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"The Cultural League at Ten" – Lead Article in Neues Deutschland (July 2, 1955)

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Also of great importance to the development of the Cultural League for the Democratic Renewal of Germany was the help of the Soviet Military Administration, whose commanders and cultural officers devoted the utmost attention to the questions of liberating German science and art from the dross of the old imperialist ideology.

Under these favorable conditions, large segments of the intelligentsia demonstrated their readiness to draw from the past the lesson that the intelligentsia has no prospects in the wake of capitalism. More and more the historical truth is asserting itself that the intelligentsia must join up with the working class, that it must participate in the rebuilding of our economy and our culture in friendly cooperation with the workers, the activists, and the renewers.

The Cultural League helped to develop these creative powers of the intelligentsia, to incorporate them into the great fight for peace and into the struggle for a unified, democratic Germany, to connect them ever more firmly with our workers’ and peasants’ state. It helped to develop a democratic consciousness of the state and a democratic patriotism. The Cultural League was able to bring together outstanding experts in their field with interested laypeople for useful joint research work, and to elevate the diffusion of scientific knowledge among the workers and peasants to respectable levels.

As of yet, not all members of our intelligentsia are united in the Cultural League for the Democratic Renewal of Germany; the clash of academic and scholarly opinions, without which no development can move forward, is often still timid. There are still scientists and educators, physicians and artists, engineers and technicians who are honestly participating in the reconstruction, who are preserving their professional honor, who approve of our successes, but who nurse doubts about the power of the international solidarity of the working class, about the power of the camp of world peace. Among them are people who are still looking for and finding minor blemishes, and who, for that reason, still often succumb to the influences of the imperialist war camp.

It is the noblest task of the Cultural League for the Democratic Renewal of Germany, in keeping with its founding manifesto and its basic tasks, to fight for the preservation of peace, for democratic renewal, and for the national unity of Germany. Against the likes of Adenauer, who wishes to divide Germany even more deeply, the unity of our national culture is a bond that encompasses all Germans. Defending this unity against all influences of an imperialistic, decadent, subversive ideology must be a major concern of the Cultural League. The national duty of our culture-creators in the ranks of the Cultural League lies in carrying on the German cultural conversation in all segments of our fatherland, in supporting the progressive, humanistic culture-creators in the Western part of our fatherland, and in directing every conversation between Germans from the West and the East toward the goal of eliminating the Paris Treaties, preventing the rearmament and restoration of German militarism, and securing national unity on a democratic and peaceful foundation.

Likewise, it is the task of the Cultural League to bind our intelligentsia even more firmly to our workers’ and peasants’ state and to the building up of socialism. A new morality, a new humanism, the morality of peaceful relations between people and nations, of peaceful reconstruction and Socialist competition must be promoted. At the center of the further work of the Cultural League we must place this: striving for what is achievable in science and the arts, standing up for the creative life of working people, standing up for the defense of our German Democratic Republic, of the democratic and Socialist accomplishments of our working class, and of the working peasants and our creative intelligentsia.

If the Cultural League accomplishes these primary tasks, it will achieve further, significant successes in the service of our people.

Source: “The Cultural League at Ten” [“Zehn Jahre Kulturbund”], Neues Deutschland, no. 152, July 2, 1955; reprinted in E. Schubbe, ed., Dokumente zur Kunst-, Literatur- und Kulturpolitik der SED [Documents on the Artistic, Literary, and Cultural Politics of the SED]. Stuttgart: Seewald Verlag, 1972, pp. 382-384.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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