This chapter describes the illusions that the SED hardliners had about the true state of affairs in East Germany and their futile efforts to prevent any reforms. Erich Honecker and his allies persuaded themselves that the East German people were content to live in the restrictive environment of one-party rule. As evidence for the happy state of affairs, they pointed to the (mandatory) mass demonstrations and the results of the (rigged) elections. They failed to see that by the late 1980s their vision of the GDR’s present and future was rejected not only by the East German people, but also by the rank-and-file members of the SED. Admonitions to intensify the party’s propaganda efforts to keep the doctrine of Marxism-Leninism pure met with little response.


Communist Party Secretary General Central Committee German Democratic Republic Visitation Group 
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  1. [10]
    See Günter Schabowski, Das Politbüro: Ende eines Mythos, Frank Sieren and Ludwig Koehne ed. by (Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1990), PB, p. 51; and Mühlen, Aufbruch, p. 247.Google Scholar
  2. [17]
    Frank-Joachim Herrmann, Der Sekretär des Generalsekretärs: Honeckers persönicher Mitarbeiter über seinen Chef, ed. by Brigitte Zimmermann and Reiner Oschmann (Berlin, 1996), p. 14.Google Scholar

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© Dietrich Orlow 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietrich Orlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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