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Meyen, Michael; Scheu, Andreas (2011): The role of external broadcasting in a closed political system. A case study of the German post-war states. In: Global Media and Communication, Vol. 7, No. 2: pp. 115-128




This article investigates the role and impact of external broadcasting (radio and television) on a closed political system, through the example of the two post-war German states: the West German Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the East German German Democratic Republic (GDR). The aim is to debunk myths about the influence of external broadcasting on the events that led to German reunification in 1990. The study follows a historical approach and discusses what role external media played during the years of a divided Germany. The findings are based on several historical sources, research reports from the 1950s and 1960s and over 100 biographical interviews with former residents of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The article analyses the impact of external broadcasting on citizens and the political elite in times of crisis as well as during everyday life.