German Democratic republic
The German Democratic republic ( GDR , or GDR in German for Deutsche Demokratische Republik ; also called East Germany ) is an old European State which existed October 7th 1949 with the October 3rd 1990. Exit of the sector of occupation reserved for the Soviet troops at the time of the territorial division carried out at the end of the Second world war, it was integrated into the West Germany at the time of the German Réunification, the October 3rd 1990.
GeographyThe territory of GDR corresponded to the east of Germany in its borders of 1919, but without the territories in the east of the rivers Oder and Neisse, annexed to the Poland.
The Länder of Mecklembourg-Poméranie Western, Brandebourg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringe, Saxony and East Berlin were integrated into the the Federal Republic of Germany at the time of the reunification ( Wiedervereinigung ), on October 3rd, 1990. Sometimes one indicates them under the term of " new States fédéraux" ( Neue Bundesländer ).
- Capital: East Berlin
- Political regime: Socialist mode (people's democracy)
- Surface: 108.178 km ².
- Population: 16,35 million inhabitants (1990)
- Density: 151 inhabitants per km ² (1990)
- national Festival: October 7th
- National anthem: Auferstanden aus Ruinen
- Emblems (see illustrations): The hammer, the compass and the sheaves of corn point out one of designations of GDR, the " fatherland of the workmen and the peasants ( Arbeiter- und Bauernstaat ) "
- administrative Division:
- Of 1949 has 1964: Deutsche Mark (not to confuse with the Deutsche Mark of the West Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, FRG).
- Of 1964 to 1967: Mark der Deutschen Notenbank.
- Of 1967 to 1990: Mark DER GDR, " Ostmark"
- After July 1st 1990 (monetary union): Deutsche Mark (of FRG).
- Armed: Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) part of manpower was integrated in the Bundeswehr (after the reunification) when they presented pledges of respect of the constitution of the FRG. A kind of " décommunisation" (by analogy with the Denazification) then took place. The officers highest graded were placed in retirement of office. Part of the armament was sold or given to the interested countries (Eastern European country, Proche the East etc). The remainder rejected or occidentalized (put at standards NATO) and integrated in the Bundeswehr (e.g. Mig-29).
A state-controlled economy
In 1945, Soviet exproprient in their zone of occupation the land great landowners (the Junkers ) having more than 100 ha, the Nazis and the war criminals, in order to redistribute the ground with the peasants. Those will keep their documents of title obtained following this land reform, and between 1952 and 1960, they will gather in co-operatives (Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaft, LPG) sometimes cash several thousands of hectares.
As for the factories which were not destroyed by the war, more than one believes it (the combined bombardments, concentrated on the cities, saved broad sides of the industrial potential of Reich) in great number dismounted and are rebuilt in Soviet Union as compensation. The Soviet economy, already underdeveloped before war, is almost bloodless in 1945 and misses of all. The overcome Nazi Germany, cut up, nevertheless was strewn, in the middle of the ruins, of the remainders of the machine of war which had held head with the whole world: factories damaged but modern, locomotive, boats, machine tools, shipyards, advanced technology industries, steel-works, etc repairs will thus be done in kind.
The years pass, and GDR reappears with difficulty of its ruins, slowed down by this industrial plundering.
New the " Socialist state of the workmen and paysans" start rather badly. A persistent mediocrity of the standard of living, the massive increase of the objectives of work and a faulty operation of the infrastructures extremely slowly given in state, will lead to the aggravation of the working class: it will be the revolt of the June 17th, 1953, brutally repressed at the same time by the Soviet troops and the Volkspolizei , movement largely ascribable with the incapacity of the mode to start again the economy. To all these difficulties a massive escape of the brains and labor is added towards the FRG, which one could then gain by travelling by the subway (" simply; to vote with its pieds"). It is thus, between 1949 and 1961, more than three million refugees who will flee towards the West Germany, whose prosperity already on the spot left the saving in war which seems to reign in GDR. The mode, as opposed to what one could think, hesitated as for the means of clogging this hemorrhage, Stalin having even a time planned to give up the incipient GDR, whose perenniality then did not go from oneself. One decided finally with the construction of a Iron curtain, then famous " Berlin Wall " August 13rd, 1961, on the model of the protected ends of the penal establishment, intended for " to protect the socialisme". One consequently opens fire on any person who tries to cross nettings and the barbed wires. This inviolable border will divide Germany during almost thirty years. The control which the mode exerts on the population falls from now on on the “Ministerium für Staatssicherheit”, the “Stasi” (Safety of the State) copied on the Soviet NKVD, but moreover reorganized by unquestionable old of the Gestapo disaster: track opinions not-in conformity, routine inspection of the means of communication, espionage of the suspects day and night, etc
GDR becomes nevertheless the second economic power of the Eastern bloc, after the the USSR: like the Bohemian one (integrated into Czechoslovakia), Germany was in 1939 good more advanced than agrarian countries and then postponed like Romania or Poland. GDR counts to very good engineers, of very good chemists, excellent garage hands and a rather complete industrial fabric.
In accordance with the distributions Socialist of the tasks, the new state specializes in the extraction of the Lignite, optics (cameras in particular, of which in particular the " part; est" famous establishments Carl Zeiss located at Jena), chemistry (Bitterfeld). It would have thus reached the 8th world rank in term of GNP in the years 1970, but this figure can be questioned since that brought it to the level of Canada, making this figure not very realistic.
However the standard of living of the Easts Germany was well one of best Soviet block, just behind Hungary reformist of Janos Kadar. The HLM, not more lugubrious than those of our suburbs, are well heated, the shortfall, limited, is bearable. The center of East Berlin, without having the insolente richness of the West, does not give the impression of misery which one can see, for example, in Bucharest: circulation is relatively dense, the stores, as opposed to what one sees in Poland, are not completely empty. But if, after one undeniable period of growth, GDR makes illusion with the ell of the Comecon, the failure of socialist planning will start soon the crisis which will lead to the fall of the system: the productive apparatus viellissant, the bureaucracy, the wasting, the technological delay growing on the West will result in same the problems that in the other Eastern European countries: chronic shortage of consumer goods, queues in front of the stores, ration coupons, infrastructures decayed, currency with artificial foreign exchange rate, etc Although constant with end of arm by massive loans of FRG, the " Republic démocratique" , as the remainder of the socialist block, is, at the end of the Eighties, in bankruptcy.
The famous car Trabant (called by derision Rennpappe = paperboard of race), illustrates it under development: conceived to make part with the Ladybird, in a country which before 1939 manufactured very beautiful cars, this vehicle been driven by a two-stroke engine knew in forty years only minor changes and remained beside the Wartburg the only car model in GDR. Moreover the production was insufficient and the order subjected to deadline from 10 to 20 years, sometimes allotted " with the mérite" !
At the time of the reunification, whereas the Ossis are thrown literally on the supermarkets of the West, the world discovers the back of the decoration posted by GDR during 40 years: a polluted country, dwellings and infrastructures to be entirely remade, an obsolete industry, in delay of several decades on that of the West. Today still, the rehabilitation of ex-GDR east far from being finished.
As the majority of its counterparts of the Eastern bloc, the mode of GDR use the sport as arms with propaganda and national identity. The State develops tentacular structures of detection and formation of the young talents in all the disciplines and particularly in the sports " olympiques" (athletics, swimming), not hesitating systematically to practice doping to take down medals and titles. The image of the East-German swimmers to the shoulders of haltérophiles and the voice engraves (" They are here to swim, not to sing! " their trainer answered a remark of a western journalist), personified by Kornelia Ender with the Olympic Games of 1976, is still in all the memories. The East-German sport can be however enorgueillir of some authentic exploits. In athletics, for example, the world records of the 400 m ladies (47,60) established by Marita Koch in 1985 hold still to date. Especially, a whole generation of Germans of a certain age has the memory of the history victory of GDR over FRG (1-0, goal of Jürgen Sparwasser) with Hamburg, on June 22nd, 1974, with the first tower of the Football world cup, at the time of the only meeting which ever took place between the two German national teams.
After 1990The inhabitants of the old GDR often had evil to adapt to the standard of living of FRG because of the difference of the wages and the prices between the two old Germany. Certain old East-German have the nostalgia of the time when the socialist State ensured the culture and the safety of the people, even if it were not according to the Western criteria of comfort. This Eastern nostalgia is called in Germany the Ostalgie (word game between Ost - is and Nostalgie ). The film Good bye, Lenin! is an illustration of this nostalgia. Ex-Germany of the East suffers especially from an important unemployment (19,4% in Saxony, for example), decayed residences not yet renovated (p. e.g. large bars of buildings), of an exodus of the populations towards the Länder of the West (the population fell to 13,8 million inhabitants in 2002), and of social disturbances such as the emergence of the néo-Nazis and boneheads (skinheads Nazis). Certain districts become true zones of not-right (that the néo-Nazis call " national territory libéré"). This movement receives sometimes the comprehension of certain inhabitants or police officers. Beside this dark table, there is also important progress as the establishment of many automobile factories in the East, in particular in Saxony. Thus, luxurious Volkswagen Phaeton is produced in Dresden in a factory built partly out of glass, with the futuristic design. In the same way, BMW also built a new factory with Leipzig.
List presidents of GDR
10/11/1949 - 9/7/1960 Wilhelm Pieck
Presidents of the Council of State of GDR
07/09-1960- 8/1/1973: Walter Ulbricht
- 10/3/1973 - 10/29/1976: Willi Stoph
- 10/29/1976 - 23/10-1989: Erich Honecker
- 10/24/1989 - 12/7/1989: Egon Krenz
- 12/7/1989 - 3/18/1990: Manfred Gerlach
- 3/18/1990 - 10/3/1990: Lothar de Maizière (until the German Reunification the 10/3/1990).
Symbols and national festival
national Festival: Tag der Republik (day of the Republic) on October 7th.
- National anthem: Auferstanden aus Ruinen .
Two steps of Alexanderplatz, a museum makes it possible to impregnate atmosphere of this life of the every day. It is an interactive museum where one can touch authentic objects coming from the old GDR: one can even settle with the ordering of a " Trabi" and to leave for a virtual voyage through East Berlin.
- Cinema: to see History of the German cinema
- Theater: to see…
- Literature: to see Germanic Literature
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