DAS FREIE WORT? THE STRUCTURING OF EAST AND WEST GERMAN PRESS CULTURE DURING THE AMERICAN AND SOVIET OCCUPATIONS
Degree awarded: Ph.D. History. American University This dissertation charts a course that begins with U.S. and Soviet wartime propaganda programs and ends with the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Its focus rests on the interplay between the newspaper policies of the occupation powers, the coverage of news in each zone of occupation, the personalities that coordinated and created newspaper contents, and popular German responses to the postwar press by considering four publications born of the occupation era: the Red Army's Tägliche Rundschau, the U.S.-run Die Neue Zeitung, the American-licensed Frankfurter Rundschau, and the Socialist Unity Party's (SED) Neues Deutschland. It assesses the participation of Germans in the reconstruction of their media by considering both those who were active in the postwar press and those who read and interacted with the press. It argues that popular German participation was an inherently political act, one that eventually led to the creation of a shared political life in the West that came not just from above, but also through interaction with the printed word. In addition, this study analyzes the imposition of structures on the development press cultures in the two German republics, including the SED-led sovietization of the press and the reactive and defensive use of information media by the United States during the early cold war.