A Spectre is Haunting Arabia: How the Germans Brought Their Communism to Yemen

Why Yemen? What exactly was East Germany looking for there, in this forgotten corner of the world? And under what circumstances could this ideology imported from Central Europe be implemented? Miriam Müller's interdisciplinary case study of East Germany's intense involvement with the sole Marxist-Leninist state in the Arabian Peninsula – the People's Republic of Yemen – goes far beyond these questions. Incorporating the entire Arab world, she argues against the still-prevalent consensus that no independent East German foreign policy was possible in the Soviet Union's zone of power. In South Yemen Müller identifies an autonomous GDR foreign policy of state- and nation-building under socialist auspices that stretched far beyond East Germany's long-term strategies for three states of the Global South that Müller's study investigates.  As a self-styled socialist role model, East Germany tried to transfer its system as a blueprint for South Yemen. In her book the author details a portrait of an Arab State whose communist unity party, security apparatus, youth- and women's organizations and even child care centers functioned according to East German principles for more than a decade.     

Dr. Miriam Müller, political scientist and Islamic studies scholar, is a research fellow at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. She presented her study at the Berlin Center's 4th Brown Bag Breakfast on February 9, 2015. The book was published by transcript Verlag in late 2015.


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