Legal Entanglements

Legal Entanglements

Law, Rights and the Battle for Legitimacy in Divided Germany, 1945-1989

Sebastian Gehrig


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During the division of Germany, law became the object of ideological conflicts and the means by which the two national governments conducted their battle over political legitimacy. Legal Entanglements explores how these dynamics produced competing concepts of statehood and sovereignty, all centered on citizens and their rights. Drawing on wide-ranging archival sources, including recently declassified documents, Sebastian Gehrig traces how politicians, diplomats, judges, lawyers, activists and intellectuals navigated the struggle between legal ideologies under the pressures of the Cold War and decolonization. As he shows, in their response to global debates over international law and human rights, their work kept the legal cultures of both German states entangled until 1989.


Sebastian Gehrig:

Sebastian Gehrig is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Roehampton, London. He has published chapters and articles in East Central Europe, European Review of History, German History, Historische Zeitschrift, Journal of Cold War Studies and Journal of Contemporary History.