Historical Social Research

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Ronald Gebauer, Cadres on the Diplomatic Stage. The Social Origins and Career Patterns of GDR’s Ambassadors [Abstract] 

After the Second World War the Soviet-occupied part of Germany was forced to follow the Marxist-Leninist paradigm. Thus, the acceptance of communist domination by the East German people was low and from the very beginning the SED regime was additionally confronted with a considerable lack of international recognition. Just after the founding of the GDR, the leading SED realized the very importance of international representation for their project of an alternative, “peaceful” and “progressive” Germany. Thus, significant steps were taken towards the construction of a fully functioning Foreign Ministry. This contribution analyses the near completely recorded population (n = 204) of GDR ambassadors in the Central Cadre Database (CCDB), mirroring their individual job biographies. The aim of the study in this respect is to deepen the knowledge of career paths and determinants of the diplomatic body of the GDR by using techniques of sequence analysis (optimal matching).