East Germany, formally the German Democratic Republic or GDR ((ドイツ語:Deutsche Demokratische Republik), ((:ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʀaːtɪʃə ʀepuˈbliːk)) or DDR), was a state in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War period. From 1949 to 1990, it administered the region of Germany that was occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II—the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin, but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.
The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet Zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. The East was often described as a satellite state of the Soviet Union.〔Karl Dietrich Erdmann, Jürgen Kocka, Wolfgang J. Mommsen, Agnes Blänsdorf. ''Towards a Global Community of Historians: the International Historical Congresses and the International Committee of Historical Sciences 1898–2000''. Berghahn Books, 2005, pp. 314. ("However the collapse of the Soviet empire, associated with the disintegration of the Soviet satellite regimes in East-Central Europe, including the German Democratic Republic, brought about a dramatic change of agenda.")〕 Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, and the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. Soviet forces, however, remained in the country throughout the Cold War. The GDR established the Ministry for State Security, or "Stasi", which aided the Soviet Army in suppressing uprisings in 1953. Until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party (SED), though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany.〔(''Eugene Register-Guard'' ) October 29, 1989. p. 5A.〕
The economy was centrally planned, and increasingly state-owned.〔Peter E. Quint. ''The Imperfect Union: Constitutional Structures of German Unification'' Princeton University Press 2012, pp. 125-126.〕 Prices of basic goods and services were set by central government planners, rather than rising and falling through market forces. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Nonetheless it did not match the economic growth of West Germany. Emigration to the West was a significant problem—as many of the emigrants were young well-educated people, it further weakened the state economically. The government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to emigrate were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines.
In 1989, numerous social and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of a government committed to liberalization. The following year open elections were held,〔Geoffrey Pridham, Tatu Vanhanen. ''Democratization in Eastern Europe'' Routledge, 1994. ISBN 0-415-11063-7 pp. 135〕 and international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany. The GDR was dissolved and Germany was unified on 3 October 1990.
== Naming conventions ==
The official name was ''Deutsche Demokratische Republik'' (German Democratic Republic), usually abbreviated to ''DDR''. Both terms were used in East Germany, with increasing usage of the abbreviated form, especially since East Germany considered West Germans and West Berliners to be foreigners following the promulgation of its second constitution in 1968.
West Germans, the western media and statesmen purposely avoided the official name and its abbreviation, instead using terms like
''Ostzone'' (The Eastern Zone), ''Sowjetische Besatzungszone'' (Soviet Occupation Zone; often abbreviated to ''SBZ''), and ''sogenannte DDR'' (so-called GDR).〔The last division: a history of Berlin, 1945–1989, Ann Tusa, p.73〕
The center of political power in East Berlin was referred to as ''Pankow''. (The seat of command of the Soviet forces in East Germany was referred to as Karlshorst.〔)
Over time, however, the abbreviation ''DDR'' was also increasingly used colloquially by West Germans and West German media.〔The use of the abbreviation ''BRD'' (FRG) for West Germany, the ''Bundesrepublik Deutschland'' (''Federal Republic of Germany''), on the other hand, was never accepted in West Germany since it was considered a political statement. Thus ''BRD'' (FRG) was a term used by East Germans, or by West Germans who held a pro-East-German view. Colloquially, West Germans called West Germany simply "Germany" (reflecting West Germany's claim to represent the whole of Germany) or, alternatively, the ''Bundesrepublik'' or ''Bundesgebiet'' (federal republic, or federal territory, respectively), referring to the country, and ''Bundesbürger'' (federal citizen()) for its citizens, with the adjective, ''bundesdeutsch'' (federal German).〕
The term ''Westdeutschland'' (West Germany) when used by West Germans was almost always a reference to the geographic region of Western Germany but not to the area within the boundaries of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, this use was not always consistent, as, for example, West Berliners frequently used the term ''Westdeutschland'' to denote the Federal Republic. Before World War II, ''Ostdeutschland (''eastern Germany) was used to describe all the territories east of the Elbe (East Elbia), as reflected in the works of sociologist Max Weber and political theorist Carl Schmitt.〔Cornfield, Daniel B. and '' ''Hodson, Randy'' ''(2002).'' Worlds of Work: Building an International Sociology of Work. ''Springer,'' ''p. 223. ISBN 0306466058〕〔''(Östereichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie )'', by Michael Pollock. Zeitschrift für Soziologie; ZfS, Jg. 8, Heft 1 (1979); 50-62. 01/1979 〕〔Baranowsky, Shelley (1995). ''The Sanctity of Rural Life: Nobility, Protestantism, and Nazism in Weimar Prussia. ''Oxford University Press, pp. 187-188. ISBN 0195361660〕〔Schmitt, Carl (1928). ''Political Romanticism.'' Transaction Publishers, Preface, p. 11. ISBN 1412844304〕〔''Each spring, millions of workmen from all parts of western Russia arrived in eastern Germany, which, in political language, is called East Elbia.'' from ''The Stronghold of Junkerdom'', by George Sylvester Viereck. Viereck's, Volume 8. Fatherland Corporation, 1918〕
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