Tausend Aufbrüche -

Tausend Aufbrüche

A Thousand New Beginnings

Christina Morina

© S. Jonek / Universität Bielefeld

About the book

Drawing on personal testimonies, Christina Morina analyses citizens’ ideas of democracy in East and West Germany since the 1980s. Identifying differences and mutual references in their understanding of the state and politics, she reveals both the limits of West German liberalisation and the wide range of East German attempts to adopt democracy.

Jury evaluation

In her methodologically fascinating study, Christina Morina analyses East and West Germans’ divergent understanding of democracy since the 1980s on the basis of previously unanalysed letters, petitions and leaflets from ordinary citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. In this way, she succeeds in writing a profound history of German-German democracy “from below” – beyond prefabricated narratives and polemical biases. On the one hand, she explores an East German “history of claims to democracy”, which was based on its citizens’ mistrust of the state even as they identified with the country and its ideals, and, on the other, she looks at the “Bonn Republic” as a history of loss. Offering new perspectives, her book reinvigorates the entrenched East-West debates.

Christina Morina

Christina Morina was appointed professor of history at Bielefeld University in 2019. She specialises in contemporary history, and is particularly interested in the social history and remembrance of National Socialism, the political and cultural history of divided and reunited Germany, and in the relationship between history and memory. Morina studied history, political science and journalism at the universities of Leipzig, Ohio and Maryland, and obtained her PhD in 2007 with a thesis on the war against the Soviet Union in East and West German culture of remembrance. From 2008 to 2015, she was research assistant in the department of modern and contemporary history at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, where she was also promoted to professor in 2017, with a thesis on the origins of Marxism.


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