TimeLine of East German History

The People's State

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East Germany - New World Encyclopedia

East Germany historically was about 90% Protestant. Between 1956 and 1971 the leadership of the East German Lutheran Church changed its relations with the state from hostility to cooperation. From the founding of the GDR in 1949, the Communist Party tried to weaken the influence of the church on the rising generation. The church therefore adopted an attitude of confrontation and distance regarding the Communist authorities. Around 1956 this firm stand against the regime began to wither in favour of a more neutral stance and conditional loyalty. The regime was no longer regarded as illegitimate; instead, the church leaders started viewing the authorities as installed by God and, therefore, deserving of obedience by Christians. But on matters where the state demanded something which was not in accordance with the will of God, the church reserved its right to say no. There were both structural and intentional causes behind this development. Structural causes included the hardening of Cold War tensions in Europe in the mid-1950s, which took away the temporary character of the East German state. The loss of church members and discrimination against young Christians also made it clear to the leaders of the church that they had to come into some kind of dialogue with the authorities. The intentions behind the change of attitude varied from a traditional Lutheran acceptance of secular power to a positive attitude toward socialist ideas. There was also a will to cooperate in order to have the ability to criticise from within a position of loyalty.

There were four periods in East German political history. These included: 1949–61, which saw the building of socialism; 1961–1970 after the Berlin Wall closed off escape was a period of stability and consolidation; 1971–85 was termed the Era, and saw closer ties with West Germany; and 1985–89 saw the decline and extinction of East Germany.

The Berlin Wall - Symbol of the Cold War

                                                        TimeLine of East German History

German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

An overview of the role print played in the Communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) is now more accessible than ever before, thanks to an archival project that has digitized the full texts of three major East German newspapers and made them . Anyone can now rifle through some 40 years of East German history as printed in the pages of the journal of one of East Germany's so-called bloc parties, and , the only East German paper to regain credibility and circulation after reunification.

Especially after the Ninth Party Congress in 1976, East Germany upheld historical reformers such as , , , and as examples and role models.