This article gives the Italian reader an elaborate introduction into the German historiographical as well as in the political and intellectual debate over the Gdr from its foundation in 1949 until today. The section dealing with the studies published in the Gdr is deliberately restrained. Equally underexposed is the one dealing with works that appeared in West Germany before reunification, which were, despite several valuable exceptions, inevitably influenced by ideological bias and pressure. The collapse of the communist regimes and the (re)opening of the archives spurred an exponential rise of publications on the Gdr in the last twenty years. This study reflects on the most influential and illustrates the newest research trend, which focuses predominantly on two main topics. As for the interior, a major focus on the relationship between the State-Party and the society is noticeable, with particular regard to the dynamics underpinning the renewal and the "construction of consensus"; as for the external relations, a resurgence of comparative studies, with the objective to investigate the political and propagandistic activity of the Sed in a transnational context, by also accounting for its ties to West European communist parties.
Keywords: Gdr, West Germany, society, politics, historiographical debate, research prospects