Q

Germany/Democratic Republic

East Germany was a Central European country that existed from 1949 to 1990. It was administered and occupied by Soviet forces after World War II until the Potsdam Agreement established the Soviet-occupied zone. The GDR was dominated by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), a communist party until democratization and liberalization under the Revolutions of 1989 led to its dissolution and unification with West Germany. Unlike West Germany, the GDR did not see itself as the successor to the German Reich and was often viewed as a Soviet satellite state and described as a totalitarian regime. 

The economy of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was centrally planned and state-owned, with prices of basic goods and services set by government planners rather than market forces. Despite having to pay war reparations to the Soviets, the GDR became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. However, emigration to the West, particularly by educated young people, weakened the state. The government responded by fortifying the inner German border and building the Berlin Wall in 1961. In 1989, social, economic, and political forces, including peaceful protests, led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalization. The GDR ceased to exist when it joined the Federal Republic of Germany in 1990. 

The East German mark, also known as the Ostmark, was the currency of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). One mark was divided into 100 pfennig. The East German mark was officially valued at parity with the West German Deutsche Mark, but it had limited convertibility and was essentially worthless outside of East Germany. The East German government instituted a forced exchange policy in 1964, where most visitors from non-socialist foreign countries were required to exchange a set amount of Deutsche Marks for East German marks.


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