Download Envisioning Socialism: Television and the Cold War in the by Heather L. Gumbert PDF

By Heather L. Gumbert

Envisioning Socialism examines tv and the ability it exercised to outline the East Germans’ view of socialism in the course of the first a long time of the German Democratic Republic. within the first ebook in English to envision this subject, Heather L. Gumbert strains how tv turned a medium prized for its communicative and leisure worth. She explores the problems GDR professionals had defining and executing a transparent imaginative and prescient of the society they was hoping to set up, and he or she explains how tv helped to stabilize GDR society in a fashion that eventually labored opposed to the utopian imaginative and prescient the specialists idea they have been cultivating.

Gumbert demanding situations those that might brush off East German tv as a device of repression that couldn’t compete with the West or trap the mind's eye of East Germans. in its place, she indicates how, through the early Nineteen Sixties, tv was once a version of the type of socialist realist artwork which may attract professionals and audiences. eventually, this socialist imaginative and prescient used to be conquer by means of the demanding situations that the overseas industry in media items and applied sciences posed to nation-building within the postwar period.

A background of rules and perceptions analyzing either genuine and mediated ancient stipulations, Envisioning Socialism considers tv as a expertise, an establishment, and a medium of social family members and cultural wisdom. The ebook may be welcomed in undergraduate and graduate classes in German and media background, the heritage of postwar Socialism, and the heritage of technology and applied sciences.

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Additional resources for Envisioning Socialism: Television and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic

Sample text

They began to delineate the social purpose of television: it would not be an artistic medium or transmit simple entertainments. Instead, it would work actively to transform the ideas and values of the East German audience by transmitting high culture and hard-­hitting, topical political features. But if television authorities had found one purpose for television, the audience had found another. At first simply fascinated by a new technology of live transmission, viewers embraced the new medium and soon began to demand more, specialized programming.

Public viewing in Germany quickly ended, and most of the extant television receivers ended up in the hands of government officials. 16 Germany was not alone: the onset of war forced other European governments to shelve their plans for television and transformed the direction that American television would take as well. The British and the Soviets, in particular, had been working on the technology. These efforts focused largely on the hybrid mechanical-­electronic system and differed substantially from the all-­electronic systems that came into widespread use after the war.

In 1955, DFF staff took stock of their first three years of televisual experimentation and even set about codifying the lessons they had learned. Codification reflected the push toward an industrialized mode of production (which will be discussed in chapter 3), but it also represented a new sense—­among DFF staff, at least—­that television programming could also have a role to play in both domestic nation-­building campaigns and the larger Cold War. By 1955, the DFF leadership paid more attention to the “messages” of television programming, which became the basis of their argument that this new medium could contribute to political agitation for a growing audience.

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