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East Germany

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**Historical Background and Formation**:
– Formed on October 7, 1949, and reunified with West Germany on October 3, 1990
– Yalta Conference led to the division of Nazi Germany into occupation zones
– Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) formed in 1946 from the merger of KPD and SPD
– GDR established in East Germany in October 1949 solidifying the division of Germany
– Allied Control Council administered joint military occupation in Germany after WWII

**Political System and Governance**:
– Ruled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) from 1949 to 1989
– SED government nationalized infrastructure and industrial plants in East Germany
– Anti-Fascist National Front of the German Democratic Republic (NF) was an alliance in East Germany
– First Secretary of the SED, Walter Ulbricht, held political power in East Germany from 1950
– East Germany denounced West Germany’s failures in denazification

**Economic Challenges and Policies**:
– Centrally planned and state-owned economy
– Despite paying war reparations to the Soviets, East Germany became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc
– Emigration of well-educated young people to the West weakened the state economically
– Economic policies led to militarization of society and political orientation of education and media
– War reparations to Soviets severely weakened the East German economy

**Geopolitical Relations and International Recognition**:
– East Germany initially claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Germany
– West Germany viewed GDR as a Soviet puppet-state until the 1970s
– Basic Treaty of 1972 confirmed both Germanies as independent sovereign states
– Two Germanies mutually recognized each other’s capability to represent their populations in international bodies
– Travel between GDR and Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary became visa-free in 1972

**Transition to Reunification and Post-GDR Era**:
– Peaceful protests in 1989 led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual reunification with West Germany
– Die Wende (German reunification) marked by opening of borders and mass exodus to the West
– State Anti-Communism in the FRG post-reunification
– Historical interpretations and instrumentalization of memory in the GDR
– Last communist leader, Egon Krenz, and other leaders were later prosecuted for offenses committed during the GDR’s existence

East Germany (Wikipedia)

East Germany (German: Ostdeutschland, pronounced [ˈɔstˌdɔʏtʃlant] ), officially known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR; Deutsche Demokratische Republik, pronounced [ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʁaːtɪʃə ʁepuˈbliːk] , DDR), was a country in Central Europe from its formation on 7 October 1949 until its reunification with West Germany on 3 October 1990. Until 1989, it was generally viewed as a communist state and described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state". The economy of this country was centrally planned and state-owned. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the Soviets, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc.

German Democratic Republic
Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German)
Flag of East Germany
Emblem (1955–1990) of East Germany
Motto: "Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt Euch!"
Anthem: "Auferstanden aus Ruinen"
("Risen from Ruins")
Territory of East Germany (green) in 1957
Territory of East Germany (green) in 1957
and largest city
East Berlin
52°31′N 13°24′E / 52.517°N 13.400°E / 52.517; 13.400
Official languagesGerman
Sorbian (in parts of Bezirk Dresden and Bezirk Cottbus)
See Religion in East Germany
General Secretary 
• 1946–1950
Wilhelm Pieck and Otto Grotewohl
• 1950–1971
Walter Ulbricht
• 1971–1989
Erich Honecker
• 1989
Egon Krenz
Head of State 
• 1949–1960 (first)
Wilhelm Pieck
• 1990 (last)
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl
Head of Government 
• 1949–1964 (first)
Otto Grotewohl
• 1990 (last)
Lothar de Maizière
Historical eraCold War
7 October 1949
16 June 1953
14 May 1955
4 June 1961
• Basic Treaty with the FRG
21 December 1972
• Admitted to the UN
18 September 1973
13 October 1989
9 November 1989
12 September 1990
3 October 1990
• Total
108,875 km2 (42,037 sq mi)
• 1950
• 1970
• 1990
• Density
149/km2 (385.9/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)1989 estimate
• Total
$525.29 billion
• Per capita
HDI (1990 formula)0.953
very high
  • East German mark (1949–1990), officially named:
    • Deutsche Mark (1949–1964)
    • Mark der Deutschen Notenbank (1964–1967)
    • Mark der DDR (1967–1990)
  • Deutsche Mark (from 1 July 1990)
Time zone(UTC+1)
Driving sideright
Calling code+37
Internet TLD.dd
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Soviet occupation zone in Germany
Federal Republic of Germany
Today part ofGermany
The initial Flag of East Germany (GDR) adopted in 1949 was identical to that of West Germany (FRG). In 1959, government of this country issued a new version of the flag bearing the national emblem, serving to distinguish East from West.

Before its establishment, the country's territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces with the autonomy of the native communists following the Berlin Declaration abolishing German sovereignty in World War II. The Potsdam Agreement established the Soviet-occupied zone, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. It was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. The GDR was dominated by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), a communist party, from 1949 to 1989, before being democratized and liberalized under the impact of the Revolutions of 1989 against the communist states, facilitating East Germany's unification with the West. Unlike West Germany, the SED did not see its state as the successor of the German Reich (1871–1945) and abolished the goal of unification in the constitution (1974). The SED-ruled GDR was often described as a Soviet satellite state; historians described it as an authoritarian regime.

Geographically, the GDR bordered the Baltic Sea to the north, Poland to the east, Czechoslovakia to the southeast, and West Germany to the southwest and west. Internally, the GDR also bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin, known as East Berlin, which was also administered as the country's de facto capital. It also bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom, and France known collectively as West Berlin (de facto part of the FRG). Emigration to the West was a significant problem as many emigrants were well-educated young people; such emigration weakened the state economically. In response, the GDR government fortified its inner German border and later built the Berlin Wall in 1961. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps such as landmines.

In 1989, numerous social, economic, and political forces in the GDR and abroad, one of the most notable being peaceful protests starting in the city of Leipzig, led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalization. The following year, a free and fair election was held in the country, and international negotiations between four occupation Allied countries and two German countries led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty to replace the Potsdam Agreement on the status and border of future-reunited Germany. The GDR ceased to exist when its five states ("Länder") joined the Federal Republic of Germany under Article 23 of the Basic Law, and its East Berlin was also united with West Berlin into a single city of the FRG, on 3 October 1990. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were later prosecuted for offenses committed during the GDR's times.

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