John Peet (1915–88)

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John Peet (1915 - 29 June 1988 in East-Berlin) was a British journalist who defected to East Germany in 1950.

Biography[edit]

Peet fought in the Spanish Civil War with the International Brigade, worked for Reuters in Palestine and covered the Nuremberg trials after World War II. After three years as a reporter in Berlin, Peet surfaced in East Germany in 1950, saying he had left the West because of West German rearmament.[1]

From 1952 to 1975, Peet produced the Democratic German Report, a newsletter targeting the left-of-centre public opinion in the United Kingdom. His positive portrayal of the GDR was among the GDR's most believable and powerful propaganda in Britain. He spent the last ten years of his life translating Marx and Engels into English. Many East Germans saw Peet as the archetypical Englishman, and he played this character in several East German films. In his posthumously published memoirs, Peet writes about his defection stating he "could no longer serve the Anglo-American warmongers ...". He also writes about his links to Soviet intelligence. Peet was married three times and had two children.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Berger, Stefan; Norman Laporte (2004). "John Peet (1915–1988): An Englishman in the GDR". Journal of the Historical Association (Wiley InterScience). "Report (DGR), which he edited between 1952 and 1975, Peet had considerable influence among left-of-centre public opinion in Britain. His positive portrayal of the GDR was among the GDR's most believable and powerful propaganda in Britain. ..." 
  2. ^ Peet, John (1989). The long engagement. Memoirs of a Cold War Legend. Fourth Estate. ISBN 0-947795-64-2.