returned to Soviet jurisdiction; (4) a provisional government for the entire German nation should be established regardless of the zones of occupation. The proposals were rejected outright by the three Western Powers.
In March 1947, President Harry Truman announced the new United States policy of containment of Soviet expansionism. In June, he introduced the Marshall Plan for the recovery of Europe and he included the three Western zones of occupation.
Joseph Stalin then decided to consolidate Soviet rule in Eastern Europe and use the states of that region as a military and economic buffer zone to isolate the Soviet Union from the West In September 1947, he established the Communist Information Center (the COMINFORM), a successor to the Third International, which he had dissolved in 1943.
When the government of the United States issued an invitation to all European governments to participate in the Marshall Plan, several East European states indicated their interest in the Plan; however, Stalin simply issued orders against East European participation, and that was the end of it.
Croan Melvin, "Germany and Eastern Europe," in Joseph Hold, ed. The Columbia History of Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century ( New York, 1992); Keesing Research Report. Germany and Eastern Europe Since 1945: From the Potsdam Agreement to Chancellor Brandt's Ostpolitik ( New York, 1973); Krisch Henry, German Politics Under Soviet Occupation ( New York, 1974); Stahl Walter, The Politics of Postwar Germany ( New York, 1963).
Mass Organizations in East Germany. Mass organizations in communist-dominated societies serve two main purposes. First of all, they are transmission belts, transmitting and disseminating political directions issued by the party leadership. Second, they provide information to the leaders about public attitudes and morals. A minor role undertaken by these organizations is the training of cadres for the bureaucracy and the nomenklatura.
In the East German case, membership in mass organizations was voluntary. Nevertheless, the leaders of these institutions were, without exception, communists or cryptocommunists. The chairmen and secretaries of the most important such organizations were also members of the Socialist Unity party's corresponding organs. The statutes of mass organizations in East Germany included clauses about the leading role of the Socialist Unity party in society, and the organizational principles reflected those of the Communist party. Beyond being conduits for party directives, the mass organizations served as consultative groups for the party leaders in their activities in shaping policies.
The mass organizations in East Germany included the Confederation of Free German Trade Unions, the Free German Youth organization (see Free German Youth Organization), the Democratic Women's Association of Germany (see Democratic Women's Association in East Germany), the Farmers' Mutual Aid Association, con-