On Wednesday, March 20, at 7pm in the Wilson Hall Theatre, Dr. Astrid M. Eckert of Emory University will discuss the history of West Germany during the Cold War by focusing on its most sensitive geographical space, the border with its ideological adversary, socialist East Germany. The Iron Curtain is commonly discussed in relation to the history of the GDR; after all, it constituted the most damning evidence of the GDR’s lack of political legitimacy. But the inter-German border did not only affect life in East Germany. In splitting a previously unified polity and territory, the new boundary also had social, economic and political ramifications on its western side. How did West Germans relate to
and interact with the ever more fortified border on the country’s eastern edge? The lecture explores the emergence of borderlands where none had existed before, examines the Iron Curtain as tourist attraction and considers the varied impact of the border on the surrounding landscape. In all these ways, the inter-German border at the periphery of the Federal Republic proved central to the historical development of the new West German state.
Dr. Astrid M. Eckert is an Associate Professor of Modern European History at Emory University in Atlanta. (M.A., University of Michigan, 1995; M.A. Free University Berlin, 1998; Dr. phil. Free University Berlin, 2003). Before moving to Emory, she was a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington, D. C. (2002-2005). She earned her PhD at Free University Berlin and has published The Struggle for the Files. The Western Allies and the Return of German Archives after the Second World War with Cambridge University Press (2012) which had previously appeared in German with Steiner Verlag Stuttgart. Most recently, she was a Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Her latest book project focuses on the history of the inter-German border.