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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This study demonstrates, however, that an exclusive focus on the Olympics misses the full significance of sports in East Germany. It overlooks the many insights that an analysis of sports yields about the nature of the East German dictatorship. This study focuses on sports activities rooted in citizens' leisure time, the time they had at their disposal that was not structured by school or work. The temporal focus of the study is the "Aufbau" years in the GDR - the years of "socialist construction" - in the late 1940s and particularly the 1950s. This study's focus on sports programs and festivals reaffirms the fundamental dictatorial nature of the regime. This project also uses oral history interviews with twenty-one former East Germans as a key source of evidence about everyday life in East Germany. The study balances archival and published sources against oral history interviews and oral history interviews against each other.

Keywords: East Germany; Olympics; sports

10.1163/ej.9789004169579.i-234.6
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