Developments in East and West Germany

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Developments in the Eastern zone

Democratisation     

  • The leaders at potsdam agreed that democratisation would be one way to denazify the state
  • Initially it appeared as though SMAD were promoting a form of demoracy
  • The KPD faced a difficult task in gaining support because of its close links to the USSR, but also because of the ****** and looting that had come with the soviet army's occupation
  • The SPD was by far largest party, this led in intense pressure on the SPD to join the KPD and form the SED
  • The merger created a mas party with the political power base which would smooth the implementation of social and economic changes
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Developments in the Eastern zone 2

Influencing the popuation

  • Young people were strongly urged to become members of the Communist Free German Youth.
  • The SED saw young people as vital to the development of support for the new regime -  the FDJ was initially headed by Erich Honecker. All other youth organisations were banned.
  • Many germans iin the Eastern zone soon got the impression that the SED was a tool for the USSR rather than a political party.
  • Economic reforms were undertaken on a socialist principle.
  • Huge changes occured in Education the aims were:                     -To remove the aspects which had nurtured Nazism                        -Creaing a more equal society                                                -Implant socialist values.
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Developments in Western zones

Political parties

  • The SPD under Schumacher and the KPD quicky re-established themselves but were opposed to any merger.
  • The various Christian and Conservative parties jouined together to form the CDU led by Konrad Adenauer. This merger between Catholics and Protestants was a deliberate attempt to work together.
  • The main political divide between the two major political parties in the West was their different views omn on the fate of the Western zones and how far to ally with the Western Allies.
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Developments in the Western zones 2

  • The Truman Doctrine stated that the USA was firmly intent on containing communism throughout the world.
  • The USA announced the Marshall Plan in the summer of 1947.
  • It was partly a response to the setting up of COMINFORM by Stalin:  - Cominform was set up to organise communist infiltration and intelligence gathering in non-communist states.
  • The Marshall plan aimed to prevent the spread of communism by reviving the European economy.
  • Stalin strictly forbade any Eastern state to accecpt Marshall aid.
  • The degree of popular support fell for communist parties fell dramatically in the areas receiving Marshall Aid.
  • Politically, the Marshall plan had the effect of increasing the division between the East and Western zones.
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Developments in the Western zones 3

  • Bizonia - In Jan 1947 the British and the USA merged their zones to create Biszonia in order to administer aspects of the economy more efficiently.
  • The USSR argued that Bizonia was a breach in the agreements made at the Potsdam conference.
  • Britain and the USA feared that Stalin's proposal for a united Germany would become entirely socialist.
  • Currency Reform - In June 1948 the Deutschmark was introduced into the three Western zones, this shows closer co-operation.
  • The previous currency had lost alomost all of its value and it had been replaced with bartering for goods.
  • The currency reform increased the economic divergence between East and West Germany.
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Developments in the Western zones 4

The Berlin Blockade

  • The Soviets responded to currency reform in the Western zones with the Berlin blockade from June 1948-May 1949
  • This imposed a blockade of all land and water routes bewteen the Western zones and West Berlin.
  • The full blockade meant that the entire civillian population now had to be supplied by air.
  • Stalins aim for the blockade was to force the Western Allies to give up their zones in Berlin. West Berlin would then join East Berlin as one city under Soviet control.
  • At it's height, an aircraft was landing with food and fuel supplies at Tempelhof Airport every 90 seconds.
  • The blockade amde the division of Germany and the creation of a united western zone almost inevitable. 
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