Solidarity or System Stabilization? Chilean Exile in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) – An Analysis of the Media Coverage of Neues Deutschland

  • David Kristen
  • Georg Sturm


This paper examines the instrumentalization by the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) of granting asylum to Chileans in the GDR after the military coup in 1973. By conducting both quantitative and qualitative content analysis of Neues Deutschland media coverage, the outstanding importance of Chile to the GDR is shown. This study is based on the post-positivist understanding of frames as interpretation schemes that structure and create different social realities. Based on three main repetitive frames: international class struggle, opposition to illegitimate state and antifascist myth, this article argues that the displayed resistance against the dictatorship in Chile and the solidarity with Chilean opposition and exiles aimed to justify and stabilize the GDR state system. The solidarity with Chile and the admission of refugees was stylized in order to underline the moral superiority of the GDR’s ideological framework in the context of Cold War. The high number of related articles and the multitude of analyzed articles support the theoretical assumptions and highlights the instrumentalization of Chilean Exile to the GDR. The findings indicate that the media coverage can be understood as a tool for system stabilization while the solidarity seemed to be existent in a variety of actions.