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Peace Movement

Protest Poster, "Swords to Plowshares"

On loan from the Robert Havemann Society


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The poster

With this protest poster, Peter Rösch (left) and Roland Jahn (right) demonstrated against the deployment of American Pershing II missiles in Mutlangen, western Germany, in 1983. The poster shows the "Swords to Plowshares" logo of the GDR peace movement. The East German peace movement formed in the early 1980s in the circle of the Protestant church. Its goals were to abolish all nuclear weapons in East and West and to bring together the various peace movements in both parts of Germany. The latter is made particularly clear by this poster, which was also used in the West at peace demonstrations.

The actions of the East German peace movement were an affront to the SED regime, which tolerated no public criticism and, according to its interpretation, only the nuclear weapons stationed in the West posed a threat to peace. However, because the demonstrators skillfully played off the symbolism and rhetoric of socialist propaganda against their own regime, they were able to act relatively freely for a long time. The peace movement in the GDR became the most important opposition movement in the country and played an important role in the peaceful revolution of 1989.

© Image: Böhlau Verlag

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The "Swords to Plowshares" Template

Sculpture by Yevgeny Viktorovich Vuchetich

The motif "swords into plowshares" goes back to a biblical quotation from the prophet Micah. There it says:

"For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge among great nations and rebuke many nations in far-off lands. They will turn their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. No nation will lift up a sword against another, and henceforth they will not learn to make war. Each one will dwell under his vine and fig tree, and no one will frighten them.
For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it." Micah 4:1-4 LUT

On December 4, 1959, the Soviet Union donated to the UN a bronze sculpture by Soviet sculptor Yevgeny Viktorovich Vuchetich (pictured), which vividly depicts the biblical motif. The sculpture was placed in the garden of the UN headquarters in New York City. It depicts a muscular hero reforging a sword into a plow. It is designed in the style of Socialist Realism and emphasizes the creative power of the working man. At the same time it appeals to the peace goal of the UN Charter. The sculpture served as a model for the East German painter Herbert Sander in 1980 when he designed the motif for the first peace decade of the Protestant churches in the GDR. In a short time, it became a symbolic image of the East German peace movement that was also taken up by protesters in the West.

© Image: Wikicommons

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Give Peace a Chance (1987)

On loan from the German Games Archive Nuremberg

"The goal of the game is to get players thinking about global interdependence. Lively discussions between young and old occur as the game takes on new meaning when players choose different countries to represent."

Graphic: Unknown
Author: Michelle Robyn Alexander
Publisher: Peace Works, Inc.
release date: 1987
Players: 2-4


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Washington Moscow Anti-Monopoly III (1987)

On loan from the German Games Archive Nuremberg

Each of the players represents a nuclear power. The goal of the game is to maintain world peace and avoid nuclear war. In the center of the game board is an "arms spiral" that represents the arms race. When the "BOMB" arrives at the end of the arms spiral, world peace is over and everyone has lost! However, if all players cooperate so that one reaches the "World Peace" field, then the arms race is over. All players have won and the one who has contributed the most to maintaining world peace is declared the winner.

Graphic: Unknown
Author: Ralph Anspach
Publisher: ASS Altenburger playing cards
release date: 1987
Players: 2-6


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