Envisioning Socialism: Television and the Cold War in the by Heather L. Gumbert

By Heather L. Gumbert

Envisioning Socialism examines tv and the ability it exercised to outline the East Germans’ view of socialism throughout the first a long time of the German Democratic Republic. within the first publication in English to ascertain this subject, Heather L. Gumbert lines how tv grew to become a medium prized for its communicative and leisure price. She explores the problems GDR professionals had defining and executing a transparent imaginative and prescient of the society they was hoping to set up, and she or he explains how tv helped to stabilize GDR society in a fashion that eventually labored opposed to the utopian imaginative and prescient the experts notion they have been cultivating.

Gumbert demanding situations those that could brush off East German tv as a device of repression that couldn’t compete with the West or seize the mind's eye of East Germans. as a substitute, she exhibits how, by means of the early Nineteen Sixties, tv was once a version of the type of socialist realist artwork which could attract specialists and audiences. eventually, this socialist imaginative and prescient was once triumph over via the demanding situations that the foreign marketplace in media items and applied sciences posed to nation-building within the postwar period.

A background of rules and perceptions analyzing either actual and mediated ancient stipulations, Envisioning Socialism considers tv as a know-how, an establishment, and a medium of social family members and cultural wisdom. The publication should be welcomed in undergraduate and graduate classes in German and media background, the background of postwar Socialism, and the background of technological know-how and applied sciences.

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Additional info for Envisioning Socialism: Television and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic

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9 A few had previous experience in television elsewhere. Hans Mahle, former head of the Television Center had worked at the television b­ roadcasting center in Moscow during the Nazi period. Back in Germany after the war, SMAD (Soviet Military Administration in Germany) charged him with the reconstruction of the media in the Soviet zone. He hired Nazi-­era technicians, such as Ernst Augustin and Walter Bruch, to help with development of television. Their expertise was integral to early GDR broadcasting: Augustin built the television cameras used in the studio during the first two years, for example.

Authorities’ concerns about television reception among East Germans centered on two issues: how to give them access, and what they were watching once they had it. 87 Public viewing was only considered a means to overcome the difficult problem of providing the public with receivers. For example, postal officials considered the possibilities of Blockempfang (apartment house reception): the provision of television to a number of people through the deployment of a central antenna—­ perhaps on top of an apartment building—­that fed individual receivers within the building.

For the Germans and their allies, competition over broadcasting was the front line of the Cold War, with the goal of occupying the “territory” of the airwaves. German authorities could never be sure of where they stood in relation to their counterparts on the other side of the border. ” In the early 1950s, East German authorities feared the broadcasting successes of the West; by the end of the decade, however, the tables had turned. ” Commentators believed that DFF television was not only reaching West German viewers but also seducing them with an appealing program.

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