Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
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.
Bethea III, John, "Traumas of German Unification and Weakness of Civil Society: Contributing Factors to the Disproportionate Strength of Populist Parties in Eastern German States" (2022). Honors Theses. 2740.