Deutsche Demokratische Republik
German Democratic Republic
800px-Flag of East Germany

587px-Coat of arms of East Germany

Flag of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik CoA of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik
Motto: "Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt Euch!"
(Workers of the world, unite!)
Anthem: "Auferstanden aus Ruinen"
(Risen from Ruins)
DDR Mainland Europe01
Capital. Berlin
Largest City. Berlin
Official languages German
Recognized regional languages Czech, Slovak and Polish
Demonym Germans

Generalsekretär der SED
Ministerpräsident der DDR
Marxist–Leninist single-party socialist state
- Wilheim Sammer
- Martin Krentz
 - Declared

- Recognised
- 1949

- 1955
 - Total

- Water (%)
- 564,681 km2 (mainland)

- 0.7%
 - 2011 census

- Density
- 97.593 million+ (mainland)

- 151.58 inh. km2
GDP (Nominal)
 - Total
 - Per capita
2011 estimate
- $3.620 trillion
- $37,094
Gini 35.1%
HDI (2011) Green Arrow Up Darker .950(very high) (Xnd)
Mark der DDR () (M)
Drives on the Right
Internet TLD .dd
Calling Code +37

Deutsche Demokratische Republik - DDR is a socialist state established by the USSR in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city. During the decades after its formation, the original territory has grown with the annexations of Czchekoslovakya, Poland and the full reunification of Berlin as well as some african protectorates. In the economic, political and military fields DDR has become an european power and with Soviet Russia leader of the communist bloc after the fall of Soviet Union.


Further information: History of Germany, History of DDR

At the Yalta Conference during World War II, the Allies (U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union) agreed on dividing a defeated Germany into occupation zones, and on dividing Berlin, the German capital, among the Allied powers as well. Initially this meant the construction of three zones of occupation, i.e. American, British, and Soviet. Later, a French zone was carved out of the American and British zones.

The ruling Communist party, known as the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED) (Socialist Unity Party), was formed in April 1946 out of the forced merger between the German Communist Party (KPD) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). As West Germany was reorganized and gained independence from the occupation, Stalin established the German Democratic Republic in 1949. The creation of the two states made the 1945 division of Germany permanent.

In 1949 the Soviets turned control of East Germany over to the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED), headed by Wilhelm Pieck (1876–1960), who became president of the DDR and remained officially 'Number One' until his death in 1960, while any real power allowed by the Soviets was assumed by SED General Secretary Walter Ulbricht. The old Socialist Party was taken over by the Communists, and Socialist leader Otto Grotewohl (1894–1964) became prime minister.


Physical geography

See also: Geography of DDR

DDR is a country in Central Europe, stretching from the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains, across the North European Plain to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. With 97.6 millions people, DDR has the second largest population in Europe (after the European part of USSR) and is seventh largest in area. The territory of DDR covers 564.681 km2.

Political geography

See also: Administrative divisions of DDR

After the annexation of Czechkoslovakia in 1970 and Poland in 1989 the political map of Germany has been redefined to suit the new situation. According to the latest 1995 revision, the state's organizational structure is divided into 4 levels:

  • Staat (State)
  • Großregionen (Major Regions)
  • Bezirke (Regional Districts)
  • Kreise (Municipal Districts)



The Deutsche Demokratische Republik-DDR, was created as a socialist republic on 7 October 1949 and began to institute a government based on that of the Soviet Union. The equivalent of the Communist Party in DDR was the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party of Germany, SED), which along with other parties, was part of the National Front of DDR. It was created in 1946 through the merger of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany.

The other political parties run under the joint slate of the National Front, controlled by the SED, for elections to the Volkskammer, (DDR Parliament). The other parties are:

  • Christlich-Demokratische Union Deutschlands (Christian Democratic Union of Germany, CDU)
  • Demokratische Bauernpartei Deutschlands (Democratic Farmers' Party of Germany, DBD)
  • Liberal-Demokratische Partei Deutschlands (Liberal Democratic Party of Germany, LDPD)
  • Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (National Democratic Party of Germany, NDPD)

The Volkskammer also included representatives from the mass organisations like the Freie Deutsche Jugend or FDJ (Free German Youth), or the Free German Trade Union Federation.

Non-parliamentary mass organisations which nevertheless play a key role in DDR society include the Deutscher Turn- und Sportbund or DTSB, (German Gymnastics and Sports Association) and Volkssolidarität, (an organisation for the elderly). Another society of note (and very popular during the late 1980s) was the Society for German-Soviet Friendship.


From 1960, the Staatsrat der DDR is the colective head of state of DDR. Designated as an organ of the People's Chamber, it was largely a creation of Walter Ulbricht during his tenure as first secretary of the SED.

Today there are eight deputy chairmen and seventeen members. The day-to-day functions of the council are carried on by a staff consisting of twenty offices and departments, all of which are headed by SED members. The functions performed by the Council of State include representing the country abroad and ratifying and terminating international treaties; supporting local assemblies in the implementation of their economic and budgetary plans; administering electoral laws that govern the selection of local assemblies on the community, city, county, and district levels; discharging responsibilities for the maintenance of the country's defense with the assistance of the Nationaler Verteidigungsrat der DDR - NVR(National Defense Council); and administering the activities of the Supreme Court and the Office of the Prosecutor General to ensure their actions were congruent with the Constitution and the civil law. In this area, the Council of State possesses additional responsibility for proclaiming amnesties and pardons.


TheMinisterrat der DDR (Cabinet) is the government of DDR and the highest organ of the state apparatus. Its position in the system of government and its functions and tasks are specified in the Constitution as amended in 1974 as well as in the "Law on the Council of Ministers of the DDR" of October 1972. Whereas earlier the Council of Ministers had been described as the "executive organ of the People's Chamber," the 1972 statute defined the council as the "government." According to the new law, the Council of Ministers was to "carry out the decisions of the party of the working class on the basis of the laws and decisions of the People's Chamber." The Constitution (as amended in 1974) significantly expanded the functions of the Council of Ministers at the expense of the Council of State.

Today the Ministerrat consists of a chairman, two first deputy chairmen, and nine deputy chairmen, all of whom constituted an inner circle called the Presidium of the Ministerrat. The chairman of the Council of Ministers is head of the government (prime minister). Unlike the nine deputy chairmen, the two first deputy chairmen generally are not responsible for specific ministerial portfolios.

According to the Constitution, all members of the Ministerrat are formally elected to their posts by the People's Chamber for a five-year term. In fact, these decisions probably emanate from the Politbüro and the Central Committee of the SED. The Ministerrat is required to work closely with the Volkskammer, and according to its administrative guidelines, the council is required to have all its legal drafts and decisions approved by the Volkskammer before they became law. In practice, the converse is true; the Volkskammer is obliged to approve those actions that were undertaken by the council and then routinely submitted to the legislature. Similarly, the Volkskammer is given the formal responsibility of selecting the membership of the council; in practice such personnel decisions are made by the Politbüro. The legislature is then expected to approve the selections.

The Ministerrat is responsible for providing the Volkskammer with the major legal drafts and decisions that subsequently are to be promulgated by the parliament. The work style of the Ministerrat is a collective one. It normally meet on a weekly basis to discuss problems and plans put forward by individual ministers. It also confirms decisions that are already made by the Presidium. The Presidium is of special importance because of its responsibility for handling the affairs of the council when the full body is not in session.

Specific functional responsibilities of the Ministerrat includes directing and planning the national economy; solving problems growing out of membership in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON); coordinating and implementing social policy decisions that have been agreed upon with the support and concurrence of the Free German Trade Union Federation (Freier Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund--FDGB); instructing and controlling subordinate levels of government, i.e., the councils at district, county, and community levels that implements the laws and decisions of the central government; improving the functioning of the system of "democratic centralism" within the state apparatus; and carrying out the basic foreign policy principles of the German Socialist state.


Main article: Oberstes Gericht der DDR (Suprene Court of DDR)

Like all other aspects of the government administration of DDR, the party is the ultimate decision maker in the operation of the legal system. The Constitution, however, provided for the right of citizens to a voice in the judicial process and the selection of judges, directly or through their elected representatives. It further provided for citizen participation in the administration of justice in an effort to deter crime. Basic guarantees for justice are said to derive from the "socialist society, the political power of the working people, and their state and legal system." In fact, separation of powers did not exist in the DDR system of government. Although the Constitution asserted the independence of the courts, it also subordinated the judiciary to the political authorities and their political goals. Judgeships were restricted to Communists of proven loyalty. The regime officially consider law and justice the tools for building a German Socialist society and declare it the duty of all judicial and legal officers to serve this end. In effect, legal and judicial organs serve as agencies for promoting official doctrine, and the careers of personnel in the system are dependent on their political ratings as determined by higher state and party officials.

At the top of DDR's legal system is the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Office of the Prosecutor General. The Prosecutor General appointes prosecutors throughout DDR, including those active in military courts; he can dismiss them, and they are "responsible to him and bound by his instructions." The Office of the Prosecutor General is also responsible for supervising "strict adherence to socialist legality and protecting citizens from violations of the law." The role of the Ministry of Justice, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, appears to be largely formal and propagandistic.

The organs of justice are the Supreme Court, regional courts, district courts, and social courts. Military jurisdiction is exercised by the Supreme Court and military tribunals and courts. The specific areas of responsibility for each level of the court system are defined by law. Professional and lay judges of the courts are elected for five years by corresponding representative bodies, except district court judges, who are elected directly by the citizenry. They are subject to dismissal for malfeasance and for violations of law and the Constitution in the performance of their duties.

Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court, as the highest organ of the legal system, directs the jurisdiction of all lower courts and is charged with ensuring the uniform application of the law on all levels. The highest court not only has the right of extraordinary appeal as a measure of control over the lower courts but on occasion serves as a link in the chain of command by issuing general legal directives. According to Article 93 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court "directs the jurisdiction of the courts on the basis of the Constitution, the laws, and their statutory regulations. . . . It ensures a uniform application of the law by all courts." The directive function of the Supreme Court go far beyond that of supreme courts in Western systems, which as a rule do not give legally binding instructions to the lower courts concerning specific questions of law. The Supreme Court is responsible to the People's Chamber and, between the latter's sessions, to the Council of State. Internally, the organization of the high court consists of an assembly, a presidium, and three functional administrative divisions known as collegiums for criminal justice, military justice, and civil, family, and labor law. The assembly, which is directed in its plenary sessions by the Supreme Court Presidium, consists of fifteen directors of the district courts, the chairmen of the higher military courts, and all professional judges.

Each district court is presided over by a professional judge and two jurors in cases of original jurisdiction and by three professional judges in cases of appellate jurisdiction. The district courts has appellate jurisdiction in civil cases and original jurisdiction in major criminal cases such as economic crimes, murder, and crimes against the state.

The county court is the lowest level of the judiciary system, and each of the country's counties has at least one such court, which is presided over by a professional judge and two lay assessors. The majority of all criminal and civil cases are tried at this level; county courts has jurisdiction over cases not assigned elsewhere and civil cases involving only small amounts of property.

In addition to the regular law courts, DDR also has an extensive system of community and social courts (gesellschaftliche Gerichte), known also as "conflict or arbitration commissions" (Konflikt-und Schiedskommissionen). The first were formed in state-owned and private enterprises, health and educational institutions, offices, and social organizations. The second were established in residential areas, collective farms, and cooperatives of manual laborers, fishermen, and gardeners. Created to relieve the regular courts of their minor civil or criminal case loads, the jurisdiction of the courts applied to labor disputes, minor breaches of the peace, misdemeanors, infringements of the law, truancy, and conflicts in civil law. These courts were composed of lay jurors elected by their respective constituencies. Party officials at the community level generally influenced the nomination of jurors to the community courts and exercised considerable influence on the outcome of cases heard at this level.

Main political bodies

Foreign relations and military

Foreign relations of DDR

Main article: Foreign Relations of DDR

Five principles, which are established in Article 6 of the Constitution, underlie the foreign policy of East Germany: a "perpetual and irrevocable alliance" with the communist nations; an "inseparable" membership in the socialist community of states, toward whose members DDR is committed in friendship, universal cooperation, and mutual assistance; the support of all peoples "who are struggling against imperialism and colonialism"; peaceful coexistence of states with different social orders; and support for peace and cooperation in Europe, a peaceful order throughout the world, and universal disarmament.

East Germany's most important external contacts are with members of the Warsaw Pact and COMECON, East Asian Federation, Imperium Skandinavisk, West Germany and selected countries of the Third World. The determinant factor in DDR's foreign policy is the spread of socialism and the strengthening of its position as a world power and industrial and technological leader.

Military of DDR

Main article: Nationale Volksarmee


Main article: Economy of DDR

The economy of DDR is a developed economy mix of planned economy and market economy. Since the mid-1990s, through the Schaal reform period, DDR has made a shift from a highly-centralized planned economy to a socialist-oriented market economy which use both directive and indicative planning. Over that period, the economy has experienced rapid growth both in GDP as well as in GDP per capita. Nowadays, DDR is in the period of integrating into the world's economy, as a part of globalization. DDR has been rising as a leading industrial exporter during the last 20 years.


See also






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