The Pros and Cons of Life in Communist East Germany in Goodbye, Lenin Essay

The Pros and Cons of Life in Communist East Germany in Goodbye, Lenin Essay

Length: 2212 words (6.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

On the whole, does Goodbye, Lenin paint a positive or negative picture of life in communist East Germany?

East Germany, its demise relayed through the mass media of recent history, has in popular consciousness been posited as negative, a corrupt bulwark of the last dying days of Communism in Eastern Europe, barren and silent. The other Germany to its West, its citizens free, was striding confidently ahead into the millennium. Recent cinema has sought to examine re-unification, the Wolfgang Becker film Goodbye Lenin! (2003) a recent example of such an investigation into the past through cinema. In this essay I will look at the film and the narrative techniques it uses, probing whether it portrays the East German nation as positive or negative, concluding that though many negatives are identified, some positives are deduced from Honecker's state. I will also consider why, in recent times, East Germans have come to regard their former state with nostalgia, or as the Germans would put it, ostalgie, an act which Goodbye Lenin! (2003) explores.

Not a doom laden, emphatically political treatise on the reunification of East and West Germany but a touching and sometimes comedic insight into the gargantuan changes impacting on the small scale, day to day life as experienced by an East German family, Christiane Kerner and her two children Alex and Ariane. Awaking from a coma, Alex fears his mother?s condition may worsen if she learns of re-unification, going to increasingly elaborate lengths in maintaining the illusion of the GDR's omniscience. Becker?s stance as to reunification is ambivalent throughout, the film's concerns not didactic but subtly relayed. How the personal and political interweave is skilfully constructed by Becker,...

... middle of paper ...

...a more positive emphasis placed on the possibilities of forgiveness, redemption and hope for what can be made of tomorrow.

A Reversal of Fortunes? Women, work and change in East Germany. Rachel Alsop. Berghahn Books. 2000

Germany and the Germans. After Unification. New Revised Edition. John Ardagh. Penguin Books. 1991

German Cinema since Unification. Edited by David Clarke. Continuum, in association with University of Birmingham Press. 2006

Representing East Germany since Unification. From Colonization to Nostalgia. Paul Cooke. Berg. 2005

Germany since 1945. Lothar Kettenacker. Oxford University Press. 1997

Germany. Unravelling an Enigma. Greg Nees. Intercultural Press. 2000

Understanding Contemporary Germany. Stuart Parkes.Routledge. 1997

Dividing and Uniting Germany. J.K.A Thomoneck and Bill Niven. Routledge. 2001

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Citizen Protest In Nazi Germany and the Middle East Essay

- The situation that is occurring in the Middle East is not the first political unrest that has occurred. The actions that have been taken to stifle the protestors are not similar to the actions that Nazi Germany took to suppress the Jews. The actions that differentiate these two groups are the circumstances that caused these violent acts to come about. The leader of Egypt and Hitler are two entirely different beings. The underlying causes of the turmoil in the Middle East and in Nazi Germany are the result of two different calls for change....   [tags: Political Unrest, Reform, Germany, Middle East]

Powerful Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on The Cold War And The Soviet Union

- On the night of November 9th, the Soviet rulers and government finally at last agreed to tear down the Berlin wall that keeps the East and West in such a disarray. Gunter Schabowski looked at the camera so the public could hear him speak; he spoke the line that ultimately ended the Cold War by saying, “Permanent emigration is henceforth allowed across all border crossing points between East Germany and West Germany and West Berlin” (Buckley 163). Almost twenty-eight years of separation and disunity between the east and west Germans finally came to the end where the East and West of Berlin and Germany can once again be unified to glory....   [tags: Cold War, Soviet Union, Berlin Wall, West Germany]

Powerful Essays
2265 words (6.5 pages)

Essay on A Look Into Germany

- Country background: Germany is currently the second most populous nation in Europe and one of the continents largest economies [1]. Since the early half 20th century the nation has gone through 2 world wars. Germany was originally divided into two former states known as the western federal republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German democratic republic (GDR). The FRG was a key member of western security, and economic organizations. The communist GDR was mainly involved with the Soviet-led Warsaw pact....   [tags: Germany]

Powerful Essays
1394 words (4 pages)

Essay on Relations Between U.s. And Germany

- Braxton Rico Mr. Bare USH (2) April 25, 2016 Geopolitical Project Relations Between U.S. And Germany (1945-1965) During WWII the U. S. And Germany were the greatest of enemies, but that all ended after the war. In between the years 1945 and 1960 U.S. relations with Germany were still tense, but they slowly got better. With help from the U.S. for reconstruction a friendship started to form. That would later down the road lead to a strong alliance between the two countries. In the years right after WWII there were many conferences to discuss the terms of surrender, reconstruction, and demilitarization of Nazi Germany....   [tags: Cold War, Eastern Bloc, East Germany, Berlin Wall]

Powerful Essays
1020 words (2.9 pages)

Germany, The Natural Foe Of Liberty Essay

- Germany had always been a pivotal actor in the realm of historical wars. In the First World War, the Germans, along with Austro-Hungarians and Ottomans, were part of the Central Powers which fought against the “Allies” – Britain, France, Russia, and Japan; it was worth noting that it was Germany that instigated the involvement of the United States in the First World War—when a German submarine sank an American vessel in May 1915—which, as a consequence, resulted to President Wilson dubbing Germany as “the natural foe of liberty” ....   [tags: Cold War, Communism, Germany, Soviet Union]

Powerful Essays
1234 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Gorbachev and the East German Revolution

- Introduction On November 9, 1989, the most iconic symbol of communism and the USSR fell. The Berlin Wall symbolically represented the division of Europe as a result of the Cold War ; it divided the West and East of Europe. Originally, after the end of World War II, the Allied powers disarmed and broke Berlin into four zones of occupations: American, Soviet, British, and French. Slowly, the Soviet Union started to gain control of Eastern Europe post-war. The Yalta Agreement in February, 1945, gave the Soviet Union complete power to extend its control beyond its borders into the Eastern European Countries under the Red Army, and eventually, Eastern Germany was swallowed into the Communist Reg...   [tags: Politics, Communism]

Powerful Essays
2452 words (7 pages)

The Pros and Cons of Communism Essay

- Communism: How Bad Can It Be. Everybody in my class liked Mr. Debenedetto the social studies teacher. He barely gave homework and class was fun. Who would not like him. This was one of the few classes for me to be listening intently. I was interested in the topic we were currently studying: communism. We were discussing about how America was always against communism whether it be the Vietnam War or the Cold War. At that time I did not know the true meaning of communism. The textbook definitions were always wordy and confusing....   [tags: Communism Essays]

Free Essays
1329 words (3.8 pages)

The German Democratic Republic During World War II Essay

- The German Democratic Republic was formed in the Eastern part of Germany after World War II and was the start of the account in which East Germany was under communist rule. At the Potsdam conference, Germany was divided into four sections. The West controlled by France, United Kingdom and the United States, and with Soviet Union controlling the Eastern part of Germany. The Socialist Unity Party of Germany who ruled the German Democratic Republic during the cold war was predominantly used as the Soviet Unions state, introducing communism into Eastern Germany away from a capitalist society in Western Germany....   [tags: Communism, Soviet Union, Germany, East Germany]

Powerful Essays
1380 words (3.9 pages)

Working Class Protest in East Germany Essay

- Working Class Protest in East Germany The troubles in East Germany in June 1953 reached a peak on June 17th, when there were mass demonstrations and a General Strike throughout the German Democratic Republic. (G.D.R.). There has been many reasons cited for these protests, but it is perhaps possible to bring them down into two categories. Firstly, the long-term causes. These include the raising of work quotas, and the subsequent reduction of worker income. As well as this was the program of collective farms in the countryside....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1400 words (4 pages)

Communist Manifesto Essay

- Manifesto of the Communist Party Political Ideologies The basic thought running through the manifesto is that all history has been a history of class struggles between the exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at different stages of social evolution. (Slavery, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism). This struggle, however, is believed to have reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer liberate itself from the bourgeoisie....   [tags: Communist Manifesto Essays]

Powerful Essays
947 words (2.7 pages)