As West Germany was reorganised and gained independence from its occupiers, the German Democratic Republic was established in East Germany in 1949. The creation of the two states solidified the 1945 division of Germany.  On 10 March 1952, (in what would become known as the " Stalin Note ") Stalin put forth a proposal to reunify Germany with a policy of neutrality, with no conditions on economic policies and with guarantees for "the rights of man and basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, press, religious persuasion, political conviction, and assembly" and free activity of democratic parties and organizations.  This was turned down; reunification was not a priority for the leadership of West Germany, and the NATO powers declined the proposal, asserting that Germany should be able to join NATO and that such a negotiation with the Soviet Union would be seen as a capitulation. There have been several debates about whether a real chance for reunification had been missed in 1952.
Newer scholarship on the arts under socialism seeks to re-appropriate the field by bringing contemporary interests and research questions to bear upon it. Such work is yielding more nuanced and in-depth insights into how the arts functioned in socialist society, which highlight commonalities as well as differences between socialist and capitalist modernity. Because the different disciplines we engage exhibit significant interpretive differences—and the experience of East German artists working in different media was also quite varied—the Institute expects to break new ground by challenging conventional assumptions about periodization and socialist ideology and cultural policies.