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Exclave: Politics, Ideology, and Everyday Life in Königsberg-Kaliningrad, 1928-1948

  • Author(s): Eaton, Nicole M.
  • Advisor(s): Slezkine, Yuri
  • et al.
Abstract

"Exclave: Politics, Ideology, and Everyday Life in Königsberg-Kaliningrad, 1928-1948," looks at the history of one city in both Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Russia, follow- ing the transformation of Königsberg from an East Prussian city into a Nazi German city, its destruction in the war, and its postwar rebirth as the Soviet Russian city of Kaliningrad. The city is peculiar in the history of Europe as a double exclave, first separated from Germany by the Polish Corridor, later separated from the mainland of Soviet Russia. The dissertation analyzes the ways in which each regime tried to transform the city and its inhabitants, focusing on Nazi and Soviet attempts to reconfigure urban space (the physical and symbolic landscape of the city, its public areas, markets, streets, and buildings); refashion the body (through work, leisure, nutrition, and healthcare); and reconstitute the mind (through various forms of education and propaganda). Between these two urban revolutions, it tells the story of the violent encounter between them in the spring of 1945: one of the largest offen- sives of the Second World War, one of the greatest civilian exoduses in human history, and one of the most violent encounters between the Soviet army and a civilian population.

This dissertation argues that the postwar socialist revolution in Kaliningrad began as a reenactment of the Russian Revolution of 1917, but the encounter with Germans in Kaliningrad changed both the goals and the outcome of that revolution: the Soviets annexed Königsberg to replace the ethnic exclusivity of fascism with the internationalist ideology of socialism, but in the end, they erected Kaliningrad as a Russian national homeland, complete with a Slavic myth of origin and ethnic requirements for membership.

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