Cover Osteuropa 10/2009

In Osteuropa 10/2009

Role Model and Class Enemy
The United States and East German Computer Sciences in the 1960s

Simon Donig

Deutsche Fassung


The Sovietisation and Americanisation of Socialist states were considered opposites. When the German Democratic Republic introduced a technical “auto-Americanization” in the 1960s, the Soviet Union did not reject it. Moscow even promoted it within the framework of a large-scale, transnational technical project, the ESER (standardized system of electronic computers). Taking over Western technology was to contribute to “passing” the west without having to “catch up” to it first. At the same time, it was feared both within the party and state that Western ideas could also seep into the GDR by means of technology transfer. Therefore, wherever the rule of the Socialist Unity Party seemed endangered, controls were quickly increased.

(Osteuropa 10/2009, pp. 89–100)