General Information.Territory: 41,610 square miles (107,771 square kilometers). Population: 16,641,000 in 1987. Borders: East Germany bordered on Czechoslovakia in the south, West Germany in the south and west, the Baltic Sea in the north, and Poland in the east. The borders were not recognized until a treaty was signed, in 1969, with the Soviet Union and then with Poland. Major cities: East Berlin, Magdeburg, Leipzig, Dresden. Geography: The land is mostly low-lying plains and mountains in the south and west. Ethnicity: the population was 99 percent German. Scattered groups of Poles, Czechs, and Gypsies lived within the borders of the state. Historical background: During most of its history, East Germany was home to over 450,000 Soviet soldiers distributed in its territory in strategic locations. The form of the state was ostensibly a parliamentary democracy. It had a president, a prime minister and a cabinet with several ministers and a state bureaucracy. In reality, the Communist party of East Germany (renamed in 1946 the Socialist Unity party) ruled the state through a parallel organization that matched state organs at every level.
Dennis Mike, German Democratic Republic: Politics, Economics, Society ( London, 1988); Krisch Henry, The German Democratic Republic: The Search for Identity ( Boulder, CO, 1984); Larrabee F. Stephen, The Two German States and European Security ( New York, 1989); Moreton Edwina, ed. Germany Between East and West ( Cambridge, England, 1987); Price Arnold H., ed. East Germany: A Select Bibliography ( Washington, DC, 1967).
|1945||April. Soviet and American forces met at the Elbe river. Although the official|
end of the European war is listed as May 8, the Nazi state was destroyed at
the Elbe river. Adolf Hitler committed suicide, and Soviet troops occupied
|June. The Allied Control Commission was established to deal with matters|