GDR : How was the Government structured?

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  • GDR : How was the Government structured?
    • How did Ulbricht keep control?
      • The Stasi grew from 1100 to 8800 between 1950-52. They could arrest anyone who appeared to threaten the GDR. Ulbricht also used it to settle personal scores, especially against those who had supported the Nazis.
      • He did not organize show trails like other communist countries; he wanted his enemies executed in secret, as the GDR was closer to the West.
      • The SED controlled who got what job and they promoted those from the working classes. This bound many people to the communist system.
      • Only when stalin saw there was no hope of reunification did he give thego ahead for the GDR to be communist – 8 th August 1950. Ulbricht statedthe role of the state was to destroy any evidence of capitalism.
    • The 1949 Constitution founded a federal republic with a Peoples Chamber
      • VOLKSKAMMER: supreme authority within the GDR, members were elected by secret ballot and proportional representation. It was led by the Minister-President.
      • LANDERKAMMER: legislative body which represented the five states of the GDR. They could veto the VOLKSKAMMER but then the volkskammer could always override this.
      • This seems democratic however there were two issues ARTICLE 6 & 8: these gave the authorities the power to act ruthlessly as they chose to curb undesirable behaviour and enabled the GDR to be run as a dictatorship. They also controlled people by;
      • The Peoples Police KVP stood at 50,000 strong
      • The Ministry of State Security – the Stasi was set up in 1950 thereduties were vague but they reported to the Politburo; detect all internalopposition to the state, provide security for political institutions.
      • The GDR Supreme court was allowed to enact Article 6
    • Election
      • The first election was organized as a blueprint for future elections. A singlelist of candidates was drawn up (non SED members were excluded); voters had toaccept or reject them all.
      • The turn out was 87,4% and 99.7% accepted the list. Elections were rigged and people were bribed. The SED won the majority of the seats and took all-important roles in the committee.
      • The SED dominated the GDR with the VOLKSKAMMER simply rubber-stamping itsproposals. The SECRETARY-GENERAL of the SED, Ulbricht, was effectively ruler ofthe GDR.


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