In the second half of the 1980s, the number of opposition groups grew. They were increasingly organised at national level and formed networks. Up until 1989, more than ten such activist groupings had developed, connecting several hundred groups. Environmental groups worked together in the Ark network, while peace groups were linked up via Concrete Peace. Conscientious objectors were also active nationwide.

The key objective of their work was an exchange of information. Close personal contacts meant GDR-wide solidarity campaigns could be organised quickly when opposition activists were arrested. Common goals were discussed and argumentation without notes practised in seminars and other events. Despite links at national level, the groups continued to work autonomously. The lack of a central structure and their spontaneity made it difficult for the Stasi to control and stem the growing movement.

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