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Virginia Wesleyan College
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Student Research Projects

The Free German Youth: Constructed Identity

Student Benjamin Duff
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History
Course History 460/461: Senior Thesis


Based on my previous experiences in Germany, I chose to do my thesis on the Free German Youth organization that existed in East Germany. I discovered that the members of the FDJ played a pivotal role within East German society. On the one hand, the youth actively participated in the organization, fulfilling their role as the mouthpiece of the communist Social Unity Party (SED). On the other hand, the youth members increasingly showed signs of their own individuality within the organization, creating a very complex relationship within East German society. Trying to understand the complexities of identity issues within former East German society is not only useful to Europeanist historians, it also has major implications in US cultural developments.


Presented at the Phi Alpha Theta conference in Lexington, VA in March 2006.

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