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Russian Commands and German Resistance

The Soviet Occupation, 1945-1949


Edward N. Peterson

The common assumption has been that Stalin established a totalitarian state in his zone and that the authoritarian Germans simply continued from one obedience to the other. Scholarly analysis, first possible with the coming down of the Wall, begins with the Soviet Command in Berlin. It then traces policy implementation in four German states and eight local communities. The surprising conclusion is that the purposes of Stalin were confused, that the Moscow policy was ambivalent, and the assigned personnel insufficiently prepared and controlled. The German response was a massive resistance, whether out of a desire for freedom, or for a higher standard of living, or the inertia of continuing in their individualistic/capitalist ways.