This is the second volume of Professor Sperlich's well-written East German trilogy. First, it provides a systematic review of post-WWII German history, with special attention given to the Soviet-induced founding of a communist state on German soil. It also traces the various stages of the imposition of communist rule, including importantly the suppression of free elections, the banishing of any form of opposition, and the establishment of a one-party dictatorship.
Next, Sperlich provides illuminating details of life in East Germany after the communist party had gained full control. This includes discussions of the nature of party control of the various aspects of state and society, the functioning of the East German police state, the citizens' mandatory participation in public rituals, the pretense of citizen influence, the manipulation of public opinion (including the manipulative use of "letters to the editor"), the extensive personality cults, the role of the communist youth organization and of the quasi-religious youth ritual (Jugendweihe), the regime's relationship to the churches, the immense importance accorded to sports (with the widespread doping of children), and the strange commerce culture in which the customer was always wrong.
The book also contains a detailed analysis of the East German economy, a matter frequently misunderstood in the West, where it was regarded as stunningly successful. It was not. At no time was the East German "planned economy" able to satisfy even the most basic needs of it citizen. The regime could maintain itself only because of the heavy subsidies it received from West Germany -- which was to make the life more tolerable for the fellow-Germans in the East.
Finally, the book includes a review of the many attempts of East German citizens to escape their imprisonment, often ending with death at the border. At the end, the desire for freedom could no longer be contained. Demonstration became a daily factor of East German life, leading to the breaching of the Wall and reunification. Once the Soviet tanks were no longer available to bail out the regime (as had been the case in 1953), its demise became inescapable. At no time in its history did the regime receive the consent and allegiance of its people. Without Soviet military support, it had to crumble.