Thursday 19th May am 1 hour To what extent and in what ways did Communism transform the GDR? Constitution 1949 • Parliament Volkskammer, representative of the people • Upper House, Landerkammer, represented the five regions of East Germany or Lander • President Wihelm Pieck: head of state • Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl: head of government Democratic Politics in the GDR? • SED general secretary Walter Ulbricht. • The Lander were abolished in 1952 and replaced by smaller and more numerous units the Bezirke • Upper House abolished 1958 Changes in the GDR... Life on the Land • 1952: Collectivisation ‘land production cooperatives’ • LPGs: a collective farm often made up of several previously independent farms now joined together • LPGs unpopular, many farmers fled to the West • Problems with food supply: contributed to uprising 1953 Uprising 17th June 1953 • Causes: tightening of borders, collectivisation, emphasis on enhanced productivity • USSR was not happy with the developments in the GDR • June 1953 key SED leaders summoned to Moscow and asked to make changes: condition of workers would become worse, they were to produce 10% more, but wages the same Uprising 17th June 1953 • Confusion: Different messages came out in the Communist Party newspaper and Trade Union newspaper. • Construction on the building work in Berlin halted 16th June, workers marched to House of Ministries • One worker got to a loudspeaker and announced a general strike for the following day. News spread throughout the GDR Aftermath of the Uprising • Ulbricht got help from the USSR and the uprising was crushed by Soviet tanks • West Germany under Konrad Adenauer didn’t intervene • East Germans felt abandoned • Workers won concessions • Inadequacy of secret security service in noticing signs of unrest • Ulbricht criticised by party • SED paranoid about views of the people and determined to crush any signs of unrest Land Reform • Ambitious building program: 101,800 new apartment houses were to be built between 1948 and 1950. In the end, however, only 39% built in 1950. Success? • Agriculture did become more efficient • Farmers well trained, becoming specialists in crop or livestock production • Collective farms treated as industrial factories, a place of work rather than an inherited property. • Relationship with USSR page 147 • What was the Warsaw Pact? • What was the Comecon?