Divided Germany:The Federal Republic and the DDR 1949-63



  • The new constitution for West Germany 
  • The aim was to create a strong and stable democracy that could not be overthrown
  • When the FRG was founded in May 1949 the constitution was recognised as the basic law
  • The Law placed particular emphasis on human and civil rights
  • The rights of this constitution were inalienable, in contrast to the rights of the weimar constitution
  • This prevented the chance at events repeating themselves as the terms could not be overthrown or removed.
  • Although heavily influenced by the weimar constitutions the priniciples underlining the terms were democracy, republicanism, social responsiblilty and federalism
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  • A mass internment of former Nazis with political responsibilities and leadership roles 
  • Removing all former Nazis from positions in society was inpractical and so they dealt with them on a case by case basis
  • Many people played down there Nazi past as the penalties were often harsh
  • When German authorities took over the role many escaped punishment because they were useful in an anti-communist role
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  • By 1949 politic was dominated by two major parties the CDU and the SPD however the FDP held the balance of power
  • The FDP was formed from a merger between the liberal parties
  • The CDU was a conservative christian party previously part of the Catholic centre party, they supported capitalism, the welfare state
  • The SPD were social democrats who were supported by the workers, they wanted social justice with individual freedom, they were formed from the Marxist and social class movement
  • From 1949 to 1963 Conrad Adenauer was chancellor of germany, during this period elections were little more than plebiscites in favour of the government.
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  • Food production in 1947 was only 51% of that in 1938
  • Allies prevented the rebuilding of the German economy and dismantled the german steel industry, $10 million in reperations also damaged german economy
  • In the 1950s there was what is described as an economic miracle
  • Industrial production rose by 79.8% between 1951 and 1959
  • This resulted in an increase in wages, income went up 400% between 1949 and 1963
  • Unemployment fell from 8.1% in 1950 to 0.5% by 1965
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1.)Economic policies such as...

  • Removing price controls to allow competition between businesses
  • Removing control over wages to create fewer strikes
  • Currency reform to end inflation
  • Reducing taxes so those with higher incomes had more money to spend on goods

2.) The west had not suffered as much damage in the war as expected and so did not have as much money taken from them in reperations as the East. This encouraged a work ethic that could keep up with the demands of the occupying forces

3.) Marshall Aid provided $2 billion by October 1954 however by 1949 it was provided less than 5 per cent of german national income this plus the fact they still had reperation and restitution payments meant it didnt have a great impact

4.)The Korean war provided demands for goods the Ruhr could provide, other nations were unable to supply war materials and so exports from west germany doubled.

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  • The aim of Adenauers foreign policy was intergration with the rest of west europe

1.) Economic integration- Made west germany indipensable to west europe, WG joined the OEEC and recived marshall aid, They joined the European coal and steel industry which removed west german industry from foreign control, they signed the treaty of rome and joined EURATOM a sign of increased trust and Adenauers success

2.) Political integration- Adenauer joined the Council of europe, he accepted the division of germany and renounced any independant initiative for west germany, which reassured france

3.) Military integration- West Germany joined NATO and was asked to contribute forces to the Korean war, a sign of growing trust, Adenauer achieved german rearmament through NATO and west germany agreed not to gain reunification by force

4.) Relaltions with the USSR- West Germanys developments concerned Stalin, Adenauer ignored any advances from Russia and the uprising in East Berlin, he did not recognise east germany as a seperate state and reufused to have diplomatic relations with countries that did

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  • Germany's reputation in west europe was rebuilt
  • West germany was being treated as equal unlike post 1919
  • West germany achieved reapprochment with france 
  • West germany joined OEEC and NATO e.t.c


  • Adenauer was never able to reconcile with the USSR
  • The remilitarisation of german society and the creation of the german army created fear at home
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  • Cities damaged and properties lost, women forced back into the home and away from work
  • Refugees from the east were around 12-13 million
  • Adenauer was able to win support through the 1952 equalisation of burden act


  • Adenauer had created an affluent society however there was an unequal distribution of wealth 
  • 430,000 houses were built by 1952 and wages rose by 400% by 1963
  • There was little social change, the old elite still dominated
  • There was more support for right winged parties in local areas and unrest from the left


  • De-Nazification was meaningless, former nazi civil servants regained their jobs
  • 40-80% of civil servants were ex-nazis, nazis continued to work in the judiciary system and univesities
  • Even adenauer employed a former nazi as his personal adviser
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  • Decline started with his decision not to run for president in 1959, this damaged his reputation and image
  • His postition was further weakened by his decision to intervene with the Berlin Wall
  • Der Spiegal criticised the readiness of German defence forces and so the government raided its office and arresting some of its journalists 
  • This made it seemed like the government was acting like a dicatatorship and this led to Adenauer's resignation as president
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  • The german democratic republic was created from the soviet zone in October 1949 with a new constitution
  • It declared the state temporary and awaiting reunification
  • The parliment was not democratically elected eventhough it was said to represent the people
  • The president was Wilhelm Pieck and the prime mininster was Otto Grotewohl
  • Power still remained to the communist party's general secretary Ulbricht, the politburo and local party units
  • A state within a state was created with the creation of the stasi in the 1950s
  • Lander were abolished and replaced with smaller units that were easier to control
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  • June 16th workers on the Stalinallee called a general strike demanding an end to more working hours for no pay
  • Workers demanded the removal of Ulbricht and reunification with the west 
  • Ulbricht sent soviet troops to crush the unrest but although the strikers dispersed, unrest continued


  • A culmination of long term disquiet especially surrounding the death of Stalin and the promises of greater freedom as a result
  • Ulbrichts policies caused disquiet due to tighter control over the borders, the policy of 'building socialism' and the demands on workers for increased productivity without a pay rise


  • More consumer goods to be produced to improve living conditions
  • The SED were worried about potential unrest so increased the size of the stasi
  • Ulbrichts power was strengthened
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  • Land reform- 1952 the SED introduced collectivisation and land production co-operatives, Machanisation and tractor lending stations were set up, By 1959 LPGs made up 45% of the agricultural sector but by 1961 production decreased and rationing returned
  • Industry and nationalisation- Most people worked in Peoples own factories meaning the party set targets, handled discipline e.t.c, Production targets set in the 5 year plans were unrealistic
  • Problems with the 5 year plans- Goals were unrealistic, emphasis of quantity over quality, living standards only improved slowly compared to in the FRG
  • The seven year plan- Implemented to align economic development with that of the soviet union, saw some improvements in living however goods were expensive and rationing didnt end until 1958
  • The 1960s- The berlin wall stabalised the workforce because there was less movement to the west, The seven year plan was abandoned, a new economic system for planning and direction was introduced, this offered more flexibility for the workers a share in profits and an emphasis on quality over quantity
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Peasants- Gained some land but were later forced to join a collective, Farmers given access to better machinery,increased educational opportunities

Factory Workers- More opportunities for higher education, promotions available for loyal workers

Women- Many became doctors,women had increased support e.g maternity care

Mass Organisations- Free German Trade Union League established for workers, Democratic Womens League of Germany, League of Culture, Society for sports and technology, German Soviet Friendship society (attempted to improve the relationship w/ Russia)

Youth Education- Schools became comprehensive polytechnic schools which provided practical work experience, The SED controlled youth groups, Scholarships were available for the disadvantaged and universities were open for everyone

Youth Opposition- There was some support for western culture based around rock and roll music, the state responded with clampdowns and tolerance

Religion and the Churches-15 million protestants and 1 million catholics but the SED wanted religion to wither away e.g the law for the democratisation of schools removed R.E from the cirriculum

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  • The number of people travelling from east to west berlin increased in 1956 after the Hungarian Uprising was crushed, this exodous had a severe impact on the easts economy
  • In 1958 the Krunshchev demanded that the western powers recognise the DDR and withdraw from west berlin handing over access routes
  • June- At the vienna summit Krucshchev pressurised the US to withdraw western forces from west berlin
  • July- The west rejected this demand and so the east imposed strict travel restrictions, Kennedy gave further guarantees to west berlin and increased arms spending
  • August- A barbed wire barrier was put along the border which ended free movement, this was eventually replaced with a concrete wall and all routes to the west were closed
  • Consequences of the berlin wall- berlin was divided physically,tensions between the east and west increased, the wall was used as propaganda for the west against the east, Kennedy appeared weak after refusing to pull down the wall
  • A totalitarian dicatorship had been established and Ulbricht had not followed the de-stalinisation policies of the USSR
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