View Full Version : Everything DDR...
09-10-04, 10:30 PM
Are there anymore DDR fans out there? I would love to have a thread about the DDR. Post anything, great websites, pics, discussions, facts, opinions, alles DDR.
09-11-04, 12:48 AM
Their spirit lives on in the Russian female shotput team.
Hey, is that the Hindenburg?
09-11-04, 02:39 AM
DDR was populated to a large extent not by German Germans but by German survivors (of different blood purity) of ethnic cleansings of Eastern/Central Europian countries committed in 1945. DDR was rather scarcely populated (only 16 millions lived there in 1980th). DDR was pretty much the only Soviet block country where USSR did not lose money (i.e. there was a resemblance of mutually beneficial trade). The rest were resource sucking leeches on USSR's body.
Small detachment of DDR's army fought "imperialist pigs" in Vietnam together with Soviets. DDR army eagerly enter Chechoslovakia in 1968 (they did remember about 30,000 of their relatives cowardly murdered there in 1945). DDR army was considered the most reliable/well trained ally by soviet officers.
09-11-04, 07:02 PM
I have numerous correspondents in what used to be the Warsaw Pact countries and I visited several of them about thirty years ago.
What I can add to this is that the Deutsche Demokratische Republik was, to all the other eastern Europeans, still Germany. They didn't trust the East Germans. When there was a rebellion and the Russians orchestrated a suppression of it by bringing in other Warsaw Pact troops, the victims always said, "The worst thing about that was not that the Russians screwed us again, it was not that the Americans who talked so big on the Voice of America refused to help us again. The worst thing about that was that there were German troops on our soil again."
Oddly enough, when western Europe began to recover and tourism became common, West Germans began traveling throughout eastern Europe. Spending money like crazy, tipping everybody, in general trying to make a good impression because they were highly conscious of the reputation of their country and were either trying to change it or trying to con their former victims, depending on who you talk to. But it worked. The people of eastern Europe, in general, were more sanguine about BRD Germans than they were about DDR Germans.
That may also be due to the fact that the Russian occupiers taught the east Germans that they were victims of capitalist imperialism themselves, and therefore had nothing to be sorry for. East Germany did very little in the way of PR, while West Germany schmoozed everybody to convince them that the Third Reich was as dead as ancient Egypt.
There was also the fact that the most well-known export from DDR was the Trabant. An incredibly crappy little car with a two-stroke engine, it fouled the air and rattled the eardrums of people from Poland to Bulgaria. I rode in one, it made me long for a Fiat. Even a Polski Fiat. To many eastern Europeans, the Trabant was the symbol of the DDR.
When the news came out that the Berlin Wall was down, people throughout East Germany braked their Trabants to a halt, left the key in the ignition, and abandoned them wherever they were. The people in the other countries, who weren't about to be joined to prosperous West Germany, couldn't be so flippant. It would be some time before they could have Volkswagens, so they kept driving their Trabants for a while longer.
09-11-04, 07:20 PM
What can I say about the DDR? It was by far the most successful socialist state in the world. It was growing rather healthy in the 80’s and was as you said a state that actually wasn’t a drain on the USSR. The East Germans tried their best to create a socialist German alternative to the FRG. Living in the DDR was not all that bad, they did a study in the 80’s and in the DDR one could buy necessitates for significantly cheaper then the FRG, the advantage that the FRG had was her population had great purchasing power in luxury goods. Apartments were essentially free, we must remember that the Western allies attacked Eastern Germany through bombing much more then the West, they knew it was going to the USSR. When you consider the damage that the DDR endured during WWII with the almost total destruction of Dresden and Berlin. East Germany did rather well. The DDR was known for her emphasis on the family, it had to the population of East Germany actually declined from 1950’s to the 80’s by 2 million people through migration to the West. The DDR had her bad sides no doubt about that, the Stasi kept files on just about everyone who live in the country. The political situation was repressive, and the DDR was staunchly against Perestroika which Gorbachev had initiated in the mid-80’s. East Germany had every reason to be against it as well, East Germany was exporting more, and more:
As you can clearly see that East Germany was not economically all that bad, she did have very big issues with the environment, and her factories were old and largely underinvested. But her goods were obviously in demand. Now much of the DDR’s success in the post 1973 era in which East and West Germany recognized each other as sovereign states. West Germany’s new policy of Ost Politik gave the East Germans a lucrative trade with the West. But that trade was insufficient to create the boom in the DDR economy in the 80’s.
As you can see the DDR exported most of her goods to the COMECON economic block. I blame the collapse of the DDR on the rest of the socialist world rather then the DDR herself. The DDR it must be remember was the last state apart from Romania and the USSR to collapse under the liberation movements in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. It is understandable to me also why the people of East Germany wanted to get rid of the government, it wasn’t all that compromising. But even after the DDR collapse people wanted a return to the DDR. One can easily understand why; the DDR in 1988 when she reached her economic peak had a GNP of $207.2 billion which was close to that of Belgium at the time, by 1997 East German GDP had contracted to $144 billion. Even with the $70 billion a year pumping into East Germany from the West has not been able to create a re-invigorated economy. East Germans per capita income feel from $12,500 in 1988 to a mere $9,100 by 1997 back to 1984 levels. Was the DDR a failure? I would vouch to say no…
P.S. I have been desperately trying to find GDP figures for the DDR anywhere pre 1988, if you can help me out that would be GREATLY appreciated.
09-11-04, 08:34 PM
Plus they shot people who didn't agree with them! What's not to love?
Deutschland uber Alles!
09-11-04, 08:44 PM
Oh common now let's not appeal to petty emotions...after 1975 Helsinki accords I am not sure if the DDR killed political prisoners (they did kill those who tried to cross the inner-German border). But would you have rather lived in the USSR or the DDR? Or Franco’s Spain then the DDR? To me there is no question…