W. Germany

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  • Created by: Millie
  • Created on: 06-05-13 16:47

Potsdam and the establishment of he Soviet Zone

February 1945 = Yalta conference --> It was decided that Germany would be divided into 4 

July 1945 = Potsdam --> Attended by the ally leaders. There were disagreements between Russia and the other allies over boundaries and reparations.


4 Ds: Democratization, denazification, decentralization, demilitarisation 

Free elections, starting at local level -Poland would gain land from Germany. The Oder Neisse line formed the border between Poland and the Soviet Zone - the economy would function as one unit

Soviet Zone =Demilitarization: German army disbanded in May '45 and there was no German military till '55 . Denazification: Soveits thought that Nazism was a result of captialism <- had to get rid of this. Democratisation: Ulbricht . Aim: to gain control of Berlin with the appearance of democracy 

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The appearance of democracy

SMAD<-- licenced the formation of political parties . All partie were brought together under the National Front, against Nazism .

KPD was established as was the SPD. In 1946 they were forced to merge to form the SED which was led by Ulbricht 

The SPD didn't trust the communists but they thought that the merger was the only way to ensure political survival

LDPD = liberals CDU= Christian Democratic Union

Initally seemed that democracy would be allowed --> facade. 1948 it formally abadoned democracy 


Free expression v. limited and politcal dissent was restrained. Marxist-Leninist " Party of a New Type" 

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Bizonia/ Trizonia?

Bizonia                                                                              Trizonia

1947                                                                                  1949

British and American zones                                          Initially reluctant to join

merged because of economi problems                    but eventually did

There were arguements over Soviet reparation from W. zones + Marshall aid + Truman doctrine 

Increase in the usage of the black market -> Deutschmark in W. zones created, but the Soviet refused to follow suit. They instead bought their own currency

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The Berlin Blockade

24th June 1948 to May 1949 = Berlin blockade ( blocked access to W. Berlin)

Why? Because of growing devision between the West and East

The Allies supplied W. Berlin by air and brought food, medical supplies and fuel => showed the Soviets that they would not relinquish control of their Zone

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Emergence of the GDR

In 1948 W. representatives met in the parliamenary council and devised a constituiton for a Federal Republic (FRG)

The German Democratic Republic GDR or DDR was formed from the Soviet zone in Octover 1949 with a new constitution.

President: Wilhelm Pieck

President: Otto Grotewohl 

Lower house : Volkskammer <- claimed to represent the people, however it wasn't democratically elected + the no. of parliament seats for each party was allocated before elecetions

Upper House: Landerkammer <- represented the 5 regions but this was abolished in 1958

Power remained with Ulbricht though

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The 1953 uprising

On the 17th of June, workers on the Stalinalle ( a building project) demanded an end to increased working hours for no pay. The called a general strike, which soon became political as workers demanded the removal of Ulbricht and reunification with the West. Ulbricht called in the Soviet troops to quash the unrest, but the discontent continued.


The tightening of border control. Enforced collectivisation or agriculture. Government demands for increased productivity from workers, but without increased pay. Ulbricht's policy of " Building of Socialism, which was announced in 1952. The failure of the government to persuade people of the need for changes. Lack of consumer goods.


The increase in workng hours was ended and more consumer goods were to be produced to improve living standards. The SED became harsher and increased the size and power of the Stasi. Ulbricht's power was strengthened. It became apparent that the West would not intervene to help

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Land reform

Large land estates given to peasants in 1945, but they weren't able to make a profit off the land as they lacked resources and machinery. In 1945 the SED introduced collectivisation and formed ' land production co-operatives or LPGs) Collectivisation was not very popular and many fled to the West, which caused food shortages and a drop in production levels.

1959= LPGs made up 45% of the agricultural sector

1961= 85% , but production had continued to drop and rationing returned which led to even more people leaving and was a major reason why for the building of the Berlin Wall

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The economy

Was based on many plans

Problems with the 5 year plans

Targets ignored consumer goods

Emphasis on quantity over quality reduced aaleability

Plans were often out of date before they were fully implemented

Prices were fixed, but did not link to supply demands

The Seven Year Plan

Was supposed to allign the GDR's economy with that of the Soviet Union. Consumer goods were brought in but they were often too expensive and not made in large enough quantities. Rationing didn't end till 1958

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The Berlin Wall (not very detailed )

Built in 1961.

In stabalized the workforece as there was much less movement to the West.

The seven year plan was abandoned because of economic problems and the New Econominc System was adopted instead in 1963

It was more flexible

allowed workers to share in profits, which encouraged production

Emphasized quality over quantity

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Peasants: gained land but later had to join a collective. There was better machinery to work the farms. Opportunity of education.

Factory workers: Opportunity of education. Opportunity to manage factpries if they were loyal to the party

Women: Many became doctors. Increased support for the provision of maternity care, creches and after-school facilities

Mass Organisation ( The party could control every aspect of life)e.g. Free German Trade Union League, the Democratic Women's League of Germany, the League of Culture ..

Youth education: " polytechnic schools". Youth organizations were controlled. Scholarships were available for the disadvantagedand university was opened up to all, but the professional and aristocratic classes were often discriminated against <- Many left to study in the West.

Jugendweihe: Pledge of dedication to the GDR and Marxism taken at 14.  Contradicted christian views as some saw it was a way to replace confirmation, but refusal to take the oath could bar you from entrance into ffurther education and professional careers. 

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