De-Nazification and Reeducation: The Making of Socialism in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany 1945-1949

Elizabeth L. Lakeman, Lake Forest College


In this thesis I have studied the processes of de-Nazification and reeducation carried out by the Soviet Military Administration in Eastern Germany from 1945 to 1949 to create a socialist country. It begins with a background on the political developments across Germany after World War II. Attention is paid to the creation of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States. The thesis moves into a discussion of the de-Nazification process as the purging of National Socialists from society. While punitive measures were utilized at first, I highlight the transition that takes place to more rehabilitative measures in 1947. In terms of reeducation I discuss mass organizations, the educational system and the cultural sphere. Each topic receives its own chapter and the development of socialism in each sphere of society is analyzed in depth.