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Resolution by the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, adopted at the Fifth Session (March 15-17, 1951)

In March 1951, the SED stepped up its campaign for a “radical turnaround in all areas of cultural life” and articulated basic principles of Stalinist cultural policy. Western art forms were rejected as “formalistic.” The new art was to be “realistic,” and its goal was to reeducate people in the spirit of Socialism. To that end, the SED encouraged artists to adopt elements from the classical legacy of German culture and to consult the example of recent Soviet art.

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The Struggle against Formalism in Art and Literature, for a Progressive German Culture

The smashing of Hitler Fascism and the liberation of the German people by the glorious Soviet army created the preconditions for the fundamental democratic transformations that have made possible, in the German Democratic Republic, the greatest successes in all spheres of economic, political, and cultural life. Through the Decree on the Preservation and Development of German Science and Culture, the Further Improvement of the Situation of the Intelligentsia, and the Elevation of its Role in Production and Public Life, dated March 31, 1949, and the Decree on the Development of a Progressive Democratic Culture of the German People and the Further Improvement of the Working and Living Conditions of the Intelligentsia, dated March 16, 1950, have created the preconditions for the development of a truly democratic culture in Germany.

The primary task in the area of cultural policy was formulated as follows in the Resolution of the 3rd Party Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, “The current state and the tasks of the SED”:

“In the area of cultural policy, as well, the struggle for peace, for the democratic unity of Germany, and for the consolidation of our anti-Fascist, democratic order is the centerpiece of our common work. Through cultural policy, people are educated into true democrats, into independent and responsible citizens, and into highly skilled workers who place all their skills in the service of peace, progress, and democracy.

This education can take place only in the unrelenting struggle against the cannibalistic doctrines of the imperialist warmongers. Any attempt to portray these hostile ideologies objectively is tantamount to spreading and thus aiding these ideologies. It is therefore the crucial cultural-political task to achieve a radical turnaround in all areas of cultural life and to put a merciless end to tepidness and conciliationism.”

Achieving the great tasks of the Five-Year Plan requires increased efforts to further raise the cultural level of the urban and rural populations, and to create a closer link between science, art, and literature and the working people.

The struggle against remilitarization, for the reestablishment of German unity on a democratic basis, and for the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany in 1951 is the most important task of the entire German nation. This task can be achieved only in a resolute struggle against warmongering American imperialism, which has already gone down the road of brutal war provocation.

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