|Armageddon des Kommunismus
Das Deutschland Archiv, das beim W. Bertelsmann Verlag, im Auftrag er Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) erscheint, bringt im Heft 3/2007, 40. Jg. 2007, auf Seite 568 eine Rezension zu "Armageddon des Kommunismus" von Joerg Roessler. Joerg Rössler ist Prof. Dr. rer.oec. und Wirtschaftshistoriker aus Berlin.
ARMAGEDDON des KOMMUNISMUS in Buchjournal.
Das in den Buchhandlungen kostenfrei ausliegende Buchjournal gibt in seiner Ausgabe "Sommer 2008" auch "Armageddon des Kommunismus. Strategie, Wirtschaft und die DDR, 1970-1990" Raum.
Armageddon des Kommunismus Strategie, Wirtschaft und
die DDR 1970-1990:
The Hamburg historian has here added to the already extensive list of his pioneering studies yet another major work, this time in the area of contemporary German history. A work that reveals for the first time the secret machinations of West German big-business to infiltrate and cripple the industrial enterprises of communist East Germany is certainly breaking new ground. Historians of modern Germany are well aware of the revolutionary impact of the work that the Hamburg historian, the late Professor Fritz Fischer, made in 1961 with his Griff nach der Weltmacht, published in English as Germanys Aims in the First World War (1967). Fischers revelations that the various branches of German industry and financial management had crucially influenced official government policy regarding imperial expansion and annexations of foreign territory caused a sensation both within and outside Germany at the time. the Fischer Controversy became the most passionately conducted academic debate of the post-war era. As much as Fischers conservative, right-wing critics tried to belittle his achievement the more the passage of time confirmed the accuracy of his findings: German industry and finance had indeed exerted a shaping influence on the formulation of imperial German war-aims. And these were not exactly modest. As the so-called September Memorandum from 1914 revealed from the archives for the first time by Fischer through his then assistant, Immanuel Geiss, the government of Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg had developed grandiose plans to establish a German dominated Mitteleuropa, i.e. a series of annexations from the eastern provinces of France, all of Belgium in the West, and most of central Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea. This Germany would have become the world super power, displacing the British Empire and rivaling the USA.
It comes as no surprise, then, to learn that Dr Bernd Schulte was a doctoral student of Fritz Fischer, and that he has dedicated this wide-ranging study of contemporary German industrial politics to his late mentor. Given Schultes remarkable list of publications it comes as a surprise to learn that he is not a professor at some renowned German university, but a self-supporting, free-lance historian. There may be an explanation in the fact that Schulte refuses to bow to political correctness, and is not afraid to unmask the frankly embarrassing political machinations perpetrated at the highest levels of the German economy. Schultes record, though, demonstrates how important it is for an open society to have scholars who are not inhibited from going behind the archival scenes to find out how it actually happened, to adapt a phrase made famous by Leopold von Ranke.
In particular, Schultes work illustrates how critical it is for the historian of international conflict to be aware of the industrial-economic potential of the competing powers and to understand how this, as a structure de longue durée impacts on policy making. Consequently, Herr Schulte is very interested the economies of the Soviet bloc countries in general and that of the former GDR in particular. It was crucial that during the East-West conflict these so-called command economies could deliver the necessary means to ensure that their military capacity could approximate that of the West. Consequently, Schultes work lays bare the economic realities of the Warsaw pact countries and highlights their underlying dependence on trade with the capitalist West. In all this the renowned economic strength of the Federal Republic of Germany from Adenauer to Kohl was factor of the highest importance. And ultimately, the economy of the rival German Democratic Republic was dependent upon both the formal political and the behind-the-scenes economic arrangements made between the leaders of West German industries, particularly automobile concerns, and their communist counterparts.
By virtue of his unusual determination to investigate the records of the relevant firms Herr Schulte has developed a unique kind of historiography, one that the conventional university historians would feel inhibited to practice. And herein lies the importance of his contribution. By tracing the deals made between industry in the West and the managers of the East German economy, Schulte has illustrated the total inefficiency and bankruptcy of so-called command economies. They were doomed to collapse from the very beginning, and fell to the illusion that they could possibly compete with the infinitely superior technical and economic expertise of the West. What is extremely interesting is to learn how the captains of West German industry played their roles in bringing about the implosion of the Warsaw Pacts putatively most efficient economy.
Finally, Schultes extremely detailed research, accomplished without the luxury of paid research assistants, must be embarrassment to the highly paid and sometimes frankly arrogant West German historians because he has pursued lines of enquiry that the established professors would be loath to do. And for this reason his findings are all the more significant. Herr Schulte unconventional work has immensely enriched our knowledge of the internal history of the collapse of the Eastern bloc.
JOHN A. MOSES
Bernd F. Schulte: Armageddon des Kommunismus. Strategie Wirtschaft und die DDR, 1970-1990
Der bekannte Hamburger Historiker Bernd F. Schulte veröffentlicht sein neues Buch zum letzten Kampf des Kommunismus in Europa. Auf drei Ebenen behandelt dieses:
- die ökonomisch-politische Entwicklung der DDR zwischen 1960 und 1990,
- die elementare Ebene der Stasi-Verbindung zur westdeutschen Industrie (deren Bemühung um verstärkten Westexport und den Osthandel bundesdeutscher Konzerne - Volkswagen-Plan),
- die politisch-finanzielle Bemühung der westlichen Politik, die DDR aus COMECON und RGW herauszubrechen (Strauß-Kredit, Schalck, Andropow, Olschowski, Honecker, Jenninger, Kohl und Schäuble).
Es zeigt sich, dass der Kommunismus einer Dreizack-Strategie des Westens erlag, welche sich aus strategischer Überrüstung (Reagan), ökonomischer Indienstnahme (Osthandel der westdeutschen Industrie) und politisch-finanzieller Abhängigkeit zusammensetzte.
Die inneren Unzulänglichkeiten der DDR bestanden nicht zuletzt in der ungenügenden Arbeitsleistung der ostdeutschen Arbeiterschaft. Hier gilt es Mythen zu überwinden. Die Quelle dieses Buches bilden vor allem erstmals ausgewertete Industrieakten des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit (Bestände des DDR-Staates im Bundesarchiv Berlin, der Chemieindustrie der DDR, private Tagebücher und Geschäftsakten) die sich als zentrale Quelle von hohem Aussagewert erweisen.
Bernd F. Schulte, Armageddoon des Kommunismus in Europa. Strategie Wirtschaft und die DDR, 1970-1990. Hamburger Studien zu Geschichte und Zeitgeschehen, Bd. 3, Hamburg (Dr. Schulte - Abteilung Geschichte und Zeitgeschehen) 2006, 683 S., 39,80.