Communist women in the short 20th century
Associated research project
The project served to prepare a research proposal on the gender history of German communism in the 20th century.
The subject is a collective biography of German communist women ranging from the German Revolution of 1918 up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The study will trace the lifes of a group of women born around 1900 from their socialization in the milieu of the Weimar Republic´s Communist Party of Germany (KPD) into postwar Germany, both east and west. The research wants to reconstruct both continuities and ruptures of communist activism from Weimar into East Germany, but also into the second wave of women's movement in the Federal Republic of Germany.
In East Germany, many women experienced a nationalization and formation of the once rebellious life paths. Meanwhile in the Federal Republic, fragmentation and division can be observed. After the Communist Party was banned in 1956, communist activists were persecuted, their politics retreated into private circles. It was only the "New Social Movements" in the 1970s and the re-formation of a Communist Party in 1968 that allowed communist women to reenter the public sphere.
Both lines of continuity and possible connections between communist activism in east and west will be investigated. New impulses can be expected for the understanding of class and gender in processes of political mobilization from the Weimar Republic to the New Social Movement. In addition, research on the Weimar KPD, which is still dominated by organizational and political history, is to be expanded to include the previously underexposed angle of gender history.
Dr. Ralf Hoffrogge
Leibniz Center for Contemporary History Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
Office: Am Neuen Markt 9d, room 1.24
E-Mail: hoffrogge [at] zzf-potsdam.de