Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Eliza Ablovatski

Second Advisor

Robert Franco


Sport in the German Democratic Republic: Unpacking Everyday life in the Eastern Bloc tackles questions regarding the extent of the German Democratic Republic population’s agency in a characteristically repressive, Eastern bloc regime by exploring the dynamics of compliance and dissent between the state and the masses through sport in the GDR. In doing so, this thesis addresses elite Sport I programs, the SED’s State Plan 14.25 for the systematic doping of Sport I athletes, and non-elite Sport II programs throughout three separate chapters. This thesis applies a bottom-up approach to German Democratic Republic historiography by looking at the experiences of athletes in the GDR’s various levels of sport programs. The central argument of this thesis is that the population of the German Democratic Republic both abided by and dissented against the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED) in pursuit of their individual goals and interests. More often than not, the masses complied with state policy in the realm of sport, but the masses had the ability to organize against and operate outside of the state’s legislation in pursuit of their best interest.

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