‘Grooming Socialists’: Upcoming presentation focuses on East German propaganda

WHAT: Brown Bag Lecture Series

HOSTED BY: UNK Department of History

TITLE: “Grooming Socialists: Propaganda in East Germany’s Children’s Newspaper, 1949-1958”

TOPIC: The popular uprising against the Soviet occupiers in 1953 showed the world that East Germany was an illegitimate satellite state under Moscow’s hegemony. Still, the East German state survived the 1953 crisis and existed until 1989. Thus, East Germans, at least superficially, internalized the Soviet narrative about the legitimacy of their state. East German authorities facilitated this through written propaganda aimed at the Young Pioneers, a mass organization for children. The Pioneer newspaper allowed the authorities to groom young East Germans to become individuals who carried and maintained East German state structures. This talk will be an analysis of this propaganda.

PRESENTER: Torsten Homberger is an assistant professor in the UNK Department of History. He is a native former East German who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at UNK and went on to earn a doctorate in modern European history at Washington State University. Homberger’s research fields include the history of the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and because he was born into the Stalinist East German state, this era is of particular interest to him. His family lived through the German Empire, Weimar Republic, Nazi dictatorship and East Germany. Collective memory, his parents’ and grandparents’ stories, and his own experiences put him in a position to introduce these fields as a cultural insider to an American audience.

TIME: Noon

DATE: Wednesday, Sept. 13

PLACE: Kearney Public Library, 2020 First Ave.

CONTACT: Nathan Tye, assistant history professor, 308.865.8860, tyen@unk.edu