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History Revision- economy and society

GDR Economy
  • Policies shaped by communist ideology
  • Modern,classless and industrial state
  • Pushed policies regardless of opinion
  • Central direction class system rid of to make way for marxist-leninist state
  • Aim: build a new worker’s paradise to bring about radical transformation of post war EG
GDR had disadvantages and SED actions didnt help:
    1. Dismantled industrial plants, still demanded heavy reparations, 25% went to USSR, SED could only change economy with ref to USSR
    2. GDR cut off from Ruhr no coal and steel, limited resources
    3. Loss of labour to wesr caused drain which continued and grew as change spread
    4. State planning led to dislocations and difficulties- collectivization
  • Moved towards collectivization
  • 1945- Land Reforms broke up large land holdings
  • 1952 and 1960- two waves of collectivization
  • 1952- independent farmers and labourors forced to become members of collectives and borrow equipment- 45% of agriculture
  • Low yield detrimental to agriculture
  • Lack of food contributed to 1953 troubles
  • 1959-60 many fled due to hunger
  • 161- rationing introduced
  • 1970s EG self sufficient, stable but citizens had restricted diet.
  • 213 SAGs created to produce goods for USSR, reparations
  • VEBs peoples enterprises, 76% industry nationalized
  • Banking taken into state hands
  • Hos curbed independent retailers
  • Little heed paid to supply and demand, plans were out of date, targets met by lowering standards
  • Shoddy workmanship encouraged through price fixing and encouraging quantity rather than quality
  • Targets met by ignoring consumers and keeping wages permanently low
  • More fled for economic rather than political reasons
  • 1961- Ulbricht forced to build wall= renewed confidence
  • 1963- NES more flexible approach
  • Decentralization, profit incentives, decision making powers and focus on quality rather than quantity
  • NES incompatible with fixed prices
  • Prague Spring 1968- system abandoned in favor of increased centralization
  • Five Year Plans- soviet model, ambiguous, constantly revised to give impression of progress
  • 1950- first 5YP promised double output that of 1936, emphasis on hevay industry, GDR joined COMECON
  • 1951- 76% of trade directed to USSR
  • 1952-annual conference SED declared, GDR ready for ‘building of socialism’
  • Beat capitalism, attempts to raise productivity= June 1953 Uprising
  • Stalin’s death= focus on consumer goods
  • 1956- second 5YP- fail, quietly abandoned in 1959
  • 1959- New Seven Year Plan- ambiguous targets, Ulbricht announced vy 1961, socialist economy would overtake that of the FRG, due to level of production- plan had initial success but targets unrealistic, downturn in 1960= abandoned in 1962
  • GDR growing rate of 3% by 1960, seemed poor compared to FRG’s 8% in the 50s.

History Revision- Chapter 5

SED Rule
  • Ministry of state security set up in 1949= able to hunt down rivals
  • October 1949 govenrment only a temporary coaltion pending elections
  • Elections delayed by soviets in order to give SED time to get stronger
  • Heavy handed terror tactics- forme SPD members targeted too
  • Infiltrted FDGB (a TU) and FDJ
  • Persudaed CDU and LDP to join them in a ‘national front’
  • Only won 25% of vote but other parties such as NDP and Peasants Party had links to SED
  • 14 Bezirke increased centralized control dominated by SED
  • Bourgeoise parties were pushed out
Structure of Government
  • Role of president replaced by Collective Council in 1960
  • PM-not important
  • General Secretary most powerful
  • Volkskammer not democratically elected
  • SED in control of everything- New constituiton 1968
  • 1952 Bezirke introduced
  • Upper House abolished in 1958 ‘false consciousness’
  • Pre-allocated number of seats
  • Bloc parties
  • Williamson- the line of command ran from the top to the bottom.
Leadership of Ulbricht 
  •  Dominated until 1971
  • Big brother USSR watching him
  • Internal disputes
  • Brutal suppression of opposition
  • Purges, 1948, 1951
  • Show trials
  • Political differences between Zaisser and Hernstadt only solved after 1953
  • Further fractionalism dealt with in 1956-1957-8
  • Secure by 1950s with support of Honecker
  • Central control tightened and centralization of power
  • Police increased by 50,000
  • 1950- Ministry of State set up = Stasi established in EG
  • Party and state were fused into one
  • Personal position= widen scope of Central Committee
  • Had final say and was a supreme ‘father figure’- apparatichik
  • 1960s fell ill= Honecker usurping like Macbeth
  • Interests of USSR to keep U in power due to Cold War
  • Ruling class small
  • Wandlitz- ‘height of hypocritical luxury’
  • No life, long hours, heavily guarded, isolation, few privileges.

History Revision- Adenauer's Foreign Policy

1. Less than 10 years to become major player

  • best way for WG was to win support of West and reconcile with France
  • re-integration seen as good by US= against communist expansion
  • Petersberg Agreements Nov 1949– FRG joined council of Europe as associate member
  • right to set up consulates in other countries
  • direct representation on OEEC which gave out Marshall Aid
  • representation on the Board of the International Authority on the Ruhr
2. Emergence of NATO 1949
  • America’s commitment to West Europe far from certain initially
  • Brussels Pact March 1948:-

– EDO formed, aim was to prevent German resurgence as it was seen as threat to security

– However- seemed to be protection against the advance of communism= made US reassess position

American View

  • Western Eu vulnerable to ideological expansion of USSR
  • EDO to European and small to protect WE
  • joining EDO would give US little input on policy making, while committing them to duty of WE protection
  • Atlantic Alliance rather than regional EU ally= increased influence, increased certainty for EU defence against commies.
3. FRG (effects on it)
  • ambiguous position- vanquished nation which was to be kept in check, but WG lay on frontline against advance of Comms= bigger threat
  • 1950 Adenauer begins to argue for Bundeswher because- combat internal revolutions and contribute to european defence
  • outbreak of Korean War June 1950= made suggestion appear more reasonable and urgent since unlike GDR, FRG was still unarmed
4. Stalin’s Note March 1952
  • Proposed neutral united Germany- suprisingly liberal- w/e G’s chose should be accepted unclear whether it was propaganda to destabilize Adenauer’s policies or genuine?
  • If true- A had abandoned reunification
  • Schumacher and SPD argued A feared SPD dominated Germany
  • Stalin would never really risk free political Germany- it would threaten the other eastern satellite states
5. Pleven Plan September 1950
  • French initially unhappy about armed Germany so put foward Pleven Plan which would allow G a limited number of troops but only as a member of a new EDC
  • FAB agreed in principle but Brits unhappy with scheme
6. General Treaty in Bonn May 1952
  • to set up new EDC, which was successfully concluded in 1954
  • it abolished the statute of occupation and recognized full sovereignty of FRG and pledge to work for future reunification
  • all restrictions on German economy and scientific research lifted
  • allowed to set up Bundeshwer for security
  • EDC arrangements collapsed when French refused to ratify treaty in 1954
  • = A desperate to keep german involvement alive= renounced nuclear weapons and to keep WG army limited in size and kept under strict civil control
  • US led alliance= sent message to USSR, highlight US’s determination to reject further expansion of Soviet influence
  • membership of new alliance had to go beyond that of EDO=
  • NATO April 1949-  established as political defence system, but changed into military stance after soviets successfully tested 1st A-bomb
7. Open way for German Rearmament
  • British plan to adopt Germany and Italy into Brussels Pact adopted and EDC renamed Western European Union
  • opened way- proposed Four Power summit to discuss reunification had been delayed following power struggle after Stalin’s death in 1953 and GDR riots
  • French reluctantly gave into pressure and WG finally admitted into NATO May 1955
  • = USSR recognized sovereignty of GDR and created Warsaw Pact with GDR as member
  • brought fears America only in it for their own ends
  • JULY 1956- Basic Law changed to allow compulsory military service- provoked controversy
  • 1961- FRG had 350,000 soldiers and was second largest force in NATO
  • criticism some officers formerly served in Nazi wehrmacht
8. The European Economic Community (EEC)
  • merge WE coal and steel industries= provoked fierce debate. Adenauer accused of selling out by SPD and Schumacher, as ‘chancellor of the allies’
  • Treaty of Paris April 1951– brought about ECSC in 1952 (brits refused to take part) although only industrial agreement it signified a ‘peace treaty between G and F
  • FRG joind IMF 1952
  • Adenauer solidly behind negotiations that led to The Treaty of Rome March 1957, this set up the ECC January 1958
  • ECSC and EURATOM merged into EEC= common policies for agriculture, transport capital and labour and common external tariffs. LT political integration but in ST it was concerned with economic issues
  • Establishment of EEC came at a time when US were looking to relax policies towards USSR. this alarmed Adenauer and he began to pull germany closer to France despite their having different outlooks on foreign policy
  • de Gaulle and A brought closer during 1961 Berlin Crisis
  • January 1953- A gave de Gaulle support veto UK joining EEC
  • Elysee Treaty- a Franco German treaty of friendship
  • Adenauer tried to emphasize to D.Bundestag this didn’t mean a shift in foreign policy and led to fierce debate. Erhard pro US and wanted UK in EEC v Gaullists who feared an integrated Western europe independent of USA
9. The Hallstein Doctrine 1995
  • heavily criticized in 1960s and 1972
  • since 1949 Adenauer had insisted FRG was the ‘sole legitimate state’ in Germany
  • GDR regarded as illegitimate puppet state
  • Ulbricht same stance but for FRG
  • FRG recognized by most UN members and only Soviet bloc recognized GDR
  • 1955- GDR started describing itself as ‘second german state’
  • sept 1955- A seemed to support this view by establishing relations with Soviet Union as part of an agreement for exchanging POWs
  • =anxious to make clear position not changed- recognition of GDR would harden division and raise doubts over A’s claim that western integration hadn’t harmed chances of reunification
  • Sept 1955 in an adress to Bundestag made his position clear repeated threat in Dec 1955= Hallstein Doctrine
  • Oct 1957 FRG broke off from Yugoslavia for forming relations with GDR and Cuba in 1963
  • HD enabled FRG to prevent recognition of GDR
  • However FRG prevented from establishing diplomatic relations with countries such as China who had recognized GDR in Warsaw Pact
  • = Hindered FRG’s freedom of action and made GDR more dependent on USSR
10. Brussels Pact
  • set out terms for co-operation and collective defence
  • regarded as anti communist organisation and eventually became broader part of EU

11. USSR reunification proposal 1953

  • after stalins death Four power Summit, Beria considered selliing GDR to the west provided it became neutral
  • riots 1953 and Beria’s fall delayed Four Power Summit until after FRG joined NATO
  • Geneva 1955- not successful meet as east-west relations were at a low ebb
  • Khrushchev effectively ruled out reunification

History Revision

The war legacy
Germany was left in a state of paralysis
Physical destruction- infrastrucure was ruine. “The greatest heap of rubble the world has ever seen.”
Human cost over 6 million casuaties
Women- raped, war babies, dangerous abortions
Poor housing, lack of food, black market and health issues- water supplies, high infant mortality
Ethnic Germans
William Jones a British officer says “there were displaced persons everywhere”


Creation of the four zones
Two views: break up germany so it wouldnt pose a threat again vs build it up again along democratic lines.
Post Hostilities Planning Sub Committee presented a map with the zones in 1943, 1944 Russians accept it and included shared control of Berlin 
Control Council was set up to coordinate the allies’ occupation policies.
Yalta Conference February 1945 
Established the plan on how to deal with post-war Germany
France would have it’s own zone, wanted to carve out of Russian zone but the Russians refused. France zone created out of British and American zone.
Oder-Neisse border established
Stalin seemed to accept a disarmed and neutral united Germany, sharp contrast to his stance in 1943.
American view now: democratic and economic sound Germany able to participate in the world
France- not present but still pressed for break up of Germany, take away Rhineland and Ruhr.
The Four Ds established, Democratization, Denazification, Decentralization and Demilitarization
Stalin wanted 80% control of all German industry and huge monetary reparations for helping the Germs.
9 June Russians set up SMAD, forced Brit and American troops to withdraw from their zone before the allies were allowed to take control of their own zones. 9 July five Lander set up in Russian zone.


Potsdam Conference August 1945
Reaffirmed disagreements between allies
Situation not helped by France’s no show and replacement of Churchill and Roosevelt
Allies disagreed on reparations, how and when the 20 billion would be paid
Agreed: each zone takes reparations from own, Russia awarded 10% extra from Brits and US, 15% delivery charge for materials from their zones- made zones economically separate and Control Council unworkable.
Four Ds reconfirmed , agreement on Germ becoming united and decentralized eventually but not clear when this would happen = Control Council unable to implement policies= each zone doing their own thing
Nuremeberg Trials 1945-46
Small part of denazification sought to bring justice
First trial lasted 218 days, all pleaded not guilty
most denied knowledge of what had gone on
Fulbrook- the war trials didn’t help with the far bigger question of what to do with and how to transform a society which had been steeped in Nazism
Ineffective as elderly were tried for youth crimes, but



  • Non fratenization law was impractical. June 1945 made less strict towards children and by july it was possible to speak to adults
  • September policy was dropped to include adults
  • In the allies’ eyes Germans were tainted by the past esp this in authority
Russian view:
      • Nazism was a social and economic system that had to be destroyed
Western power’s view:
      • It was an individual and psychological problem linked to the recent past.
Soviet zone:
  1. Major  restructuring of society,  replaced old class distinctions, changed running of industry and business.
  2. Nazism in prominent positions purged
  3. Approximately 500000 Nazism in government removed by 1948
  4. Old textbooks withdrawn
  5. Ex nazis given lowest level rations and pay
  6. Nazism property confiscated and destroyed including 1400 businesses
  7. Swatstikas removed and street names changed
  8. Victims of fascism
  9. 1947 amnesty offered to those willing to denounce nazi past and work to build socialism in EG
  10. 1948-49 restrictions lifted full citisenship rights to non formerwar criminals
  11. Intense re-education programme to promote socialism
  • Medical profession less thoroughly cleansed as there was a need for professionals – compromised Denazification program
  • Denazified where it suited them
In the West
  1. US Directive JCS 1067 of April 1945- more than nomial role in nazi years to be excluded from important positions
  2. ‘No more than nominal’ interpreted differently. US more than UK zone
  3. Not necessary to restructure society- emphasis on indvidual cases and merits
  4. June 1945 Persil Certificates
  5. Fragebogen questionnaires not thorough
  6. Degrees of thoroughness varied
  7. Tribunals set up to investigate ex party members- cumbersome and lenient
  8. 90% exonerated in Brit zone, only just 1/3 in us and 1/2 in french zone
  9. Those deemed followers- Brit 1/10, france under half and us over half
  10. Practical problems led to abandonment by early 1950s- some got jobs back or retired with full pensions
Fulbrook- the effects of the western allies’ policies were to feed the collective amnesia



  • No alternative elite to replace them
  • No immediate re-emergence of nazism- Stuttgart Declaration of Oct 1945 openly renounced nazi past and declared guilt
  • Nazi witchhunt icreased resentment towards occupying powers= Germans saw themselves as victims rather than complicit
  • Education not radically restructured in west, little formal attempt to change attitudes
  • Press tried
  • REVIVAL OF THE ECONOMY= no desire to return to the past.