25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

It’s true that I found the GDR to be generally “better” than what came after, the (Capitalist) reunification, but I’d like to rectify your statements, if I may: there was never a time when the Soviet Union (or indeed other member-states of the Warsaw Pact) was ever “Communist”.

A small tip. If you go to a country that calls itself “Socialist”, ask if the workers are in charge and if the answer is “No”, then it’s not Socialist. If you go to a country that calls itself “Communist”, ask if they still use money and if the answer is “No”, then it’s not Communist. Fairly simple, but telling. However, I digress.

In a fairly recent (2016) study, Dimap (a German survey company) asked folks in the former GDR if they thought that things had been better under the old regime. Of those aged over 50, fully 65 percent said that they were. Surprisingly, in the age group 25 to 35, 45 percent of those asked also agreed with that. So it’s worthwhile to examine how such results were produced.

The elements in any Capitalist society destroying and constantly corroding social morale are mainly comprised of: worries that folks won’t be able to keep their jobs; worries that folks won’t be able to pay their bills at the end of the month; worries that (in the US) a sudden medical problem will bankrupt them: worries if folks can keep a roof over their heads and will end up homeless and on the streets; worries that their children can’t access the education they need. The list goes on. Is it any wonder that so many folks in Capitalist societies have any number of grave mental health issues due to their constant fears and that they’re continually frustrated?

All those important points were never, ever an issue in the GDR. But, I hasten to add, that wasn’t because of the policies introduced by the East German regime. The population itself kept the basic idea of “Socialism” alive and made sure that the gobment took no steps to reduce the social advantages – the 1953 Insurrection was the start of it. I'd also like to mention the astonishing level of basic democracy in the workplace that was a given in the GDR but is wholly absent in Capitalist societies.

Indeed, another survey carried out nationwide elicited the result that 60 percent of all Germans believed that some of the social aspects of East Germany should be adopted nationwide, for instance, the outstanding GDR education system, universal childcare, collective healthcare etc.

The absolute shite regime in the GDR produced an awful lot of what was wrong, but it also produced a lot of what was right. Just saying, like.

MsG
That was actually an interesting post. It's such a shame you spoiled it with the hilarious spelling of 'gobment'.

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The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
I don't know what your military background is but there are many places that were or are out of bounds to military personnel depending on their job. My FinL worked up at the Teufelsberg in Berlin and was not allowed East.
I wasn't allowed in the RoI for many years.
Depending on your level of clearance and your current knowlege, you can be restricted from travelling to all sorts of places.
Sadly though I was never stopped from visiting Hull!
I didn't think these places were out of bounds. I thought you just needed to ask permission.
I'm not sure I believe that you were not allowed into the RoI. I suspect you just needed to ask permission and get some kind of security brief first.
 
I didn't think these places were out of bounds. I thought you just needed to ask permission.
I'm not sure I believe that you were not allowed into the RoI. I suspect you just needed to ask permission and get some kind of security brief first.
In later years it was possible to travell to the RoI with proof of accomodation and a security brief, but trying to get to the '83 5 nations match at Landsdowne Rd prooved impossible.
With all due respect I think I would know if I was allowed to travel!
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
In later years it was possible to travell to the RoI with proof of accomodation and a security brief, but trying to get to the '83 5 nations match at Landsdowne Rd prooved impossible.
With all due respect I think I would know if I was allowed to travel!
Well maybe.
All I can recall is people talking about having to go to briefings before going on leave etc.
I never really travelled anywhere, so it didn't concern me.
 
I visited Berlin for the first time in 2015 and absolutely loved it so get yourself out there!

Concerning the other comments here I think that East Germany was the most Communist of all of them, probably down to their German thought processes.

Although the average worker hated the Stasi and the other agencies they learned to keep tight-lipped. Those who knew nothing but communism enjoyed being organised with provision of housing, authorised and sponsored state shops, set times and places for their holidays plus (mostly) guaranteed work and income. It is my opinion that they missed these things when they became part of a united Germany because they had to think and fend for themselves. It was too much for many of them which is why they yearned for their former cold, hideously polluted and organised lives.

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed the former East Berlin, had a great time and really hope that any other new visitor to the city has a lovely time there!
The BBC 4 program I quoted earlier said that the Stasi were more numerous by a huge margin than the KGB in Russia
 

The_Gremlin

Old-Salt
The BBC 4 program I quoted earlier said that the Stasi were more numerous by a huge margin than the KGB in Russia
In proportion to the general population, yes. About 1 in 6 I've heard.
But as @DaManBugs will testify, it depends whether you include informants and tradesmen / support staff etc.
 

DaManBugs

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I wasn't allowed into the former Eastern Bloc until 2015 and that included Berlin. I visited the city the same year and absolutely loved it so get yourself out there!
I assume that was because of the quirky article in the “Official Secrets Act” forbidding former members of the British Armed Forces to visit or pass through present of former “Communist” countries. That was what, essentially, spelled the end of my time in the GDR in the late 1970s.
Concerning the other comments here I think that East Germany was the most Communist of all of them, probably down to their German thought processes.
No way! The GDR was the most Stalinistic of the Warsaw Pact countries. There was a time during the mid to late 1950s that the GDR was well on its way to finding a form of “German Socialism”, but that was nipped in the bud by Walther Ulbricht who, ironically, was dethroned by Honecker for “failing to toe the Moscow line”.
Although the average worker hated the Stasi and the other agencies they learned to keep tight-lipped. Those who knew nothing but communism enjoyed being organised with provision of housing, authorised and sponsored state shops, set times and places for their holidays plus (mostly) guaranteed work and income. It is my opinion that they missed these things when they became part of a united Germany because they had to think and fend for themselves. It was too much for many of them which is why they yearned for their former cold, hideously polluted and organised lives.

Anyway, I certainly enjoyed the former East Berlin, had a great time and really hope that any other new visitor to the city has a lovely time there!
There were never any Germans who “never knew anything but Communism”. But there were a lot of Germans who followed the Socialist ideal (and not only in East Germany). What the East Germans did is to arrange their lives around the GDR regime. It meant that they could live a wholly satisfactory and fulfilling life. If they kept their heads down and screwed the bob, as did millions in the GDR, they never had to worry about the Stasi or any other state authorities. Sure, they liked things to be organised for them, but who doesn’t? During my whole time in the British Army, I never once heard any of the comrades complain that their life was “far too organised”. In stark contrast: it was good to know that you could go to the cookhouse for your scran at mealtimes and know it would be there, it was good to know that the SNCOs had organised various tasks to last out the day and it was good to know when you could finally lay back and relax, change into your civvies and go out on the town. All, essentially, “organised”, but no-one ever complained.

It wasn’t so much “having to fend for themselves” that frightened the East Germans. In reality, they’d been doing that for years with their positive genius for improvisation. But you have to take into account that they were, literally overnight (from 30 June to 01 July 1990), rudely confronted with a new, intensely anti-Socialist political system, a new currency, completely new laws bearing no resemblance to what they knew, a new social order and corresponding procedures and regulations and the fact that they were (semi-officially), from that date on, “second-class citizens. That’s an awful lot to take in.

MsG
 

DaManBugs

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The BBC 4 program I quoted earlier said that the Stasi were more numerous by a huge margin than the KGB in Russia
Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? So let's break it down again, for the Nth time, shall we?

Of the just over 91,000 Stasi employees (91.013 to be exact), around 9,000 were engaged in surveillance and intelligence work in other countries and beyond the borders of the GDR, including in the Soviet Union. In addition, over 13,000 of them were members of the Feliks Dzierdzynski Watch Regiment (the military arm of the Stasi affiliated to the East Germany Army), and another 39,000 employees were simply departmental heads, administrators, clerks, accountants, typists, drivers, carpenters, plumber, bricklayers, welders, mechanics, doctors, nurses, etc, which also included sales assistants in the Stasi-owned retail outlets because the Stasi, just like all the other collectives in the GDR system, was a complete and essentially self-contained unit, a little world unto itself with all the relevant tradeswo/men and other personnel. Furthermore, approximately 9,000 Stasi members were on duty on the borders of East Germany and at the East Berlin checkpoints, since it was they, and not the border guards, who were exclusively responsible for checking passports and visas at the East German and East Berlin crossing-points (they were also the internationally recognised experts at detecting fake passports), and another 4,000 were engaged in personal protection, that is, bodyguard duties. Just over 3,000 Stasi employees were responsible for active electronic defence measures and intelligence. That left around 24,000 to form the “dense network of surveillance officers” across the GDR, of whom only something like 12,000 were actually informant handlers, while the vast majority of the remainder were official Stasi representatives in various citizen-owned agricultural and production enterprises across the country, who were also regularly roped in to try and disturb the activities of the various western military missions sneaking around the GDR countryside.

By the way. I translated all this (and much more about the Stasi) and submitted it to a former, high-ranking Stasi officer for his opinion. He confirmed my figures. Any other questions on the Stasi? If anyone is interested, I can post the whole Stasi chapter from my book (it's about 12,000 words). The same is true for realistic figures about Stasi touts.

MsG
 
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By the way. I translated all this (and much more about the Stasi) and submitted it to a former, high-ranking Stasi officer for his opinion. He confirmed my figures. Any other questions on the Stasi? If anyone is interested, I can post the whole Stasi chapter from my book (it's about 12,000 words). The same is true for realistic figures about Stasi touts.
 
What the East Germans did is to arrange their lives around the GDR regime. It meant that they could live a wholly satisfactory and fulfilling life. If they kept their heads down and screwed the bob, as did millions in the GDR, they never had to worry about the Stasi or any other state authorities.
They were forced to comply at every turn. If they didn't they had restrictions imposed which could mean no promotion, no further education, travel restrictions (even worse than the ones already in place). All the social and sporting clubs were run by party members, all head teachers were party members. Local councils, foremen at work...all party members.
Everyone had to worry about the Stasi and the state authorities, even the heads of state themselves.
Did you know that when they searched the Stasi HQ after the wall had come down, in Erich Mielke's safe they found a brief case with compromising information on Hoeneker in it?
Socialism/communism relies on total subservience to the state, anything else and you will be in trouble.
 
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By the way. I translated all this (and much more about the Stasi) and submitted it to a former, high-ranking Stasi officer for his opinion. He confirmed my figures.
No you didn't and no he didn't.
 

DaManBugs

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They were forced to comply at every turn. If they didn't they had restrictions imposed which could mean no promotion, no further education, travel restrictions (even worse than the ones already in place). All the social and sporting clubs were run by party members, all head teachers were party members. Local councils, foremen at work...all party members.
Everyone had to worry about the Stasi and the state authorities, even the heads of state themselves.
Did you know that when they searched the Stasi HQ after the wall had come down, in Erich Mielke's safe they found a brief case with compramising information on Hoeneker in it?
Socialism/communism relies on total subservience to the state, anything else and you will be in trouble.
Ah, Jaisus! Please protect us from "egg-spurts" who know jack-shite! Such as your man Murf's_Whore there.

MsG
 
Ah, Jaisus! Please protect us from "egg-spurts" who know jack-shite! Such as your man Murf's_Whore there.

MsG
Tell me one bit of that post that is wrong.
 

DaManBugs

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No you didn't and no he didn't.
So how do you explain this, Murf's_Whore?

By the way, your man there can be found here; Startseite IK

How big would you like your portion of humble pie to be, shitlips? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

MsGMANUSKRIPT.PNG
MANUSKRIPT.PNG
 

DaManBugs

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This bit, testicle-grey-matter!

In your intense, obsessive and ongoing desire (for over 12 years now) to negate any and everything I post, you intercoursed up, exctreta-labie! Tough luck!

MsG
You have an e mail from an ex Stasi guy saying he likes your corespondence regarding how good the DDR was!
That doesn't mean any of my post #50 was wrong.
If I wrote to Kim Jong-Un and told him what a great place North Korea was, I'd get a similar reply. It doesn't mean North korea is a great place!
 

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