Beleuchteter Reichstag

31.12.2017 | Von:
Marianne Howarth

The British Press and the German Democratic Republic. Curiosity and Condemnation 1949–1974

Using some mini case studies as examples, the aim of this article is to analyse the way in which the British press reported the GDR at some critical points in its history and to assess the significance of this reporting for the development of relations between Britain and the GDR.

Britischer Korrespondent am Brandenburger Tor in West-Berlin nach Öffnung der Grenze, 1989Britischer Korrespondent am Brandenburger Tor in West-Berlin nach Öffnung der Grenze, 1989 (© picture-alliance / akg-images, Foto: Nelly Rau-Haering)

Introductory Remarks

Over the forty years of its existence, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) seldom enjoyed a good press in Britain. Even allowing for some variation in line with party political allegiance or leanings, British press coverage of the GDR can generally be characterised as critical and hostile, and the image of the GDR portrayed to British public opinion was very largely a negative one. The principal reasons for this lie in a combination of Cold War politics where an anti-GDR position formed part of a broader anti-Soviet stance, an enduring sense of moral outrage at the existence of the Berlin Wall with all its anti-humanitarian implications, and a deep and, as it happens, well-founded, suspicion of GDR international sporting success.[1]

There were, of course, some exceptions at different times; during the late 1950s, for example, large numbers of Labour backbenchers were invited to visit the GDR and on their return some of them published positive reports of GDR economic and social development in the British national press – and attracted hostile reactions from their readers in return.[2] For a short time following recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972/73 and in the conditions of East-West détente of the early 1970s, British public opinion proved itself more receptive to positive press coverage of the GDR. Jonathan Steele, the East European correspondent of The Guardian, for example, regularly filed reports commenting favourably on GDR social and economic development.[3] But in the overall history of the GDR, such instances were relatively few and far between.

This paper examines the impact of the context of the Cold War on the journalists and the news organisations themselves, how they operated, what support was available to them and what restrictions were placed on them. Using some mini case studies as examples, the aim here is to analyse the way in which the British press reported the GDR at some critical points in its history and to assess the significance of this reporting for the development of relations between Britain and the GDR. In conclusion it describes how the GDR tried to counter negative and hostile press coverage by projecting a positive self-image to Britain, as to other Western countries, for broader political purposes.

The Context for British Press reporting of GDR

Broadly speaking, the context for British press reporting of the GDR was not significantly different for that obtaining for all Western journalists covering developments in Germany. While most major Western newspapers had correspondents based in Bonn and/or West Berlin, who, prior to the building of the Berlin Wall, enjoyed freedom of movement across the whole of Berlin, access to other areas of the GDR was very restricted. The GDR was always sensitive to the way in which it was perceived in the West and sought to keep British and other Western journalists at arm’s length.[4]

It was different, of course, for British journalists whose reporting was not expected to be hostile and the GDR extended invitations to journalists regarded as sympathetic to visit the GDR and see for themselves throughout the period of the GDR’s existence.[5] The GDR was also prepared to grant accreditation to East Berlin-based correspondents of Western Communist Party newspapers, including the Daily Worker. The Daily Worker had an established presence in East Berlin from the early 1950s and undertook its reporting from the GDR as a conscious attempt to counter what it saw as virulent anti-Soviet attitudes on the part of the mainstream press.[6] However, deteriorating relations between the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED), especially after Khruschev’s speech to the 20th Party Congress and the invasion of Hungary in 1956, impacted negatively on the paper’s willingness to report on the GDR.

Fortunately for the GDR there was a more compliant British journalist on hand, who proved himself a very loyal and effective propagandist for the GDR over a period of almost twenty-five years. From 1952 until 1975, John Peet, an Englishman and chief of Reuters’ bureau in West Berlin until he defected to the GDR in 1950, published a free fortnightly newssheet, Democratic German Report (DGR).[7] DGR was an East German publication from start to finish, fully funded by the GDR and often little more than a mouthpiece for the regime. Originally conceived as a source of information for Western journalists, it rapidly developed much wider circulation to trades unionists, Members of Parliament and teachers. Its role was to publicise the official GDR view on a variety of topics relating to East–West relations and particularly the Soviet view on the German question, to promote the GDR’s anti-fascist and socialist image abroad, and to support the GDR’s campaign for diplomatic recognition. DGR was far more effective than other English-language publications produced in the GDR in reaching its audience in Britain. By the time it ceased publication in 1975, half of its distribution of 38,000 went to Britain and it had acquired a considerable reputation in Britain, as the press comments on its demise were to show.[8]

In May 1959 Reuters reporter Peter Johnson was posted to East Berlin as the first accredited Western correspondent in the GDR who was not a communist. In his memoir of this period, Johnson describes the timing as significant for Reuters’ competitive advantage over other Western news agencies at a time of anticipated crisis over Berlin in the coming months.[9] He and his Reuters colleagues anticipated that there would be surveillance but only discovered the full extent of it after he had sight of his Stasi file in the 1990s. Among other revelations it turned out that many of the East Germans he had formed close personal relationships with had regularly filed reports on him and that the Stasi had rented the flat adjacent to the office in Schönhauser Allee.[10]

For the GDR the opening of the Reuters office in East Berlin was both a quid pro quo for the opening of the office of the GDR’s own news agency the Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst (ADN) in London which took place in 1957, an event which the GDR regarded as enhancing its status and presence in the UK, and a major contribution to the development of relations between the UK and the GDR. However, though ADN retained its presence in London until after unification, in early 1962 the East German staff had their visas withdrawn as part of a NATO protest against the building of the Berlin Wall. For the remainder of the non-recognition period the office was staffed by the Daily Worker/Morning Star.[11] It was only in the early 1970s that a GDR press presence was able to re-establish itself in the UK.

The opening of the British Embassy in April 1973, an event which went almost unnoticed in the British press, provided British journalists with access to an official British presence in the GDR.[12] However, the establishment of diplomatic relations did not increase the scope for British newspapers to have correspondents based in the GDR; it was actually to become very significantly constrained. In March 1973 the GDR authorities, clearly anxious to restrict the extent of Western journalistic activity within the GDR, passed what The Times described as ‘a highly restrictive decree regulating the accreditation and work of foreign correspondents’.[13] Under the terms of this decree, foreign correspondents had to be resident in the GDR in order to be accredited; they would be able to travel freely within the GDR, save in certain border areas, but visits had to be approved in advance, their reports had to be lodged with the Foreign Ministry, and if they did not comply with East German regulations, they ran the risk of being expelled and having their offices closed. Thus, following the establishment of diplomatic relations, in addition to the use of Reuters reports, the norm for reporting on the GDR was to do so from a base in West Berlin or to make use of special correspondents and stringers, as required.

Reporting the GDR: The Foundation of the Republic

Turning now to the nature of British press reporting of the GDR, as indicated above, from the moment of its foundation to its eventual demise, much of it was critical and hostile. The founding of the GDR on 7 October 1949 was almost unanimously presented in the British press as an illegal act; both the republic and its government were seen as lacking in any democratic legitimacy. For some parts of the British press, there were lamentable parallels between the SED and the Nazi Party of the Third Reich.; for others, there were also some lighter moments.[14]

However, in terms of the legitimacy of the GDR, the broadsheets were fully in tune with the official views of the Western Allied High Commission for Germany who issued an official declaration on the founding of the GDR on 10 October 1949. In the view of the Commission:
    “The so-called Government of the German Democratic Republic is an artificial creation […] which is devoid of any legal basis and has determined to evade an appeal to the electorate, has no title to represent Eastern Germany. It has an even smaller claim to speak in the name of Germany as a whole.”[15]
This announcement marked the formal start of the Western Allies’ commitment to German reunification. Their policy of non-recognition of the GDR, a logical concomitant of this commitment, was designed to hold the door open for eventual restoration of German unity and to emphasise the legitimacy of the Federal German government as democratically elected and constitutionally empowered to speak for the whole German people.

In general, the British press supported the reunification policy; the division of Germany was regarded as a deeply regrettable but necessary and, hopefully, temporary measure. However, there was an interesting range of views on the role of the GDR in the process. Predictably, the Daily Worker, which reprinted a letter from Harry Pollitt, General Secretary of the CPGB, congratulating Wilhelm Pieck on his appointment as President of the GDR, emphasised the party’s support for a socialist and united Germany.[16] The Times was also less inclined than other British national dailies to dismiss the GDR completely out of hand. Though the newspaper was clear that this was a puppet government dependent upon the protection of the Soviet Union, it also felt it should not be ignored.[17] The Times was not advocating recognition of the GDR as a separate German state but rather an acceptance of new realities in Germany and Central Europe as a result of the ending of the Berlin Blockade and the founding of both German states.

However, at various times from the second half of the 1950s onwards, there were increasing calls in the British press for recognition of the GDR as a separate German state. The arguments for doing so were based on recognition as a means of easing East-West tension and for the perceived benefits of a normalised relationship to bilateral trade. A particular feature of this press coverage was the contribution of British Members of the Parliament (MPs) to the debate and their involvement in what was eventually to become an organised campaign for recognition.

Reporting the GDR: The Campaign for Recognition

From 1955 when the Federal German government adopted the Hallstein-Doktrin, which prevented states from maintaining diplomatic relations with both German states, to 1972 when the two German states signed the Grundlagenvertrag, which paved the way for all Western states to recognise the GDR and establish diplomatic relations, securing diplomatic recognition by the West, and particularly by the three Western Allies, was the single most important objective of the GDR’s Westpolitik.[18] To this end the GDR invested considerable time, energy and resources in identifying those groups and individuals in Western countries who were sympathetic to its cause, and to growing a body of public opinion in favour of recognition.[19]

Where the campaign for recognition in Britain was concerned, the GDR initially focused its efforts on MPs, particularly on those with interests in trade relations with the GDR, such as Ian Mikardo and Arthur Lewis, both Labour, or Burnaby Drayson, Conservative.[20] During the 1950s, the GDR used these contacts, especially those with Labour MPs, to invite groups of backbenchers to undertake study visits to the GDR, in the hope that they would spread the word both in parliament and the press about the development of socialist and anti-fascist society in the GDR, and make the case for recognising the reality of divided Germany. These study visits were very popular; they took place at a time of concern about West German rearmament and the return of former Nazis to public life and the GDR was able to convert some of the strong anti-West German feeling on the British Labour left to pro-GDR sentiments.[21] The visits were also widely reported in the GDR press, with positive quotes attributed to the visiting MPs, a situation which led to considerable tension between the West German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the National Executive of the Labour Party.[22]

Though the visits themselves attracted little comment in the British press at the time, the use the East Germans made of MPs for propaganda purposes was the subject of extensive and critical reporting by the Sunday Telegraph during this period.[23] The Sunday Telegraph’s interest in British MPs and the GDR had first been sparked by letters written in December 1960 to The Times and The Guardian by Burnaby Drayson MP in protest against the decision to expel Dr Franz Krahl, the London correspondent of Neues Deutschland. This was in line with stringent visa and travel restrictions imposed by the Allied Travel Board in protest against Soviet policy on Berlin.[24] The Sunday Telegraph’s campaign lasted the better part of two years. Coverage included articles describing the role of Notley’s Advertising Ltd, the London advertising agency which then held the PR account for the GDR and which retained Drayson and another Conservative MP as consultants. It turned out that it was Notley’s who had drafted Drayson’s letters to the press, raising questions about the MP’s relationship with the East Germans.

While most arguments for recognising the GDR derived mainly from a belief that non-recognition was a barrier to trade relations, the role of the British press in arguing for some form of recognition at that time was also influenced by the prevailing East-West political climate, characterised as it was by growing East-West tension over Berlin. The reporting of the second Berlin crisis of 1958–1961 engaged directly with the question of de facto recognition of the GDR as a way of revitalising stalled East-West dialogue and in the interest of safeguarding British and Allied rights in Berlin. There was widespread public debate on the topic both in the press and in parliament with something of a cautious consensus emerging that some accommodation to the reality of divided Germany might be possible. In his memoir Reuters correspondent Peter Johnson notes the attitude of the West German Foreign Office to any suggestion in the press that the West might accept a form of recognition of the GDR. Following a visit to Willy Brandt, then Governing Mayor of Berlin, by the CDU Foreign Minister, Heinrich von Brentano, in November 1958, Brentano had met foreign journalists and had indicated possible Western acceptance of the use of GDR ‘agents’ of the Soviet Union in Berlin. Johnson had filed a report to London to that effect and this was published but it did not go down well in Bonn. The Federal German Foreign Office even protested to Gerry Long, Reuters chief correspondent in Germany, about the report.[25]

The West Germans had plenty of other cause for concern in relation to British attitudes to recognition. In 1961, shortly after the building of the Berlin Wall, both the Liberal and the Labour Party conferences passed resolutions in favour of ‘de facto’ recognition.[26] Within Labour circles, support for recognition was most evident among backbenchers who had visited the GDR.[27] The most prominent Labour MP who was also a supporter of recognition of the GDR was Richard Crossman, MP for Coventry East and Chair of the Labour Party National Executive from 1960 to 1961. He was also a regular contributor to the New Statesman (and sometime editor) and commented frequently on the German question in its columns. Writing in February 1960, for example, he argued:
    “It is high time that responsible politicians in the West should begin to talk sense about Germany, even if this involves agreeing with the Communists… We should propose a temporary solution of the Berlin problem, under which the Russians underwrite the whole status quo in return for our de facto recognition of the GDR.”[28]
Crossman took a keen interest in German politics and was a regular visitor to both German states. He had high level contacts in both the SPD and the SED. Crossman was also one of very few Western politicians to attempt to justify the Berlin Wall, describing it in the New Statesman as “one of the pre-conditions of peaceful co-existence in the world.”[29] It would be wrong, however, to see Crossman as a true friend of the GDR; he repeatedly made his dislike of the regime clear. Nor was he an opponent of reunification; his position was, however, that West German intransigence was helping to perpetuate the division of Germany.[30]

Crossman was echoing the thinking of the SPD, then still in opposition, and its advocacy of a policy of ‘Change through Rapprochement’ (Wandel durch Annäherung), as outlined in Egon Bahr’s seminal speech in Tutzing in 1963. These ideas were eventually to be enshrined in Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik, the instrument by which the GDR did eventually achieve diplomatic recognition by all Western countries, including by Britain, in 1972/1973.

Reporting the GDR: Early Days of the Diplomatic Relationship

Die britische Fahne weht vor dem Brandenburger Tor in BerlinDie britische Fahne weht vor dem Brandenburger Tor in Berlin (© picture alliance / dpa, Foto: Rainer Jensen)
By the early 1970s the view that recognition was only a matter of time was a widely held one. Recognition itself had also ceased to be anything like the hot topic that it had been in the press ten or more so years earlier, despite the activities of committed supporters and organisations within and outside Parliament.[31] The building of the Berlin Wall had effectively brought arguments for de facto recognition as a means of reducing tension between East and West to an end. During the 1960s, MPs continued to make arguments for recognition for the benefits to trade relations but these were seldom the subject of extensive press reporting.

At the time diplomatic relations were established in February 1973, it was expected that bilateral trade would increase, and indeed the first formal agreement between Britain and the GDR was the Co-operation Agreement of December 1973 which established the formal framework for conducting bilateral trade.[32] Again though, there was little mention of the event in the British press, unlike the East German coverage which made much of the fact that Horst Sölle was the first GDR minister to pay an official visit to London. In many ways this lack of British press interest in the development of Britain’s relations with the GDR after recognition was to become the norm for British reporting of the GDR. Generally speaking, there was little press coverage in Britain of the process of normalisation of the diplomatic relationship, for example, and with occasional exceptions that remained the case throughout the GDR’s existence. One of the reasons for this was that Britain’s relationship with the Federal Republic, which had sometimes been troubled during the non-recognition period, had assumed much greater significance with Britain’s entry into the EEC in January 1973, just one month before diplomatic relations were established with the GDR, and in the context of the onset of the Helsinki process. The GDR had never enjoyed parity of status or esteem with the Federal Republic in British eyes but its non-recognition had lent it a certain mystery quality; paradoxically, now that relations with Britain had been normalised, the question of Britain’s relationship with the GDR had somehow become much less, rather than much more, interesting to the British public.[33]

Fleet Street editors did, however, take the view that the GDR remained much of an unknown quantity to the British public and in the early days of the diplomatic relationship some of them carried informative and thoughtful pieces on aspects of life in the GDR and the challenges of international recognition. The GDR might not always have agreed with the conclusions British journalists drew about its social development or its relationship with the West, or even have liked the frank tone of some reports, but had no serious grounds for objecting to the messages conveyed. However, this was to change quite dramatically during the second half of 1974 and hostile press reporting was cited by the GDR as the major factor in the lack of progress in developing the bilateral relationship. The incident prompting this turn of events was the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of two British nationals, Allan Watson and Susan Ballantine, on the charge of aiding illegal border crossing of East-German nationals. The arrests, the circumstances surrounding Ballantine’s trial and the severity of her sentence of five years in jail were all the subject of extensive, and often hostile, reporting in the British press. In particular, the delays in securing consular access,[34] the unwillingness of the GDR authorities to specify the precise nature of the charges against her, the conduct of the trial in secret and the refusal to allow either British Embassy officials or her parents to be present in the courtroom until sentence was passed all combined to create a view of the GDR as a ruthless violator of the UN Charter on Human Rights, both in relation to the two British nationals and to its own people in preventing their freedom of movement.

The pressure of press and public opinion led Harold Wilson as Prime Minister to send a personal letter to Horst Sindermann, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, in which he stated:
    “I am confident that an act of clemency would contribute greatly to relations between our two countries […].”[35]
To no avail; Wilson did not receive a reply for many weeks and Curtis Keeble, Britain’s first Ambassador to the GDR was left in no doubt by the East German Foreign Ministry
    “… that, in view of the exceptional smear campaign against the GDR in the British mass media, there was no basis for a sympathetic examination of the request for clemency.”[36]
Similar views were expressed to the British Foreign Office by the GDR’s first Ambassador to Britain, Karl-Heinz Kern.

Susan Ballantine was, in fact, released from prison in December 1974 and Allan Watson in March 1975, largely as gestures of good will designed to get some momentum back into the otherwise stalled diplomatic relationship. But though the details of these two cases were soon to fade from public memory, the image of the GDR as a ‘formidable police state’ – as the Daily Telegraph described it in 1985 – was now firmly rooted in British public opinion and would remain the dominant one for the remainder of the GDR’s existence.

With the development of reform policies in the Soviet Union and other Eastern block countries in the 1980s, the GDR was increasingly seen both as out of step with its allies in terms of its domestic politics and the view of the GDR as a police state under Soviet control and continued revulsion at the existence of the Berlin Wall were the continuing pre-occupations of British press coverage of the GDR in the second half of the 1980s. There was little press interest in any other aspects of life in the GDR; indeed, East German attempts to organise a small group of British journalists to cover the celebrations of the 750th anniversary of Berlin in 1987 had to be abandoned through lack of interest.

Concluding Remarks

Writing in 2005, Rainer Oschmann, the London correspondent of Neues Deutschland from 1981–1985, described British media coverage of the GDR as cliché-ridden and based on stereotypes of the GDR as “a drab grey country inhabited by goose-stepping soldiers with its citizens trying to jump over the Wall.”[37] Clearly this was not the image the GDR sought for itself and naturally the GDR took all steps it could to counter its negative image in the press and other media. This was a continuing strand of GDR activity throughout the entire period of its existence and one in which the GDR invested considerable effort and resources. Meanwhile, the GDR press was engaged in presenting an image of Britain to the GDR that was the exact opposite of the image it wished for itself in Britain. The establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973 had brought with it the return of a GDR press presence to London, with the appointment of the Neues Deutschland London correspondent and of GDR staff to the ADN office. Their job was to report to the GDR on Britain as an advanced capitalist society in decline, as a society riddled with class inequalities and characterised by exploitation of the working class.[38]

Finally, what remains in Britain as a legacy of the GDR’s image in the British media almost thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall? The answer is a curious mixture of repression, exploitation and surveillance based on what we now know about the Stasi, on the one hand, plus promotion of opportunities to travel to the interior of the former GDR, following the unification of Germany, on the other. Media attention includes the serious and the factual, such as a two-part BBC World Service programme on the enduring legacy of East German doping of athletes for the Olympic movement, to the entirely fictional storyline of a former Stasi informant featured in an episode of the ITV detective series ‘Lewis’.[39] These persistently negative images sit alongside glowing recommendations for visits to the new Berlin, where there is barely a trace of the Wall, to the unspoilt coastlines of the Baltic, or to the historic sites and museums of Weimar and Dresden. Curiosity and condemnation continue to characterise the image of the (former) GDR in the British press.

Zitierweise: Marianne Howarth, The British Press and the German Democratic Republic. Curiosity and Condemnation 1949–1974, in: Deutschland Archiv, 31.12.2017, Link:


The implications of the doping of athletes represents one of the most enduring legacies of the GDR; cf Matt McGrath, 1989 – Sport’s Greatest Cover-Up, BBC World Service, 9.30 GMT 5.8.2009 (Part 1) and 9.30 GMT 12.8.2009 (Part 2).
Marianne Bell (now Howarth), Britain and the GDR. The Politics of Non-Recognition, MPhil thesis, University of Nottingham 1977, p. 204–211; Henning Hoff, Großbritannien und die DDR 1949–1973. Diplomatie auf Umwegen, München 2003, S. 131–146.
Jonathan Steele, Socialism with a German Face. The State that came in from the Cold, London 1977.
As David Childs commented, ‘for years they [the East German authorities] made it very difficult for journalists whose reporting they feared would be hostile’, David Childs, East Germany, London 1969, p. 200.
The first such invitation was to Gordon Schaffer, a journalist for the Co-operative Party newspaper, Reynolds News, who spent ten weeks in the Soviet Zone of Germany in 1947 at the invitation of the East Germans. He subsequently published the first book in English on this part of Germany, Russian Zone, London 1947.
Stefan Berger and Norman LaPorte, Friendly Enemies: The British Left and the GDR, Oxford 2010, p. 57.
For more information on John Peet and DGR, see Peet’s autobiography, The Long Engagement. Memoirs of a Cold War Legend, London 1989; Bell, Britain and the GDR (Anm. 2), pp. 196–199; Stefan Berger and Norman LaPorte, John Peet (1915–1988), An Englishman in the GDR, in: History, 89 (2004) 293, pp. 49–69.
Ibid., p. 63.
Peter B. Johnson, Reuter Reporter among the Communists 1958–59, London 2000, pp. 92–101.
Ibid., p. 208.
Bell, Britain and the GDR (Anm. 2), p. 157; Hoff, Großbritannien und die DDR (Anm. 2), pp. 316–318, and p. 448.
The Times, 17.4.1973. According to John Peet the event was attended by himself and only one other British journalist, DGR 9.5.1973. For an informative account of the negotiations over the Embassy premises, the Ambassador’s residence and accommodation for diplomatic staff, see James Reeves, Cocktails, Crises and Cockroaches: A Diplomatic Trail, London 1999, 240 pp.
The Times, 6 March 1973; see also: Richard Davy, Two-way Freedom for a Two-Way Press, The Times 9 March 1973.
Polemics and a Packed Lunch: An Unparliamentary Beginning, The Guardian, 8.10.1949.
Department of State Press Release, No. 790, 12.10.1949 [Press Conference addressed by Dean Acheson], PRO FO 371/76617, 13.10.1949.
Daily Worker 13.10.1949 cited in Berger and LaPorte, Friendly Enemies (Anm. 6), p. 57.
When the GDR was barely a week old, The Times commented: “While therefore the Western Powers need feel no particular alarm at the birth of the East German Republic, so long as they can avoid a new conflict over Berlin, it would be a mistake to believe that the new regime has no substance… Instead of pretending it does not exist, it is wiser to recognise it for what it is – one more ‘People’s Democracy’ […] imbued with a revolutionary toughness and persistence which may in the end produce results […]”, The Times, 15.10.1949.
Ulrich Pfeil (ed), Die DDR und der Westen. Transnationale Beziehungen 1949–1989, Berlin 2001.
ibid, pp. 165-350 for information on the GDR’s relations with the USA, the UK, France, Italy, the Vatican, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland.
Bell, Britain and the GDR (Anm. 2), p. 135 ff; Hoff, Großbritannien und die DDR (Anm. 2), p. 131 ff.
Berger and LaPorte, Friendly Enemies (Anm. 6), pp. 64–68.
Hoff, Großbritannien und die DDR (Anm. 2), pp. 148–153; See also Robert (Bob) Mellish MP, letters to The Times, 12.8.1957 and to The Guardian 22.10.1957, both of which were extremely critical of the GDR. To The Times, he described the GDR as ‘a puppet regime which did not count tuppence’.
See also Otto Frei’s reports for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung during 1959 and 1960; e.g. Politischer Tourismus Großbritannien-DDR, NZZ, 15.8.1959.
The Times, 7.12.1960; The Guardian, 8.12.1960.
On 26 November 1958 Johnson reports a statement on exactly these lines by Dulles, US Secretary of State. “This is what Brentano appeared to hint at last week and just what caused the protest from the West German Foreign Office”, Johnson (Anm. 9), p. 40.
The Labour Party Annual Report 1961, pp. 163–164.
Henning Hoff, The GDR and the Labour Party 1949-1989, in: Stefan Berger and Norman LaPorte (eds), The Other Germany. Perceptions and Influences in British-East German Relations 1949–1989, Augsburg 2005, p. 132.
New Statesman, 6.2.1960.
Ibid., 24.8.1962.
Hoff, Großbritannien und die DDR (Anm. 2), p. 349.
Berger and LaPorte, Friendly Enemies (Anm. 6), pp. 117–122.
MfAA, Abt. WE, Hinweise zum Stand der Beziehungen, Berlin 14.1.1974, SAPMO-BArch, DA5/12549.
For more information, see: Marianne Howarth, The Berlin Triangle. Britain and the Two German States in the 1980s, in: Arnd Bauerkämper, Britain and the GDR. Relations and Perceptions in a Divided World, Berlin 2002, pp. 173-198.
British Embassy officials were not given permission to visit Susan Ballantine until 12 June 1974. The Times, 12.6.1974.
Harold Wilson, Brief an Horst Sindermann, London/Berlin, 20.9.1974, SAPMO-BArch, DC20/16886.
Curtis Keeble, Telegram to the FCO, 25.9.1974, FCO 33/2530, Arrest & Imprisonment of British Nationals for Exfiltration Offences, Part B, p. 155.
Rainer Oschmann, Unloved Germans from the East, in: Berger and LaPorte, The Other Germany (Anm. 27), p. 312.
See the article by Jeffrey Johnson, The View of Britain from over the Wall, The Times, 1.8.1974.
Lewis: Music to Die For; first broadcast on ITV 2 March 2008.
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Deutschland Archiv

Demonstration am 4. November 1989 in Berlin.
Deutschland Archiv 1/2011


Medien stellen in demokratischen Gesellschaften als "vierte Gewalt" ein wichtiges Element des öffentlichen Lebens dar; sie informieren, kommentieren und tragen zur Meinungs- und Willensbildung bei. In Diktaturen dienen sie den Herrschenden vorwiegend als Propaganda- und Erziehungsinstrument.

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