The Quest for Regime Legitimacy and Stability in the GDR (German Democratic Republic): The Determinant of Policy.
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Since the end of World War II, the German Democratic Republic has been forced to confront the circumstances of its creation and existence as the other Germany, and its leaders determine policy with this in mind. Consequently, the ruling Socialist Unity Party must constantly strive to attain domestic legitimacy and stability for itself. This quest has acted, and continues to act, as a major determinant of East German foreign and domestic policies -- policies which sometimes differ from those of the USSR. Therefore, this paper analyzes the means by which the SED regime attempts to attain domestic legitimacy, and hence stability, for itself. First, domestic policies designed to achieve legitimacystability goals are outlined. These include political culture, party recruitment, political socialization, and social policy. Second, the role of economics in attaining regime legitimacy is explored and shown to be another major implement. Third, East German relations with the Soviet Union, West Germany, the Warsaw Pact, and the Third World are discussed in the context of six issues. These issues serve to illustrate the dominance of legitimacy and stability concerns in East German foreign policy. The last section of this paper discusses American policies relative to Central Europe the SEDs quest for legitimacy and stability is found to affect American decisionmaking in the region -- in past, present, and future policies. Author
- Government and Political Science