Demonstration by the Polish trade union Solidarnosc in the pilgrimage city of Tschenstochau (Poland). The illegal trade union Solidarnosc grew into a mass movement that could no longer be stopped.
kaynak: AP Photo

Die Friedens- und Umweltbewegung

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Ab Ende der 1970er-Jahre entstehen in der DDR zahlreiche oppositionelle Gruppen. Ihr Protest richtet sich gegen Aufrüstung und Militarisierung der Gesellschaft, gegen Umweltzerstörung und den Verfall der Städte. Trotz staatlicher Verfolgung engagieren sich immer mehr Menschen in der Friedens- und Umweltbewegung.

At the Wittenberg church congress on 24 September 1983, Stefan Nau forged a sword into a ploughshare in front of 4,000 spectators. The slogan “swords to ploughshares” initially emerged mainly at church-run peace events. When it came to public attention as a patch sewn onto clothing in 1981, becoming a protest symbol, the state took drastic action against anyone caught wearing it.
kaynak: Dirk Eisermann/Hamburg

The peace groups spoke out against the militarisation of East German society, the international arms race and the threat of nuclear war. In the early 1980s the slogan "swords to ploughshares" became the most important symbol of the peace movement in the GDR.

The GDR government denied the problems of smog and damage to forests and nature through acid rain. The obvious destruction of the natural world prompted more and more people to take action towards preserving the environment.

Peace and environmental groups held public campaigns to draw attention to these issues. The state used police violence and secret service methods to keep them in check. Members of the groups had to anticipate not only disadvantages in their working and social lives, but also arrests and raids on their homes. Nevertheless, the number of opposition groups grew throughout the 1980s.

Quelle: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
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