By Professor Raymond G. Stokes PhD
With a cloud of blue smoke and a high-pitched whine, Trabant vehicles carried many East Germans westward after the Berlin Wall got here down in November 1989. The car's Fifties layout, seen environmental incorrectness, and all-plastic physique turned a logo of the technological barriers of East German communism. although unfair and oversimplified, the well-known photo from the early Nineties of the rear of a Trabi sticking out from a dumpster appeared to suggest that the auto, just like the process which had produced it, were consigned to the dustbin of background. yet as Raymond G. Stokes issues out in developing Socialism, jap Germany in 1945 was once the most hugely built, technologically refined business parts on the earth. regardless of the glaring failings of its know-how through the overdue Eighties, the German Democratic Republic maintained complex technological power in chosen components. If the method itself was once essentially improper, what explains successes below the exact same procedure? Why may perhaps the successes no longer be repeated in different parts? And if examples of luck are so remoted, how did East Germany last up to it did?To solution those questions, developing Socialism examines the method of innovation that introduced a few minimum point of technological excellence into the East German economic system and undefined. targeting good fortune instead of failure, Stokes bargains a common historical past of East German expertise among 1945 and 1990. He combines an summary and synthesis of rising scholarly literature with an exam of newly opened archival fabric in an effort to discover concerns that come with automation, standardization, know-how move and technological tourism, and espionage. developing Socialism investigates particular applied sciences and machines but additionally emphasizes the folk who designed and applied them and the cultural context and meanings of technological platforms.
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Additional info for Constructing socialism: technology and change in East Germany 1945-1990
Chapter 2 A First, Flawed Construction Technology Planning and Practice through 1958 S hortly after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the East German Democratic Republic was established, in October ∞Ω∂Ω. Both successor states to the formerly united Germany set about creating the institutions and traditions required by any nation. From autumn of ∞Ω∂Ω they regained a considerable amount of control over their internal political, social, and economic affairs, but both continued to labor under severe restrictions on their sovereignty.
Zeiss was one of the major resources for the Soviet zone and, later, East Germany. It maintained a very high level of technological capability throughout the GDR’s existence and was a major foreign-exchange earner for the often cash-strapped country. Other, less well-known ﬁrms performed similar yeoman service for the regime, including Zeiss Ikon in the camera industry, as well as others in the motor industry and industrial-design sector. Despite this impressive legacy of earlier German industrialization and technological excellence, there were some inherent difﬁculties in the situation of the Soviet zone at war’s end.
It did occur, but primarily indirectly, because the enterprises were forced to produce and invest based on the needs of the Soviet economy and the Soviet market, and not those of the East German economy or its traditional foreign markets. Although GDR and Soviet technology remained different in many respects from ∞Ω∂∑ through ∞ΩΩ≠, there was a gradual convergence. However, this was not solely related to the SAGs. ’’≥∞ But this contention gets us ahead of our story somewhat, and will be revisited in later chapters.