German Democratic Republic

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to German Democratic Republic: Stasi
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

German Democratic Republic


GDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR).

The German Democratic Republic (GDR) is a socialist state in Central Europe. It borders in the west on the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), in the southeast on Czechoslovakia, and in the east on Poland; to the north is the Baltic Sea. It has an area of 108,200 sq km and had in 1971 a population of 17 million. The capital is the city of Berlin. Administratively the GDR is divided into 15 districts (see Table 1). West Berlin is located in the center of the country.

Table 1. Administrative division of the German Democratic Republic (1971)1
 Area (sq km)PopulationAdministrative center
1 Population according to preliminary data of the 1971 census
Berlin (capital)...............4031,084,900 

The GDR is a socialist republic. The present constitution was adopted in 1968. Political power in the GDR is exercised entirely by the toiling people. The highest body of state authority is the People’s Chamber, which according to the constitution has 500 members elected by the people for four years on the basis of free, universal, equal, and direct franchise through secret balloting. All the political parties and the major public organizations of the GDR are represented in the People’s Chamber. The People’s Chamber is legally qualified to determine through decisions and laws the goals of the development of the GDR and the rules for the collaboration of citizens, associations, and state bodies, as well as their tasks in implementing the plans of social development. The People’s Chamber has the exclusive right to adopt a constitution and laws; it elects the chairman and the members of the Council of State, the chairman and the members of the government (the Council of Ministers), the chairman of the National Defense Council, the members of the Supreme Court, and the prosecutor general. In the period between sessions of the People’s Chamber any problems that arise over laws and decisions are resolved by the Council of State (composed of a chairman and his deputies, members, and a secretary), which is accountable for its activity to the People’s Chamber. The Council of State considers bills submitted to the People’s Chamber, adopts decrees subject to confirmation by the People’s Chamber, decides questions of defense and security, and exercises supervision over the legality of the activity of the higher organs of justice; it also has the right to grant amnesty and pardon. The chairman of the Council of State represents the GDR in international relations, ratifies state treaties, and appoints and recalls representatives of the GDR to other states. In assuming office the members of the Council of State take an oath before the People’s Chamber; the text of the oath is established by the constitution. Franchise is granted to all citizens who have reached the age of 18.

The supreme executive body of state authority—the government, or the Council of Ministers—is elected by the People’s Chamber for a period of four years; it is composed of the chairman and members of the government. The Council of Ministers forms the Presidium from among its members.

The local bodies of state authority in the districts, counties, cities, and communities represent the people and are elected by citizens who have the franchise. Each people’s representative body forms its own executive organs, called councils and commissions.

The judicial system of the GDR includes the Supreme Court and district, county, and social courts (courts elected according to production or territorial principles in the form of conflict or arbitration commissions). All the judges, people’s assessors, and members of the social courts are elected by the people’s representative bodies or directly by the people. The General Prosecuting Authority, headed by the prosecutor general of the GDR, exercises supervision over the observance of socialist legality.


The GDR is located in the central part of Central Europe in the temperate zone. The country is bounded on the north by the Baltic Sea, with alternating low and steep shores. The sea forms several gulfs (the Mecklenburg Bay, which branches into the Liibeck and Wismar bays, and the Greifswalder Bodden) and shallow lagoons that are connected to the sea by narrow straits. Several islands belong to the GDR, the largest of which are the islands of Rügen, Usedom (the western part), and Poel.

Terrain. The larger, northern part of the country’s territory is occupied by the Central European Plain (altitudes up to 150-200 m), with a prevalence of glacial accretion and glaciofluvial forms of topography and with valleys dividing them. The width of the plain is about 300 km in the east and about 200 km in the west. The northeastern part of the plain is a rolling lowland with morainic hills; south of it is the plain of the Mecklenburg lake district (part of the Baltic Ridge) with ridges of terminal moraines (the northern ridge has altitudes up to 179 m). Further south (up to the region south of Berlin) stretches a band of sandy (outwash) lowland plains with ancient swampy hollows, which provide a runoff for the thaw waters from Pleistocene glaciers and rivers into the valley of the Elbe. The southern edge of the Central European Plain forms southern moraine ridges—the strip of the gently sloping Fläming and Lusatian Uplands—with altitudes of up to 201 m, composed of sand and eroded morainic material covered with loess. The southern regions of the country are occupied by mountains of medium altitudes, which are strongly dissected by rivers—in the west, the eastern part of the Harz Mountains; in the southwest, the Thuringian Forest; and in the south, the northern slopes of the Erzgebirge with Fichtelberg (altitude, 1,213 m), the highest summit in the GDR.

Geological structure and mineral resources. The southern part of the GDR’s territory belongs to the Epihercynian Platform, the folded foundation of the platform was formed by structures of the Paleozoic and Precambrian ages. In the northern part of the territory the age of the folded foundation has not been established, because it is very deep below the surface (in some places more than 5 km); according to data of seismic prospecting and drilling (on Rügen), the foundation of the north of the country belongs to the Precambrian Eastern European Platform and was probably very much reworked by Paleozoic folding. In the north the platform mantle, which is of the Mesozoic and Neocene ages, is composed of gently sloping strata of sedimentary rocks; the rocks that come to the surface are mainly marine and continental sediments of the Neocene (sand and clay), as well as glacial and glaciofluvial sediments of the Anthropogenic. Near the shore of the Baltic Sea, Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks come to the surface in some places. Saline tectonics are widespread throughout the lowland. In the southern regions of the country the Paleozoic fold structures, which had been subjected to prolonged denudation, were transformed through activation in the Cenozoic into block and horst elevations (the Lusatian Massif, the Erzgebirge, the Thuringian Forest, and the Harz Mountains) and into vast depressions (the Thuringian Basin). The massifs are composed of ancient crystalline sedimentary, metamorphic, and intrusive rocks, and the basins are filled with clay, sandstone, and limestone.

The platform mantle contains large deposits of brown coal, potassium salts, cuprous shales, gas, and petroleum; the folded foundation of the Hercynian zone in the south of the GDR has a variety of mineral deposits, such as lead and zinc, iron, and uranium.

Climate. The climate is temperate; in the north and northwest it is maritime and in the other regions, transitional from maritime to continental. The average January temperatures are from -0.1° to 0.6° C in the north, up to -1.5° C in the east, and —4° or —5° C in the southern mountains; the average July temperatures are from 16° to 17° C in the coastal regions, from 17.5° to 18.5° C in the central part of the country, and from 15° to 16° C in the mountains. The total annual precipitation is 525-650 mm in the north, 480-610 mm in the east and central part of the country, and 900-1,100 in the mountains (up to 1,500 mm in the ridge zone of the Harz). Rain forms the bulk of the precipitation. There are annual snowfalls, but the stable snow cover does not last long (up to 30 days in the plains and sometimes over 100 days in the mountains).

Rivers and lakes. A large part of the GDR is in the basin of the Elbe River; a small part in the east is in the basin of the Oder River, in the north a part is directly in the Baltic Sea basin, in the west a part is in the basin of the Weser River, and in the southwest a part is in the basin of the Main River (tributary of the Rhine). The largest tributaries of the Elbe are the Havel with its tributary the Spree, the Saale with its tributaries the Weisse Elster and the Unstrut, the Schwarze Elster, and the Mulde. The rivers are fed mainly by rain. The maximum discharges of water are during the spring thaw and sometimes after heavy summer rains. Some rivers are covered with solid ice for short periods in the winter. (The Oder freezes for an average of one month and the Elbe for ten days.) In the south the rivers flow through mountains of medium altitude and are fed characteristically by both snow and rain; a large number of water reservoirs and hydroelectric power plants have been constructed in this area. Many rivers are linked by canals. The Mecklenburg lake region and the regions south of Berlin have many swamps and lakes; the largest lakes are Lakes Miiritz, Schwerin, Plau, and Kummerow. The lake and river water resources are used for water supply, electric power, and transportation.

Soil. Podzol soils are widely distributed throughout the country; they are most typical of the northern regions (soddy paleopodzolic soils) and of the central regions (sandy and sandy-loam paleopodzolic soils). Podzol soils are also found in mountain areas with a large amount of precipitation. Brown and gray forest soils, which cover about one-fourth of the area of the country, form large massifs on the mantle loams and boulder clays of the Mecklenburg lake region, as well as in the southwest. There are stony humous-carbonaceous soils on the carbonaceous rocks of Thuringia and rendzinas on the limestones. Chernozems, the most fertile soils of the GDR, which are sometimes leached or podzolized or in combination with brown or silty soils, are found on the loess and loesslike loams of the eastern and northern foothills of the Harz (the Magdeburger Borde) and in the plains of the Thuringian Basin. In the poorly drained depressions of ancient glacial plains, as well as in the upper regions of the mountains, there are boggy and peaty-boggy soils, which are under intensive reclamation. In the mountains there are mainly brown mountain forest soils.

Flora. In the Recent epoch there was a covering of dense forest on the territory of the GDR. The continuous expansion of area under agricultural cultivation has reduced the forest area to 27.3 percent. The majority of the forests are planted and highly cultivated. There are large tracts of pine forests in the north. Broad-leaved and pine forests have been preserved in the glacial outwash plains in the Berlin surroundings. In the mountains there are beech and spruce forests with some firs, hornbeams, and maples. The Mecklenburg lake region is characterized by small but numerous tracts of oak and mixed oak and beech forests with some birches and pines on sandy soils and some alders in the river floodlands. In the other areas forests are interspersed with fields and orchards. In the north, as well as in the Fläming Upland, there are ericaceous, juniper, and grass wastelands. In the ancient glacial plains and in areas with poor surface drainage there are partly forested swamps and swampy lands.

Fauna. The fauna is represented mainly by forest species, including the deer, roe deer, and boar. There are also small mammals, such as the European hare, field mice, hamsters, and wild rabbits, a number of which are destroyed as agricultural pests. Beavers, pine martens, and wildcats are still found in the Elbe valley. The most typical birds are sparrows, starlings, woodpeckers, thrushes, cuckoos, finches, swallows, orioles, owls, magpies, harriers, partridges, and pheasants. The number of partridges and pheasants is increasing because of protective measures. The bustard, eagle, owl, golden eagle, heron, crane, and stork exist mainly in preserves. Swamp birds include woodcocks, lapwings, snipes, and white storks. Fish in the various bodies of water include the crucian carp, carps, tench, perch, bream, pike, eel, and trout.

Preserves. Of the area of the GDR, 17 percent has been declared preserves. A large part of the preserves is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, on the northern ridge, and in the mountains of medium altitude. In 1971 there were 651 preserves. The largest of them, the Müritz Preserve, with an area of about 6,300 hectares (ha), is a nesting area for the common crane. There are more than 400 recreation areas.

Natural regions. The Central European Plain has a hilly terrain and broad valleys, a large number of lakes, a dense river network, a prevalence of pine, beech, and mixed forests, and podzol, brown, and gray forest soils. The plains of the Thuringian Basin in the southwest of the GDR have a relatively dry climate, broad-leaved and pine forests, and humous-carbonaceous and silty soils on a loess substratum. The mountains of medium altitude in the south of the country have alternating horst elevations and hollows between mountains, a humid and cool mountain climate, a prolonged snow cover, and spruce and beech forests on brown mountain or podzol soils.


Martonne, E. Tsentral’naia Evropa. Moscow, 1938. (Translated from French.)
Findeisen, C., and G. Findeisen. Physische Geographic von Deutschland [2nd ed.]. Berlin, 1957.


The national composition of the GDR is homogenous—Germans account for more than 99 percent of the population (1970, estimate). The only national minority are the Slavic-speaking Lusatians or Sorbs (about 100,000 people), who live in the east of the country, in the Cottbus and Dresden districts. The majority of believers (about 86 percent) are Protestants (Lutherans); the rest are primarily Catholics. The official calendar is the Gregorian.

The age range of the population reflects the consequences of World War II (1939-45); the proportion of the population that is able to work is relatively low—58 percent. About 75 percent of the gainfully employed (not including students) work in the national economy; 36.5 percent of all those employed work in industry (1970). The socialist transformations have brought about radical changes in the social structure of the population: workers and employees make up 84.5 percent of the population, members of producers’ agricultural and artisan cooperatives 12.3 percent, and craftsmen, self-employed farmers, and people employed in private trade more than 2 percent.

The GDR has an average population density of about 158 people per sq km; the density of the GDR increases from north to south. It is lowest in Neubrandenburg District (59 people per sq km) and highest in Karl-Marx-Stadt District (341 people per sq km). The urban population (that is, communities with a population of more than 2,000) amounts to 74 percent. The biggest cities in 1971 were Berlin, the capital of the GDR (1,084,900 population); Leipzig (583,000); Dresden (500,100); Karl-Marx-Stadt (298,300); Magdeburg (270,500); Halle (257,300); Erfurt (196,200); and Rostock (201,000). New cities have appeared, such as Eisenhüttenstadt and Halle-Neustadt; several cities have arisen in conjunction with the construction of new industrial enterprises.


The worldwide, historic victory of the anti-Hitlerite coalition, of which the Soviet Union was the chief force, over German fascism in World War II (1939-45) created the preconditions for a democratization of Germany’s social and political life. These preconditions were fully realized on the territory of the future GDR. Under the leadership of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) the working class, in alliance with other strata of the toiling people and with the all-around support and help of the Soviet Military Administration, which faithfully carried out the decisions of the Potsdam Conference of 1945, brought about profound revolutionary transformations, eradicated fascism and militarism, and established an antifascist democratic system.

War criminals and active Nazis were removed from the posts they held and brought to trial. The National Socialist Party and its organizations were disbanded. About 9,300 industrial enterprises belonging to monopolies, Nazis, and war criminals were confiscated and transferred to the ownership of the people. Almost the whole railroad system was nationalized, people’s banks replaced capitalist banks, and state and cooperative establishments were created. A public sector arose in the economy. An agrarian reform was carried out and the Junker landholding system of land tenure was abolished. Local agencies of self-government confiscated 13,700 farms, with a total area of 3,300,000 ha, and turned over 2,200,000 ha to landless peasants and peasants with small landholdings. People’s estates were created on the remaining part of the confiscated land.

In violation of the decisions of the Potsdam Conference, the ruling circles of the Western powers jointly with the West German big bourgeoisie, supported by the right-wing leaders of social democracy, adopted a policy aimed at a revival of German militarism. The German monopolies and the Western occupation authorities intensified the offensive against the democratic forces with a view to the complete partition of the country. Its culmination was the formation in September 1949 of a separate West German state, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). On Oct. 7, 1949, the working people of the eastern part of Germany proclaimed the formation of the German Democratic Republic. The German People’s Council, which was set up in March 1948 by the German People’s Congress, was transformed into the provisional People’s Chamber; the latter put into effect the Constitution of the GDR, the draft of which was discussed and approved by the people during 1948 and 1949. On Oct. 11, 1949, the provisional parliament elected W. Pieck president of the GDR. On October 12 the Provisional Government of the GDR, headed by O. Grotewohl, was formed. The creation of the GDR was an important historic event in the life of the German people and a turning point in German history. The formation of the GDR was the natural outcome of the antifascist democratic revolt and the reply of the progressive forces of the German people to the partition of Germany by the Western powers and West German reaction. The GDR was the legitimate heir of the best historical traditions of the German people and the embodiment of the freedom-loving and socialist ideals of the best of its sons.

The Soviet government transferred to the GDR the administrative functions that the Soviet Military Administration had exercised. In 1949 the GDR was recognized and diplomatic relations were established by the USSR, the People’s Republic of China, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, the Korean Democratic People’s Republic, and (in 1950) the Mongolian People’s Republic. Yugoslavia established diplomatic relations with the GDR in 1957 and Cuba, in 1963.

The formation of the GDR was an important step in the process of peaceful and gradual transition from an antifascist democratic revolution into a socialist revolution.

With the formation of the GDR the process of creating the foundations of socialism began there along with the strengthening of the antifascist democratic system. The working class, under the leadership of the SED and in alliance with the peasantry and other strata of the toiling people, carried out the transition from an antifascist democratic state power to a workers’ and peasants’ power as a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Second Conference of the SED, held in July 1952, proclaimed that the building of the foundations of socialism would be the chief task of the GDR. In building a new society, the GDR relied on the experience and all-around help of the USSR.

The GDR had to overcome difficulties connected above all with the partition of the country. The ruling circles of the FRG exerted maximum political and economic pressure on the GDR, conducted subversive activity against it, and organized numerous provocations, including the counter-revolutionary putsch of June 17, 1953.

The GDR found itself cut off from what had historically been its sources of raw material. The major deposits of coal, iron ore, and many nonferrous metals were in West Germany. (In 1936 the territory presently occupied by the FRG accounted for 98 percent of the total German coal extraction and for 93 percent of ferrous metallurgy.) Great disproportions arose in the national economy of the GDR. Despite the difficulties, as a result of the labor activity of the working class, the two-year plan for the restoration and development of the national economy for 1949-50 was fulfilled ahead of schedule. The GDR surpassed the level of industrial development of the corresponding territories of prewar Germany. The harvest yield of the main agricultural crops reached the prewar yield. The further development of the economy proceeded on the basis of long-range plans. As a result of the first five-year plan (1951-55), industrial output was twice as much as the 1936 level; metallurgy and heavy machine building were created, and the extraction of brown coal and the output of chemical products greatly increased.

The support extended by the USSR and the other socialist countries was very important with regard to the successes achieved by the GDR. The Soviet Union substantially decreased the GDR’s financial and economic obligations stemming from the consequences of World War II. In May 1950 the Soviet government reduced the GDR’s reparation payments by one-half, and from 1954 it stopped collecting them altogether. The Soviet Union returned free of charge to the GDR the enterprises in its territory that had been previously turned over to the Soviet Union as reparations and reduced the expenses connected with the temporary stationing of Soviet troops in the GDR to a sum not exceeding 5 percent of the GDR state budget income. (Later the Soviet Union refused to collect this sum entirely.)

A new phase in the history of the GDR began at the end of 1955 and the beginning of 1956. Important foundations of socialism were laid in the course of the fulfillment of the first five-year plan. The question of who was to win was decided in favor of socialism headed by the recognized leader of society—the working class.

In March 1956 the Third Conference of the SED approved the second five-year plan for the development of the national economy (1956-60), the main goal of which was the struggle for scientific and technological progress. The conference called for extending socialist production relations to all branches of the national economy. The conference established that socialist transformations can be carried out peacefully through the participation of the state in private capitalist enterprises and the creation of producers’ cooperatives of craftsmen. The socialist transformation of agriculture became a most important link in this.

By the late 1950’s the country’s social and economic structure had radically changed. The socialist sector had become decisive in industry, transportation, and trade. The cooperation of agriculture proceeded successfully. An end was put to exploitation in the GDR, and unemployment was completely liquidated. The moral and political unity of the people was consolidated under the leadership of the working class. An essential role was played by the activity of the National Front, which rallied all the progressive parties and mass organizations under the leadership of the SED around the platform of peace, democratic transformations, and the building of socialism.

The rapid upswing of the national economy led to a rise in the material welfare of the toiling people and to an expansion of the network of hospitals, dispensaries, workers’ resorts, and children’s institutions. A new, socialist culture was developing successfully; it emerged and gathered strength in the process of overcoming the ideological vestiges of the past and the reactionary ideology disseminated by the West German imperialists.

Measures were implemented toward the improvement of the work of state bodies and the enlistment of broad masses of the toiling people in the administration of the state. In September 1960 the Council of State was formed from among deputies to the People’s Chamber and representatives of the SED, the democratic parties, and mass organizations; the chairman of the Council of State was W. Ulbricht, who was at that time first secretary of the Central Committee of the SED.

Under conditions of the direct threat to the GDR created by the remilitarization of the FRG, the toiling people of the GDR took a resolute stand in favor of adopting measures for the defense of the socialist gains. To this end the National People’s Army was formed in 1956.

In an attempt to protect its state interests, as well as the security of the other socialist countries, and to curb the subversive activity conducted out of West Berlin, the GDR, with the agreement and approval of the states of the Warsaw Pact of 1955, carried out in 1961 measures necessary for the strengthening of defense and control along the West Berlin border. This had a beneficial effect on the entire subsequent development of the GDR.

In January 1963 the Sixth Congress of the SED adopted the Program of the SED, which was the full-scale building of socialism. The congress set forth a long-range program for the development of the national economy up to 1970; the program provided the solution for important scientific, technological, economic, and social problems. From 1963 the GDR began introducing a new system for planning and managing the national economy, which provided for the further improvement of methods of administration and planning, for the broad application of the principles of material incentives, for improving the structure of production, and for combining the principle of one-man management with the participation of labor collectives in the administration of enterprises. Socialist competition and the innovators’ movement developed on a large scale and made it possible to attain a high level of labor productivity in all branches of the national economy.

The Seventh Congress of the SED, which was held in April 1967, determined the country’s subsequent goals in the creating of a developed socialist society. On Apr. 6, 1968, an all-people’s referendum adopted a new, socialist constitution for the GDR. The main goals of the long-range plan were fulfilled and, in some cases, surpassed.

With the establishment of the workers’ and peasants’ power and the building of a socialist society, a socialist nation is developing in the GDR. In 1969 the GDR celebrated its 20th anniversary. In these 20 years industrial output in the GDR has increased five times and the national income, more than four times.

The Eighth Congress of the SED, which was held in June 1971, approved the goals of the five-year plan for 1971-75 that were presented in the report and the directives of the Central Committee of the SED. The main goal of the plan is to bring about a further increase in the material and cultural living standards of the people on the basis of the high rate of development of socialist production, an increase in efficiency, the progress of science and technology, and the growth of labor productivity. In the period 1971-75 the national income is to increase by 26-28 percent, the output of industrial commodity goods by 34-36 percent, and labor productivity in industry by 35-37 percent. The consumption level is to be increased by 21-23 percent by 1975. The congress pointed out that the GDR has become an important factor for peace in Europe. The congress emphasized that the country’s most important foreign policy task is the further strengthening of ties between the GDR and the USSR and the countries of the socialist commonwealth and the greatest possible development of socialist economic integration with the member-states of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. The First Plenum of the Central Committee of the SED, which was held after the congress, elected E. Honecker first secretary of the Central Committee of the SED and W. Ulbricht chairman of the SED. (They were elected to these posts for the first time at the plenum of the Central Committee of the SED on May 3, 1971.)

In its foreign policy the GDR strives toward the greatest possible development and strengthening of fraternal ties with the USSR and the other socialist countries. Relations of equality between the USSR and the GDR were juridically formulated by the signing of a treaty on Sept. 20, 1955. In March 1957 the USSR and the GDR signed an agreement regulating the conditions of the temporary stationing of Soviet troops in the GDR. In June 1964 the GDR and the USSR concluded the Treaty on Friendship, Mutual Aid, and Cooperation. In December 1965 they signed a long-term trade agreement that determined the goods turnover between the two countries for the years 1966-70 in the amount of more than 13 billion rubles; and in November 1970 they signed a trade agreement for the years 1971-75 with a total goods turnover of more than 22 billion rubles.

One of the first foreign policy moves of the GDR was the signature, in the summer of 1950, of bilateral declarations with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Rumania. In accordance with the Warsaw Declaration of June 6, 1950, the GDR concluded the Treaty of Zgorzelec of 1950 on the demarcation of the borders between the GDR and Poland along the Oder-Neisse line, which had been established by the Potsdam agreements. The Prague Declaration of 1950 emphasized that there are no disputes between the GDR and Czechoslovakia and that the two sides have no territorial claims against each other. It also pointed out that the two sides consider the resettlement of German citizens from Czechoslovakia conclusively resolved. In 1957, treaties on friendship, mutual aid, and cooperation were concluded between the GDR and Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria. These treaties became important elements in the system of multilateral cooperation within the framework of the Warsaw Pact, which the GDR joined in May 1955, of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, to which the GDR was admitted in September 1950, and of other international organizations of the socialist countries. In 1967 the GDR concluded new bilateral treaties on friendship, mutual aid, and cooperation with the Polish People’s Republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Hungarian People’s Republic, and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.

The Central Committee of the SED and the government of the GDR exert great efforts toward the comprehensive strengthening of the world socialist commonwealth. The GDR has repeatedly taken the initiative in developing ties between the socialist countries; in improving the forms and methods of political, economic, and military cooperation between them; and in strengthening the coordination of their actions on the international arena.

The GDR supported the just struggle of the Vietnamese people against American aggression and rendered comprehensive aid to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The GDR supports the Arab peoples who are struggling to eliminate the aftermath of Israeli aggression. In August 1968 the GDR participated in the joint measures of five member-countries of the Warsaw Pact aimed at preserving the socialist gains in Czechoslovakia.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s there was a considerable strengthening of the international position of the GDR, which was the result of its principled stand in the international arena and the firm support extended to the GDR by the Soviet Union and other socialist states. As of April 1974 it has diplomatic relations with 104 nations, whereas on Jan. 1, 1969, only 13 nations maintained diplomatic relations with the GDR. In 1973 the GDR was admitted as a member of the UN. By June 1971 the GDR had foreign trade and economic relations with more than 100 countries. The chief trade partners of the GDR are the socialist countries and in the first place, the USSR. In the early 1970’s deliveries from the USSR provided 90 percent of the GDR’s demand for oil and iron ore, 40 percent of rolled steel, 70 percent of zinc, 60 percent of primary aluminum and lead, 40 percent of timber, and 85 percent of cotton.

The GDR wages a struggle for peace and European security. It signed the Moscow Treaty of 1963 Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water and the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1968. The GDR has repeatedly addressed itself to the FRG with proposals aimed at ensuring peace in Europe and normalizing relations between the two German states. The GDR has advocated mutual renunciation of the use of force and of the acquisition of nuclear weapons and their location on German soil and has advocated recognition of the immutability of the European borders and of the invalidity, from the very beginning, of the Munich Agreement of 1938.

For many years all these efforts were stubbornly sabotaged by the ruling circles of the FRG. After the formation of the Brandt-Scheel coalition government in the FRG (1969), the GDR once more took the initiative in the relaxation of tensions in Central Europe. On Dec. 17, 1969, W. Ulbricht, chairman of the Council of State, in a message to G. Heinemann, president of the FRG, proposed the establishment of equitable relations between the two German states.

The GDR approved the treaty between the USSR and the FRG, which was signed on Aug. 12, 1970, and the treaty between the Polish People’s Republic and the FRG, which was signed on Dec. 7, 1970 and the treaty between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the FRG, which was signed on Dec. 11, 1973. The government of the GDR acclaimed the four-power agreement between the USSR, Great Britain, the USA, and France on West Berlin, which was concluded on Sept. 3, 1971. The development of the process of detente in Europe made it possible to normalize the relations between the GDR and the FRG in terms of international law and in accordance with the principles of peaceful co-existence between states with different social systems.

On Dec. 21, 1972, a treaty was signed, which established the basis for relations between the GDR and the FRG; under-lying the treaty is respect for the territorial integrity, independence, and self-sufficiency of each of the two states in internal and foreign affairs.


Pieck, W. Reden und Aufsätze, vol. 3. Berlin, 1954.
Pieck, W. Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from German.)
Ulbricht, W. Izbr. stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from German.)
Ulbricht, W. Obshchestvennoe razvitie v Germanskoi Demokraticheskoi Respublike do zaversheniia stroitel’stva sotsializma: Doklad na VII partiinom s”ezde Sotsialisticheskoi edinoi partii Germanii. Dresden, 1967.
Grotewohl, O. Izbr. proizv. (1945-1960). Moscow, 1966. (Translated from German.)
Honecker, E. Otchet T sentral’nogo Komiteta VIII s”ezdu Sotsialisticheskoi edinoi partii Germanii. Moscow, 1971.
Müller, H., and K. Reissig. Bastion sotsializma: 20 let Germanskoi Demokraticheskoi Respubliki. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from German.)
Sotsializm na nemetskoi zemle: Dva desiatiletiia stroitel’stva novoi Germanii. Moscow, 1969.
Doernberg, S. Kratkaia istoriia GDR. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from German.)
Germanskaia istoriia v novoe i noveisshee vremia, vol. 2. Moscow, 1970.
Za antifashistskuiu demokraticheskuiu Germaniiu: Sb. dokumentov 1945-1949 gg. Moscow, 1969.
Goroshkova, G. N. Natsional’nyi front Demokraticheskoi Germanii (1949-1963). Moscow, 1966.
Vneshniaia politika GDR. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from German.)
Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung, vols. 7-8. Berlin, 1966.
Winzer, O. Deutsche Aussenpolitik des Friedens und des Sozialismus. Berlin, 1969.


Political parties. The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Enheitspartei Deutschlands, or SED) was founded in April 1946 as the result of a merger on the basis of the Marxism-Leninism of the Communist Party of Germany and the Social Democratic Party of Germany; in 1971 there were 1.9 million members and candidate members. The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU, Christlich-Demokratische Union Deutschlands) and the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD, Liberal-Demokratische Partei Deutschlands) were founded in 1945. The National Democratic Party of Germany (NDPD, National-Demo-kratische Partei Deutschlands) and the Democratic Peasants’ Party of Germany (DBD, Demokratische Bauernpartei Deutschlands) were founded in 1948.

The National Front of the GDR. The National Front of the GDR (Nationale Front der Demokratischen Deutschland) developed in 1949-50 from the German People’s Congress movement. It unites all political parties and public mass organizations of the GDR.

Trade unions and other social organizations. The Free German Trade Union Federation (FDGB) was founded in 1946; in 1970 it had 7.1 million members. It is a member of the World Federation of Trade Unions. The Free German Youth was founded in 1946; it had 1.7 million members in 1969. The Society for German-Soviet Friendship was founded in 1947 and had 3.5 million members in 1970. The Democratic Women’s League was founded in 1947 and had 1.3 million members in 1970; it is a member of the Women’s International Democratic Federation. The so-called Kulturbund was founded in 1945 and had 190,000 members in 1970. The Society for Sports and Technology was founded in 1952 and had about 300,000 members in 1970.

General state of the economy. The GDR is a highly developed industrial country that has entered the phase of the building of a developed socialist society. In terms of industrial output the GDR is among the ten leading industrial countries. In the first few postwar years its economy developed under difficult conditions. The initial industrial level of the territory of the future GDR was lower than that of the western regions of Germany, and the basic industries were less developed. Eastern Germany suffered more from the ravages of the war than the western part. The partition of Germany intensified the existing disproportions in the economy of the country’s eastern regions, in that it disrupted the historical and traditional economic ties between the eastern and western regions. The GDR’s manufacturing industry found itself without a sufficient fuel and energy or metallurgic base.

In restoring the economy and in eliminating the great disproportions, the GDR was greatly assisted by the other socialist countries and, first and foremost, by the USSR. The Western powers carried out an economic blockade of the GDR.

As a result of the social and economic transformations—such as the liquidation of monopolies, the confiscation of the property of war criminals and of the fascist state and its transfer into the hands of the people, the agrarian reform and the formation of agricultural production cooperatives in the countryside, and the subsequent formation of cooperative enterprises in industry—the socialist sector became the dominant sector. In 1950 socialist enterprises accounted for 56.8 percent and private enterprises for 43.2 percent of the national income; the corresponding figures for 1970 were 85.6 percent for socialist enterprises, 8.7 percent for enterprises with state participation, and 5.7 percent for private enterprises. The economic development is based on overall state plans.

As a result of the implementation of the five-year plan for the development of the national economy for 1966-70, the major scientific, technological, economic, and social goals were fulfilled and in some cases surpassed. The national income of the GDR increased by more than one-fourth. Owing to the advantages of the socialist system, in the period 1950-69 the average annual increment of industrial output in the GDR was about 9 percent. The five-year plan adopted for 1971-75 provides for further strengthening the material and technical base of socialism.

Stable and continuous economic growth is directly related to the cooperation (officially formulated in long-term agreements) of the GDR with the USSR and the other socialist countries. The GDR is a member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), within which it is a large exporter of consumer and other goods and high-quality products of the machine-building, electrical-engineering, and electronics industries, the GDR supports and expands socialist integration with the member-states of COMECON.

Industry. Industry accounts for 67 percent of the total national product. There are three sectors in the industry of the GDR—the socialist sector (state enterprises and artisans’ production cooperatives), the sector with state participation, and the private sector. The socialist sector holds the leading place. In 1968 it employed about 2.4 million manual and office workers. The enterprises of the semistate and private sectors employ more than 440,000 manual and office workers; these enterprises play a subsidiary but extremely important role as suppliers of state enterprises and as producers of specialized goods for the foreign market. In 1970 the GDR produced 1.5 times more industrial goods than the whole of prewar Germany in 1936. The branch structure, which is characterized by the predominance of heavy industry, has greatly changed in the years of the people’s rule (see Table 2). The power base has been expanded and consolidated as a result of an increase in the extraction of brown coal and the use of petroleum from the USSR. Several new branches have appeared, and a metallurgical base has been created. The branches that are not related to metals or raw materials are being strengthened, which is contributing to a rise in the technological level of the whole economy. Special attention is being devoted to the development of the chemical industry, especially petrochemistry, as well as electronics and instrument-making, shipbuilding, and the second-stage metallurgical industry (processing of rolled metal). Thus, in 1950-70 the total industrial output increased 5.4 times, the chemical industry 6.1 times, metallurgy six times, machine building and metalworking more than eight times, and electronics and instrument-making 11.6 times.

Table 2. Branches of industry (1970)
 Number of enterprisesNumber of employeesGross output (in millions of marks)Output index (1950=100)
Energy and fuel...............52174,0008,104238
Building materials...............54692,0003,007530
General and transportation machine building...............2,589809,00036,296736
Electrical engineering, electronics, and instrument-making...............688364,00013,87811 times
Light industry (excluding textiles)...............3,903450,00016,269393
Water use management...............1619,500758

In 1969 a total of 72.9 percent of the industrial output was produced in the eight southern and southwestern districts. An equalization of the highly industrial south and the agricultural north has begun. Shipbuilding and petroleum refinery centers have been created in the north.

MINING AND ENERGY INDUSTRIES. The only mineral resources of which there are full supplies in the country are brown coal and potassium salt. Brown coal is the basis of the energy industry, accounting for 85 percent of the electric power output. The main brown-coal supplies are in the Halle-Leipzig and Lower Lusatian (in Cottbus District) basins. The center of coal extraction and electric power output is shifting from the former to the latter basin (45 percent of the coal extraction and 37 percent of the electric power output). The huge Schwarze Pumpe Combine has been built in Cottbus District near the city of Hoyerswerda; the combine uses brown coal and produces briquettes, gas, coke, and chemical products. Bituminous coal is mined at Zwickau-Oelsnitz; ores of iron (in the Harz and the Thuringian Forest), nickel (in the area of the city of Glauchau), tin, zinc, lead (in the Erzgebirge), and uranium (in the Elbsandsteingebirge) are mined. Potassium salt deposits are concentrated in the southwest and in the foothills of the Harz. Petroleum extraction has begun in the area of the city of Stralsund. (See Table 3 concerning the extraction of minerals.)

The chief electric power plants are in the brown coal basins. The largest steam power plants are located in Cottbus District—the Lübbenau I, II, and III and the Vetschau steam power plants (1.3 and 1.2 million kW-hr). The Boxberg (3 million kW-hr) and Tirbach steam power plants and the Nord Atomic Power Plant (2 million kW-hr, in the Rostock District) have been under construction since 1971 with the assistance of the USSR. The first atomic power plant was put in operation in 1966 near Rheinsberg in Potsdam District. The electric power plants have been united into a single system. A large part of the electric power (about 70 percent) is used by industry.

MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY. Before the war the only metallurgical plant with a complete cycle in the territory of the GDR was the small Maxhütte Plant near the city of Saalfeld. In the 1950’s two large combines were built—the Ost Combine in Eisenhüttenstadt, which works on Polish coal and Soviet ore, and the West Combine near the city of Calbe, which was converted to metalworking in 1968. Several steelsmelting and rolling plants have been restored and reconstructed, including plants in Brandenburg, Hennigsdorf, Riesa, and Gröditz and a steel alloy plant in Freital. Copper ore is processed at the W. Pieck Combine in Eisleben and in Hettstedt. An aluminum industry has been created in Bitterfeld and Lauta and a nickel industry in Sankt Egidien, and a zinc-smelting plant has been built in Freiberg.

The leading branches of industry are diversified machine building, electrical engineering, electronics, and instrument-making. These branches account for more than one-third of the value of industrial output. In addition to the traditional branches (electrical engineering, precision mechanics, the precision optical industry, and machine-tool construction), new branches of heavy machine building have been created, such as the production of metallurgical equipment, several types of transportation and agricultural machine building, and the electronics industry. Old branches of industries have been modernized, primarily machine-tool construction. Enterprises of heavy machine building are located in the cities of Magdeburg, Leipzig, Grimma, Wurzen, Halle, Dessau, Köthen, Zeitz, Berlin, Eberswalde, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Penig, Zwickau, Dresden, Görlitz, Pirna, Freital, and Bautzen. The enterprises of general machine building are in the cities of Leipzig, Karl-Marx-Stadt, and Dresden and of tractor building, in the cities of Nordhausen and Brandenburg; other large-scale branches are the production of railroad cars in the cities of Halle, Görlitz, and Dessau; electric locomotives are built in the city of Hennigsdorf and diesel locomotives, in the city of Potsdam. Shipbuilding has been created as a new branch in the cities of Rostock, Warnemiinde, Wismar, Stralsund, and Wolgast; the automobile industry has also been built up as almost new in the cities of Zwickau, Eisenach, and Ludwigsfeld. In 1969 electrical engineering, electronics, and instrument-making (the major centers of which are in Berlin, Dresden, and Erfurt) accounted for 9 percent of the total industrial output. Precision mechanics and the precision optical industry is represented by the world-famous Carl Zeiss Plant in Jena and by plants in Erfurt, Dresden, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Rathenow, and Berlin. The center for the production of printing equipment is in Leipzig. All the branches of machine building are characterized by a high export quota.

The chemical industry plays a great role. It accounts for 14 percent of the total industrial output (1969; in export the figure is still higher). Its raw material base is formed by brown coal, potassium salts, rock salt, limestone, and various production wastes. The delivery of Soviet petroleum through the Friendship Petroleum Pipeline has made possible the development of petrochemistry, as well as an increase in output and a reduction in cost in the production of goods of organic synthesis, such as plastics and synthetic fibers. The pipeline has been built up to the border city of Schwedt on the Oder, where a petroleum-refining and petrochemical

Table 3. Extraction of minerals and output of major types of industrial goods
Bituminous coal (million tons).............
Brown coal (million tons).............137225.5260.6
Iron ore (million tons).............
Electric power (billion kW-hr).............19.540.367.6
Pig iron (million tons).............
Steel (million tons)
Rolled metal (million tons).............
Sulfuric acid, monohydrate (thousand tons).............3007301,099.2
Calcium carbide (thousand tons).............6069231,248.0
Potassium fertilizers (by K2O content; million tons).............
Nitrogen fertilizers (thousand tons).............231334378.0
Phosphate fertilizers (thousand tons).............25166403.0
Cement (million tons).............1.45.08
Plastics and synthetic resins (thousand tons).............115370
Chemical fibers (thousand tons).............93155.8214.8
Locomotives, diesel and electric engines (items).............184675633
Passenger railroad cars (items).............4331,7011,519
Passenger cars (thousand items).............7.264.1126.6
Tractors (thousand items).............
Vessels, maritime (tons).............154.3277.9
Diesel engines (thousand hp)1101,6946,222
Radio sets (thousand items).............277809.6806.9
Television sets (thousand items).............416.5380
Cameras (thousand items).............142530723
Fabrics (million sq m).............289609715
Footwear, leather (million pairs).............7.92536.4
Hosiery products (million pairs).............146151199

combine has been built (with a capacity of 6 million tons of petroleum a year). From Schwedt the crude oil is carried by pipelines to the W. Ulbricht Leunawerke, the country’s largest chemical combine, which produces nitrogen and nitrogen fertilizers, gasoline, and numerous products of organic synthesis; the second stage is Leuna-2, for the production of the raw materials for synthetic fibers and plastics. The most important chemical industry region is Halle District (more than 40 percent of the output) and the adjoining part of Leipzig District, with the Otto Grotewohl Combine in Böhlen and a combine in Espenhain. Other large chemical enterprises are the Bunawerke in Schkopau, which produces calcium carbide and synthetic rubber, a petroleum refinery in Lützkendorf, the Filmfabrik Wolfen, and electrochemical combine in Bitterfeld, and a nitrogen plant in Piesteritz.

The most important branches of light industry are the textile and the clothing industries. In addition to cotton and wool fabrics, the textile industry produces synthetic fabrics, such as dederon and wolpryla. The industry specializes in high-quality products, such as knitted fabrics, stockings, decorative fabrics, curtains, and tulle. The main region of the textile industry is Karl-Marx-Stadt District, accounting for more than 50 percent of the total output; the centers of the clothing industry are Karl-Marx-Stadt, Dresden, and Berlin. The traditional branches of light industry are well developed, including the production of porcelain (Meissen), glass, and furniture; the food and printing industries are similarly well developed. (See Table 3 for the main types of industrial output.)

Agriculture. By 1970 agricultural production cooperatives of various types owned 86 percent of the total agricultural area; state holdings amounted to 7 percent. The area used for agriculture makes up about 60 percent of the country’s territory; in 1970 of land used for agriculture plowed land made up 73 percent, hay fields and pasture 23 percent, and orchards, truck gardens, and nurseries 4 percent.

Agriculture is oriented clearly toward livestock raising (57.8 percent of the output in 1969). The livestock raising is noted for its high productivity (milk yield per cow is more than 3,300 liters a year). It provides the population with most of its meat and with all of its milk, eggs, and butter (see Tables 4 and 5). Poultry raising is well developed (25.5 million laying hens and 4.4 billion eggs in 1970).

Table 4. Livestock
1 82.6 head of cattle and 154 pigs per 100 ha of agricultural fields
cows............... 2,175,1002,162,900

The main crops (more than 50 percent of the area) are grains, including rye, wheat, oats, and barley, as well as potatoes and fodder crops (more than 20 percent). The chief industrial crop is sugar beets. There is fruit and vegetable truck gardening in suburban areas. Agriculture is highly mechanized (about 150,000 tractors and about 18,000 combines in 1970), fertilizers are used on a large scale, and high harvest yields are common (harvest yield in 1970: 28 centners of grain crops, 196 centners of potatoes, and 320 centners of sugar beets).

Forestry. About one-third of the timber is imported. As a result of forest planting, reclamation work, and forest cultivation, the condition of the forests has considerably improved, and they are supplying increasingly greater amounts of raw material to the national economy.

Fishing. The Baltic Sea is the main fishing grounds. The fish catch was 317,000 tons in 1969.

Table 5. Livestock production
 1960 (tons)1970 (tons)
Meat (liveweight).............1,362,7001,800,400
Milk (3.5 percent butter-fat content).............5,730,1007,091,000

Transportation. A dense network serves not only domestic needs but also to a considerable extent trans-European and international transportation. In 1970 railroads accounted for 32.4 percent of the freight turnover of all types of general transportation, sea transportation for 54.5 percent, river shipping for 1.8 percent, motor vehicle transport, including intraplant, for 9.6 percent, and pipelines for 1.1 percent. The length of the railroads is 14,650 km, of which 1,350 km are electrified. The largest railroad junctions are Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden. The length of the highways is 44,300 km and of the autobahns, 1,400 km; there are more than 2.9 million motor vehicles of all types. The main waterways are the Oder and the Elbe and the system of canals between them; their length is more than 2,500 km. The total tonnage of the merchant marine is 1.3 million tons deadweight (1970). The chief seaports on the Baltic are Wismar, Rostock, and Stralsund; their combined freight turnover has grown to 12.8 million tons a year. Interflug Airlines has about 30 international routes; its chief airport is Schönefeld (Berlin).

External economic relations. In terms of foreign trade turnover the GDR holds second place among the socialist countries after the USSR.

The main export articles are finished industrial goods. The trade balance is for the most part favorable. About 56 percent of exports are products of machine building and metalworking, including sets of equipment, means of transportation (marine vessels, electric locomotives, and railroad cars), electrical engineering goods, precision mechanics articles and products of the optical industry, and agricultural machines. The second most important group of exports are chemicals, including potassium fertilizers (the GDR is one of the main suppliers for the world market), nitrogen fertilizers, soda, cleansing agents, synthetic rubber, photochemical products, fibers, and plastics. The GDR imports mainly raw materials, semifinished products, and foodstuff; it imports bituminous coal, coke, iron ore, petroleum, and bauxite. The GDR has vast trade relations and participates in many international exhibitions and fairs. The Leipzig Fair has become a “trade bridge” between the East and the West.

The socialist countries play a decisive role in foreign trade, accounting for three-fourths of the total turnover in 1970. The chief trade partner is the USSR (40 percent of the total turnover). Deliveries of petroleum (subsequently gas), nonferrous metals, and lumber products from the USSR form the basis for the development of the major branches of the GDR national economy. At the same time the USSR accounts for a large part of the export of ships, passenger railroad cars, machine tools, and other goods from the GDR. Table 6 shows the export and import structure.

Table 6. Exports and imports of industrial goods (in percent)
Basic materials industry..............30.520.8
Metalworking industry..............51.856.2
Light industry..............15.821.3
Basic materials industry41.831.8
Metalworking industry14.436.4
Light and food industry27.719.7
Agriculture and forestry15.411.0

Scientific and technological cooperation with the USSR is very important. Petroleum refineries, petrochemical enterprises, electric power plants, and other enterprises have been built with the help of the USSR. Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria are trade partners of the GDR. About one-fourth of the total trade turnover is with the capitalist countries, mainly with the FRG and West Berlin, as well as Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, and Austria. The trade turnover with the developing countries is expanding (the Arab Republic of Egypt, India, etc.). The monetary unit is the GDR mark; according to Gos-bank (State Bank) of the USSR, 100 marks were equal to 40.5 rubles in September 1971.

Economic regions. In terms of the development of the productive forces and the level of industrialization the following regions can be distinguished in the GDR (see Table 7).

The maritime region is noted for its livestock raising (more than one-fifth of the cattle and swine population), a large food—especially fish-processing—industry (one-fifth of the total industrial output), and shipbuilding. Rye, potatoes, wheat, and sugar beets are grown. Rostock (together with Warnemünde) is a big port and shipbuilding center; there are large shipyards in Wismar and Stralsund (fishing vessels), and ship equipment is built in Schwerin. The Baltic coast and the plain of the Mecklenburg lake region is a tourist and resort area.

The Berlin region is an industrial region; the most important industries are ferrous metallurgy, petroleum refining, and machine building (transportation, energy, electronics, and machine-tool industries). The main centers are Brandenburg, which is a port on the Havel, Hennigsdorf, Potsdam, Ludwigsfelde (production of trucks), Wildau and Eberswalde (heavy machine building), Rathenow (optical industry), Teltow (electrical engineering and electronics industries), Premnitz (chemical fibers), and Fiirstenwalde (production of buses). Some new industrial centers are related to deliveries of raw materials from the USSR and Poland, including Eisenh^#x00FC;ttenstadt (ferrous metallurgy) and Schwedt (petroleum refining and petrochemistry and the paper industry). Dairy livestock raising is characteristic of agriculture everywhere; rye, oats, wheat, sugar beets, and potatoes are grown; Oderbruch is a truck-farming region.

The eastern region, which is a new industrial region, is becoming the chief energy supplier of the GDR. The brown-coal combines Schwarze Pumpe (near the city of Hoyerswerda) and Lauchhammer are important to the entire country. Machine building (Lauchhammer) produces industrial brown-coal equipment. Aluminum is produced in Lauta. The wool industry (cities of Cottbus, Forst, and Wilhelm-Pieck-Stadt

Table 7. Indexes of economic regions and districts (1971) (in per cent)
 AreaPopulationTotal industrial outputEnergyMetallurgyChemicalsMachine building and transportation machine buildingElectrical engineering, electronics, and instrument-makingTextiles
Berlin (capital)..............
Maritime region..............24.512.
Berlin region..............18.210.610.04.535.
Eastern Region..............         
Southern region..............19.130.534.513.830.018.634.743.077.9
Western region..............

Guben) and the production of synthetic fibers (Wilhelm-Pieck-Stadt Guben) are traditional. A large part of the area under cultivation is planted with rye and potatoes; there is vegetable truck farming in the Spreewald.

The southern region is an old mining and forestry region (extraction of potassium salt, iron, nickel, and uranium). The more complex branches of the processing industry are well developed and diversified. Production is typically somewhat dispersed throughout small population centers and towns. A large proportion of the total output comes from the electrical engineering, electronics, instrument-making, metal-products, machine-building and transportation machine-building, metallurgical, and textile industries. The industrial centers are Dresden and Karl-Marx-Stadt and the surrounding areas of Riesa and Gröditz, Radeberg, Görlitz, Pirna, Zittau, Heidenau, Werdau, Zwickau, Glashütte (precision mechanics and optical industry), and Meissen (production of Saxon porcelain). The centers of the textile industry and machine building are the cities of Karl-Marx-Stadt, Plauen, Glauchau, Aue, Crimmitschau, Burgstädt, Meerane, Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Limbach-Oberfrohna, and Oelsnitz; chemical fibers are produced in Rudolstadt-Schwarza and Elsterberg. There is transportation machine building and machine-tool construction in Zwickau, and nonferrous metals are smelted in Freiberg, Aue, and Sankt Egidien. Gera and Suhl districts are noted for instrument-making for scientific purposes, the precision mechanics and optical industries (cities of Jena, Suhl, and Ilmenau), radio equipment (Sonneberg), and electrical apparatus (Zella-Mehlis); Suhl District has a glass and ceramics industry and produces hunting rifles, bicycles, motor scooters, toys, and musical instruments (Klingenthal). The major agricultural crops are rye, oats, and potatoes; there is livestock raising. It is a tourist region.

The western region is the oldest mining and industrial region (extraction of brown coal, potassium salts, copper ore, and iron ore in the foothills of the Harz). Large branches of industry have developed there, including the power industry, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, the chemical industry, machine building, the food industry (39 percent of the GDR output), and woodworking. The major industrial areas are around Magdeburg, Halle, Leipzig, and the foothills of the Harz. Magdeburg is an important transportation junction and a major center of heavy machine building in the GDR; in the Schünebeck-Calbe region there is tractor building, production of diesel engines, metalworking, and a chemical industry; Ilsenburg and Burg have rolled metal production (especially in Zerbst and Haldensleben). Halle District has become a most important chemical-industry region because of coal extraction and electric power generation—there is a nitrogen plant in Piesteritz, an oil refinery in Zeitz, and an aluminum plant in Bitterfeld. There is a transportation machine-building and rubber industry in Gotha and metalworking, textile, and food industries in Nordhausen. Erfurt is noted for railroad cars and precision mechanics, Eisenach for automobiles, Weimar for precision mechanics, Ruhla for optical and precision mechanics, Stassfurt for television sets, Apolda and other neighboring cities for textiles, and Sümmerda for precision mechanics. The region contains one-third of the cultivated area and about one-third of the cattle population. A great proportion of the plain and hilly areas of the region (especially in the so-called Magdeburger Borde) are cultivated; wheat, sugar beets, and root crops are grown. Dairy livestock raising and swine raising are well developed.

Berlin, the capital of the GDR, forms a separate economic region.


Rise in the standard of living. Since the formation of the GDR the standard of living of the population has improved considerably along with the growth of the national income. The national income rose from 22.32 billion marks in 1949 to 108 billion marks in 1970. The earnings of the toiling people have grown (see Table 8). In 1967 and 1971 the wages of the low-paid categories of the population were raised; the minimum wage is now 350 marks a month.

Table 8. Average monthly earnings of full-time manual and office workers by branches of the national economy (In marks)
 IndustryConstructionAgriculture and forestryTransportationCommunicationsTrade

Per capita savings-bank deposits increased from 69 marks in 1950 to 2,800 marks in 1969. The coefficient of purchasing power of the mark rose from 52.7 in 1950 to 100 in 1969, and real per capita wages of manual and office workers increased by 25 percent from 1960 to 1968. In 1970, 16 percent of all families had automobiles, 19 percent had motorcycles or motor scooters, 22 percent had motor bicycles, 92 percent had radios, 69 percent had television sets, 56 percent had refrigerators, and 54 percent had electric washing machines. The GDR is among the world’s leading countries in per capita consumption of many food products (for instance, 100.2 liters of milk, 65 kg of meat and meat products, and 14.2 kg of butter).

In the period 1950-70 retail trade increased by 271 percent (533 percent in the socialist sector). In 1967 the five-day workweek was introduced in the GDR, and the length of the workweek was reduced from 48 to 43.75 hours and to 42 hours in shift work.

Social security for manual and office workers and members of their families is provided by the social insurance system, which is administered by the Free German Trade Union Federation. Since 1968 state insurance has been provided for members of agricultural and other industrial cooperatives, private entrepreneurs, and members of the professions and their families by a special agency, the State Insurance of the GDR (the German Insurance Establishment until 1968). Both insurance systems pay benefits for illness, industrial accidents, occupational diseases, and pregnancy and childbirth, as well as pensions for old age, work disability, and loss of the breadwinner. The social insurance funds are amassed through obligatory contributions of enterprises and the toiling people themselves, as well as by means of subsidies from the state budget. Every working person each month pays 10 percent of his wage or salary (but not more than 60 marks) into the social security fund until he reaches the retirement age. The same amount is paid into this fund by the enterprise (twice as much in the mining industry) with an extra 3 percent for accident insurance. In 1971 voluntary social insurance for the toiling people was introduced for those with wages exceeding 600 marks.

Old-age pensions are paid to men at the age of 65 and to women at the age of 60 (in the mining industry, 60 and 55 years respectively) having at least 15 years of work subject to mandatory social insurance. In 1969 pension payments amounted to 58.2 percent of all the expenditures of the social insurance fund. In the same year state expenditures for social security and pensions constituted 22.2 percent of the expenditures of the total state budget.



Ekonomicheskaia geografiia GDR. Edited by G. Schmidt-Renner. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from German.)
Lavrov, S. B., and N. S. Chochia. Ekonomicheskaia geografiia GDR. [Leningrad] 1962.
Statistisches Jahrbuch der DDR. [Berlin, 1956—.]
Handbuch der DDR. [Berlin, 1964.]
Raus, O., and S. Freytag. DDR. Berlin, 1961.
Territorialplanung im neuen okonomischen System der Planung und Leitung. Berlin, 1966.

The armed forces (the National People’s Army, or NPA) consist of the ground forces, air forces, air defense forces, people’s navy, and border troops. They are under the authority of the minister of national defense. There is the General Staff of the NPA, staffs of the branches of the armed forces, and staffs of military districts and military councils. The supreme political organ is the Main Political Directorate. Questions concerning the country’s defense are decided by the National Defense Council, which is subordinate to the People’s Chamber and the Council of State of the GDR. The building up of the NPA began in 1956. On January 18 the People’s Chamber adopted a law on the creation of the national armed forces. For the first time in German history armed forces were formed that were called upon to stand guard over the interests of the toiling people. The NPA has various types of armaments necessary for defense. Together with the fraternal armies of the Warsaw Pact, the NPA actively participates in the implementation of joint measures toward strengthening the combined armed forces to ensure peace and security in Europe. The army is recruited on the basis of a law, passed on Jan. 24, 1962, that introduced universal military obligation and through voluntary enlistment. The draft age is 18, and the duration of active military service is 18 months. The military obligation may also extend, if necessary, to women. Officers are trained at higher officers schools and at the F. Engels Military Academy. Mar. 1, 1956, when the first units of the NPA took the military oath, is celebrated in the GDR as the Day of the National People’s Army and is a national holiday for the toiling people.

Medicine and public health. In 1970 the birth rate was 13.9 and general mortality 14.1 per 1,000 population; infant mortality was 18.8 per 1,000 live births. (In the economically most developed western and southern regions with a predominance of industrial production, infant mortality is lower.) The corresponding figures for 1949 were 14.5, 13.4, and 78.0. The average life span is 67.8 years for men and 73.1 years for women. The morbidity and mortality structure is dominated by noninfectious pathology, mainly cardiovascular diseases and malignant tumors. There are incidences of ornithosis and listerellosis. The incidence of tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles, and viral hepatitis has considerably declined. There has not been any incidence of poliomyelitis since 1965.

The GDR has a state public health system. The central body is the Ministry for Health, which was set up in 1949. All the toiling people and the members of their families are provided with free medical aid. In 1970 there were 626 hospitals, with 190,000 beds, or 11.1 beds per 1,000 population (compared to 187,200 beds, or 10.2 beds per 1,000 population in 1950). The hospitals include 423 general hospitals (130,400 beds), 111 clinics related to universities and medical academies (18,700 beds), medical institutions at seven scientific research institutes (921 beds), more than 50 (1969) tuberculosis hospitals, clinics, and divisions at hospitals and convalescent homes, 40 mental hospitals, and 8,000 (1968) beds in maternity wards. Dispensary and outpatient clinic service was provided in 1970 by 452 outpatient clinics (180 in 1949) and 828 dispensaries (520 in 1949). There were 1,096 consultation centers for pregnant women and 10,000 consultation centers (including their branches) for mothers. Permanent and seasonal nurseries can accommodate 175,000 children. Sanatorium and health resort service was provided by 178 institutions (sanatoriums, workers’ resorts, etc.) with 18,200 beds.

In 1970 the GDR had 27,300 physicians (one physician per 626 people), 7,300 dentists, 2,900 pharmacists, and 245,100 secondary and auxiliary medical personnel (1969). Physicians were trained at six university medical departments and three medical academies. A total of 1,800 physicians (including dentists) were graduated in 1970. Well-known health resorts include Binz, Brambach, Bad Schandau, Bad-Elster, Bad Kösen, and Oberwiesenthal. In 1969 state appropriations for public health and social security (not including social insurance) amounted to 5,917.7 million marks.


Das Gesundheitswesen der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik. Berlin, 1967.
Statistisches Jahrbuch der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik. Berlin, 1970.
Bevölkerungsstatistisches Jahrbuch der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik. Berlin, 1968.
Veterinary services. Many dangerous diseases of agricultural animals have been eradicated in the GDR; however, there are still individual cases of anthrax, rabies, infectious encephalomyelitis of horses, and listerellosis; agricultural poultry are affected by Newcastle disease and rabbits by myxomatosis. A major role in animal pathology is played by helminthiases, such as fascioliasis, coccidiosis, and infestations of Dictyocaulus and palisade worms. In the northern regions there are animal diseases related to an insufficiency in the soil and in plants of trace elements, such as cobalt, selenium, and copper.
Veterinary physicians are trained at the veterinary departments of the universities of Berlin and Leipzig. The GDR had about 3,000 veterinarians in 1970. The network of veterinary institutions covers the whole country. Veterinary measures are based on prevention, such as inoculations and disinfection. Veterinary services are rendered everywhere, and permanent veterinary and sanitary control has been established at meat-processing enterprises. The main veterinary scientific research centers are the Friedrich Loffler Institute on Riems Island, the Institute for the Study of Animal Diseases in Jena, and the State Scientific and Control Institute in Berlin. Periodical publications on veterinary questions and much specialized literature are published.

The system of public education in the GDR is built on the foundation of the Law on a Unified Socialist System of Education, which was passed in 1965. The preschool education of children of up to three years of age is carried out in nurseries; from three to six, in kindergartens. In 1969 there were 758,007 children in nurseries and kindergartens (in nurseries 23.7 percent and in kindergartens 62 percent of the total number of children in the respective age groups).

The Constitution of the GDR (1968) guarantees to all citizens equal rights in education and establishes ten years of secondary school education as compulsory for all citizens. In the ten-grade secondary general polytechnical school the principles of uniformity in training and education and the linking of lessons with productive labor are carried out. In the 1970-71 academic year in the ten-grade secondary schools there were about 2.5 million pupils. There are two-year expanded general schools, which follow the ten-grade secondary schools in preparing students for matriculation in higher educational institutions; graduates receive the Abitur certificate.

Vocational training is carried out after the ten-grade secondary schools in two-year vocational schools. For the small number of students that leave secondary school after the eighth grade the period of training in vocational schools is three years. Many vocational schools grant not only a vocational diploma but the Abitur certificate as well; the period of training in these schools for those who complete the ten-grade schools is three years. In the 1970-71 academic year in all vocational schools there were about 430,900 trainees.

There are technicums, engineering schools, and so forth in the system of secondary specialized education. Completion of the ten-grade secondary school is necessary for admission to these schools and, as a rule, a vocational diploma and practical work experience as well. The period of training (depending upon the specialty of the educational institution) is up to four years. In the 1969-70 academic year about 151,000 students were trained in 188 technicums.

The preparation of trained personnel for the public education system begins after the ten-grade secondary school; kindergarten teachers are trained in a two-year pedagogical school; teachers of the lower grades in secondary schools are trained in a three-year or four-year teachers institute. In the 1969-70 academic year in the pedagogical institutions of secondary education about 25,000 students were trained. Instructors of subjects for the fifth through 12th grades are trained in institutions of higher education.

The system of higher education includes universities, technical high schools, engineering high schools, pedagogical institutes, pedagogic high schools, high schools of art and music, and medical academies. The period of study, as a rule, is four years. Admission to institutions of higher education is restricted to those who have the Abitur. In the 1970-71 academic year 138,700 students were studying in 54 institutions of higher education.

The most important institutions of higher education are Humboldt University in Berlin, Karl Marx University in Leipzig (founded in 1409), Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg (founded in 1694), Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (founded in 1557), University of Rostock (founded in 1419), Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University in Greifswald (founded in 1456), and the Technical University in Dresden (founded in 1828).

The most important libraries are the German State Library in Berlin (founded in 1661; 2.9 million titles), the library of the University of Berlin (founded in 1831; about 2 million titles), the German Library (founded in 1912; over 5 million titles), and the library of Karl Marx University (founded in 1543; over 2 million titles) in Leipzig.

Museums include the State Museum (founded in 1830), the museum of German History in Berlin, the Berlin Art Museums (GDR), the Dresden Art Gallery (founded in 1560), the National Museum of German Classical Literature in Weimar, the Museum of the History of the Working Class Movement in Germany and the Museum of the Books in Leipzig, and the Memorial Museum in Memory of the Victims of Fascism in Buchenwald.


Natural and technical sciences. The scientists of the GDR are contributing a great deal in the development of the most important branches of the natural and technical sciences.

MATHEMATICS. The basic areas of emphasis in research are mathematical logic, analysis, topology, algebra, theory of numbers, theory of probability, mathematical statistics, and computer mathematics. Since the end of the 1950’s research in cybernetics and simulation have been developed. Among those well known in mathematical research are L. Budach, O. Bunke, H. Grell, D. Klaua, K. Schröder, K. Schröter, and H. J. Treder.

PHYSICS. The main trends in research in the GDR are physics of solid matter and semiconductors, the physical basis of electronics, quantum electronics, electronic microscopy, the optics and spectroscopy of all long waves, instrument-making and modern materials, the physics of plasma, and statistical physics. In the beginning of the 1950’s centers for research in physics were established at the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin and at various universities. Research work in the exploration of nuclear energy for peaceful use and in high-energy and low-energy nuclear physics has been carried out. In these fields the Soviet Union has provided much assistance. A high level of scientific research was attained in the study of radioactive and stable isotopes. Credit in the development of physics research is due to W. Friedrich, M. von Ardenne, H. Falkenhagen, P. Goerlich, G. Hertz, P. Kunze, A. Loesch, F. Moeglich, A. Recknagel, R. Rompe, W. Schutz, R. Seliger, and M. Steenbeck.

ASTRONOMY. After 1945 the observatories at Rodewisch, Babelsberg, and Jena, the Astrophysical observatory at Potsdam, and the newly built Astronomical Observatory at Tautenburg (with a 2-meter reflector) became the main centers of astronomical and astrophysical research. Important results have been obtained in the theory of variable stars, interstellar medium, cosmic magnetic fields, and extragalactic physics. Well known among astronomers and astrophysicists are C. Hoffmeister, H. Lambrecht, M. Steenbeck, and H. J. Treder.

GEOPHYSICS. Geodesy, gravimetry, geomagnetism, the study of the ionosphere, seismology, physical hydrography, and applied geophysics are developing. The GDR has participated in various international activities, including the International Geophysical Year, The International Year of the Quiet Sun, and the Upper Mantle Project, as well as in Soviet Antarctic expeditions. Outstanding in the area of geophysics is the work of H. Hertel, G. Fansela, E. A. Lauter, R. Lauterbach, O. Lucke, O. Meisser, and others.

METEOROLOGY. The main trends in meteorological research have become problems of short-term, intermediate, and long-term forecasts and problems of aerology, the heat balance in the atmosphere, the chemistry of air, and agro-, bio-, and hydrometeorology. Outstanding in the field of meteorology are P. Dubois, G. Falkenberg, H. Phillips, and R. Süring.

GEOLOGY. The branches of geology, which are directed toward the solution of practical problems, began to develop quickly after 1945 because of the need to use the GDR’s own sources of mineral raw materials—brown coal, potassium, various ores, and so on. The main efforts of what became the centers of research—the State Geological Commission, institutions of higher education, and the Wismut Joint-stock Company—are concentrated on applied research studies. Specialists in the GDR in close cooperation with Soviet scientists undertook exploratory work to discover deposits of petroleum and natural gas, which has led to new scientific methods, especially in regional geology, geochemistry, and geophysics. Among well-known scholars are S. Bubnov, F. Doebel, H. F. E. Kautzsch, K. Kegel, and A. Watznauer.

CHEMISTRY. After World War II (1939-45) renewed research has been undertaken in the laboratories of large chemical enterprises. Much attention has been devoted particularly to the study of the rational processing of brown coal, which in this period appeared to be the most important base for the chemical industry. In industrial laboratories, in scientific research establishments created by the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, and in a number of institutions of higher education, research has also been carried out in organic and inorganic cathalysis, the chemistry of silicates, phosphates, and complex compounds, organic peroxides, and steroids and in electro- and thermochemistry. The chemistry of herbicides, fungicides, and combination insecticide-fungicides, as well as pharmaceutical research, was developed; subsequently, intensive development began in plastics and elastomers, chemical fibers, the chemistry of metallurgy, prevention of corrosion, photochemistry, ion-exchange resins, and molecular sieves. Owing to the increase of imports of oil from the USSR a base was established for the extensive utilization of oil as a raw material in the petrochemical industry. The focus of research shifted to the development of petrochemistry. One of the important trends in inorganic chemistry became the manufacture of fertilizers. In various branches of chemistry the research of the following is well known: G. Bertsch, K. Boll-Dornberger, E. Correns, G. Drefahl, H. Dunken, H. G. Frank, R. Grisebach F. Hein, H. Klare, W. Langenbeck, E. Leibnitz, A. Rieche, G. Rienäcker, K. Schreiber, K. Schwabe, A. Simon, P. A. Thiesen, E. Thilo, K. Thinius, M. Folmer, and others.

BIOLOGY. The development of biology is characterized by the penetration into it of other natural sciences and the consolidation of relationships between its separate branches. Based on this the most modern methods of research have been introduced and new instruments have been created. Such disciplines as biochemistry, genetics, cytology, research on microstructure, and physiology have been drawn together.

Significant results have been attained in biochemistry and molecular biology. The major branches are the study of ferments, regulation of the metabolism, synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins, study of biological membranes, and neurobiology. Research is conducted in close collaboration with medicine, agriculture, the food-products industry, and the chemical industry. Special attention is being given to the molecular foundations of the processes of development, inheritance, and control. Research in horticulture and microbiology is also carried out. Closely related to this is research work for the development of farming and horticulture called forth by the social changes in agriculture.

Research is also conducted on carcinogenesis, antibiotics, enzymes, the study of the mechanism of the activity of biologically active compounds, endocrinology, animal psychology, the study of problems of the struggle against epidemics, and applied ecology of the soil and animals. The most important representatives of the biological sciences are M. Gersch, A. Graffi, F. Jung, H. Knoll, K. Loman, K. Mothes, K. Nehring, S. M. Rapoport, H. Roerer, A. Schoenert, and H. Stubbe.

MEDICINE. Major scientific research is devoted to the problems of fighting cardiac and circulatory diseases, malignant tumors, occupational injuries, silicosis, tuberculosis, rheumatism, and so forth. The direction and planning of scientific research in medicine is carried out by the Scientific Council of the Ministry of Public Health. Part of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin is the medical section. A great deal of research work is carried out by the Institute of Biology and Medicine of the Academy of Sciences; the Academy of Social Hygiene in Berlin; the Institutes of Physiotherapy, Medical Microbiology (Rostock), and Nutrition and Vitaminology (Potsdam-Rehbriicke); the K. Sudhof Institute of History of Medicine and Natural Science (Leipzig); the Central Institute of Health Education (Dresden); institutes of cardiology, pediatrics, medicine associated with sports, hematology, and physiology of higher nervous activity; and the Central Institute of Hygiene. Significant contributions have been made by W. Friedrich (biophysics), F. Benheim (history of medicine), T. Brugsch (therapeutics), F. Sauerbruch (surgery), H. Kraatz (obstetrics and gynecology and oncology), Schilling (hematology), and others.

TECHNICAL SCIENCES. For the development of the technical sciences it was very important to bring together the dispersed scientific technical experts and to present the fundamental problems of the national economy to them. The reestablishment of the Higher Technical College in Dresden had great significance as did the Dresden Technical University which was created on its base and the German Academy of Construction. Scientific research was concentrated mainly in control technology, communications technology and construction, instrument-making, strong-current and high-tension technology, chemical technology, the study of materials, special methods in metallurgy and the processing of metals, and machine building. Great contributions were made in the development of the technical sciences by W. Albring, G. Barckhausen, G. Bilkenroth, L. Binder, W. Bobet, F. Eisenkolb, H. Friihauf, H. Kirchberg, W. Lichtenheldt, E. Maurer, W. Pauer, K. Pommer, E. Rammler, H. G. Riedel, and others.

Social sciences. PHILOSOPHY. The basis for philosophical research in the GDR is found in Marxist-Leninist theory and the practice of the development of the socialist society. Works dealing with questions concerning the ideologies of W. Pieck, W. Ulbricht, E. Honecker, K. Hager, and other leaders of the SEPD have great significance. Marxist-Leninist philosophy in the GDR is developing in close contact with philosophical scholarship in the USSR. Special attention is being given by the philosophers of the GDR to the theoretical problems of materialistic dialectics, to the driving forces of the socialist society, to the formation of socialist consciousness, and to the scientific and technical revolution (W. Eichhorn and W. Eichhorn, G. Soeder, G. Heyden, E. Hahn, W. Mueller, etc.). An important position is occupied by works on contemporary problems of the theory and methodology of science (logical analysis of the theory of concepts, methods of prognosis, and philosophical analysis of the advances in physics, biology, cybernetics, and so forth—G. Klaus, H. Korch, D. Wittich, A. Kosing, G. Kroeber, E. Albrecht, H. Herz, H. Ley, and others). The philosophers of the GDR are also occupied with the elaboration of their philosophical heritage (R. Gropp, W. Kraus, M. Buhr, G. Stiehler, G. Mende, and others) and the study of the rise and history of Marxist-Leninist philosophy (O. Cornu, M. Klein, G. Mende, etc.). A great many works are criticisms of bourgeois philosophy and revisionism (D. Bergner, M. Buhr, G. Mende, W. Jopke, G. Heyden, A. Kosing, and others). In 1964, Dictionary of Philosophy, a work by M. Buhr and G. Klaus, was published. In the sociological research carried on in the GDR the most important place is occupied by questions of work motivation and technical progress, as well as general questions concerning sociological theory.

Philosophical congresses have been held on several topics: “Marxist-Leninist Philosophy and the Scientific-Technological Revolution” (1965), “The Philosophical Teaching of Marx and Its Significance Today” (1968), “Lenin and the Marxist Philosophy of Our Time” (1970).

Philosophical research is concentrated in the Central Institute of Philosophy at the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (there is also a division of sociology), the Institute of Social Science of the Central Committee of the SEPD, and departments of philosophy at the universities of Berlin, Leipzig, Jena, and Halle. They are coordinated by the Council of Philosophical Research of the Institute of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the SEPD. The organ of philosophical research and discussion is the journal Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Philosophic (from 1953) and the theoretical organ of the Central Committee of the SEPD, the journal Einheit (from 1946).

HISTORY. The center of attention of historians in the GDR is occupied by the class struggle and the creative role of the masses in the history of the German people, particularly the struggle of the working class and its revolutionary party. The decisions of the Central Committee of the SEPD in 1951 and the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SEPD in 1955 were exceedingly significant in the development of historical scholarship. They provided a number of measures for the development of scientific research, the systematic training and education of Marxist-Leninist experts, and the improvement of teaching methods in history. Along with the consolidation of Marxist methodology the methods of the research work of the historians also changed. Large-scale collective endeavors began to play an essential role in research. The most significant of these was The History of the German Working-Class Movement in eight volumes, which was written by a collective of historians under the editorship of a commission of the Central Committee of the SEPD led by W. Ulbricht. A great contribution in the creation of this work was made by H. Bartel, E. Diehl, D. Fricke, W. Horn, A. Schreiner, H. Wolf, S. Doernberg, and others. The multivolume work Textbook of German History testifies to the growth of historical scholarship. Contributors to this work were L. Stern, E. Engelberg, K. Obermann, G. Schilfert, E. Paterna, W. Ruge, and others. The three-volume German History, under the editorship of J. Streisand (vols. 1-3, 1965-68) was written based on the previous work.

The scholars of the GDR carry out research on all periods of German history. German militarism is exposed in their works, as well as the hidden forces which brought it to birth. Among some of the books on this subject is the three-volume work on German history during the years of World War I, which was completed under the editorship of F. Klein (1968-69) and the two-volume The Bourgeois Parties of Germany: 1870-1945, under the editorship of D. Fricke (1968-70). These studies stand in opposition to the falsified publications in West Germany and other capitalist countries. The fight against West German bourgeois and reformist historiography is considered by the historians of the GDR as one of the most vital tasks and is carried out in both popular and specialized publications (W. Berthold, Starve and Obey, translated into Russian from German, 1964; G. Lozek and H. Syrbe, Historiography Against History, 1964; the collective work Indefinite Past, 1970, published under the editorship of W. Berthold, G. Lozek, G. Mayer, and W. Schmidt; and others). Fierce ideological struggles are waged in the study of the history of German fascism and militarism. This particularly relates to the World War II period.

There has been extremely fruitful cooperation between the scholars of the GDR and the USSR, which is reflected particularly in a number of publications based on materials from joint sessions of the Commission of Historians of the GDR and the USSR, created in 1957 (Problems in the History of World War II, translated from German, 1959; German Imperialism and World War II, vols. 1-5, 1960-62, abbreviated Russian translation Germanskii imperializm i vtoraia mirovaia voina, 1961; etc.). A series of research works (S. Doernberg, H. Heitzer, G. Benser, W. Horn, K. Reissig, and others) is dedicated to antifascistic democratic transformation and the socialist revolution in the GDR, as well as to the problems of socialist construction under the leadership of the SEPD. In a number of works the origin of imperialism, militarism, and reaction in West Germany and the aggressive and revanchist politics of the ruling circles in West Germany are brought to light.

Historians of the GDR (H. Bartel, R. Dlubek, H. Gemkow, H. Forder, W. Schmidt, G. Becker, and others) in close collaboration with Soviet scholars have accomplished much toward the study of the life and work of K. Marx and F. Engels. Under the leadership of H. Gemkow scholarly biographies of K. Marx (1967) and F. Engels (1970) have been published.

The research of antiquity, in addition to political history, includes also problems of economic, social, and ideological development, questions concerning the role of the masses of the people (W. Hartke, J. Herrmann, L. Welskopf, and others). The works of L. Stern, E. Mueller-Mer-tens, M. Steinmetz, H. J. Bartmus, and others pose fundamental methodological problems concerning the stage of feudalism, the origin of the state in Germany, and so forth. The main attention of specialists on the later Middle Ages is directed to the events of the Reformation and the Peasant War in Germany.

The history of the Slavic peoples and their ties to Germany, especially the historical ties of the German people with the peoples of Russia, is being researched. Important research into German-Soviet relations from 1917 to 1945 has been carried out by A. Anderle, G. Rosenfeld, W. Ruge, L. and S. Tomas, and others. Becoming more important is the research into the development of the militant bond between the CPSU and the SEPD and the mutual collaboration of the GDR and the USSR and all the socialist countries.

Historians of the GDR are intensively studying the history of colonialism (primarily German) and the history of the liberation struggle of the suppressed peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America as well as their contemporary development (works of W. Markov, M. Kossok, H. Stoecker, and others); a number of works are dedicated to the nationalist liberation movement of the Arab people in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Important works in economic history have been created by J. Kuczynski and others under his leadership; in these works various aspects of the development of German imperialism and the situation of the working class in Germany and in other major capitalist countries in the 19th and 20th centuries were researched.

Elaboration of historical problems is carried out through a number of research establishments and institutions of higher education. The most important are the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the SEPD, the Institute of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the SEPD, the Karl Marx Higher Party School of the Central Committee of the SEPD, the Central Institute of History of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, the Central Institute of Ancient History and Archaeology of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, the German Institute of Military History, and the history and philosophy departments of the universities in Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Jena, Rostock, and Greifswald.

With the objective of planning and coordinating historical research, the Council of Historical Scholarship was founded at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the SEPD in 1969. A great deal of research is being carried out by the Society of German Historians, which was created in 1958.

The major historical journals are Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft (from 1953) and Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung (from 1959).


Economics. The development of economics in the GDR is carried on with the leading role taken by the Marxist-Leninist party on the basis of the teaching of Marxism-Leninism with the utmost utilization of the experience of USSR and the other socialist countries in the construction of socialism. The classic works of Marxism have become widely distributed. The development of economic theory and the implementation of the economic policy is closely related to the research and work of H. Rau, W. Leuschner, F. Selbmann, F. Oelssner, and J. Kuczynski.

The two-year plan for the reestablishment and development of the national economy for 1949-50 laid the ground-work for long-term economic planning. National economic plans are worked out by economists. Theoretical questions related to the creation of socialistic economics have under-gone detailed consideration at plenums of the Central Committee of the SEPD. Especially significant for the development of economic thought was the 21st plenum of the SEPD (end of 1954), in which the problem of the utilization of the objective economic laws of socialism was examined. In the 1950’s and 1960’s in the GDR research and theoretical works by economic scholars O. Reinhold, A. Lemmnitz, H. Koziolek, G. Mittag, W. Kalweit, L. Maier, and others began to appear concerning problems of the political economy of socialism (socialist planning, economic accountability and methods of directing the economy, commodity production and the law of value, money and its functions, national income, and productivity of labor), the world socialist system, and state monopoly capitalism. The result of this was a collective work of the Institute of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the SEPD, Imperialism Today (fourth edition, 1967); a book by a collective of authors under the guidance of H. Meisner, Bourgeois Economy in Contemporary Capitalism (1957); and History of the Situation of the Workers in Capitalism by J. Kuczynski in 38 volumes.

In the middle of the 1960’s directives for a new system of planning and managing the national economy were worked out under the leadership of the Central Committee of the SEPD. Many economists in the GDR participated in developing the basic direction of the economic reform. More than 30 books have been published in the series Planning and Managing the National Economy. Discussions have been conducted concerning the problems of the relationship between the plan and the market, the effect of the law of value in socialist commodity production, and so forth.

The Seventh Congress of the SEPD (1967) had as its aim the thorough study and disclosure of the advantages and moving forces of the socialist society. Economic research in this period was concentrated on the basic problems of the political economy of socialism, such as centralized state planning and administration, the utilization of the achievements of science, adoption of complex mechanization and automation, the increasing of the effectiveness of production and social labor, the creation of an effective economic structure, the implementation of economic integration, and so forth.

The Eighth Congress of the SEPD (June 1971) put before the economists the aim of further studying the theoretical problems of the construction of socialism in the GDR, investigating the effect of the economic laws of socialism, developing proposals for the improvement of the system of material incentives with a simultaneous increase in the importance of nonmaterial (moral) factor. The congress emphasized the importance of the study of the economic and social problems of scientific and technical progress and the relationships between the scientific and technical revolution and socialist integration of the GDR and the USSR and the other member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.

Scientific economic research is carried out in universities and in general and specialized scientific research and educational institutions and high schools, such as the Karl Marx Higher Party School of the Central Committee of the SEPD, Institute of Social Sciences of the Central Committee of the SEPD, F. Heckert High School of German Trade Unions, Institute of Economic Sciences at the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, Institute of Agricultural Economics of the German Agricultural Academy of Sciences, German Economic Institute, Economic Research Institute of the State Planning Commission, Finance and Economics Institute of the Ministry of Finances, Central Research Institute of Labor of the State Committee on Labor and Wages, Institute for Market Research of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, and Higher School of Economics. Centralized coordinated research on various economic problems is carried out.

The dissemination of knowledge about economics is provided for by specialized lexicographic and encyclopedic literature, including Economic Dictionary in two volumes (1966-67), Dictionary of the Economics of Socialism (1967), and Dictionary of Cybernetics (1967). Periodical publications devoted exclusively or to a large extent to theoretical problems of political economy are the journals Einheit (since 1946), Die Wirtschaft (since 1946), Wirtschaftswissenschaft (since 1954), Arbeitsokonomik (since 1957), Deutsche Finanzwirtschaft (since 1947), Statistische Praxis (since 1946), Deutsche Landwirtschaft (since 1950), Fertigungs-technik und Betrieb (since 1951), Konjunktur und Krise (since 1957), and Berichte des Deutschen Wirtschaftsinstitutes (since 1952).


Law. During the years of the existence of people’s power the science of state and law has been extensively developed. In the theory of state and law attention is given primarily to the analysis of the socialist state as the power of the toilers of the city and the village, to the functions and goals of the state after the establishment of socialist production relations, and to the problems of the position of the individual in socialist society (W. Ulbricht, Development of the German National Democratic State: 1945-58, 1961; G. Haney, Socialist Law and the Individual, Moscow, 1971; K. Polak, On the Development of the Power of the Workers and Peasants, 1968).

In the science of state law people’s representative bodies are studied as the most important organizational form of the state and as the primary social associations of citizens; these representative bodies include collectives of enterprises, production cooperatives, cities, and communities (Constitution of the GDR: Documents, Commentaries, in two volumes, 1969; W. Weichelt, The First Socialist German Constitution, 1968). The science of administration has been greatly developed through investigating the problems of the direction of the society by the state proceeding from the analysis of the activities of representative bodies. Scientific methods for the prognosis of social phenomena were worked out (works of M. Benjamin, G. Egler, and others). Legal questions concerning state planning and direction of the economy are being elaborated upon (E. Fensch, O. Arnold, How Do Socialists Effect a Scientific and Technical Revolution? Planning, Structural Politics, the Participation of the Masses in Administration in the GDR, 1969).

Significant results in the fields of land law and of agricultural production cooperatives have been achieved (R. Arlt, G. Rodhe, Land Law, 1967). In international law the problems of sovereignty, the subjectness of states to law, and so on are being researched (works of R. Arzinger, P. Steiniger, H. Kroeger, J. Peck, and others). In the general theory of state and law a number of works have been written devoted to a critique of contemporary bourgeois and reformist doctrines (the collection Illusion and Activity of the Legal State: On the Functions of Bourgeois Ideology of State and Law Under the Conditions of State Monopoly Capitalism in West Germany, 1968; A. Winkler, Theory of Convergencethe Weapon of Anticommunism, 1969; and others).

The links between the scholars of the GDR and research workers of the other socialist countries, especially Soviet scholars, are important for the development of the science of state and law. The mutual exchange of experts is working out successfully, joint scholarly research works are being prepared, international conferences are being held, and so forth. In 1969 the Agreement on Scientific Collaboration on the Problems of State and Law was signed between the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the W. Ulbricht German Academy of State and Law. Works written by scholars of the GDR along with scholars of the other socialist countries have been published, including V. I. Lenin on Socialist State ana Law (USSR, GDR, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia), K. MarxFounder of the Theory of State and Law of the Working Class (USSR, GDR, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland), The German Problem and European Security (USSR, GDR, and Poland), and others. In September 1967 in connection with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet state the W. Ulbricht German Academy of State and Law conducted an international theoretical conference with the participation of law scholars of the socialist countries.

The main center for the study of law is the W. Ulbricht German Academy of State and Law in Babelsberg (founded in 1952). Scientific work is also carried out in the universities in Berlin, Leipzig, and Halle. Law periodicals include Staat und Recht (since 1957), Neue Justiz (since 1947), Demokratischer Aufbau (since 1957), and Stadt und Gemeinde (since 1957).


Linguistics. At the end of the 1940’s and at the beginning of the 1950’s the major linguistic research was carried out primarily from the position of classical German linguistics. An important place has been occupied by lexicographic work. The historical dictionary of the German language begun by the brothers Grimm in 1852 was completed in 1960. Publication of The Dictionary of Contemporary German, begun in 1961, is continuing under the editorship of W. Steinitz and R. Klappenbach; companion Russian-German (H. Bielfeldt) and German-Russian (E. Mater) dictionaries have also been published. Work on dialectological dictionaries and a dictionary of Old High German has continued. Much attention has been given to dialectological research (school of T. Frings). Social-dialectological problematics have been elaborated upon by G. Ising, K. Spangenberg, H. Rosenkranz, H. Gernenz, and others. The role of the Eastern Middle German language region in the formation of the German literary language has been clarified in historical research (R. Grosse, G. Ising, G. Feudel, and others); the business language of the German cities has been investigated (G. Kettmann, W. Fleischer, E. Dahl, and others); and particular periods in the history of the German language have been studied (G. Lerchner, D. Nerius, and others). Germanists of the GDR and USSR are working closely together on the topic “Formation and Development of the German National Literary Language.”

From the middle of the 1950’s studies of the foundations of Marxist linguistics gained momentum (the works of W. Steinitz, G. Petzsch, K. Ammer, G. Meier, W. Schmidt, and others). Marxist positions in the linguistics of the GDR were growing stronger in the struggle with theories developing in the FRG. The “content-oriented grammar” of L. Weisgerber came in for criticism (in the works of E. Seidel, W. Neumann, and G. Helbig), as did the “field theory” of J. Trier (in the works of W. Bahner and K. Gabka) and the views of H. Moser and others on linguistic development in the GDR and FRG (in the works of J. Höppner, T. Schippan, H. Gernentz, and others). An important part in the creation of Marxist linguistics was played by the research of the Marxist philosophers (E. Albrecht and G. Klaus).

Questions of German grammar are being actively elaborated upon (W. Fleischer, G. Helbig, W. Flämig, R. Grosse, W. Neumann, W. Bondzio, and others), from standpoints including those of structural and generative grammar (M. Bierwisch, W. Hartung, W. Wurzel, and others). A number of works (W. Hartung and W. Motsch) at the same time contain critical analysis of certain of the propositions of structuralism. Research is under way in automatic translation and mathematical linguistics (E. Agricola, J. Kunze, and others). There has been intensified study of the role of language as a social phenomenon (pragmatism, the theory of social communication, functional stylistics, etc.); and problems in the sociology of language are being explored.

Research is in progress on languages of various groups and families, including English (M. Lehnert, A. Neubert, and H. Spitzbardt), Romance (W. Bahner, E. Seidel, and J. Klare), Slavic (H. Bielfeldt, R. Ružička, and others), Finno-Ugric (W. Steinitz and G. Sauer), Caucasian (G. Petzsch and K. Fähnrich), Turkic (G. Hazai and others), and Iranian (H. Junker and others); and Slavo-Germanic onomastics is being investigated (R. Fischer, E. Eichler, and others).

Centers of linguistic studies are concentrated in Berlin (the Central Linguistics Institute of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin and Humboldt University), Leipzig (Karl Marx University and the Saxony Academy of Sciences), and Potsdam (Pedagogical High School), as well as at the universities in Jena, Halle, Rostock, and Greifswald. The center for the propagation of German language culture is the Bibliographic Institute in Leipzig; it turns out a variety of normative publications. The principal periodicals in linguistics are Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (since 1944), Zeitschrift für Slawistik (since 1956), Zeitschrift für Phonetik, Sprachwissensehaft und Kommunikations-forschung (since 1961; from 1947 through 1960 it appeared under the title Zeitschrift für Phonetik und allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft), Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik (since 1953), and Deutsch als Fremdsprache (since 1964).


Scientific institutions. Within the confines of what is today the GDR there were at the end of World War II (1939-45) few scientific institutions handling research in the natural sciences and technology. Many scientific research establishments had been destroyed and several had been relocated to the western part of Germany. After the crushing defeat of German fascism the prerequisites were created for radical transformations in the development of science and culture in the GDR. Measures were taken to repair the grave damage inflicted by the war; the buildings of research institutes and institutions of higher education were restored and were furnished with equipment. By 1946, eight universities and other institutions of higher education had already resumed work in the GDR. In 1946 the German Academy of Sciences began functioning in Berlin.

The formation of the GDR in 1949 marked a new stage in the development of science and technology. When implementation of the two-year plan of 1949-50 had just begun, a Central Organ for Research and Technology of the Council of Ministers of the GDR was established. Overall supervision of science is exercised by the Ministry of Science and Technology. In 1957 the Research Council of the GDR was set up as the central consultative body of the Council of Ministers of the GDR in the natural and technical sciences. Scientific personnel have been systematically increasing in number; in the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin alone the increase was 14-fold from 1951 to 1969; financial expenditures for science and technology grew by eight times in the same period.

The leading scientific institution of the GDR is the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, which provides direction for scientific research and organization in the natural and social sciences, both theoretical and applied. Scientific work is done in close collaboration with universities and other institutions of higher education, major research centers of industry, and various institutes. An important means of drawing science into the process of social reproduction has been the principle of promoting and financing research in line with the placement of orders.

Under the five-year plan for 1971-75, 7.8 billion marks are earmarked for research. The decisions of the Eighth Congress of the SEPD (1971) envisage the further development of science with the aim of putting the achievements of the scientific and technical revolution to the best possible use in speeding the progress of the national economy and perfecting the economic system of the socialist society. New scientific research centers and large-scale socialist enterprises are being set up, which are working closely with corresponding academy and research institutions.



Klemm, F. Kurze Geschichte der Technik. [Freiburg im Breisgau] 1961.
Nemetskaia filosofiia posle 1945 g. [Moscow] 1964. (Translated from German.)
Istoriia filosofii, vol. 6, book 1. Moscow, 1965.
Orlova, M. I., and N. E. Ovcharenko. “Razvitie istoricheskoi nauki v GDR (1945-1964).” In Istoriografiia novoi i noveishei istorii stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1968. Pages 341-63.
“Historische Forschungen in der DDR: Analysen und Berichte.” Berlin, 1960. (Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, special edition.)
Feudel, G. “20 Jahre DDR—20 Jahre germanistische und allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft.” Sprachpflege, 1969, no. 10.

The GDR is one of the world leaders in the number of periodicals and their total circulation. In 1970 the GDR had 40 daily newspapers with a total circulation of about 7 million and 30 weekly newspapers and magazines with a total circulation of over 7.5 million. There are 15 SEPD newspapers, including the daily Neues Deutschland, published since 1946, with a circulation of 850,000 (this and the following from 1970 data) in Berlin; the daily Leipziger Volkszeitung, with a circulation of 352,000, in Leipzig; the daily Freiheit, published since 1946, with a circulation of 360,000, in Halle and elsewhere; six dailies of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, six of the National Democratic Party of Germany, five of the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany, and one of the Democratic Peasants’ Party of Germany. The daily tradeunion newspaper Tribüne, in existence since 1945 (until 1947 called Die Freie Gewerkschaft), with a circulation of 400,000, is published in Berlin. Most public organizations have a dail newspaper. For the Lusatian national minority there has been a special daily newspaper Nowa Doba, with a circulation of 5,000, published since 1947 in Bautzen. A number of newspapers and magazines are also published by the Evangelical and Catholic churches. The country has 513 specialized magazines popularizing achievements and developments in the most diversified fields of knowledge.

An important role in the activities of the press is played by the telegraphic news agency Allgemeiner Deutscher Nachrichtendienst.

Radio broadcasting is handled on six main and ten local programs by the following radio stations: Radio DDR I, Radio DDR II, Berliner Rundfunk, Berliner Welle, Deutschlandsender, and Radio Berlin-International. Broadcasts are in 12 languages (German, Russian, English, French, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Arabic, Italian, and Spanish). The GDR is a country with one of the largest numbers of television sets for the number of inhabitants. Transmissions are organized by the Central Television Studio in Berlin and carried on two programs.


After World War II (1939-45) antifascist writers took an active part in the building of the first state of workers and peasants in German history—the German Democratic Republic. Carrying on the traditions of classical German literature as well as critical realism and revolutionary proletarian literature of the 20th century, GDR writers are successfully developing a national literature of socialist realism. The works of the critical realists T. Mann, H. Mann, and L. Feuchtwanger enjoy deserved recognition. The finest representatives of the old intelligentsia—A. Zweig (1887-1968), H. Fallada (1893-1947), and B. Kellermann (1879-1951)—associated themselves with the progressive literary community. Instrumental in the making of the national socialist literature of the GDR was the organizational and literary activity of J. R. Becher (1891-1958), founder and president of the so-called Kulturbund. After 1945 his poetry became enriched with a new sense of identification with the people, and Becher’s works on literary criticism and aesthetics, contained in the books A Defense of Poetry (1952), A Poetic Confession (1954), The Power of Poetry (1955), The Poetic Principle (1957), and others, are greatly influencing the aesthetic thought of the GDR. An enormous contribution to the development of the whole culture of the GDR was made by B. Brecht (1898-1956), whose literary, theatrical, and theoretical activity experienced a new upsurge in the GDR, resulting in the dramas The Days of the Commune (1949) and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1948-49), the novel The Affairs of Herr Julius Caesar (1949), and the essays Little Organon for the Theater (1949) and Dialectics in the Theater (1957).

The principal themes in the literature of the GDR in the first postwar years were exposure of the criminal ideology and practice of fascism, revelation of its social and class roots, and cultivation of a feeling of the individual’s responsibility to his people and to history. These problems are posed in the works of the writers of the older generation, including the prose of A. Seghers (born 1900; the novel The Dead Remain Young, 1949, and the novella The Man and His Name, 1952), L. Renn (born 1889; the novella Trini, 1954), W. Bredel (1901-64; the novels Sons, 1949, and Grandsons, 1953), and H. Marchwitza (1890-1965; the novel The Return of the Kumiaks, 1952); the poetry of E. Weinert (1890-1953); and the plays of F. Wolf (1888-1953; Council of the Gods, 1949). The motifs of antifascist and anti-imperialist struggle are found in the poetry and prose of F. Fühmann (born in 1922), L. Fürnberg (1909-1957), S. Hermlin (born 1915), E. Arendt (born 1903), and P. Wiens (born 1922). The agitational lyric poetry of K. Barthel (pseudonym, Kuba; 1914-1967) is becoming very popular. The eminent prose writers E. Strittmatter (born 1912; the novel Miracle Worker, 1957) and B. Apitz (born 1900; the novel Naked Among the Wolves, 1958) are dealing with the theme of antifascism.

With the transition to the building of socialism, ever more prominent in the literature of the GDR have been the themes of the reshaping of human consciousness, the new relations between people, and the prospects for socialist construction. Writers are dealing with the intellectual evolution of the ordinary German whose youth was corrupted by the Hitlerite system of education and by participation in a criminal war and are exploring the complex process of his intellectual rebirth; such writers include W. Neuhaus (born 1929; Stolen Youth, 1959), D. Noll (born 1927; The Adventures of Werner Holt, 1960-63), M. W. Schulz (born 1921; We Are Not Dust in the Wind, 1962), and Fühmann (The Jewish Van, 1962, and other works). Basing himself on the life of the German peasantry, Strittmatter deals in his works with problems in the formation of socialist consciousness (the novels Tinko, 1954, and Ole Bienkopp, 1963). This same theme is being taken up by writers of the new generation, including H. Nachbar (born 1930; a novel about fishermen, Wedding at Länneken, 1960) and E. Neutsch (born 1931; a novel about workers, The Trail of Stones, 1964). The enthusiasm of international solidarity marks the distinctive philosophical lyric poetry and prose of J. Bobrowski (1917-65), whose works include the collected poems Sarmatian Times (1961) and Shady Land of Torrents (1962) and the novels Levin’s Mill (1964) and Lithuanian Claviers (published in 1966).

Prominent in the 1960’s have been the lyric poets G. Kunert (born 1929), H. Kahlau (born 1931), K. Mickel (born 1935), and F. Braun (born 1939). Playwrights of the younger generation H. Baierl (1926), P. Hacks (born 1928), and H. Müller (born 1929) have been cultivating the traditions of the Brecht epic theater. Television drama has been making significant strides in such works as Patience of the Bold (1969) by B. Wogatzki (born 1932), I Am Axel Caesar Springer by G. Bengsch (born 1928) and H. Tschepuk (born 1927), and Stones on the Roads by H. Sakowski (born 1924). The problem of the so-called two Germanics has been reflected in prose. One of the first major epic works in which this problem was posed was A. Seghers’ novel The Decision (1959). The novel by C. Wolf (born 1929) The Divided Sky (1963) has also won renown. Notable in the prose of the 1960’s is the theme of the socialist intelligentsia and its role in the construction of socialism, as in the novels of H. Kant (born 1926; The Auditorium, 1965) and the novellas of K. H. Jakobs (born 1929; About a Certain Summer, 1961) and C. Wolf (Moscow Novella, 1961). In the novel The Trust (1968), Segher presents a broad picture of the development of socialist society in the GDR.

The problems of socialist construction are finding national expression in the works of Lusatian prose writers and poets, including J. Suchy (born 1922), K. Lorenz (born 1938), and J. Brězan (born 1916; the trilogy The Gymnasium Student, 1958, Semesters of Lost Time, 1960, and Years of Maturing, 1964). The task of the socialist rearing of youth in the GDR is served by a rich children’s and young people’s literature created by K. Veken (born 1904), A. Wedding (1905-66), E. Bergner (born 1917), F. Rodrian (born 1926), and others. Writers pursue their craft with the unceasing attention, guidance, and ideological assistance of the SEPD and the government of the GDR. At the Bitterfeld Conference of representatives of the creative intelligentsia and the working class (April 1959) concrete goals for bringing literature closer to life were defined: the establishment of “circles of writing workers,” the holding of amateur arts festivals, and the assignment of writers to engage in literary activity at enterprises of the national economy. The second Bitterfeld Conference (April 1964), noting the great achievements of the “Bitterfeld way,” set down as a goal the further development of the cultural revolution in the period of socialist construction.


Literary theory and criticism. In close relationship with the development of German socialist national literature specialists in the study of literature in the GDR are overcoming the legacy of bourgeois idealistic conceptions and are reconstructing a true picture of Germany’s literary past, cleansed of Nazi falsification. Problems of Marxist aesthetics are being dealt with by A. Kurella, A. Abusch, and H. Koch; a significant contribution to the study of aesthetics and poetics has been made by writers themselves (J. Becher, B. Brecht, A. Seghers, and S. Hermlin). Fundamental studies have been devoted to the German classics of the 18th and 19th centuries and to a new perception of them imbued with concern for the preservation and development of the humanist traditions of German literature (P. Rilla, W. H. Girnus, Abusch, M. Miiller, S. Streller, and H. H. Reuter; the research of G. A. Korf, a scholar of the older generation, on Goethe and romanticism written from the standpoint of the “intellectual-history school”). Valuable works on the 20th-century German novel and drama and on the literature of the antifascist emigration have been produced by H. Kaufmann, E. Schumacher, W. Mittenzwei, Rilla, K. Jarmatz, and H. Haase; on contemporary prose, by K. Batt and D. and S. Schlenstedt; and on poetry, by G. Wolf and the poets Hermlin and G. Maurer. These works shed light on the significance of socialist ideas in the history of German literature and on problems in the correlation of realism and nonrealistic trends in 20th-century literature. The achievements in Shakespearean studies (R. Weimann) and in Romance and Americanistic studies have gained international recognition. Work is being done in Slavic studies and in the area of Slavic-German literary ties (H. Raab and N. Ludwig). In the 1960’s there was intensified theoretical investigation of present-day literary processes, and works are appearing on the theory of socialist realism. Research centers include the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin and the National Museum of German Classical Literature in Weimar. Scholarly literary journals being published include Weimarer Beiträge (since 1955), Zeitschrift für Anglistikund Amerikanistik (since 1953), and Zeitschrift für Slawistik (since 1956). Publication of a multivolume History of German Literature from Earliest Times to Our Day has been in progress since 1960 (five of 11 planned volumes have appeared). A number of scholarly publications, such as Germanistische Studien, are appearing.



Literatura Germanskoi Demokraticheskoi Respubliki: Sb. st. Moscow, 1958.
Samarin, R. M. “Problema realizma v sovremennoi nemetskoi literature.” Izv. AN SSSR: Old. literatury i iazyka, 1960, vol. 19, issues 4-5.
Stezhenskii, V. I. Sovremennaia nemetskaia khudozhestvennaia literatura. Moscow, 1957.
Fradkin, I. M. Literatura novoi Germanii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.
Murav’ev, V. S. Nemetskaia antifashistskaia khudozhestvennaia literatura: Annotirovannyi bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1963.
Voprosy literatury, 1970, no. 12. (Entire issue devoted to the literature of the GDR.)
Kokh, G. Marksizm i estetika. Moscow, 1964.
Vernost’ pravde zhizni: Literaturovedy i kritiki GDR o khudozhestvennom tvorchestve: Sb. st. [Compiled by V. N. Devekin; after-word by R. M. Samarin.] Moscow, 1969.
Dymshits, A. “Iogannes Bekher—teoretik sotsialisticheskogo realizma.” Znamia, 1958, no. 7.
Purishev, B. “Prodolzhenie bol’shoi raboty.” Voprosy literatury, 1964, no. 6.
Deutsche Literatur im ūberblick. Edited by H. Werner and others. Leipzig, 1965.
Deutsche Literaturgeschichte in einem Band. Edited by H. Jürgen Geerdts. Berlin, 1966.
Abusch, A. Literatur im Zeitalter des Sozialismus. Berlin-Weimar, 1967.
Veröffentlichungen deutscher sozialistischer Schriftsteller in der revolutionaren und demokratischen Presse 1918-1945: Bibliographie, 2nd ed. Berlin-Weimar, 1969.
Mit der Zukunft im Bunde: Klassisches Erbe deutscher Dichtung im Urteil unseres Jahrhunderts. [Compiled by P. Goldammer.] Berlin-Weimar, 1965.
Positionen: Beiträge zur marxistischen Literaturtheorie in der DDR. [Edited by W. Mittenzwei.] Leipzig [1969].
Kritik in der Zeit: Der Sozialismusseine Literaturihre Entwicklung. Halle an der Saale, 1970.

The rapid expansion of work on restoration and construction in the GDR was facilitated by the establishment of public ownership of land and the organization of a state construction industry. In 1950 a law was passed on the restoration and construction of cities, and the basic rules of socialist urban development were formulated. In the course of restoration and further development the systematic reconstruction of cities began, which is altering their structure and appearance; new cities are being built with a structure of mikroraions (neighborhood units in urban planning) and complexes of social, cultural, and public establishments. Predominant in the first half of the 1950’s was the system of facade perimetric building and the traditional decor of architectural orders (the first stage of the city of Eisenhüttenstadt, the first stage of Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin, Altmarkt Square in Dresden, Zentralerplatz in Magdeburg, and Langestrasse in Rostock). Since the second half of the 1950’s new forms, functional layout techniques, and industrial methods of building with standard elements have become established (since 1956, large block sections; since 1959, large wall panels; since 1961, hollow blocks, reinforced concrete frames, light metals, and plastics); the aesthetic expressiveness of the buildings and architectural ensembles is determined primarily by spatial composition, proportions, the rhythm of modular articulations and structural and functional elements, and the color and finish of materials. Construction is based on the scientific solution of social and functional problems in keeping with the growth and differentiation of the material and intellectual needs of socialist society. Construction is taking place in the new cities (Hoyerswerda, Schwedt, Halle-Neustadt, Liitten Klein, and Jena Lobeda) and parts of old cities undergoing reconstruction (Alexanderplatz, Lenin-Platz, and the second stage of Karl-Marx-Allee, in Berlin; and districts of Dresden, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Leipzig, Magdeburg, and Rostock). This construction is characterized by spatial amplitude of building placement and the creation of complex residential districts (including social, cultural, and public establishments) and ensembles of squares and thoroughfares with high buildings as accents and large public buildings. The socialist character of the GDR’s architecture, underscored by the resources of monumental art, is also manifest in the building of industrial enterprises and the reconstruction of villages. Major GDR architects are H. Henselmann, S. Selmanagic, R. Paulick, H. Hopp, F. Ehrlich, H. Graffunder, J. Náttier, J. Kaiser, and B. Flierl.

The fine arts are developing on the foundation of German proletarian revolutionary art traditions, the vehicles of which have been the realist artists of the older generation. They have played an important role in the establishment of the principles of socialist realism in the art of the GDR (the painters and graphic artists H. and L. Grundig, M. Lingner, O. Nagel, J. Heartfield, A. Mohr, O. Nerlinger, H. Ehmsen, H. Bruse, F. Dáhn, H. T. Richter, K. Querner, R. Bergander, and B. Heller and the sculptors F. Cremer, W. Arnold, T. Balden, H. Drake, W. Lammert, W. Howard, and G. Geyer). The broadening of the relationship of artists with plants, new construction sites, agricultural cooperatives, and socialist brigades has helped to consolidate the life-asserting, optimistic elements in the GDR’s art, which is dedicated to the formation of the socialist man and his work ethic and to the growth of his creative powers. The character of people in the GDR, their work, and their everyday lives have been shown in various aspects in sculpture (W. Förster, W. Stötzer, G. Rommel, J. Jastram, W. Fitzrenreiter, G. Lichtenfeld, and J. von Woyski), painting, and graphics (W. Womacka, W. Neu-bert, K. H. Jakob, G. Brendel, A. Münch, R. Paris, F. Glaser, and W. Frankenstein); landscape art is developing (O. Niemeyer-Holstein, E. Hassebrauk, B. Kretzschmar, H. Stengel, K. Knebel, and the graphic artist O. Paetz). The art of the GDR, a country that is in the front line of the anti-imperialist struggle, has taken on a sharp political orientation—it denounces the evil deeds of fascism and the forces of international reaction; prominent themes are the working-class movement, the struggle for peace, and solidarity with peoples fighting for freedom (the paintings and graphic works of W. Sitte, G. Bondzin, H. Haken-beck, K. E. Müller, and K. Zimmermann); A. Beier-Red, H. Sandberg, L. Haas, and E. Jazdzewsky are working in the field of political caricature. The traditions of J. Heartfield in political poster art are being carried on by K. Wittkugel. Graphic book art has been greatly successful (J. Hegen-barth, M. Schwimmer, W. Klemke, H. Bartsch, and H. Baltzer and the calligraphers W. Schiller and A. Kapr), as well as decorative art and artistic designing (F. Kühn and H. Michel). Many fine artists are turning to monumental and monumental-decorative art, which are of growing importance. A number of monuments have been created in the GDR by Soviet sculptors (E. V. Vuchetich, N. V. Tomskii, and L. E. Kerbel’). The Bitterfeld conferences (1959 and 1964) and the workers’ festivals held since 1959 have helped to broaden the role of art in socialist construction and develop the amateur arts of the masses. Much attention is being given to cultivating the traditions of folk art (including the art of the Lusatians and the crafts of the Erzgebirge). International exhibitions to promote the unification of the progressive forces in world art are held in the GDR (Inter-graphik, the biennial international art exhibitions called the Baltic Sea Biennials, and the International Exhibition of Book Art).


Kunst in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik. Dresden [1959].
Feist, P. H. Plastik in der DDR. Dresden, 1965.
Bild der Klasse. [Berlin, 1967.]
Architektur und Städtebau in der DDR (album). [Leipzig, 1969.]
Hütt, W. Deutsche Malerei und Graphik im 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin, 1969.
Weggefährten. Dresden, 1970.


After the GDR was formed, the conditions took shape for the development of a socialist musical culture. The restoration of many music facilities was begun, and new facilities were established. The transition to the jurisdiction of the people’s state provided them with the necessary material resources. Gradually the foundation was laid for the further advancement of musical art. The German State Opera opened in Berlin, as did opera houses in Leipzig, Weimar, Dresden, and other cities. New orchestras, choruses, and opera companies came into being. Several of them, such as the Komische Oper in Berlin (1947), became world famous. Creation of the Union of German Composers and Musicologists promoted the rapid development of creative work in socialist music.

The features distinguishing the present-day musical life of the GDR are the mass nature of music culture and the democratic quality and realistic orientation of the creative work, which is tightly linked with the progressive traditions of German culture. Prominent German musicians associated with the antifascist and workers’ movement have made important contributions to the shaping of the GDR’s musical culture. H. Eisler is the author of choral compositions and mass songs, the music of the GDR national anthem, instrumental chamber and vocal music, orchestral works, and the music for a number of Brecht plays and for motion pictures. A close collaborator of Brecht’s was P. Dessau, author of operas, choruses, songs, and music for the theater. In that same group of composers are L. Spies, E. H. Meyer, K. Schwaen, and others. Among the eminent master composers of the older generation are O. Gerster (author of operas, cantatas, and symphonic and chamber works), the operatic composer R. Wagner-Regeny, M. Butting (who has written ten symphonies, as well as instrumental chamber music compositions, cantatas, and the book History of Music As I Experienced it), W. Draeger, F. Finke, P. Kurzbach, and others. Well known in the GDR are the composers J. Cilensek, J. P. Thielmann, G. Kochan, A. Asriel, J. Werzlau, W. Hohensee, K. R. Griesbach, F. Geisler, S. Kurz, G. Wohlgemuth, S. Matthus, R. Kunad, and others. Among the musicologists are E. H. Meyer, G. Knepler, H. A. Brockhaus, R. Eller, H. Goldschmidt, W. Siegmund-Schultze, M. Schneider, W. Vetter, H. Besseler, and others.

Music is now performed on a large scale in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Weimar, Erfurt, Halle, and other major cities. An important factor in the musical life of the country are the regular, large international competitions and festivals, including Berlin Festival Days (since 1957), the musical biennials (Biennale) in Berlin (since 1967), the Handel celebrations in Halle, the J. S. Bach festivals and competitions in Leipzig (since 1950), the Robert Schumann festivals and competitions in Berlin (since 1956) and then in Zwickau, and the days of contemporary music in many districts.

Among the musical performers the following have won international fame: the conductors H. Abendroth, F. Konwitschny, H. Bongartz, K. Sanderling, O. Suitner, and K. Masur; the choral directors G. Ramin and R. Mauersberger; the pianists A. Schmidt and D. Zechlin; the violinists E. Morbitzer and G. Schmahl; the organists W. Schetelich and H. Kästner; the female singers J. Arnold, M. Croonen, E. Fleischer, S. Kohl, H. Kuse, and A. Burmeister; the male singers E. Busch, T. Adam, R. Asmus, and P. Schreier; and the female variety-stage singer G. May.

There are 40 theaters that have musical companies performing operas, operettas, and ballets. Among the leading theaters are the German State Opera in Berlin, the Komische Oper (Berlin), the Leipzig Opera, and the Dresden Opera. There are 88 state orchestras, of which 30 are symphonic. The most important orchestras and choral groups are the Berlin State Choir, the orchestra and chorus of the Berlin Radio, the orchestra and chorus of the Leipzig Radio, the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, the Dresden State Choir, the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, the Thomaner Chorus (Leipzig), and the Kreuz Chorus (Dresden). Amateur symphony orchestras, bands, variety-stage orchestras, and choruses associated with these groups play an important part in the musical life.

Important strides have been made in mass music education and the training of professional musicians. The old educational institutions continue to function and new music schools have been opened. There are 87 music schools, four special music schools, and four higher institutions of musical education operating in Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, and Weimar. Musicology and music propaganda work are handled by various music societies, including the Union of German Composers and Musicologists, the New Bach Society, the Schumann Society, the New Schütz Society, and the Handel Society. Music magazines published are Musik und Gesellschaft (since 1951), Musik in der Schule (since 1949), and Melodie und Rhythmus (since 1957).


Izbrannye stat’i muzykovedov Germanskoi Demokraticheskoi Respubliki. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from German.)
Aus dem Leben und Schaffen unserer Komponisten, vols. 1-2. Berlin, 1960-61.
Das Musikleben in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (1945-1959). Leipzig, 1960.

The aftermaths of fascism and the war, as well as financial difficulties, had their effect on the genesis of the ballet of the GDR. But in a short time state choreographic schools were set up, and ballet companies were revived at the opera houses. The ballet company of the German State Opera presented S. S. Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet in 1949, P. I. Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty in 1950 (both staged by choreographer T. Gsovsky), and Prokofiev’s Cinderella in 1952 (choreographer, D. Spies). From 1955 to 1969 the company was directed by L. Gruber; the repertory of the theater contains ballets of the classical heritage, Soviet ballets, and new works by German authors—the New Odyssey of V. Bruns, Roman Slaves of W. Hohensee, and the Ballet of Happiness of K. Schwaen. Among the company’s leading soloists are the ballerina N. Mank and the male dancer C. Schulz (who since 1970 has also been the choreographer of the troupe).

In 1966 choreographer T. Schilling created a ballet company at the Komische Oper, with a repertory consisting of the ballets Abraxas by W. Egk, Cinderella by Prokofiev, Fantastic Symphony to the music of Hector Berlioz, The Sea to the music of Claude Debussy, The Double by S. Geissler, The Match by S. Matthus, and others.

At the end of the 1960’s the opera houses had 40 ballet troupes, some 20 of which regularly staged ballet performances. Heading the Staatstheater Ballet Company in Leipzig is choreographer E. Kohler-Richter (since 1958), in the Staatstheater in Dresden it is V. Müller (since 1969), and in the Opera Theater in Halle—H. Haas (since 1957). Ballet performances have also become a permanent feature of the repertoires in opera theaters in Weimar, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Rostock, Dessau, Cottbus, Gera, Altenburg, and other cities.

There are three ballet schools—in Berlin, Dresden, and Leipzig. Articles on the art of the ballet are carried in the magazine Theater der Zeit.


Rebling, E. Ballett gestern und heute, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1961.
Rebling, E. Ballett heute. Berlin, 1970.


The prerequisites for the emergence and development of the GDR’s theatrical culture were created in the very first years (1945-49) after the crushing defeat of fascism. Of major importance was the opening of the German Theater (1945) with a staging of Lessing’s play Nathan the Wise, which advanced as fundamental principles humanism and realism in theatrical art. After the formation of the GDR the goal of theatrical art became the political and moral education of man as the builder of socialism. All theaters became operated by the state. Theater buildings in Berlin and other cities were restored and newly built, and new theater companies were created.

Of great importance was the creative activity of playwright and producer B. Brecht. The Berliner Ensemble Theater, which he founded with H. Weigel (in 1949), staged almost all of Brecht’s plays (Mother Courage and Her Children and Herr Puntila and His Man Matti, both in 1949; Fear and Misery of the Third Reich and Galileo, both in 1957; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, 1959; The Days of the Commune, 1962; and others), as well as German and foreign classics. It was in this theater that the acting art of Weigel and E. Busch was discovered. Many theaters in the GDR and other countries have put the artistic experience of the Berliner Ensemble to creative use. Dramaturgy in the GDR has also been influenced by the works of F. Wolf, who in his dramas dealt with events of German history (Thomas Müntzer, 1953) and with the socialist transformations (Burgomaster Anna, 1950). Performances of the dramas by the antifascist writer J. R. Becher The Road to Füssen (1954) and Winter Battle (1954) were significant events. A number of plays written after 1949 and reflecting the problems in the construction of the new life of the young state were also written by playwrights associated in the past with the antifascist movement (G. von Wangenheim, K. Grünberg, H. W. Kubsch, and others).

An important contribution to the development of theatrical culture was made by the Bitterfeld conferences (1959 and 1964), which helped to bring art closer to life. The forming of new intellectual traits in man became the theme of many dramatic works, including His Children (1963) and In Defense of the Seekers (1966) by R. Kerndl, Comradeship by J. Knauth (1963), Terra Incognita by Kuba (K. Barthel) (1964), Cat’s Gold by H. Salomon (1964), On Titans and People by H. Kleineidam (1967), and Frau Flinz by H. Bayerl (1961). A number of plays deal with the making of the intelligentsia that has come from the working class, such as The Auditorium by H. Kant (1968); the role of women in society and the family, such as Regina B.—One Day in Her Life by S. Pfaff (1969); and the life of young people, such as At Nine O’clock on the Highway (1964) and The Chimney Sweep Will Come Tomorrow (1968) by K. Hammel and The Good-for-Nothing by H. Salomon (1967). The revolutionary historical ballad Klaus Stortebeker by Kuba (1959) was the basis for the staging of a mass theatrical spectacle. Class struggle in the countryside was the theme of Katzgraben (1953) by E. Strittmatter. The new social relations in the countryside were the subject of the plays What Would Happen If … by H. Zinner (1959), Lene Mattke’s Decision (1959) and Stones on the Roads (1962) by H. Sakowski, The Dutchman’s Bride by Strittmatter (1960), and Years of Maturing by J. Brězan (1968). The struggle for peace is central in the plays The Trial of Wedding by H. Hauser (1953), White Blood (1960) and The Trial of Richard Waverley (1963) by R. Schneider, and the reworking by P. Hacks of Aristophanes’ comedy Peace (1962). The antifascist struggle and the criminal face of fascism are reflected in the plays by H. Zinner Devil’s Circle (1953), Ravensbrück Ballad (1961), and others. A play by H. Hauser, At Night’s End (1955), is on the subject of Soviet-German friendship. Great public and artistic interest was aroused by the staging of On the Road to Lenin, a play by H. Baierl (1970, after the novella by A. Kurella). Many theaters have staged A Sailor’s Love by M. Freitag and J. Nestler (1967), Contemporaries by A. Stolper (1969), Detours by P. Gratzik (1970), and I’ll Introduce the World to You (1971) by H. Schreiter. The theaters also produce plays by progressive West German dramatists, including R. Hochhuth, G. Weisenborn, H. Kipphardt, and M. Walser; the theaters avail themselves of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Molière, Goethe, Schiller, and Lessing. The plays of A. N. Ostrovskii, A. P. Chekhov, A. S. Griboedov, N. V. Gogol, and L. N. Tolstoy are widely performed. A most essential role in setting a progressive orientation in theatrical art was played by the works of Maxim Gorky (Vassa Zheleznova, Enemies, and Smug Citizens). The repertory contains plays by 19th- and 20th-century German and foreign authors, including G. Kaiser, C. Sternheim, G. B. Shaw, S. O’Casey, E. O’Neill, A. Miller, L. Hellman, A. Gatti, A. Adamov, F. Dürrenmatt, M. Frisch, and P. Weiss. There are performances of plays by Soviet authors, including K. A. Trenev, Vs. Ivanov, V. N. Bill’-Belotserkovskii, V. V. Vishnevskii, A. N. Arbuzov, V. S. Rozov, E. L. Shvarts, S. I. Aleshin, A. P. Shtein, and V. A. Luibimova. A stage characterization of V. I. Lenin has been created in the theaters of the GDR (the actor W. Kleinoschegg in N. F. Pogodin’s The Man With the Gun, Staatstheater, Dresden, 1951; and Pogodin’s Kremlin Chimes, Berliner Ensemble, 1952).

The theaters of the GDR in their artistry depend upon the humanist legacy of German theatrical culture and the traditions of the revolutionary theater of Germany. Implementing Brecht’s ideas on the theater, directors strive to create performances aimed at stimulating the mind of the audience and at leading it to perceive the necessity for changing outworn social relations. A number of productions are marked by a synthesis of lifelike historical elements with elements of agitational publicism and by laconic decor. Study of the creative art of directors O. Brahm and M. Reinhardt became a significant landmark in the development of stage realism. At the same time the artistic principles of the Soviet theater are being assimilated. On the initiative of M. Vallentin, 0. Gaillard, and O. Lang the training of actors in the Stanislavsky method began in 1945 at a theatrical institute in Weimar and was subsequently continued at the Leipzig Higher Theater School (since 1970 named after H. Otto) and other theater schools. Among the theaters of the GDR mention should be made of the German Theater, Kammerspiele, Berliner Ensemble, Volksbühne, Gorky Theater in Berlin, Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam, German National Theater in Weimar, Schauspielhaus in Leipzig, Theater des Friedens, Landestheater in Halle, Staatstheater in Dresden, F. Wolf Theater in Neustrelitz, and Volkstheater in Rostock. Performances by major theater companies in local settlements and by actors at factory clubs and in palaces of culture have come to be traditional.

For the first time in the history of the German theater, theaters have been set up for children and young people. Ten puppet theaters are functioning. There are variety stages and cabarets for theatrical satire. In Dresden District, which is populated by the Lusatians, a Deutsch-sorbisches Volkstheater (Bautzen) has opened.

The activity of directors W. Langhoff, F. Wisten, and E. Engel has been of great importance for the theatrical art of the GDR. Figures in the theater who should be mentioned are the directors G. Wangenheim, W. Heinz, K. Kayser, M. Vallentin, M. Wekwerth, W. Pinzka, J. Tenschert, H. A. Perten, B. Besson, F. Bennewitz, H. and I. Rodenberg, H. D. Made, H. Schónemann, R. Berghaus, and P. Kupke; the actors E. Busch, E. Geschonneck, E. Schall, 1. Keller, W. Kaiser, H. Drinda, G. May, E. Pelikowsky, M. Flórchinger, F. Solter, K. Reichel, M. Danegger, A. Müller-Stahl, F. Duren, H. Grosse, N. Christian, R. Ludwig, H. Schulze, A. Domróse, E. Esche, H. Thate, A. Wyzniewski, and A. Burger; and the artists K. Appen and H. Kilger.

Berlin and Rostock have state drama schools; there are student studio theaters at the Leipzig Higher Theater School and at Humboldt University in Berlin; and there are experimental companies, such as the Theater im dritten Stock at the Volksbühne Theater (Berlin) and the Kellertheater (Leipzig).

The theatrical art of the GDR enjoys recognition abroad. The German Theater, the Berliner Ensemble, and the Theater der Freundschaft have toured in the socialist countries, as well as the FRG and other capitalist states. Directors of the GDR put on performances at theaters in Great Britain, India, Chile, and elsewhere. Important events of theatrical life are the annual Berlin Festivals and the World Day of the Theater Workers’ festivals of the arts, at which professional and amateur theater companies perform, have been held every year since 1959.

Magazines published are Theater der Zeit (since 1946), Unterhaltungskunst (since 1955), Szene (since 1966), and others.

In 1966 the Union of Theatrical Workers of the GDR was established.


Deutsches Theater: Bericht über 10 Jahre. Berlin, 1957.
Erpenbeck, F. Aus dem Theaterleben, Aufsätze und Kritiken. Berlin, 1959.
Wekwerth, M. Theater in Veränderung. Berlin, 1960.
Brecht, B. Schriften zum Theater, vols. 6-7. Berlin-Weimar, 1964.
Kähler, H. Gegenwart aufder Bühne. Berlin, 1966.
Brecht-Dialog 1968. Berlin, 1968.
Theater-Bilanz, Bühnen der DDR. Berlin, 1971.
Circus. A state agency, the Central Circus Enterprise of the People (set up in 1960), exercises general supervision of circuses. Under its control are three state traveling circuses (Aeros, Busch, and Berolina) and five private circuses. Central Circus also arranges tours of the circuses within the country and abroad. The GDR’s circuses operate mainly from March to November.
Since 1956 a Studio of Variety-Stage and Circus Art has been in operation in the GDR. A magazine is published, Unterhaltungskunst, which along with articles on the circus carries articles on all the other arts.


Weise, R. Handbuch der Artistik … Pössneck, 1966.


The principal problems occupying cinematic art in the 1950’s and to some extent the 1960’s were the crimes of German imperialism and fascism, the rebirth of revanchism in the West German state, the humanist and revolutionary heritage of the German people, and the democratic transformations in the country. The criminal nature of fascism was shown in the motion pictures of director K. Wolf Lissi (1957), Stars (1959), Professor Mamlock (1961), and / Was Nineteen (1967); in Deceived till the Last Day (1957, director K. Jung-Ahlsen), Naked Among Wolves (1963, director F. Beyer), and The Adventures of Werner Holt (1965, director J. Kunert); and in the documentary films of the directors A. and A. Thorndike You and Another Comrade (1956; in the Soviet release, This Must Not Happen Again) and Operation Teutonic Sword (1958). The films Stronger Than Night (1954, director S. Dudow) and They Called Him Amigo (1959, director H. Carow) told of the Resistance Movement. The role of monopoly capital in unleashing World War II is exposed by the feature film Council of the Gods (1950, director K. Maetzig). The pseudodemocracy and revanchist policy in West Germany were the themes in the production of Condemned Village (1952, director M. Hellberg) and Captain from Cologne (1956, director S. Dudow). The German working class and its fighters are the subject of the films The Invincible Ones (1953, director A. Pohl), Ernst Thälmann—Son of His Class (1954) and Ernst Thálmann—Leader of His Class (1955; director of both films, K. Maetzig), and As Long as I Am Alive (1965, director G. Reisch). Most of the cinematic output of the 1960’s is on contemporary life and the shaping of socialist consciousness in people. Moral problems are explored in the films The Divided Sky (1964, director C. Wolf), Lot’s Wife (1965, director E. Giinther), The Best Years (1965, director G. Riicker).

Time to Live (1969, director H. Seemann), The Seventh Year (1969, director F. Vogel), In the Field of Stress (1970, director S. Kuhn), and others. Historical, children’s, and adventure films are also being released.

There has been an increase in the number of joint productions with other countries, including the USSR, such as Five DaysFive Nights (1961, director L. O. Arnshtam), People and Beasts (1964, director S. A. Gerasimov), On the Path to Lenin (1970, director G. Reisch), and Goya (1971, director C. Wolf).

A central place in documentary cinema is held by the work of directors A. and A. Thorndike. Animated cartoons and popular science films are also turned out.

Among actors mention should be made of E. Geschonneck, G. Simon, U. Thein, W. Koch-Hooge, M. Krug, A. Domróse, A. Burger, G. Wolff, H. Drinda, M. Bohme, H. Schulze, A. Müller-Stahl, E. Dunkelmann, E. Franz, H. Goring, H. Hindemith, E. S. Klein, L. Tempelhof, J. Hoffmann, E. Esche, A. Müller, F. Duren, A. Wyzniewski, and J. Münch.

Since 1955 an International Film Festival of Documentary Shorts has been held every year in Leipzig. Cinema personnel are trained at the Higher School of Cinema and Television of the GDR (Potsdam-Babelsberg). Research work is performed by this school and by the German Academy of Sciences (Berlin). The State Film Archive—one of the largest in Europe—is in Berlin.

Magazines published include Filmspiegel (since 1954) and the quarterly Filmswissenschaftliche Mitteilungen (since 1960).

Annual feature film output is 16-17 films; many pictures have been awarded prizes at international film festivals. About 860 motion-picture theaters are in use.


Tisse, E. “Kinoiskusstvo Germanskoi Demokraticheskoi Respubliki.” In Kinoiskusstvo stran narodnoi demokratii. Moscow, 1952.
DEFA—Spielfilme, 1946-1964, 1965, 1966. Berlin, 1967.
Knietzsch, H. Film gestern und heute, 3rd ed. Berlin-Leipzig, 1967.
20Jahre DEFA-Spielfilm. Berlin, 1968.
Jahrbuch des Films, vols. 1-5. Berlin, 1958-62.
Filmbibliographischer Jahresbericht. Berlin, 1966.
Schauspieler. Berlin, 1970. [6-1180-2; updated]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The first three--July 1937, August 13, 1961, and that night in early November 1989--mark, respectively, the opening of the "Degenerate" show in Munich, that summer morning Berliners awoke to find the Soviet-occupied German Democratic Republic building a wall to stem the flow of refugees into the English, French, and American sectors of the divided city, and the hour when Germans on both sides of that 103-mile wall began to rip it down.
In the Federal Republic (FRG), the phenomenon of genuine mass tourism emerged in the 1960s, in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) only in the 1970s.
He demonstrates the ambiguity of the Federal Republic's political agenda towards the German Democratic Republic by both the Christian Democrats (from Adenauer to Kohl) as well as the Social Democrats (under Brandt and Schmidt) since the 1950s.
It covers historical aspects such as the Bauhaus, the Ulm School of Design, Braun, and developments in the German Democratic Republic; epistemological methods, semiotics, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and other developments in methodology; contexts like corporate design, service design, strategic design, and architecture; and microelectronics.
This work demonstrates that socialism and art do not necessarily have to be in opposition, at least in the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
Files from the German Democratic Republic's secret police, the Stasi, showed that people suspected of being enemies of the state were sprayed with radioactive chemicals.
After serving his seven-year term, he managed to get along with the authorities of the former German Democratic Republic until 1981, when he was allowed to leave and settle in the Federal Republic.
More peculiar is that lots of Germans did too, especially in the Federal Republic ("West Germany"), a state that actually developed, as Andreas Huyssen pithily puts it, by means of a "studied rejection of the national." Today, digestive problems in the wake of swallowing up the German Democratic Republic have even produced a nostalgia for the old Bundesrepublik.
Local studies of other regions of Germany, especially those in the former German Democratic Republic, may result in further slight modifications of our understanding of social reproduction and mobility through education during the nineteenth century.
Not that her characterization was inaccurate: the German Democratic Republic (the DDR or East Germany) was more often than not the western outpost of the Soviet empire, especially in the era of Walter Ulbricht (1949-71).
It discusses how Nazism helped institutionalize the correctional framework in Germany during the 20th century and how penologists created three pathways by sorting convicts based on moralizing social hygiene; the changing East German approaches to rehabilitation; how the German Democratic Republic dealt with sex offenders; how the Federal Republic established a correctional rehabilitation program; and how West Germany attempted to transform sex offenders into patients.
Specific topics discussed include the fusion of artistic and political avant-gardism by the Gruppe Spur in Germany as a precursor to the counterculture of the West German `68ers, Alexander Trocchi and Situationism in the Netherlands, violence and spectacle in the history of England's anarchist-influenced Angry Brigade, African American music and political protest in the German Democratic Republic, and music as a vehicle for right-wing extremist politics in Britain and Germany, among other topics.

Full browser ?