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The Forschungsverbund in Berlin Dahlem.

The Forschungsverbund SED-Staat (approximately: Research Association on the SED State) at Freie Universität Berlin, supported by the President of the FU, was founded in 1992. It was intended to promote a paradigm shift after 1989, when it became clear that the prevailing view of judging the GDR from a perspective immanent to its system, i.e. as a European industrial state of its own kind and as a legitimate political alternative to Western democracy, as presented both in scholarship and in civic education, was fundamentally flawed. In order to gain more insight into the outer and inner conditions that made possible the 40 years of a second German dictatorship in the 20th century, the Forschungsverbund wanted to direct more attention to the analysis of problems that GDR researchers had until then neglected or had not been able to put under scrutiny because the relevant source material was not accessible. The Forschungsverbund concentrated its research on Soviet policy towards Germany and the GDR, on how the SED, the totalitarian government party of the GDR, was founded and how it developed, and on inner-German relations and processes of transfer. Despite opposition from well-established historians and political scientists, the Forschungsverbund SED-Staat has developed into a widely-respected scholarly institution of some renown. Third party resources and grants by Freie Universität ensure that it can continue its work until 2014.

If you are interested in information on recent work of the Forschungsverbund in English, you might want to have a look at the manuscript of a lecture Klaus Schroeder gave in Brasil in November 2010 on the topic of Germany 20 years after reunification (pdf file, 54.7kb).

Informations about the research project about the victims of the East German border regime and their biographies: