A Glimpse of Freedom: Allied Occupation and Political Resistance in East Germany

71 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020 Last revised: 31 Aug 2020

See all articles by Luis R. Martinez

Luis R. Martinez

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Jonas Jessen

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Free University Berlin

Guo Xu

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: March 28, 2020

Abstract

This paper exploits the idiosyncratic line of contact separating Allied and Soviet troops within East Germany at the end of WWII to study political resistance in a non-democracy. When Nazi Germany surrendered, 40% of what would become the authoritarian German Democratic Republic was initially under Allied control but was ceded to Soviet control less than two months later. Brief Allied exposure increased protests during the major 1953 uprising and reduced Communist support during the last free elections of 1946. We use novel survey data to argue that even a "glimpse of freedom" can foster civilian opposition to dictatorship.

Keywords: Dictatorship, Protests, Elections, World War II, East Germany

JEL Classification: D72, D74, N44, P51

Suggested Citation

Martinez, Luis and Jessen, Jonas and Xu, Guo, A Glimpse of Freedom: Allied Occupation and Political Resistance in East Germany (March 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3562801 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3562801

Luis Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Jonas Jessen

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Germany

Free University Berlin ( email )

Germany

Guo Xu

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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