Ostalgie: A Quiet Cultural Politic
Submission to the Friends of Fondren Library Graduate Research Awards, 2017. This paper was originally prepared for Course HIST 459 (Fall 2016): Topics in Modern German History, given by Professor Dr. Caldwell, Department of History.
This paper concerns Ostalgie, or nostalgia for the former East German state in 2007-2010. During those years, many Germans (primarily Ossis, or ex-citizens of the former GDR) valorized material goods from the years before the Berlin Wall fell. Ostalgie became a widespread cultural movement: movies about the GDR became top-grossing, food and household products from the “good old days” of the command economy became popular, and popular journalism outlets like Der Spiegel examined the seemingly bizarre phenomenon quite regularly. Though the phenomenon was widespread, not all reactions to it were positive. While Ostalgie participants saw their actions as healthy connections to German history and national identity, critics decried Ostalgie as dismissive or accepting of a criminal political regime.