Talk:East Germany/Archive 3

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general archive: up to June 2008

Economy of East Germany

Having researched East Germany recently, it strikes me that there are some major points missing from the article:

  • Firstly, a (brief) summary of the way in which the economy was ordered, with the VEB's (and VVB's), and industrial combines (all state-owned companies), as well as LPG's & PGH's (worker-owned co-operatives);
  • Second, a summary of the debt crisis that faced the GDR in the early 80s, and again towards the end of the regime. Basically, the state would have collapsed by 1992/93, if unification had not taken place.
If my research gets anywhere, I may tackle it myself, but help would be appreciated. (RM21 03:44, 19 December 2006 (UTC))

Can someone explain why Economy of East Germany was pasted into East Germany and the link to it removed? It's far too long, and not a great article anyway (no structure, lots missing (see eg History of East Germany) and possibly derived from CIA or similar source). Rd232 13:21, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't know but I added a cleanup tag, that shit was intolerable for an Encyclopedia article. Kade 18:48, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

And shouldn't the economy section have some mention at the massive economic difference between East and Wester Germany that became evident after reunification? TastyCakes (talk) 17:05, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Power Possession

Who was the true leader of East Germany? From 1949-89/90 who was the actual leader? Which possetion heald the most power? Who was leader from 1951 onwards? A leader whos reign starts completely in the 50s. User:Vital Component

There generally wasn't a single leader, if you're looking for someone with the power of Hitler or Stalin; the situation was a bit more like a Cabinet government, though General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party was the most powerful position. There were several other key positions (eg Chairman of the Council of Ministers) and a fairly small number of people occupied these 1949-89. (See Leaders of East Germany.)Rd232 4 July 2005 20:31 (UTC)
  • Yes, this is a bit complicated. Basically, after the death of Wilhelm Pieck (the first President of the GDR) in 1960, the position was not renewed. From this point on, the head of the Council of State (Staatsrat der DDR) took on the role of Head of State both nationally, and internationally. However, in internal politics, power was divided (un)evenly between:
  • the Chairman of the Council of State (Head of State/President)
  • the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Premier/Head of Government)
  • the General Secretary of the SED party.
It must also be remembered that, due to the unique structure of the East German state, politicians could (and often did) aggregate and combine roles. So, Walter Ulbricht was General Secretary, and Chairman of the Council of State, as was Erich Honecker (as well as being head of the Politburo, and National Defence Council). (RM21 03:51, 19 December 2006 (UTC))

Elections in the GDR

I just deleted this from the paragraph about the Vokskammer and the block parties: This is in contrast to West Germany, which did not allow people to vote for the parties they wished to, such as the Communist Party.

Fine, you can think about the West-German communist party and its dissolvment what you want. But using this to imply that the Volkskammer elections were democratic, like that anybody could have run as member of parliament in any party, that is really way off. Unfortunatly, I'm a typical Wessi, wth limited knowledge of East Germany, so: Any East Germans around? Could you, please, add some sentences about what the Blockparteien were, how they werked, how independent they were, and how the elections worked? Maybe also a few words about these famous >90% results in favour of the SED? Thanks a lot. Simon A. 09:35, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

@Simon, >>90% results in favour of the SED?<< As far as I know, the SED had about 20-25% of the seats in the Volkskammer. You mean "99% results" for the "Nationale Front", which was a association of different parties and mass organizations in the GDR. All these parties ofcourse where acting under the constitution, which underlined the "leading role of the SED" and the "eternal friendship to the USSR". ;-) Arne List 16:28, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Although the SED properly had only 20-25 % of the seats in the Volkskammer, the combined elected representatives belonging to the SED and the mass organizations (most of whom were also SED members) accounted for an absolute majority (over 50 %) of the seats in the chamber, effectively giving the SED control of the legislature. Moreover, the Volkskammer met only infrequently, just to rubber stamp decrees of the Council of Ministers which reflected in turn the will of the Central Commitee of the SED. Like in other "socialist" republics, the Central Commitee of the Communist Party (in the GDR, the SED) was the body actually responsible for formulating state policy while the official state instutions like the legislature or the council of ministers were just means to legally validate and execute the policies set out by the party. Unlike in the West, there is no such thing as a political opposition or alternance in power in the GDR. Non-communist parties were only allowed to exist (and actually hold seats in the Volkskammer and the Council of Ministers) as long as they remained subordinate to and supported SED policy. 21:41, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Copy-edit of recent contributions

Can someone with more time and patience than I go through the recent changes, including by the anons, and check for accuracy, spelling, and NPOV? I noticed some problems. --TJive 13:26, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Important people

I just removed Jeanette Biedermann from the list of important people. As she was born in 1981 and became famous well after reunification I don't think she should be listed as important people from the GDR. (just in case anyone's wondering) Madcynic 22:29, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Merge East Germany

Should we not redirect East Germany to here? Skinnyweed 22:27, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

No, because it explains the English term. PMA 00:52, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

East Germans in categories

Imho, the list of East German politicians should be removed and the articles put into the category instead. The same for the artists. --Abe Lincoln 15:21, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Is there anybody out there? --Abe Lincoln 12:18, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes I am inclined to agree that such a long list should not appear in the main GDR article. It does rather split the article in half and as you point out would be more useful presented in a category. --Newton2 22:27, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

First German Cosmonaut

I added the name of Sigmund Jähn to the important people list. August 5, 2006

Name of Currency

The term "East German Mark" or "Ostmark" in German was the colloquial name of the currency, being mostly used in West Germany. In the GDR, people would simply call it the "Mark" and use the term "Westmark" to distinguish the Deutsche Mark where necessary. The official name of the East German currency changed a few times, the last name that has been in use was "Mark der DDR" or "Mark of the GDR" in English. I suggest changing the item in the infobox accordingly.

Re the "Music" section

Was there a state-owned monopolistic record company in the GDR similar to Melodiya in the USSR or Hungaroton in Hungary? If so, would anyone in the know care to add a sentence or short paragraph about this to the section? OMHalck 00:23, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

  • The answer is, yes, there was, still is, in fact. The company AMIGA (German article; nowadays part of SonyBMG Germany) was the state-owned recording company of the GDR, so it played a big part in promoting artists such as the Puhdys (RM21 03:18, 19 December 2006 (UTC))
Not quite accurate. The state recording monopoly was "Deutsche Schallplatten" (German Records). It owned a number of brand labels: the two most significant were "Amiga" for popular music and "Eterna" for classical music. The company was dissolved after German unification in 1990 and its properties were sold to other companies. Amiga, as you noted, is now a label of BMG Music which specializes in re-releases of East German hits, jazz and folk music as well as some new music by existing groups in the former GDR. Quite a lot of former East German music originally released under "Amiga" or "Eterna" has also been re-released by BarbaRossa (also a BMG label) and "Berlin Classics" (owned by Edel). --langohio (talk) 18:31, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Taking pictures in old East Germany

Sorry, I got lost. Did you say you took a picture of a Soviet soldier? Or an American soldier? I have heard of people being detained for doing such things, though. - Victor (Sun, 21 Mar 2004 20:17:28 UTC)

It was the bridge which was the issue, being a potential target of sabotage. It seems Merlin was treated rather lightly. Fred Bauder 23:03, Mar 21, 2004 (UTC)

I was an American exchange student in West Berlin in 1963-64. I was briefly detained in the police headquarters in Friedrichstrasse when I naively took a photograph of a soldier in front of a railroad bridge. My film was confiscated and there were no further consequences as far as I know. I wonder if anyone knows of Americans who were held in East Germany for extended periods, or where I could find information about this subject. Excuse if this is not an appropriate wikipedia question. Thanks, Merlin

Interesting. Over here in the USA they don't teach that Nazi functionaries got jobs in West Germany, and didn't in East Germany. Can someone elaborate? --Branden

It's true. Both the West and the Communists wanted to 'denazify' Germany, but the Communists were strongly intent on eliminating everyone associated with Nazism, while the West was more interested in 'rehabilitation'. The West soon decided that Communism was a bigger threat than a revival of Nazism; their main interest became getting West Germany powerful enough to withstand Communism, which meant giving the Nazis back their jobs. In Nazi Germany bureaucrats, businesspeople, academics, etc., had to support the Nazis if they were to get anywhere; thus many of the educated people still in Germany after the war had Nazi associations. Life in West Germany was much easier for ex-Nazis than it was in East Germany -- SJK.
Not quite. About 1/4 of all the SED middle to senior apparantniks in 1956 did have NSDAP membership, though how high in ranking and whether they joined out of supporting Nazism or for careers is another question. In fact, a lot of the earliest functionaries of the internal security personnels were direct transfers from the Gastepo. Source: Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin, by Alexandra Richie. --JNZ 06:20, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
Both in West and in East Germany Nazis were hunted. If someone was an important Nazi he was jailed both in West and East Germany. Life for Nazis wasn't easy at all. 22:07, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)
And don't forget Wernher von Braun. Prominent example of Nazi employed by the US! (Sowjets did the same) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

"organized in Markts" in the history section is a typo; (Markt means market), it should be "organized in Marks". Admins please correct this! 12:41, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)

DD isn't "deprecated", it's obsolete. (I can't fix the article because it's protected.) --Zundark 10:15, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Sports section

Seriously, this part that only talks about steroids is blatantly biased. The sports success was based on different factors, not only on that - not even exclusively. I hope someone with a better knowledge of the background than me can fix that ASAP. --Madcynic 14:02, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

As the author of that section, I have to agree with the fact that certain amount of discipline is required to win olympic medals and world records. There are of course other factors such as government sponsored professionalism (where the government actually paid these athletes in eastern bloc coutnries to have their full time jobs as sports while the western bloc countries were "amateurs" (which of course is not the case anymore). My expertise lays in the area of steroids in sports and in history. My input in this area is specifically based on that so it can sound biased without the input of others. Just like any other contributing expert members of Wikipedia, I fully support you on the fact that all other areas should be explored and discovered. I certainly encourage others to join and expand this section but the fact is that starting with Soviet Union in 1950s (with the world weightlifting championships as a start) government sponsored steroid usage and the development of technology to mask this usage was in full force. From a population ratio, the success rate of olympic and world records in Eastern Germany and the rapid decline of these success rates after the unification of Germany, Steroids certainly played a major part in East German sports. Steroid Expert 21:37, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

Thats not that easy and definitly not true for events like Figure skating, Ski jumping, Gymnastics and many other different disciplines in which East Germany was also very succesful. In fact the use of steroids in only known for a minority of sportsmen (sure in some disciplines this was important, but definitliy not in the majority). The furtherance-system for young people in GDR was much more important and should therefor be listed first (since China uses parts of this system they have also much more success, but yeah many people think that they also use steroids in today China). The population ratio is not always the main fact or how do you explain the success of Norway in the Olympic Winter games. The "rapid decline" of success has much more to do with the downgoing of the furtherance-system and the closing of the most sport schools. By the way there was not such a rapid decline in all ways. East German sportsmen have been much more successful than West Germans in the 1990th in comparison of population ratio, for example in the Winter games. For example even the last Winter games in which Germany was the best nation there were above average East Germans. The ratio of successful East Germans goes down every year - if there are no good (by the way also very hard) sport schools anymore you will not "make" new sport machines, in a democratic country (and Germany today is very liberal) were the cildren can do wath they want you will not find so many kids which want to train all the day. -- It is true, because of the use of steroids EastGermany was more succesful, but it is also true that East Germany would have been one of the leading sport nations because of its sport politics anyway. By the way, maybe they doped the same way in West Germany or America or ..., only because the system of East Germany broke we all know this (and winners write history) --Knarf-bz 09:31, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
I didn't mean to accuse anyone of writing purposefully biased articles, Steroid Expert, I apologize if I came across like I did.
On a side note: Who came up with the idea that soccer was 2nd in popularity in East Germany? --Madcynic 16:57, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
the steroid doping deserves to be covered in more detail. it was no small thing, the olympic achievement was a massive part of the regiems public face and a lot of work went into it. they had a whole secret program involving the stasi to dope their athlete population without their knowledge and squashed anyone that asked questions, including any athletes. this is not comparable to any doping we have today. it seems theres a bit of white washing history if this is not given more space. they proceeded with this program despite knowing what it would do to female athletes. the criminal nature of the regime was unique in this aspect. a new BBC documentary on this period called the great olympic drug scandal revealed just came out this year. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:37, 20 October 2007,2144,786574,00.html


Dance Dance Revolution

Isn't 'Dance Dance Recolution' the much more recognized/known meaning for the acronym 'DDR'? I asked a few people (selection/volume bias, I know, but...), and the German Democratic Republic is NOT what they say! -- 18:39, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I think the only country that almost always uses DDR this way is the United States. Dance-Dance.. is known in Europe as Dancing Stage, and is not nearly as well known. Besides, there are disambigs. @ the head of the article. (RM21 03:03, 19 December 2006 (UTC))

Deletion of Most of the Materials Except History

I suggest most of the materials be moved to the relevant articles under Germany because we are dealing with a historical state now. Most of the article was a direct borrowing of the US Library of Congress's 1988 information [1], which, at the time of writing, there was still a GDR state. Much of the information such as Culture and Economy would be of "current events" interest and anyone who wants to view them now would go to the main Germany article instead. --JNZ 06:33, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

East (or West) German Flag

I've heard that either East Germany or West Germany had a "plain" german flag (black, red, gold), but that the other had the same flag but with the [apparently] West German coat of arms (the black eagle). Is this true? And if it is, should I send Wikipedia of a flag with this coat of arms (that I may or may not be able to find)? 03:33, 25 January 2007 (UTC) Proper

No, that's not quite true. Until 1959, both states indeed had the same flag. From then on, the GDR used its coat of arms on it.

For the common Olympic team (the states didn't participate individually prior to 1972), the coat of arms was replaced with the Olympic rings. The West German flag with the coat of arms is the so-called Bundesdienstflagge (Flag of the federal authorities of Germany). This flag may only be used by federal government authorities. For all other uses, West Germany used the plain flag. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Madcynic (talkcontribs) 12:45, 25 January 2007 (UTC).


I have removed Till Lindemann from the famous people list as he is listed as well as all 6 Rammstein members which includes him

Laws of the GDR

I was looking to read on GDR law or jurisprudence. Were the country's laws originally a fusion of Soviet and German law, or were they entirely Soviet? nadav 02:53, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually they were neither. At least not entirely. At least from a general law reform in the 1970s onwards East Germany's civil law was regarded as one of the most modern in Europe. Have no sources to back that up tho, sorry. --Madcynic (talk) 12:51, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

You´ll find many links in german Wiki under "DDR-Justiz" (GDR justice) go to "16.1 DDR-Gesetze" (GDR laws). But... in german. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:58, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Introductory sentence in the History section

The History section begins During the post-Roman migration period, many of these populations left for other lands, without mentioning which populations. I assume that some text was deleted from the beginning of the section without checking that the new first sentence still made sense. I suggest either deleting of these, or naming the populations of the time, or replacing of these populations with people. Coyets 14:59, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler

Surely describing Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler as "famous" (in quotation marks) is not a neutral standpoint. He was certainly very well-known, and, because his program was controversial, he was disliked by many people. Wikipedia should be stating these facts, and not expressing an opinion by the use of quotation marks. Coyets 14:15, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Population density map

I added a population density map of the GDR in the history section. I think it is a valuable and important part of this article. However, upon adding it some fo the article's text has been jumbled. I'm not good with cosmetic editing so if someone could fix that please I would appreciate it. If you think it can be moved somewhere else in the article please go ahead and do so. Dreieich 00:39, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Please fork

GDR in Microsoft terms is a General Distribution Release, which is a second type for a hotfix (first type is QFE = Quick Fix Engineering). A very good explanation can be found under -andy 11:10, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Map in History Section

Added a link to Saar_(protectorate) in caption of political map to allow users to follow and clarify the purple Saar region. Otherwise, there is no mention whatsoever in the East Germany article of the French Saar protectorate region. With some linking and reading I made the connection myself and wanted to facilitate said connections for future parties. Also in the interest of consistency, as a similar reference and link may be found in the caption of the political map in the West Germany article.

Stamps and philately

Does anyone else think that this part is poorly written? I don't know anything about stamps, so I am not going to try and re-write it, but it needs work. There are other statements made that should be adjusted, eg "...most beautiful stamps..".

Yup. It pretty clumsy and POV. Wiggy! (talk) 11:19, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

States or Districts

"East Germany existed from 1949 until 1990, when its STATES acceded to ...Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)..." In the Part "Administrative divisions" is accurately described that East Germany has got no states but districts. On July 22nd 1990 the Volkskammer agreed a law for the reintroducion of the states in the GDR (Verfassungsgesetz zur Bildung von Ländern in der DDR - Ländereinführungsgesetzes) with effect from october 14th 1990. But the unification treaty (Einigungsvertag) brought this forward on the day of reunification (3rd October 1990). Link to the Ministry Of Justice (in german) where you can read this: So the right term is: "East Germany existed from 1949 until 1990, when its DISTRICTS acceded to ...Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)..." Could anyone registered change this please? Thanx

Michael (native (east) german)

That's... technically not correct. The Unity Treaty clearly mentions October 3 as the day, when the five new states would join the federal republic. So when the treaty came to effect the states were (a) created and (b) joined the federation at the same time. Also, bear in mind, that the district councils did not play any part nor were they represented in any way during the process of unification. However, I agree with you that there's a bit of a... hustle there, since the GDR districts were never officially abolished. --Edge (talk) 10:12, 5 December 2007 (UTC), (native East German as well)

"Travel Information"

I deleted this section:

Travelling in Eastern Germany has become an adventure in the mid 90s. Many African and Asian people became victims of crimes recently. It is highly recommended for this group to avoid travelling alone, or late night travel in general. It is still considered safest for this group to just not enter this area of Germany.

Firstly: what relevance does this section have in an article about a state that was abolished years ago? Secondly: it contains nothing but one editor's opinions about the situation in the former GDR. J-C V (talk) 19:12, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

It is good that this section was deleted, because it is a fact that africans and asians, mostly illegal aliens, have COMMITTED an increasing number of racial crimes against White Germans, far more than the reverse. Walter Ring —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

What happened in 1952?

The second paragraph of the introduction currently states: Until 1952 it consisted of the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Saxony. But the article doesn't indicate how that changed in 1952. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 02:24, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

maybe here you can find more... Regards --LutzBruno (talk) 20:21, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Point of view

Any positive portrayal of this or ANY communist state in any way, shape or form should be forbidden just as any positive portrayal of National Socialist Germany is prohibited. At least the National Socialists did not have to build a complex wall complete with dogs, guards with machine guns, tunnel detectors, mines, glass shards and electric fences to keep people in as the communists did when they took over East Germany. Walter Ring —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Actually Walter Ring the Nazis did build all of these things around the Jewish populations of the Reich, so you are wrong. FALSCH! Compared to the racist and fascist Third Reich, life in the DDR was quite pleasant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. Whatever good things the Nazi's did (industrialized their nation using fascism, etc.) should be noted, as should their negative things. (Killing millions simply due to ethnicity, not being very kind to Jews, etc.) Same with the G.D.R. Show all sides of the argument. That's the purpose of an encyclopedia article on ideologies, economics, science, nation histories, etc. --Mrdie (talk) 07:01, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

An even handed approach and neutral point of view is generally required when contributing here. Wiggy! (talk) 10:45, 10 July 2008 (UTC)