Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany 1945–1955

The second book in the series, Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany, 1945-1955 by Gary Bruce, was published in February 2003.  Editorial and production work on the book, as with Redrawing Nations, was funded by grants from the Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation and the German Marshall Fund.   Resistance with the People provides a meticulous overview of the East Germany state security apparatus from the mid-1940s, when secret police organs were set up in eastern Germany by the Soviet occupation forces, through the mid-1950s, when the size of the Stasi sharply increased, allowing it to become a massive surveillance and repressive apparatus.  The academic trade publication Choice described the book as a “carefully documented, thorough, well-argued, and well-written book” and “highly recommended” it for university libraries.  Bruce examines the origins of the Stasi, the role of the state security organs in the outbreak and suppression of the East German uprising in June 1953, and the subsequent evolution of the Stasi under Walter Ulbricht, who removed his rivals from the Stasi and then reestablished it as a separate ministry responsible for “combating all internal and external enemies” of the Communist regime.  Bruce relates his findings to other recent work on state security forces in European countries, both Communist and non-Communist. He also closely examines the relationship between the Stasi and the East German Communist party (the SED). He shows that the near-collapse of the Communist regime in East Germany in June 1953 — a collapse that would have occurred had it not been for the large-scale intervention of Soviet troops — ensured that the SED in the future would be heavily dependent on the Stasi for social control.