5
The Other Germany

All the great progressive ideas that the German people has ever produced, the legacy of all struggles for a realm of peace and social security, of human dignity and fraternity, are being realized in the German Democratic Republic.

(Theses proclaimed by the Central Committee of the SED on the twentieth anniversary of the GDR, 24 January 1969)

THE pre-history and development of the GDR were in many respects a mirror image of those of the FRG. At the end of the war both the Soviet occupying powers and the politicians closest to them found a number of options open to them, of which the creation of a separate East German state was by no means the most obvious or the most desirable. The victorious but exhausted Soviet Union had two overwhelming priorities at this stage -- military security and economic recuperation. How these were to be secured would depend on two factors not fully under the control of the Soviet leadership -- relations with its former Allies in the West and political opinion in its own zone. While the four victor powers were agreed on the total disarmament of Germany, it took them some time to evaluate how much they had to fear from each other. And while they initially regarded the German population as subjects to be moulded by their will, they discovered before long that they would need the help of local politicians, and that this help would entail an increasing dependence on them as well as the need to mobilize the population in support of their policies.

In May 1945 Stalin knew what he wanted to achieve, but there is no evidence that he had at that stage a fully worked-out strategy on how to achieve it. He was convinced that he needed a security perimeter and was determined that this should include Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, despite the assurances he had given about respecting democratic processes in those countries. But whether that perimeter would also include some or all of the two militarily occupied states of Germany and Austria was less clear. A Germany and

-90-

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German Politics, 1945-1995
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Chronology xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Unified, but not United 3
  • 3 - The Adenauer Era 51
  • 4 - The Second Foundation of the Federal Republic 71
  • 5 - The Other Germany 90
  • 6 - Ostpolitik 108
  • 7 - Modell Deutschland 129
  • 8 - A New Germany 155
  • Conclusion 183
  • Appendix I. Tables of Election Results 187
  • Appendix II. Figure of Economic Performance 189
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 190
  • Index 193
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