Hannah Arendt Institute for Research on Totalitarianism (at the TU Dresden)

Hannah Arendt Institute for
Research on Totalitarianism
(at the TU Dresden)
Helmholtzstraße 6
01069 Dresden

Prof. Dr. Uwe Backes
Dr. Clemens Vollnhals



The Hannah Arendt Institute for the research on Totalitarianism at the TU Dresden (HAIT) devotes itself to systematic and comparative research of National Socialism and Communism, which, as ideological dictatorships, decidedly shaped the 20th century, and whose consequences still burden the present and the future, not the least of which in Germany. Comparative perspectives of other fascist and state socialist systems complement the research on the dictatorships in Germany. The critical analysis of political extremism in past and present and the transformation of autocratic systems into free and democratic societies are part of the research of the HAIT.

Cold War Interests: 

The topic of the Cold War in the Institute's research is discussed specifically in connection with the analysis of the history of the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR. A core issue is represented by studies on the initial phase under Soviet occupation, recently discussed in the volume edited by Mike Schmeitzner, Clemens Vollnhals and Francesca Weil "Von Stalingrad zur SBZ. Sachsen 1943-1949" ("From Stalingrad to the Soviet occupation zone. Saxony 1943-1949" [2016]).

Intensive research on the peaceful Revolution in the GDR 1989/90 is included as well. Current projects on the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD), a bloc party, offer new insights into the political system and its mechanisms during the Cold War. The study "GDR film propaganda and the Western German censorship by the Interministerial Monitoring Committee for East/West films" also deserves a mention.