Articles

Book review: “GDR International Development Policy Involvement. Doctrine and Strategies between Illusions and Reality 1960-1990, The example (South) Africa”

Book review of "GDR International Development Policy Involvement. Doctrine and Strategies between Illusions and Reality 1960-1990, The example (South) Africa", written by Ulrich van der Heyden and published by Lit Verlag in 2013.

Instytut Boyma 07.09.2018

This book was written in English by Ulrich van der Heyden, and published by Lit Publishing House in 2013. It consists of 17 parts including an 11 pages conclusion. The title refers to the issue of the policy of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) policy between 1960 and 1990 with Third World countries (the GDR had diplomatic relations with more than one hundred developing countries). The author (born in 1954), a well-known scholar, is a German historian at the Freie University and the Humboldt University in Berlin. He’s the author of numerous books:  Kolonialmetropole Berlin. Eine Spurensuche (2002), Rote Adler an Afrikas Küste. Die brandenburgisch-preußische Kolonie Großfriedrichsburg in Westafrika (2001), Das Schrifttum der deutschen Missionsgesellschaften als Quelle für die Geschichtsschreibung Südafrikas (1996). In 2013/2014 he was a visiting researcher at the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies at the University of South Africa (Unisa). The author is a careful observer of the GDR well prepared strategy upon cooperation with Third World countries. The author especially explores the development of GDR relations with African countries (but also with other Third World countries). The author shows how the GDR tried to discredit the Western part of Germany in its policy toward Third World countries. The book is based on an extensive use of official East German texts and statistics. It will be of interest to specialists and students of German historical and East European studies.

The book is comprised of 17 chapters where author explore different aspects of the cooperation between the GDR and Third World countries by presenting the policy of the Socialist Unity Party of GDR which concentrated its forces in political-ideological instructions (by being at least a topical component of a study trip of Third World scholars or interns in the GDR).

The first and the second part of the book are an introduction to the topic. The first one is an introduction to the book. The second part is a summary of the sources which were used by the Author. The Author is also emphasizing on the fact that the GDR kept secret any statistical data which could be used against the country. Therefore it had an impact on the writings of the Author through limited available resources. Many examples provided by the Author are focused on the main countries (Algeria, Angola, Cambodia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Laos, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Syria, Vietnam, Yemen) with which the GDR had important relations.

The introduction to the third chapter is a very good overview of the GDR International Policy in various dimensions. The author presents the general objectives of the GDR development policy which was focused through an anti-imperialist scheme.

The fourth chapter entitled “The Peace Corps of the East – The Friendship Brigades” is dedicated to GDR youth organizations which were dispatched to the Third World. They were tasked in assisting local institutions in the development of some concrete projects (such as repair workshops, linguistic trainings…). In 1963, the GDR created the The Friendship Brigades in response to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Peace Corps founded in 1961. These Friendships Brigades has a double role. They were supposed to support the considered countries in the aftermath of the colonialism. On the other side, these Brigades were also supposed to improve the image of the unknown GDR.

The fifth chapter concerns Third World workers who were employed in GDR and reactions toward their settlements in the GDR. The book contains some original and provocative findings. One example of that is that twenty percent of the Mozambican workers with the best performance were allowed to stay for a further one to five years in the GDR.

The sixth part of the book scrutinizes the effects of the military and security co-operation between the GDR and the Third World. A special emphasize is lead on the MPLA and FRELIMO, two liberation movements respectively in Angola and Mozambique. However the author also argued that the ANC and the SWAPO were the biggest recipients of the solidarity services. The chapter provided also valuable information regarding the trainings of the leaders of these formations in the GDR.

Regarding the seventh, eight, ninth, tenth and eleventh parts, these are totally related to development projects involving the GDR and Third World countries. They explain the ideological foundations of GDR development policy and provide concrete political cases of cooperation in various fields such as Trade and Industry, healthcare and education. In the eight part of the book, the author defends the thesis that since the 1960s, the GDR was totally involved in South African freedom movements (regarding South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe). The author provided also crucial statistical data regarding African students from these regions who were studying in the GDR during the 1980s. The author argued that these young students were supposed to be the next leaders of these countries.

The last five parts are the conclusion, an appendix, an abstract and a list of abbreviations and Tables plus a bibliography mentioning the used sources. The book is based on an extensive research including the examination of a large number of books, research papers, publications focused on the military co-operation of the GDR with Third World countries, case studies. The author underlines that according to him, there are no publications by historians of other countries related to the GDR’Ss African policy.

The author’s research perspective is interesting for the central role of the concept of the GDR role in Africa. The author seems to express some kind of “nostalgia” over the GDR policy in Africa especially when he analyzed the role of the GDR in solidarity services to South African liberation movements. The author also believes that the GDR involvement in these operations determined the image of the Germans in South Africa. The author quotes the South African diplomat Jeremiah Mamabolo who believes that there was no doubt that the GDR was in the forefront of support for the liberation movements.

Even for an experienced reader, the book is a pool of astute statistical documents and observations and comments referring to the research on the foreign policy of the GDR in the Third World. On the other side the author raises some questions that he can answer. It’s of course impossible to mention all elements related to the co-operation between the GDR and Third World countries, however at my humble opinion there is a lack of detailed history regarding relations between both Parties. A chronology of key events would be highly appreciated by beginner’s students in these fields. On the other side the author is able to provide clear syntheses of diverse sources on the relations between the GDR and Third World countries without oversimplifying the history. As a reviewer I would expect also some sources which would be originated from the considered Third World countries (especially countries on which the GDR focused the more. Nevertheless an additional advantage of the publication is its congressional language (including sources), which widens the circle of potential readers. Therefore the book constitutes an interesting reading for those who are interested in the GDR policy in Africa.

Ulrich van der Heyden, GDR International Development Policy Involvement. Doctrine and Strategies between Illusions and Reality 1960-1990, The example (South) Africa, Lit Verlag, Berlin. 2013.  316 pp.

Nicolas Levi

Analyst on North and South Korea. He is an assistant professor at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Author of 7 books, more than 20 academic articles, and over 50 analytical reports on the Korean Peninsula, Poland, and related issues. He conducts lectures at top universities in Poland and abroad.

czytaj więcej

Ailuna Shamurzaeva – Research Fellow at the Boym Institute

Her research focuses on political economy, migration studies, and international trade. Ailuna, we are more than happy to welcome you to the team!

China – USA in the South China Sea

The trade war is just one of the problems of confrontation between the United States and the People's Republic of China. Many aspects of this competition coincide in the South China Sea.

Interview with Uki Maroshek-Klarman on “Betzavta” method

Interview with Uki Maroshek-Klarman - Academic Director of the Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace in Israel. Founder of "Betzavta" method, which was created with intention of streghtening people's participation in society and making conflicts easier to solve.

Patrycja Pendrakowska for Observer Research Foundation: “The Polish example: Defending the castle in the European East”

We would like to inform, that Observer Research Foundation has published article of Patrycja Pendrakowska - the Boym Institute Analyst and President of the Board.

Development Strategies for Ulaanbaatar According to the Conception for the City’s 2040 General Development Plan – Part 2

This is the second part of an inquiry into Ulaanbaatar’s winning 2040 General Development Plan Conception (GDPC). In this part of paper, I look into some of the plans and/or solutions proposed in Ulaanbaatar’s 2040 GDPC.

The unification of the two Koreas: an ASEAN perspective

The aim of the paper is to discuss the role of the ASEAN as a critical component of the solution to the Korean unification. The Korean Unification refers to the potential reunification of both Koreas into a single sovereign Korean state led by the leadership of the two Koreas.

Krzysztof Zalewski for Observer Research Foundation – “Luxembourg faces the same dilemma as the EU: become a bridge or a fortress”

We would like to inform, that Observer Research Foundation has published article of Krzysztof Zalewski - the Boym Institute Analyst, Chairman of the Board and Editor of the “Tydzień w Azji” weekly.

Chinese work on the military use of artificial intelligence

Intensive modernization and the desire to catch up with the armed forces of the United States made chinese interest in the military application of futuristic technologies grow bigger.

Paweł Behrendt for 9DASHLINE: The South China Sea – from colonialism to the Cold War

We would like to inform, that 9DASHLINE has published article of Paweł Behrendt - the Boym Institute Analyst, in which he wrote about history of the South China Sea dispute over the 20th century.

San Zhong Zhanfa or Three Warfares. Chinese Hybrid Warfare

Cognitive operations are becoming an increasingly significant and common element of non-kinetic military operations. States and other political players deliberately manipulate the way their actions, those of their allies and those of their adversaries are perceived by the governments and societies of other international players.

From ‘strategic engagement’ to ‘competition’. Interview with William Yu

Ewelina Horoszkiewicz in conversation with Professor William Yu (UCLA) on USA, China and Europe. Professor William Yu  is an economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast and specializes in the economies of Los Angeles and China.

Global Security Initiative and Global Development Initiative: Two Wings for Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind

Peace and development as the call of our day again face severe challenges on a global scale, with more prominent instability, uncertainty and complexity

TSRG 2021: The Impacts of the BRI on Europe: The Case of Poland and Germany

It is important to contribute to the understanding of what the New Silk Road can mean in economic, political, leadership and cultural terms for the European countries involved. This analysis should reveal the practical consequences of the Belt and Road Initiative for Europe in the case of Poland and Germany, as well as their respective social effects.

Roman Catholic cemetery in Harbin (1903-1958)

First burials of Catholics, mostly Poles but also other Non-Orthodox believers took place in future Harbin in the so called small „old” or later Pokrovskoe Orthodox cemetery in the future European New Town quarter and small graveyards at the military and civilian hospitals of Chinese Eastern Railway at the turn of XIX and XX century.

Book review: “North Korean Defectors in a New and Competitive Society”

Book review of "North Korean Defectors in a New and Competitive Society", written by Lee Ahlam - assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Human Resource Development at Xavier University Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kyrgyzstan on the Path to Political Stabilisation

On 10 January, early presidential elections were held in Kyrgyzstan, following the resignation of the incumbent, President Zheenbekov. The atmosphere in which the vote was conducted remained tense. This had been the case since the results of the October elections were announced, in which the opposition grouping failed to win a single parliamentary seat.

“Green growth” may well be more of the same

Witnessing the recent flurry of political activity amid the accelerating environmental emergency, from the Green New Deal to the UN climate summits to European political initiatives, one could be forgiven for thinking that things are finally moving forward.

Asia-Integration – Follow-up Report on Polish Policy Challenges Towards Asian Countries

The debate was the consequence of positive reactions to the open letter that the Boym Institute published in the summer of 2020. Many of its readers pointed out the necessity of broad consultations regarding the principles of the new multidimensional policy in order to reflect the diversity of perspectives, interests and conditions.

Liquidation of the Polish colony in Manchuria (north-eastern China)

Ms. Łucja Drabczak - A Polish woman born in Harbin, she spent her childhood in China. She returned to Poland at the age of 10. She is the author of the book 'China... Memories from my childhood'. She contacted us to convey special family memories related to leaving Manchuria in 1949.

Historical vs Current Emissions: Towards an Ethical and Political Synergy in International Climate Policy

Environmental problems transcend not only national borders but also historical periods. And yet debates on the necessary measures and timelines are often constrained by considerations of election cycles (or dynastic successions) in any given country.

Meeting with Dr. Uki Maroshek-Klarman

It’s a great pleasure for the Boym Institute to organize an open meeting with dr Uki Maroshek who founded the betzavta method. Betzavta is taught across the globe at the Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace in Jerusalem as well as in other institutions in Europe and the Middle East.

The Dasgupta Review on Women and the Environmental Crisis

Commissioned in 2019 by the British government and published in February 2021, The Dasgupta Review has been likened to the 2006 Stern Review. Where the latter brought to widespread attention the many failings of the world economy in the face of global warming, the former makes similar points as regards biodiversity – and identifies the unique challenges faced by women.

Coronavirus and climate policies: long-term consequences of short-term initiatives

As large parts of the world are gradually becoming habituated to living in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, global attention has turned to restarting the economy. One of the most consequential impacts of these efforts will be that on our climate policies and environmental conditions.

Polish-Asian Cooperation in the Field of New Technologies – Report

Polish and Polish-founded companies are already on the largest continent in sectors such as: IT, educational technology, finance, marketing, e-commerce and space. Despite this, the potential lying dormant in the domestic innovation sector seems to be underutilized.