Synopses & Reviews
Building upon the earlier archival work of historians, politicalscientists, and other researchers, the author presents a thematic history of communist East Germany's Ministry of State Security (theStasi). Advancing the central argument that the Stasi was of great importance as a social, political, and economic agent in the lives ofthe people of the German Democratic Republic, chapters address: the origins and influences of the institution, the driving forces of itsgrowth, the role of the unofficial collaborator in its work and in society, the extent and purposes of Stasi surveillance, the dynamicsof resistance and repression, Stasi operations abroad, the final collapse of the Stasi in 1989-90, and the legacy of the Stasi in the culture of memory.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
The East German Ministry for State Security stood for Stalinist oppression and all-encompassing surveillance. The "shield and sword of the party," it secured the rule of the Communist Party for more than forty years, and by the 1980s it had become the largest secret-police apparatus in the world, per capita. Jens Gieseke tells the story of the Stasi, a feared secret-police force and a highly professional intelligence service. He inquires into the mechanisms of dictatorship and the day-to-day effects of surveillance and suspicion. Masterful and thorough at once, he takes the reader through this dark chapter of German postwar history, supplying key information on perpetrators, informers, and victims. In an assessment of post-communist memory politics, he critically discusses the consequences of opening the files and the outcomes of the Stasi debate in reunified Germany. A major guide for research on communist secret-police forces, this book is considered the standard reference work on the Stasi and has already been translated into a number of Eastern European languages.