Dennis Mike, German Democratic Republic: Politics, Economics, Society ( London, 1988); Steele Jonathan, Inside East Germany: The State That Came in from the Cold ( New York, 1977).
Grotewohl Otto (1893-1964). ( Grotewohl, the son of a master tailor, became a book binder. He studied at the Hochschulefur Politik, a college maintained by the German Social Democratic party in Berlin. Between 1925 and 1933, Grotewohl was chairman of the Braunschweig branch of the German Social Democratic party and, at the same time, served as a deputy in the Reichstag. He was also president of a social democrat- run enterprise, the Land Insurance Institute. He was briefly imprisoned in 1933 after Hitler's accession to power, then he was released and worked as a tradesmen.
In 1945, he was elected chairman of the Social Democratic party in the Soviet zone. He favored close cooperation with the communists, and guided his part of the Social Democratic party to the merger with the communists in 1946. At the time of the merger, the social democrats had 620,000 members. Grotewohl expected to remain in control of the leadership of the Socialist Unity party, since he had been the leader of the Social Democratic party. This was, of course, not to be. Since the communists received close support from the Soviet occupational authorities, their dominance in the united party was assured. In 1949, the parity-principle, meaning that there was to be an equal number of social democrats and communists in the party's leadership, was shelved. This was a great disappointment to the aging social democrat Grotewohl who shared leadership with Wilhehm Pieck (see Pleck, Wilhelm). He was gradually pushed into the background, and real authority simply slipped out of his hands. Even the illusion of power was stripped from him.
In 1949, a new Politburo was set up with seven full-and two candidate (nonvoting) members. It created its own secretariat which was, of course, controlled by the communists. Grotewohl and Pieck were named to membership in the Politburo but Walter Ulbricht (see Ulbricht, Walter), the secretary general of the Communist party, had the real power.
In October 1949, the first government of the German Democratic Republic ( East Germany) was created out of the Soviet occupational zone. Otto Grotewohl was named president of the republic, which was nothing more than an honorific title. He held this post until his death in 1964. His deputies included Walter Ulbricht, Otto Nuschke (of the Christian Democratic Union whose leadership had already been purged by the communists), and a Professor Kastner, a member of the Liberal party. The cabinet had a ten-to-six majority of communists. Kastner was later recruited by the West German intelligence services, and he eventually escaped to the West with his wife who was also a West German intelligence agent.
Dennis Mike, German, Democratic Republic: Politics, Economics, Society ( London, 1988.); Nettle Jonathan P., The Eastem Zone and Soviet Policy in Germany ( London, 1951);