|German Democratic Republic|
|Deutsche Demokratische Republik|
|Satellite state of the Soviet Union (1949–1989)|
Warsaw Pact member (1955–1990)
Member of Comecon (1950–1990)
Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt Euch!
English: Workers of the world, unite!
Auferstanden aus Ruinen
"Risen from Ruins"
German Democratic Republic in 1989
|Government||Federal Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic|
Unitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic
Unitary parliamentary republic
| • ||1949–1950||Wilhelm Pieck (first)|
| • ||1989||Egon Krenz (last)|
|Head of State|
| • ||1949–1960||Wilhelm Pieck (first)|
| • ||1990||Sabine Bergmann-Pohl (last)|
|Head of Government|
| • ||1949–1964||Otto Grotewohl (first)|
| • ||1990||Lothar de Maizière (last)|
| • ||State Chamber||Länderkammera|
|Historical era||Cold War|
| • ||Constitution adopted||7 October 1949|
| • ||Uprising of 1953||16 June 1953|
| • ||Berlin Crisis||4 June 1961|
| • ||Admitted to the United Nations||18 September 1973|
| • ||Peaceful Revolution||13 October 1989|
| • ||Final Settlement||12 September 1990|
| • ||Reunification||3 October 1990|
| • ||1990||108,333 km2 (41,828 sq mi)|
| • ||1950 est.||18,388,000b |
| • ||1970 est.||17,068,000 |
| • ||1990 est.||16,111,000 |
| Density||149/km2 (385/sq mi)|
|Currency||1949–1964: Deutsche Mark|
1964–1967: Mark der Deutschen Notenbank,
Mark der DDR
(three different names for the same currency)
(from 1 July 1990)
|Today part of|| Germany|
|The initial flag of East Germany adopted in 1948 was identical to that of West Germany. In 1959, the East German government issued a new version of the flag bearing the national emblem, serving to distinguish East from West.|
^a Dissolved by the Volkskammer on 8 December 1958.
^b Population statistics according to Statistisches Bundesamt.
^c Although .dd was reserved as corresponding ISO code for East Germany, it was not entered to the root before the country was reunited with the west.
The German Democratic Republic(GDR ; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik pronounced [ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʀaːtɪʃə ʀepuˈbliːk], DDR), commonly known in the west as East Germany, was a former nation considered part of Eastern Europe during the Cold War period. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state." From 1949 to 1990, it administered the portion of Germany that had been occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II—the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin, but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.
The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet Zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, and the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. However, Soviet forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War. Until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party (SED), though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany. The SED made the teaching of Marxism–Leninism and the Russian language compulsory in schools.
The economy was centrally planned, and increasingly state-owned. Prices of housing, basic goods and services were set by central government planners, rather than rising and falling through supply and demand; and were heavily subsidised. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Emigration to the West was a significant problem – as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically. The government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines.
In 1989, numerous social, economic and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalization. The following year open elections were held, and international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany. The GDR dissolved itself and Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a fully sovereign state again. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were prosecuted in reunified Germany for crimes committed during the Cold War.
Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north; the Polish People's Republic to the east; Czechoslovakia to the southeast and West Germany to the southwest and west. Internally, the GDR also bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin known as East Berlin which was also administered as the state's de facto capital. It also bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989.