After unsure beginnings, West and East German foreign cultural policy took on a harder edge in the 1960s. The construction of the Berlin Wall and Cold War tensions provided essential background for the divided German states to define themselves against each other and within their respective systems. This resulted in a series of conflicting images of themselves and their rival that offered foreign audiences a view in to life in divided Germany. The presentation explores both West Germany and East Germany’s confrontational foreign cultural policy during the critical 1960s when they responded to profound challenges to their states’ international image and each sought to outdo the other up to the emergence of Ostpolitik and détente.
Lorn Hillaker is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is writing his dissertation entitled, Promising a Better Germany: Competing Cultural Diplomacies between West and East Germany, 1949-1990.