Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949-1990

In 1990, a country disappeared. When the Iron Curtain fell, East Germany simply ceased to be.

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For over forty years, from the ruin of the Second World War to the cusp of a new millennium, the GDR presented a radically different German identity to anything that had come before, and anything that exists today. Socialist solidarity, secret police, central planning, barbed wire: this was a Germany forged on the fault lines of ideology and geopolitics.

I talk with acclaimed historian Katja Hoyer Whose new book Beyond the Wall offers a kaleidoscopic new vision of this vanished country. Beginning with the bitter experience of German Marxists exiled by Hitler,  to the creaking foundations of socialism in the mid-1980s, we discuss that amid oppression and frequent hardship, East Germany was yet home to a rich political, social and cultural landscape, a place far more dynamic than the Cold War caricature often painted in the West.

Powerfully told, and drawing on a vast array of never-before-seen interviews, letters and records, this is the definitive history of the other Germany, the one beyond the Wall.

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Radio GDR
If you are interested in East Germany we can highly recommend our friends over at Radio GDR.


Katja’s publisher has kindly provided 3 copies of “Beyond the Wall” to give away! 

To be in with a chance to win a free copy of the book you will need to do at least one of the following before 2300 GMT on 8th April 2023:

  • Twitter – Follow us and retweet our book giveaway tweets
  • Facebook Page – Follow us and share using the hashtag #coldwarconvo 
  • Instagram – Follow us on Instagram, like our book giveaway post, and tag at least two friends in the comments. Make sure you use the hashtags  #coldwarconversations
  • Mailing List – Join our mailing list and email us at giveaway “at” to let me know you want to be entered.

** Winners will be selected randomly w/c 10th April 2023. If you are a winner you will be notified directly if you have won and your details will be passed to the publisher to facilitate book delivery. Delivery of the book may be subject to small customs fees. Good luck!