Kampen för erkännande : DDR:s utrikespolitik gentemot Sverige 1949–1972

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


Since the early 1950’s the foreign policy of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) towards Sweden and the other Western European states was dominated by a striving for diplomatic recognition. This thesis examines that striving through an analysis of the East German-Swedish relations from 1949 until 1972. The main focus is on the years 1954-1972. The thesis draws mainly on East German archival material from the ruling communist party SED (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) and the GDR foreign ministry.

A starting point of the thesis is that GDR generally used all its contacts abroad to further its foreign political goals. GDR’s efforts to develop the relations with Sweden on seven different areas are investigated. An important aim is to analyse GDR’s political utilisation of areas, such as culture and traffic, that normally are not considered political or studied by traditional political history. The application of the concept of public diplomacy is central in this context. The analysis of the Ostseewoche (Baltic Week) is a significant part of the investigation of areas that traditionally not are considered as being part of foreign policy. The Osteewoche was a week filled with cultural activities and sport. The analysis of the inaugural ceremony and other activities of the Ostseewoche shows that even official East German ceremonies were used for purposes of foreign policy. However, GDR’s relations with Sweden on the normal foreign policy arenas such as diplomacy and economy are also analysed.

Great weight is given to analysing the perceptions of the political elite and the foreign policy actors to understand why certain actions were taken and why certain elements were significant of the GDR foreign policy. The question of which political instruments were the most important to the East German efforts to improve the relations with Sweden is also investigated. An important result of the thesis is that GDR had a comprehensive strategy for the development of the relations with Sweden. The main elements of this strategy were in place 1958 and did largely not change since. The spreading of a positive GDR-image was a very significant element of the East German foreign policy. Sweden was one of the most important Western European countries to the GDR foreign policy during this period of time.


  • Andreas Linderoth
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • German Democratic Republic (GDR), public diplomacy, diplomatic recognition, Cold war, international relations, Sweden, Ostseewoche (Baltic Week), History, Political and administrative sciences, Historia, foreign policy, Statsvetenskap, förvaltningskunskap
Translated title of the contributionThe struggle for recognition GDR foreign policy towards Sweden 1949–1972
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 Nov 9
  • Historiska Media
Print ISBNs91-628-5331-7
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-11-09 Time: 10:15 Place: Department of History, Stora Magle Kyrkogata 12A, Room 3 External reviewer(s) Name: Scholz, Michael F Title: Dr. Affiliation: Högskolan på Gotland ---

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