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Cultural Repression by the SED Central Committee (December 1965)

Honecker was appalled by the disquiet that had accompanied prior liberalizations. Thus, under his leadership, the SED reverted to hard-line policies: it rejected demands for freedom of expression and cultural experimentation, increased literary censorship, and insisted upon a clear ideological commitment to the socialist cause.

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Report to the Central Committee of the SED

[ . . . ] It is a historic achievement of our party, that, in the 20 years since its founding, it has devised and embarked upon the path to a socialist national culture along with the overwhelming majority of the intelligentsia in the GDR. In this current stage of the comprehensive build-up of socialism, artists are confronted with greater tasks. Now, the goal is to enrich the life and worldview of socialist people, to portray struggles and triumphs, conflicts and their solutions in socialist society. Art and literature, with their specific means, can help develop the creative powers of people in socialist society. This, however, requires a determined struggle in all areas of the arts against the old and backward remains of the capitalist past, and against the influences of capitalist non-culture [Unkultur] and immorality, which find expression in American sex-propaganda and the glorification of banditry.

A clean state with unyielding standards

Our GDR is a clean state. In it there exist unyielding standards of ethics and morality, for decency and proper behavior. Our party takes a decisive stand against the imperialist-driven propaganda of immorality, which pursues the goal of damaging socialism. Here, we are in full agreement with the population of the GDR and the overwhelming majority of the people in West Germany.

Over the last few months there were a few incidents that required our special attention. A few young people formed groups and committed criminal acts; there were rapes and instances of rowdiness. There are several cases of serious breaches of discipline at school and at work. Students on harvest duty organized drinking bouts resembling those of reactionary West German student fraternities. Work morale among some groups of students was poor during this assignment. Here, again, the negative influence of Western television and Western radio on segments of our population is becoming apparent.

We agree with those who note that the causes of these instances of immorality and this lifestyle that is alien to socialism are also visible in some films, TV-shows, plays, literary works, and periodicals available here. Recently, anti-humanistic depictions in television broadcasts, films, and periodicals have increased. Acts of brutality are being portrayed; human actions are being reduced to sexual impulses. Manifestations of American immorality and decadence are not being countered publicly. This is especially true when it comes to light entertainment and individual literary works and, unfortunately, also in the case of many “DT64” broadcasts. [ . . . ]

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