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The East (German Democratic Republic). Formed Oct 1949 as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) Communist State under control of Soviet Union Constructed Berlin Wall August 1961 due to major population loss (3.5 million) from 1949-1961 Fall of communism and the Berlin Wall 1989. Society.

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the east german democratic republic
The East (German Democratic Republic)
  • Formed Oct 1949 as the German Democratic Republic (GDR)
  • Communist State under control of Soviet Union
  • Constructed Berlin Wall August 1961 due to major population loss (3.5 million) from 1949-1961
  • Fall of communism and the Berlin Wall 1989.
society
Society
  • People organised themselves into groups according to political party. E.g. Socialist Unity Party (SED)= Strong communist-dominated, Stalinist ‘Party of a New Type’.
  • Nationalisation: of large pieces of land and large industries such as mining, banking= discouraged private ownership in the economy.
  • Reorganising economy= reorganising society NO class groups, rather EQUALITY.
authority
Authority
  • Although democratic, the number of political parties was restricted and controlled by the SED= development of communist system.
slide4
Soviet Troops, military forces, the people’s police, the worker’s militia groups and last, but not least the State Security Police or the Stasi. Files had been kept on ¾ of the adult population in the GDR. A vast network of informers, informal collaborators and people in official positions had kept the information service well informed of developments among all manner of groups.
  • Additionally, the fear of being observed or reported on, the difficulty of completely trusting neighbours,colleages at work, or even those who seemed to be close friends, created and sustained a mood of withdrawal and self-censorship for many people in the GDR.
culture
Culture
  • Collectivist society: with restrictions on individual freedom, expression, freedom of association and freedom to emigrate.
  • Consumer goods not widely available!
  • Restricted ‘choice’ in consumer goods as they were ONLY sourced from other communist nations.
slide6
Trabant- 1975
  • Expensive
  • Long waiting lists
  • Restricted choice
slide9
Steffi from East Germany (1966-1970)
  • Barbie (1960s) from West Germany
slide12
Gender

‘Greater gender equality’ in the workplace? (public sphere)

Less gender equality in the private sphere?

slide13
- A degree of equality for women in East Germany, at least in the sense that half of university students and half of the labour force were female.
  • - Generous maternity benefits and extensive child-care provisions meant that it was possible for women to combine the roles of mother, housewife and paid employee- and indeed it was an individuals duty to work.
slide15
- However, domestic duties were not bound by ‘equality of the sexes’ and housework and childrearing primarily remained the responsibility of women.
  • - Greater rates of divorce, remarriage and children born out of marriage=reflected greater economic independence of women.
  • -However, women remained disproportionately employed in lower levels of any professional hierarchy.
slide17
The contraceptive pill was made freely available to both single and married women= Birth control encouraged.
  • Why?
environment physical psychological
Environment (Physical, Psychological)
  • Physical Env: Relatively drab, colourless, polluted by dirty smoke produced by lignite (brown coal), with small, inferior cars bumping their way over pot-holed, often stone-cobbled roads.