East Germany. Then and now.
This photo gives me hope that things can be better when people are given freedom.
However, I wonder how much of the decrepitude was the scars of Allied bombing vs. Communist lack of care. Any Germans/history buffs can comment?
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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Not to toot my own horn, but I do have a degree in this type of stuff and lived there for a while. The essential idea for the Russians was to Russify (not made up) east Germany. They saw updating existing homes/structures as a waste of resources and instead went about building new buildings in the Russian style, i.e. big ugly cement buildings meant for holding the most people at the least expense to the government.
Most of the "ugliness" seen by us modern Westerners was due to the lack of resources given to the population to restore/build/beautify their country. The Soviets didn't have any capital, and without money from exports--which was huge for East Germany prior to the war--things became decrepit and wasted.
Oddly, they did spend a good amount on cinema and have wonderful films. There's a resurgence of East German nostalgia showing it's head in more recent films such as Goodbye Lenin, where the good things about communism are being remembered and the worst parts, conveniently, forgotten.
Why would anyone try to get ahead under "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". And, the government determines your needs, not you. We all need to get something for our efforts or we just get by with the least it takes to keep out of trouble.
You're right, Mainecoonmaniac. Too bad our government doesn't understand this.
Very fascinating indeed. Thanks for the link!
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The link is interesting but the political message is quite a bit forced. Urban decay and urban renovation exist anywhere. A similar portfolio could have been made in years past in districts of New York, Rome, London, Buenos Aires etc.
Many of those buildings were publicly owned (by the state, or trade unions, or whatever) and façade polishing was not a high priority in East Germany. Their promise was to give a house and a job to anybody. They did keep that promise. At their own game, they were not failing at all. Germans wanted to change game, which is fine, but the critique to East Germany on the playing ground where it did not play is unfair.
They were giving a house (a small apartment in a huge grey condominium, still is a house) to anybody for basically nothing, while in the Western world most people have to pay for 30 or 40 years to buy a house, or pay a rent which costs a substantial amount of wage, and when they don't pay we have a domino effect which is still sinking us.
Maybe in these sad days where 30% or more of youth is unemployed and have the nightmare of providing for house and children we should humbly recognise that Communism did take a lot of angst away from life, and that for many people (not for me) this is worth more than political freedom or the dream to become rich.
I am a convinced liberist-liberal pro-capital pro-free market visceral anticommunist person but to be frank I find a certain anticommunist propaganda preposterous.
Many thanks for the link, I visited East Germany in 1994 essentially as the restoration work was really starting to gain momentum.
It was fascinating to see and go inside buildings and note the bullet holes in buildings of more than one town or village I visited. One couple invited me up to their roof-top apartment, fifth floor with sloping ceilings and hot and cold depending upon the weather. In their building, parts of the stairwell walls still had a myriad of bullet holes in the falling apart plaster.
They told me that there was no possibility of doing any repairs as there was just no money, living in an occupied country is tough. I felt sorry for them, they were both about 25 years old and were virtually unemployable. Their schooling had been heavy into many things political, which was mandatory for all students. The western part of Germany, was basically shut off to them as their university education was considered valueless in West Germany as there were too few subjects they had studied, that mattered to western businesses.
In Jena, which had a thriving photographic industry in pre-war times, had by 1994, changed dramatically. I was told that there about 5,000 residents who held a PhD in Jena alone. I was led to understand that about 500 of them retained their jobs, or a job, the other 4,500 highly technically educated and trained people, were mostly jobless.
In the family owned Guest house on the outskirts of Jena that I stayed in, the waitress had a PhD in Chemistry. She had that job because not only did she speak German and Russian, she spoke English, which was essential for any hospitality staff in that place at that time. I learnt from this waitress that the head of the security forces from Russia spoke German, so it was a bit of a two way street. I found out years later, that the person she was talking about was Putin.
Just to make it clear..
Just to make it clear, I believe that power falling into the hands of a few is bad. This goes for Communism as well as Capitalism. When that happens, this power is used to oppress the masses with both systems.
Originally Posted by Diapositivo
Whoa, level headed discussions of power and economy on the internet???
....nah, this can't be.
but regeneration isn't a question of freedom but of capitol.
and I guess aesthetic preference I suppose.
the communists built just as nice and fancy buildings (for themselves granted), they just looked different to what the people before wanted.
add to the fact that they wanted to build as much as possible in their image and not in the image of the bourgeoisie of the past, is it any wonder they wanted to let the past crumble away, literally and metaphorically.
and are those buildings that now look so nice still affordable for the people that lived in the area or have they been pushed out?
tyranny is tyranny.
ideology doesn't change that.