Abstract

Cornelius Torp: Kampf der Systeme? Rentenpolitik in Ost- und Westdeutschland im Kalten Krieg, in: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2024. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 59–71.

What was the significance of the Cold War for the development of the welfare state in East and West? Using the specific case of pension policy in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic (FRG), this article examines the often claimed link between regime rivalry and social policy. First, it is shown that regime rivalry played a much greater role in the GDR's pension policy than in that of the Federal Republic. Moreover, the influence of the Cold War was not constant over time. In the 1950s, the comparison with the rival system was a permanent feature of the discourse in both parts of Germany. Afterwards, the relevance of regime rivalry in pension policy steadily declined – in the Federal Republic even faster and more markedly than in the GDR.

At the level of actual institutional development, the pension systems in both German states were remarkably unaffected by regime rivalry. While the Federal Republic opted for a system designed to secure the standard of living in old age, the GDR created a two-tier system in which a politically privileged few were juxtaposed with the vast majority of pensioners who lived in materially precarious conditions.

Über den Autor

Prof. Dr. Cornelius Torp, geb. 1967 in Hamburg. Studium der Geschichte, der Wirtschaftswissenschaften und der Soziologie an der Universität Bielefeld. 2004 Promotion, 2014 Habilitation an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. 2001 Visiting Scholar an der London School of Economics, 2007/08 Jean Monnet Fellow, 2009 bis 2011 Marie Curie Fellow am European University Institute in Florenz, 2011/12 Fellow am Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, 2014 bis 2018 Lehrstuhlvertretungen an der Universität Augsburg, der FU Berlin und der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 2015/16 Hannah-Arendt-Gastprofessor an der University of Toronto. Seit 2019 Professor für Neuere und Neueste Geschichte an der Universität Bremen. Veröffentlichungen u. a.: Solidarität. Vom 19. Jahrhundert bis zur Corona-Krise, Bonn 2021 (mit Dietmar Süß); Gerechtigkeit im Wohlfahrtsstaat. Alter und Alterssicherung in Deutschland und Großbritannien von 1945 bis heute, Göttingen 2015; Die Herausforderung der Globalisierung. Wirtschaft und Politik in Deutschland 1860–1914, Göttingen 2005 (engl. 2014).

Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung