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Dictatorship and Demand


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction 1. Production and Consumption: Establishing Priorities 2. The Contest Begins: The Currency Reform, the Berlin Blockade, and the Introduction of the HO 3. The Planned and the Unplanned: Consumer Supply and Provisioning Crisis 4. The Rise, Decline, and Afterlife of the New Course 5. "Demand Research" and the Relations between Trade and Industry 6. Crisis Revisited: The "Main Economic Task" and the Building of the Berlin Wall Epilogue Notes Index

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Dictatorship and Demand provides new and important information about a period in East Germany's history that had a defining impact on the country's later years. Landsman is an engaging writer who skillfully brings life to this generally opaque period of German history. -- A. James McAdams, University of Notre Dame, author of "Judging the Past in Unified Germany" State socialism failed, among other reasons, because it produced an economy of consumer scarcity. Mark Landsman's well-documented study starkly reveals the contradictions between the priorities of production and consumption in perhaps the most industrious Communist society, the German Democratic Republic. The rich texture of this work, the presentation of now obscure bureaucratic conflicts, the gritty evocation of privation, ensure its quality and interest. -- Charles Maier, Harvard University

About the Author

Mark Landsman is an independent scholar living in New York.


Mark Landsman's book stands at the crest of a coming tide of books in English concerning East Germany, consumption, and questions of how to explain the intertwined fates of politics, economics and everyday culture on the other side of the Berlin Wall. If Landsman's book is any indication of where this field is heading, scholars of East Germany and modern Germany in general should be in for some very good summer reading in the next couple of years...This book is highly recommended. -- Eli Rubin H-Net This clearly written monograph, which is a revised version of the author's dissertation, contains a number of important apercus. Like a number of other recent studies that underscore the often unintended consequences of official East German policies, Landsman's book adroitly shows how several of the innovations introduced by authorities to try to satisfy consumer demand--such as a mail-order catalogue and an installment plan--ended up boosting demand to levels that could not be met, creating even greater frustration on the part of East German consumers. -- Andrew I. Port Journal of Cold War Studies 20081201

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