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stasi - Jon Coleman History 123C The File Timothy Garton...

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Jon Coleman 7/25/2011 History 123C The File Timothy Garton Ash’s The File is the personal story of the author’s time spent abroad in Cold War Europe. An English student studying in the divided city of Berlin in the early 1980’s, Ash thought that his life was similar to countless other students, certainly nothing spectacular. However, after the fall of communism in Eastern Germany, countless intelligence files and documents were declassified showing that the East German security apparatus had been keeping a file on Ash. The East German Stasi in particular kept tabs on Ash, even going as far as to describe dates he had been on and what type of clothes he was wearing 1 . Looking at the discovery of this file out of retrospect can tell us much about the situation in East Germany, and of Cold War tensions as a whole. For one thing, the fact that the Stasi felt the need to track a poor student such as Ash represents a certain paranoia about them. Ash had engaged in very little activity to warrant such attention from the intelligence community. Thus, his file symbolizes the idea that East German society was a society under constant surveillance by government security forces.
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