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The East German Leadership and the Division of GermanyPatriotism and Propaganda 1945-1953$
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Dirk Spilker

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284122

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284122.001.0001

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Retreat and Retrenchment: The SED and the German Question in the Early 1950s

Retreat and Retrenchment: The SED and the German Question in the Early 1950s

(p.194) 5 Retreat and Retrenchment: The SED and the German Question in the Early 1950s
The East German Leadership and the Division of Germany


Oxford University Press

This chapter, which covers the period from 1950 to 1953, outlines the various offers for East-West negotiations extended by leaders of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) as well as the Kremlin in the aftermath of Germany's formal division. A united Germany based on Western-style bourgeois democracy was not envisaged by the leading communists because of the risk that such a Germany might end up in the Western camp. In the first few months after the founding of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), SED leaders focused on the ‘consolidation’ of their new state ‘in close/collaboration with the Soviet Union and the people's democracies’. This chapter looks at the SED's third congress and the elections of October 1950, the Prague declaration and the SED's new stance on the German Question, the 1951 referendum and the SED's campaign for all-German elections, the Soviet Union's proposed peace treaty with Germany, the SED's second party conference and its move towards socialism, and the political crisis of 1953 and the opportunity it presented for a German reunification.

Keywords:   Soviet Union, socialism, Germany, German Democratic Republic, elections, Prague declaration, democracy, German Question

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