Writing Human Rights into the History of State Socialism

Imperial & Global Forum

Ned Richardson-Little
Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter

One of a number of East German postage stamps commemorating International Human Rights Year 1968. The hammer and anvil represent the right to work. One of a number of East German postage stamps commemorating International Human Rights Year 1968. The hammer and anvil represent the right to work.

The collapse of the Communist Bloc in 1989-1991 is viewed as one of the great triumphs of the human rights movement. But this ignores how socialist elites of the Eastern Bloc viewed themselves: not as the villains in the story of human rights, but as the champions.

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