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States of Division

States of Division analyses the division of Germany and the development of the Iron Curtain during the four and a half decades of the Cold War. The centerpiece of this global fault-line was the thousand-mile-long border dividing Germany into West and East. This long border traversed primarily rural peripheries and the development of division along it entailed protracted processes of social and cultural demarcation. Unlike the Berlin Wall, which sprang up overnight in the urban enclave under watchful eyes of Soviet and Western armies, the inter-German border evolved slowly through interactions between frontier residents and various state agencies. The division of Germany and of the world emerged through conflicts between everyday practices, economic necessities, policies of German and foreign governments, and their ability to push these policies through. The division of Germany was a multi-faceted process, which progressed slowly and unevenly. States of Division demonstrates that along with the crucial context of the Cold War, multiple historical and social frameworks are required to decipher division and explain how and where it took place. Dividing a modern integrated society along a thousand-mile border was not planned or intended by the allies and at no stage was agreed upon by East and West German authorities. It gave rise to contradictions and conflicts with practice and tradition, undermining economy and culture in the borderlands, and required protracted negotiations and considerable resources. It was not a fait accompli of Yalta or Potsdam, nor was it completed with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. German division only stabilized as a sociopolitical fact through the inter-German compromise of the 1970s, which also planted the seeds of its undoing. Integrating local, regional and national perspectives, this volume tells a complex story, showing how diplomacy and policy affected daily practices and were affected by them.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction ; 1. DMarkation: The Division of German Economy and the Emergence of the Inter-German Border 1945-1952 ; 2. Bounding the Land: Border Formation and Land Ownership, 1952-3 ; 3. The Boundaries of Exclusive Representation: The Inter-German Cold War and Division ; 4. For Land or Country? Frontier Land and Division, 1952-1969 ; 5. Divide and Rule: the Openly Negotiated Border and its Demise ; Conclusion ; Bibliography ; Index

About the Author

Sagi Schaefer grew up in Israel, where he also studied for his first and second degrees. He completed his doctoral dissertation at Columbia University in 2011 under the supervision of professor Volker R. Berghahn. Since 2012, he has been teaching modern European history at Tel Aviv University.


Schaefer's work is a rigorous, well-conceived, thoughtful, and convincing historical analysis based on impressive extensive archival work done at eighteen repositories. This book will be especially useful for scholars of postwar German history, the Cold War, or border studies. * H-Net * one of the major strengths of Schaefer's book is to withstand the many temptations of hindsight and to explore the history of division as an enrolling social process, tied to political conflict. In his wonderful book Schaefer adds a new layer to the history of divided Germany by looking at what is at first sight a marginal region ... it is to be hoped that his inclusion of social and political history in one microstudy of national relevance breaks the ground for many similar studies to follow. * Frank Wolff, History * a scrupulous account of the things lost to the border's cementing as well as of the main gain on the states' behalf: security and political stability. * Yuliya Komska, H-Soz-u-Kult * Sagi Schaefer's book is a major contribution to historical scholarship. ... Sagi Schaefer has convincingly demonstrated that borders are constructed and superseded by human actions, even under restrictive conditions. * Arnd Bauerkamper, German Historical Institute London Bulletin *

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