Campus: Waterloo
Office: HH136

I am currently working on a book-length study of the East German secret police, the Stasi, in two small districts in East Germany over the course of East Germany’s existence, 1945-1990. I seek to understand what the Stasi’s goals were, how they achieved these goals, and what factors affected the Stasi’s ability to control the East German population. Rather than a strict top-down approach which focuses on the Stasi ramming through the Party’s agenda, I look at the interplay between society and the Stasi, and the extent to which the Stasi had to adjust its aims and methods based on societal reaction. This project is based on the extensive and compelling documents in the Stasi regional archives in Schwerin and Potsdam, as well as on interviews with Stasi officers, secret informants, and ordinary citizens in the districts.

I am also working on a manuscript dealing with the Stasi hunt for Nazi war criminals.

Representative Publications:

  • “‘In our District, the State is Secure:’ The East German Secret Police Response to the Events of 1989 in Perleberg District,” Contemporary European History 14, 2 (2005), pp. 219-244
  • Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany 1945-1955 in the Harvard Cold War Project Book Series (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).
  • “The Prelude to Nationwide Surveillance in East Germany: Stasi Operations and Threat Perceptions, 1945-1953.” Journal of Cold War Studies . Vol. 5, No. 2, Spring 2003, pp. 3-31.
  • “Update on the Stasi archives.” Cold War International History Project Bulletin #12/13. Fall/Winter, 2001, pp. 348-350.
  • “The Revolutionary Potential of GDR Society in the 1950s” in After the GDR: New Perspectives on the Old GDR and the New Länder (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001), pp. 77-96.
  • ” ‘Our elections have nothing to do with democracy:’ East German popular perceptions of West German democracy in the 1950s” in Peter M. Daly, Hans Walter Frischkopf, Trudis E. Goldsmith-Reber, Horst Richter, Images of Germany: Perceptions and Conceptions (New York: Peter Lang, 2000), pp. 101-119.