• The Anniversary Politics of 17 June 1953 since 1990

      Millington, Richard; University of Chester (Wiley, 2020-07-21)
      This article analyses the politics of anniversaries through examination of the role that the anniversary of the East German uprising of 17 June 1953 has played in German politics since 1990. Prior to reunification, West Germany commemorated the date as the ‘Tag der deutschen Einheit’. This annual public holiday was a chance for politicians to express their views on the possibility of German unification and to lambast the East German regime. After 3 October became the ‘Tag der Deutschen Einheit’ in 1990, German politicians all but ignored the anniversary of 17 June until political commemoration of the date enjoyed a revival in 2003. This article shows that the ‘genre memory’ (Olick) of a commemoration ensures that continuities in political commemoration of an anniversary persist, even after long periods in which an historical event is not commemorated. Significantly, the analysis demonstrates further that consideration of the drivers of political mnemonic activity in the twenty-first century must now take into account the technology-led ubiquity of the media in motivating politicians to act. Moreover, the article concludes that politicians’ internationalisation of anniversaries has enabled them to find new political capital in dates that may appear to be politically redundant.
    • “Crime has no chance”: the discourse of everyday criminality in the Neue Berliner Illustrierte, 1961-1989

      Millington, Richard; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2017-03-31)
      This article examines how the East German regime communicated and explained the existence and persistence of everyday criminality to its citizens. According to the tenets of the Party, crime should have ceased to exist after the construction of a socialist society in East Germany. It did not. The article analyses the regime’s account of everyday criminality as it appeared in reports and commentaries in the pages of the NBI, 1961-1989. First published in 1945, the NBI quickly became the most popular weekly magazine in the GDR.
    • The fall of the Berlin Wall

      Millington, Richard; University of Chester (History Today Ltd, 2014-10-23)
      This article discusses how the Berlin Wall affected the citizens of East Germany through oral history interviews with 40 people in the city of Magdeburg.
    • ‘He didn’t really talk about it’: The (re)construction and transmission of a Free French past

      Millington, Christopher; Millington, Richard
      A study of how the memories of a member of the Free French were (and were not) communicated to the rest of his family after the Second World War.
    • State Power and 'Everyday Criminality' in the German Democratic Republic, 1961-1989

      Millington, Richard; University of Chester (OUP, 2020-06-20)
      Friedrich Engels claimed that communists would ‘take an axe to the root of crime’; the removal of the perceived causes of crime in a society - capitalist economic and societal conditions - would automatically lead to its eradication. This did not, however, prove to be the case in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), where instances of ‘everyday criminality’ such as theft, robbery and assault never fell below 100,000 throughout the period of the state’s existence from 1949 to 1989. This article examines the ruling Socialist Unity Party’s (SED) perceptions of the causes of ‘everyday criminality’ in the GDR. It shows that the SED concluded that crime persisted because citizens’ ‘socialist sense of legal right and wrong’ (sozialistisches Rechtsbewußtsein) was underdeveloped. The regime measured this by the extent to which citizens supported and participated in socialist society. Thus, crime could be eliminated by co-opting as many citizens as possible into the Party’s political project. The SED’s ideological tunnel vision on the causes of ‘everyday criminality meant that it dismissed hints about the real causes of crime, such as poor supply and living conditions, identified by its analysts. Its failure to address these issues meant that citizens continued to break the law. Thus, the Party’s exercise of power contributed to the creation of limits to that power. Moreover, analysis of opinion polls with GDR citizens about their attitudes to criminality shows that they accepted crime as a part of everyday life.
    • State, Society and Memories of the Uprising of 17 June 1953 in the GDR

      Millington, Richard; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014-11-29)
      Condemned as a fascist putsch in the East and praised as a 'people's uprising' in the West, the uprising of 17 June 1953 shook East Germany. Drawing on interviews and archive research, this book examines East German citizens' memories of the unrest and reflects on the nature of state power in the GDR.