Power and the people

A social history of central European politics, 1945-56

Edited by Eleonore Breuning, Jill Lewis and Gareth Pritchard

Power and the people

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7069-3
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: June 2005
  • BIC Category: Humanities / General & world history, Humanities / European history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Europe / General, HISTORY / Social History, Europe, European history, General & world history, History, Modern History


This book covers various aspects of the social history of politics on both sides of the Iron Curtain in the period 1945 to 1956. The contributors come from a range of countries (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the United Kingdom) and comprise a mixture of established historians and younger scholars engaged in pioneering research.

The individual chapters are organised into four sections dealing with workers, ethnic and linguistic minorities, youth, and women. In order to enhance the comparative character of the volume, the four chapters contained in each section consider the position of these social groups in, respectively, West Germany, East Germany, Austria, and either Czechoslovakia or Hungary. Major themes include the absence of popular revolutions in the aftermath of World War Two, the re-imposition of social control by post-war elites, the attempt to restore pre-war gender relations, and the failure of Communist parties to win popular support.

The chosen time-frame saw most of the decisive developments which set the pattern for the remaining Cold War period and is therefore of key importance for any student of this topic.


1. Social protest in the Ruhr, 1945-1949 - Dick Geary
2. Young workers, the Free German Youth (FDJ) and the June 1953 uprising - Alan McDougal
3. Worker protest and the origins of the Austrian Social Partnership - Jill Lewis
4. Workers in Hungary - Mark Pittaway
Ethnic and linguistic minorities
1. Between 'Heimat' and 'Expulsion': the construction of the Sudeten German 'Volksgruppe' in post-war Germany - Eva Hahn
2. The Sorbs of Lusatia, the Socialist Unity Party and the Soviet Union (1945-1953) - Peter Barker
3. The Carinthian Slovenes - Robert Knight
4. Historical trauma in ethnic identity: the years of homelessness of the Hungarian minority in post-war Slovakia - Dagmar Kusá
1. 'Reforming mentalities': the Allies, young people, and 'new music' in Western Germany, 1945-1955 - Toby Thacker
2. Saints and devils: youth in the SBZ/GDR, 1945-1955 - Mark Fenemore
3. Austrian youth in the 1950s - Karin Schmidlechner
4. Sokol and the Communists: The Battle for Czech Youth, 1945-1948 - Mark Dimond
1. Women, work and unemployment in post-war Germany - Vanessa Beck
2. Women and the Left in post-war Germany - Gareth Pritchard
3. Gender and abortion after the Second World War: the Austrian case in a comparative perspective - Maria Mesner
4. Hungarian women in politics - Andrea Petõ
List of Contributors


Eleonore Breuning is Emerita Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Wales Swansea. Jill Lewis is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Wales Swansea. Gareth Pritchard is the Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

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