Post-War to the Wall (1945 – 1961)
February 1945 – Yalta Conference – The Allies agree that Germany will be divided into four zones (a temporary measure). This would be overseen by the ACC (Allied Control Council). Stalin also secured redrawing of German withdraw from Poland.
June 1945– Potsdam Conference – Allies agreed on denazification, demilitarisation and deindustrialisation in order to weaken Germany but also to pay reparations, and democratisation. However, the Allies could not agree on reparations which caused tension between the USSR and the USA.
SMAD (Soviet Military Administration) created, it’s role to supervise military affairs, the economy, civil administration and political questions.
September 1945 – Land reforms – All landowners with holdings exceeding 100 hectares were labelled as being tainted by Nazism and had their land taken away with no compensation. 33% of all useful agricultural land was redistributed to peasants, but due to the absence of machinery and livestock much of it was abandoned.
1945– Education was opened up to the working class. In this year only 3% of University students were working class, but this increased to 58% by 1950.
In order to pay reparations, Soviet forces dismantled industrial plants, looted equipment etc. This caused problems for the GDR later on.
1945 – 1969 – Antagonism and Rapprochement – Although they could not immediately openly attack the churches, there was a period of hostility. They were determined to exclude churches from education and reduce religious participation (will be explained in detail as the timeline goes on).
1946 – KPD and SPD merge to form the SED – SMAD supported this as it would create one huge communist party, the SPD saw it as an opportunity to prevent later Nazi regimes rising to power. It soon became clear that the KPD ran the show.
Western powers did not favour the merger. On March 31st, in western zones of Berlin, 20.000 people voted against the merger, with only 3000 voting for.
As early as 1946 – The influence of religion was being removed from schools and privileges for the children of wealthy parents abolished.
May 1946 – USA suspends reparations from their zone to the USSR in retaliation for the Russian’s refusal to deliver foodstuffs. Arguments over distribution of coal.
In this year, religious education was outlawed in the Soviet zone and Church schools were closed.
Summer 1946 – Bizonia – USA and UK merge their zones. The two countries saw the need to recover a poverty stricken Germany, but also gang up on the USSR in a sense. This saw the beginning of two separate Germanies.
October 1946 – Elections to create a Berlin Administration – SED won less than 20% of the popular vote.
1947 – Despite war losses, the population of the GDR was 19 million due to the swell of refugees. The ration of women to men was 135:100. There was also a huge amount of unemployment, which was made worse by the rise in population.