In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2018. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 143–162.
Fifty years ago, Hermann Weber published his groundbreaking work on the Transformation of German Communism. Weber’s book recounts how the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in its initial years was a democratic organization, open to public discussion and lively internal debates, but over time it became increasingly dependent on the Comintern, and began to model itself as a strictly hierarchical organization with military-style discipline. Weber labelled this process of transformation “Stalinization”.
This contribution traces the scholarly reception of Weber’s book, asking: how did his study influence German and international history? How was it received, criticized and further elaborated? The author demonstrates why the book is still a standard work in communist history fifty years after its publication, as well as investigating the colleagues Weber referred to and how far he separated himself from them – and how he ultimately approached them at a later point.