The GDR 1949-1971

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Ulbricht's leadership

  • Wanted to remove 'false consciousness' of capitalism
  • 1949-61 - 'the creation of the basis of socialism'
  • SED had control of mass organisations
  • SED's number of seats in the Volkammer was predetermined - not democratic 
  • Jeanette madarasz - SED didnt win over win over the heats and minds of the people 
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Causes of the June 1953 Uprising

  • May directive - increased work norms by 10%
  • Independant businesses worried businesses would be nationalised
  • emigration - 447,000 Jan 1951 - April 1953
  • low profits for farmers 
  • low wages, high taxes, hign food prices
  • Ulbricht ignored USSR advice to stop collectivisation, encourage indepent businesses & stop persecution of church 
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June Uprising

  • 16 June - workers at Stalinalle downed thier tools
  • spread to 400 cities and towns - became poltical - demanded free elections
  • Went to central union building - no senior SED member met them
  • Went to Yaus de Ministeran - Selbman said norms would be abandoned - Politburo said the demands would be considered
  • Protestors called of resignation of SED & lift of ban on SPD + more consumer good
  • 300,000-372,000 involved - 6% of workforce
  • Little participation of MCs
  • USSR sent in tanks, 200,000 soldiers and 8000 Soviet police
  • Severe fighting in Potzdamer Platz -125 killed
  • 18 June - order restored
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Impact of June Uprising

  • Ulbricht given more support form USSR 
  • Laverenti arrested
  • 8-10 July - visit to Moscow - given permission to eliminate political enemies 
  • 6,000 arrested
  • 20,000 civil servants & 50,000 party members purged 
  • 4th Party Congress - Ulbricht relected First Secretary
  • Stasi reformed
  • Police & paramillitary groups better equipt
  • USSR insisted on more pensoins, more consumer goods, and lower food prices
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Political factors

  • Ulbricht's position in 1956
    • Almost removed from power
    • prevented by Hungary uprising - Soviets had to concentrate on Hungery instead
  • COMIFORM 
    • commited to socialism
  • Hallstein Doctrine 1955
    • aleinated the GDR
    • FRG denied their existence
  • Warsaw Pact 1955
    • reaction to NATO 
    • Created the NVA - peoples army - compulsary conscription 1962
  • Ostpolitik
    • 1972 - Basic Treaty - recognised each other
    • made reunification possible
    • allowed them to received loans 
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Economic factors

Industry

  • COMECON
    • Gave Soviets power over their economy - encouraged collectivisation and nationalisation 
  • 1st 5 year plan 1951
    • aimed to increase productivity - poor quality
    • introduced high quotas for industry
    • casued high emigration - 15,000 farmers leaves
    • abandoned 1956
  • 2nd 5 year plan 1956
    • commited GDR to collectivisation and nationalisation of industry
    • 750,000 farms collectivised
    • abandoned 1959
  • 7 year plan 1959
    • Higher production
    • 85% increase in labour productivity
    • 1960 - 85% farms collectivised
    • famine 1961
    • abandoned 1963
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Economic factors

  • New Economic System 1963
    • allows focus on profits and quality - not socialist
    • abandoned 1968 - Czechoslovakia uprising
    • 1970s - 3% annual economic growth
    • 1971 - almost self-sufficient
    • banking & insurance state won
    • energy incresed 77%
  • Agriculture

    • collectivisation - increased size of farms
    • exploited farmers and machinery
    • 1950 - 15,000 farmers left 
    • food shortages
    • rationing until 1958
    • 1959 - 45% collectivised
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Berlin Crisis 1958-61

  • Ulbricht tells Krushchev they need to build a wall in berlin to stop worker leaving
  • Khrushchev is pressured into agreeing - deteriotion of relations with China, NATO, US deploying nuclear weapons and Hallesiten doctrine
  • Nov 1958 - Berlin Ultimatum - Krushchev give allies 6 months to leave west Berlin before he gave East Berlin to the GDR
  • Allies reject it but hold Foreign Minister's conference in Geneva 1959
  • Adenauer introduces Globke plan -
    • FRG & GDR should recognise each other & Berlin should be a free city if there was a referendum that led to free elections
  • Khrushchev walks out of Paris summit - US U2 spy plane shot down over USSR
  • JFK become US president - Khrushchev thought he would be naive - JFK refuses to comprimise
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Berlin Wall

  • early hours of 13th August 
  • Police warned about train delays at border 
  • Barbed wire put up - completed by 6am
  • Soviet police and tanks guarding the border
  • Willi Brandt contacted at 4am
  • Tranenpalast - Palace of Tears - train station on border - last palace West and East Berliners saw each other
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Impact of the Berlin Wall

West 

  • US military presence strenghtened in FRG
  • West Berliners cut off from family in the East
  • Difficult to get visas
  • Many West Berliners thought US hadn't done enough

East

  • Activities like hot air balloning and scuba diving banned to stop escape attempts
  • Encouraged people to work towards socialism - no alternitive
  • stabilized economy - no more workers leaving
  • 5000 escaped 1961-81
  • labelled as protective wall against fascism - celebrated -  commorative 25th anniversary stamp 1986
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State socialism

  • Ulbricht promised the people a 'workers paradise'
  • FDGB
    • GDR's trade union
    • controled comformity in companies
    • provided leisure for workers
  • thoses in profesional jobs doctors, civil servants, teacher etc given higher wages 
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Youth

  • The Free German Youth 1946 
    • 14-25 year olds
    • voluntary but essential for those who wanted to had a career
    • Controlled recreational and leisure, entertainment and schlorships
  • Education 
    • Private and religious schools abolished
    • 1954 - Jugendweithe - secular state ceremony 
  • Young pioneers
    • edcuational, cultural and sports programmes for 6-14 year olds
    • most children were members in 1960s
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Women

Women

  • Practical endurable clothes
  • laws to increase equality between men and women
  • 1965 - family code - men had to do some housework and help raise children
  • women given 1 day off a month to do house work 
  • shorter working hours and maternity leave
  • 1977 - 87% of women 16-69 worked 
  • most women did unskilled jobs
  • high marriage and divorce rate
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Culture

Culture

  • Rock and roll discouraged - felt fans were slobs
  • punishments - forced haircuts, prison, labour
  • Music on regulated - 40% from west on GDR label & 60% from eastern bloc
  • Bands have to attend musical college and have a clean record
  • had to audition for government commitee
  • Stasi at concerts
  • 1970s - rock scene rose up
  • Magazines and newspapers controlled by SED through mass organisation
  • literature censored - church publications excluded
  • Many writers left
  • Some tried to fit works into guidlines
  • Some tried to use irony and satire and metaphor to put arcoss secret messeges
  • Bitterfeld Conference 1959 - writers encouraged to experience manual labour and workers encourged to try writing
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Church

Church

  • severved relations between the state and the Church 1960 
  • outlawed most christian group
  • Germans still worship in thier homes
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