Communist East Germany and alcoholism

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Under atheistic communism, East Germans spent more on alcohol than any other Europeans.[1]

Communism is a left-wing materialistic and often violently atheistic ideology created to justify the overthrow of Capitalism, replacing free market economics and democracy with a "dictatorship of the proletariat". See also: Militant atheism and State atheism

Founders of 20th century communism and atheism

Karl Marx believed atheism to be a key part of communism. He is often very famously quoted as saying, "Religion ... is the opium of the masses."[2] His full quote was: "Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."[3] He believed it was part of the "superstructure," a false culture built to maintain the status quo. Thus he denigrated Christianity as a fictional religion. Instead, Marx was an avowed atheist, as he wrote, "Communism begins from the outset with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction."[4]

Vladimir Lenin similarly wrote: "A Marxist must be a materialist, i. e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i. e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could."[5]

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Chou En-lai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[6]

Communist East Germany and alcoholism

According to the German news website Deutsche Welle:

Alcohol was the drug of choice in East Germany, where it was consumed at the workbench, in the office and at party headquarters, according to a new book. East Germans spent more on alcohol than any other Europeans.

Whatever the occasion - a holiday, a company party, International Women's Day or the Day of the Republic on October 7 - drinking alcohol to excess was the norm in the GDR. Historian Thomas Kochan gets to the bottom of East Germans' relationship with alcohol in his new book, "The Blue Strangler - Drinking habits in the GDR."[7]

See also


  1. Research reveals widespread alcoholism in communist East Germany
  2. Marx, K. Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (Classic Quotations) (Standard translation from the original German).
  4. Marx, Karl, Private Property and Communism, 1944.
  5. Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich, Proletary, No. 45, May 13 (26), 1909, translated by Andrew Rothstein and Bernard Issacs, quote from [1].
  6. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  7. Research reveals widespread alcoholism in communist East Germany