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The Communist dictum that universities be purged of "bourgeois elements" was accomplished most fully in East Germany, where more and more students came from worker and peasant backgrounds. But the Polish Party kept potentially disloyal professors on the job in the futile hope that they would train a new intelligentsia, and Czech stalinists failed to make worker and peasant students a majority at Czech universities.
Connelly accounts for these differences by exploring the prestalinist heritage of these countries, and particularly their experiences in World War II. The failure of Polish and Czech leaders to transform their universities became particularly evident during the crises of 1968 and 1989, when university students spearheaded reform movements. In East Germany, by contrast, universities remained true to the state to the end, and students were notably absent from the revolution of 1989.