“It would be better,if some doctors were sent to workin the coal mines”The SED and the medical Intelligentsiabetween 1961 and 1981
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The relationship between the Socialist Unity Party [SED] and the medical intelligentsia in the German Democratic Republic [GDR] has often been described as one of the most problem-atic for the Republic‟s political vanguard. This thesis discusses this relationship for the two dec-ades after the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961. With the inability of East German workers to leave for West Germany after this event, the GDR was able to enforce their programme of so-cialist development in a new way. Doctors, despite being crucial for this socialist society and its legitimacy, were not excluded from the state‟s radical new policies. However, as files from the former state security apparatus, party and trade union make obvious, doctors were very success-ful in preventing both the ideological conditioning of their community and state interference in the composition of the medical elite. With the examination of the every-day life of the medical intelligentsia, especially in East German hospitals, this thesis contributes to the discussion about the difference between the claims of the socialist party and the realities faced in the healthcare sector. There were a variety of complex reasons for the increasing distance between the state‟s claim and reality, many of which will be analysed in the course of this work. This analysis is, em-bedded in a historical approach, outlined mainly by Mary Fulbrook, which sets the micro-level in the context of the macro-level, considering the correlation between the claim and ideology of the SED, their communication, mechanisms and policies reaching the boundaries of the social con-glomerate of doctors, as well as their reactions, career aspirations and pre-conditions. For the seventies, a whole section is dedicated to exploring the reasons that the medical intelligentsia was one of the main-clients of so-called „human trafficking gangs‟, enabling insight into their situa-tion and the attitude towards the socialist state, which led them to „vote with their feet‟. This the-sis demonstrates, especially for the sixties and seventies, that there is still much potential for fur-ther research, in to the case of the most ideologically unreliable social group in the GDR: the medical intelligentsia.