Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Alice Cooper

Second Advisor

Kees Gispen

Third Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Relational Format



While East and West Germany reunified into one country in 1990, populist parties have done better in the former GDR than in the “old lands”. This paper draws on the political science literature on populism performing better in the absence of robust civil society, as well as the specific history of the region. I argue that because the GDR had not permitted the development of robust civil society, when the unexpected economic difficulties of unification arose, they were compounded by resentment over the necessity of importing more experienced western politicians to help run western institutions and that the lack of such institutions further hindered communication between the federal government and the residents of the new states. The strength of populism in eastern Germany has been an attempt to bridge this gap.



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