In the 1980s, several unusual public interactions took place between West German rock star Udo Lindenberg and East German dictator Erich Honecker. On the surface, their exchanges concerned whether Lindenberg would be allowed to tour in East Germany. Beneath the surface, however, these interactions constituted a challenge to East German cultural policy and restrictions on freedom of expression. Despite this, Honecker sought to harness the musician’s appeal in the German Democratic Republic’s fight against North Atlantic Treaty Organization nuclear missiles. The story of the rock star and the dictator thus reveals the parameters and limits of East German soft power diplomacy.
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- Cold War
- German Democratic Republic (GDR)
- political concert
- popular culture
- rock music
- star power
- youth culture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations