Posted by: rbbadger | April 15, 2010

Auferstanden aus Ruinen

If there was one thing that Communists were masters of, it was clearly in the area of propaganda.  The Chinese national anthem, while not technically of Communist origin, is somewhat catchy in a Maoist sort of way.  Likewise, the old Communist anthem of the Soviet Union, since baptized and expurged of all its Communist elements, remains quite possibly the most impressive national anthem of them all.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of die Wende, or the change in East Germany which resulted in the abandonment of central planning and Marxism in exchange for a market economy and capitalism.  It also resulted in the unification of East Germany with West Germany.  On October 3, 1990, the former German Democratic Republic passed into history.  The five East German Länder became a part of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Unification has been by no means easy.  There still remains some economic inequality between East Germany and West Germany, though the differences are by no means as stark as they were in 1990.  Some who grew up in East Germany retain a sense of Ostalgie, or nostalgia for the days of the GDR. 

Unification also meant giving up the flag and national anthem of the former GDR.  Their national anthem was an impressive one.  Communist countries, given the energies that they spend on propaganda, are often quite adept at creating catchy and stirring national hymns.  The words, written by Johannes R. Becher with music by Hanns Eisler, reflect a vision of a new Germany where the sun shines ever more beautifully over the land (“daß die Sonne schön wie nie, über Deutschland scheint”) and where no mothers will again grieve for sons lost in war (“daß nie eine Mutter mehr, ihren Sohn beweint”). 

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