 20th Century History
- Nazi Germany
- German Democratic Republic
- Cold War
- United States Foreign Policy and the Vietnam War
- British and European Politics
- International Relations and Conflict