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November 08, 2009



There is a problem with your link to CiF

Mick H

Thanks...fixed it.


It's amusing that someone thinks the first GDR government was determined to build 'a democratic ... Germany'.


You will be shocked to discover that the authors are strangers to the truth. "The Soviet zone of occupied Germany had certain initial economic advantages. Although its population was about 40% of that of the western zones, its fixed industrial capital was about 48% of that of the western zones [that is, 120% of the capital in the western zones]. Its loss of productive capacity through war damage has been estimated at approximately 15%, compared with 21% in the west." There were disadvantages. It depended on retention of prewar trading links- I wonder who severed these? The author, Mary Fulbrook, Germany, 1918-1990 The Divided Nation (1991) Fontana, goes on to write (pp153-154)"Whatever the initial disadvantages and advantages of the economic situation in the Soviet zone, matters were undoubtedly worsened by Soviet occupation policies. Soviet dismantling reduced the productive capacity of the zone by about 26% com[pared with a figure of about 12% for the western zones.""Up to 1953, about a quarter of the zone's national product was spent on occupation costs and reparation payments (compared with a figure for the west of perhaps 11-15%)"

So, the GDR before the Soviets looted the place, started out with significant economic advantages compared to the West. So what went wrong?

I knew the East was better placed than the West so just went to the easiest to find source for facts.


For once, the comments at CiF are worth reading.


Yep. Loud and clear.


"One of the GDR's greatest achievements was the creation of a more egalitarian society. Measures were introduced to counter class and gender privilege and increase the educational and career prospects of working-class children."

More on those measures:

“… at this time [during the 8th school year] the key decisions were made: the school decided who would be allowed to qualify for university by being sent on to a grammar school. The quotas for the number of students to be sent there were determined by the state. They depended on its requirements. The assumption was that all those who qualified for university would also study and everything was planned accordingly and early on. At the beginning of their studies, many were told where they would have to live and work once they graduated. They had to sign that they agreed with this as part of the deal. There were also quotas for the social origin of those who could qualify for university. Children of workers and farmers would be preferred, those with intellectual parents were less likely to qualify and had to demonstrate that they were particularly worthy.
My marks at school were fairly good, except for the evaluation of conduct. This, combined with my social origin and the fact that my parents were artists, ruled out any possibility of qualifying for university.”

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