KQ3 Revision Notes: To what extent and in what ways did communism transform the GDR?

Revision Notes on Key Question 3 of the course Dictatorship and Democracy in Germany 1933-63

Specifically for AS OCR History A Unit F964 Option B

Study Topic 4: Dictatorship and Democracy in Germany 1933–63

[Sepcification for my course on pg 63 of:http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/kd/ocr_9582_kd_gce_spec.pdf]

Thanks to this member whose notes helped me:http://getrevising.co.uk/resources/ocr_germany_1933_63_kq_3

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  • Created by: Flo
  • Created on: 07-04-11 18:08

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To what extent and in what ways did
communism transform the GDR?
Potsdam and the Soviet Zone

The Big Three 1945
Stalin: Truman: Churchill:
Wanted reparations and security Roosevelt had died. Least trusting of Stalin.
from Germany. Didn't trust Stalin. Suspicious of Stalin's promises for
Needed reparations to rebuild democratic…

Page 2

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NDASP illegal after Potsdam ­ most members threw Different approach than the West.
away their membership cards ­ how could former Believed Capitalism had led to Nazism ­ new
Nazis be identified and what should be done about socio-economic conditions would solve the problem.
them. Executed a number of war…

Page 3

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than the No effective currencies. Other owners had emigrated west or were forced to leave.
Western Zones. Soviet pursuit of
reparations and
Land Reform:
destruction of capitalist
Land redistributed.
power structures
Two thirds of land was redistributed to smallholders,
exacerbated the
refugees and expellees.
problems.
Inefficient and unproductive ­ decided…

Page 4

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`Democratic Centralism' ­ decisions being passed down and implemented below ­ should be influenced as
much as possible by the Communist party.

Transformation of the SED:
Strict hierarchal structures imposed ­ no democratic decision making in the party.
Decisions made by Politbureau (executive body in the party) and the secretariat.…

Page 5

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Basic foods only population but still went Soviet intervention ­ Stasi's power and size
obtained on ration ahead with the rise in state of emergency increased ­ authority to
cards. the work `norms'. declared ­ troops and suppress any opposition.
Consumer goods tanks were sent to quash Some concessions ­…

Page 6

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Larger farmers alienated.

1953 13% land not farmed ­ high migration to the west.
Uprising and de-Stalinisation ­ less collectivisation ­ most GDR agriculture wasn't collectivised.

1960 Collectivisation pushed ­ independent farmers denied access to collective machinery and high targets
were set.
SED members were sent to villages to convince…

Page 7

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FDGB was the largest organisation of the SED ­ all members were SED members
­ `dictatorship over the proletariat', not `dictatorship of the proletariat'.
Did help the GDR become more egalitarian than the FRG ­ wealth and authority
of landed classes diminished and working and middle classes had more equal…

Page 8

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FDJ ad a fixed number of seats in the Volkskammer ­ helped secure position of
SED.
1950 membership of over 3m although not compulsory ­ fear of discrimination
by universities/employers.
Marching/singing, oath of allegiance, initiation ceremony ­ resembled the HJ.
Couldn't prevent growing western influence on youth through the media…

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Second wave of collectivisation ­ brutally enforced ­ food produce declined and rationing
reintroduced.



The Berlin Wall (1961)
Early Khrushchev met with Kennedy.
Summer Meeting went badly ­ threatened war unless there was a settlement over Berlin.
Kennedy stressed he would guarantee the status of West Berlin and free access…

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