The Politics of Religion in Soviet-Occupied Germany

The Politics of Religion in Soviet-Occupied Germany : The Case of Berlin-Brandenburg 1945-1949

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This book analyzes the relationship between Soviet military authorities, the East German Communists, and the leadership of the Protestant and Catholic Churches in the Soviet zone of Germany, especially its central province of Berlin-Brandenburg. It discusses how relations worsened between communist and church authorities as the Soviet zone was rebuilt as a German state on the Stalinist model from 1945 to 1949.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 22.86mm | 544.31g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739151258
  • 9780739151259

Table of contents

1 Preface 2 Abbreviations 3 Introduction 4 1. The Brown Dictatorship before the Red: The German Churches under National Socialism 5 2. The Question of the CDU and the Churches during the period of the "Antifascist Transformation"1945-1947 6 3. The Volkscongress Movement and the end of the CDU's political independence, December 1946 -October1949 7 4. 'Unity Schools are Secular Schools': The Struggle over religious education in the secondary schools of Berlin Brandenburg 8 5. The Competition between socialist and religious youth and women's organizations in Berlin-Brandenburg 9 6. The Conflict over charitable activity by the Evangelical and Catholic Churches in Berlin-Brandenburg 10 7. 'Christianity and Marxism are not in Opposition': The Propaganda Offensive in East Germany concerning "Religious Freedom" under Communism 11 8. The Allied Religious Affairs Committee and the impossibility of a united religious policy for Germany 12 Conclusion 13 Bibliography
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Review quote

This book, based on extensive archival research in Germany and the Russian Federation, is a solid contribution to the growing historiography on the Soviet occupation period in postwar eastern Germany. Slavic Review [This book] provides a wealth of information on its narrow topic. Lutheran Quarterly Brennan uses major archival collections of state and church provenance in Moscow, Berlin/Bonn, and Washington to provide multiple angles in documenting this crucial period of change. This book offers rich descriptive detail of the policy debates regarding the key issues in the church-state relationship. The Politics of Religion in Soviet-Occupied Germany makes a major contribution to the literature on church-state relations in eastern Europe and in Germany. -- Robert Goeckel, State University of New York, Geneseo Based on extensive research in both German and Russian archives, Sean Brennan's book provides a unique perspective on relations between the churches and Communist authorities in the Soviet Occupied Zone of Germany. His detailed overview of the cat-and-mouse game that allowed the Communists to subdue their religious opponents deepens our understanding of those complex initial post-war years in Germany. -- Gary Bruce, University of Waterloo Brennan blends the history of parties with diplomatic, education, and cultural history to reveal how both Catholic and Protestant organizations cooperated with, then questioned, then openly criticized, and finally resisted Soviet authorities and their German counterparts in the postwar period. A cleanly written history of a gray area, this book demonstrates more than just the details of religious policy or attitudes, but offers details about inter-group relations, watersheds in German history, and the phenomenon and influence of the Soviet Occupation. -- Elizabeth Morrow Clark, West Texas A&M University
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About Sean Brennan

Sean Brennan is assistant professor of history at the University of Scranton.
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