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Independent and Official Peace Policies on a Collision Course (April 16, 1982)

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Until the meeting on March 6, 1978, leading representatives of the Protestant churches had no interest in developing what they now call an “independent” peace movement outside of the Peace Council of the GDR. The deputy of the state bishop of the Thuringian Protestant church, High Consistory member Dr. Gerhard Lotz, held the office of vice president of the Peace Council of the GDR until his death last year. Church officials were included in the Peace Council delegations to the World Congress of Peace Forces in Moscow (1973), the World Congress of Peace Builders in Warsaw (1977), and on other occasions. Bishops also took part in them. Thus, it is obvious that the claim about the necessity of an “independent” peace movement is nothing but a disguise for efforts aiming to distort the peace policies of the GDR and damage the GDR’s international reputation, and for intentions that pursue the long-term goal of negatively influencing domestic developments in the GDR. For this reason, in circulating the unauthorized “Swords to Ploughshares” badges of this unauthorized organization, the initiators believe that they have a popular foundation for their sinister intentions. From all of this, it is obvious that they are not concerned with any “independent” peace movement at all, but with an action that in the long term would lead to a confrontation with the government.

The undersecretary for church matters, comrade Klaus Gysi, told the representatives of the Protestant churches in the GDR clearly and unequivocally that in the present situation it is not a question of whether the church had a more comprehensive peace program than the Peace Council of the GDR; instead, it is a matter of banishing the risk of a nuclear world war.

[ . . . ]

In general, however, we must assume that contrary to the practice in capitalist countries, some church leaders in the GDR would like to deny our state the right to self-defense.

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