Gerald Götting

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Gerald Götting
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-83285-0008, Gerald Gotting.jpg
President of the People's Chamber
(East Germany)
In office
12 May 1969 29 October 1976
Preceded by Johannes Dieckmann
Succeeded by Horst Sindermann
Personal details
Born(1923-06-09)9 June 1923
Nietleben, Province of Saxony
Died19 May 2015(2015-05-19) (aged 91)
Berlin, Germany
Political party Christian Democratic Union
Profession Politician

Gerald Götting (9 June 1923 – 19 May 2015) was a German politician and chairman of the East German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1966 until 1989. [1] He served as President of the People's Chamber (Volkskammer) from 1969 to 1976 and deputy chairman of the State Council of East Germany from 1960 to 1989.

Christian Democratic Union (East Germany) political party in East Germany, merged with West German CDU after reunification

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany was an East German political party founded in 1945. It was part of the National Front with the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) and a bloc party until 1989.

State Council of East Germany

The State Council was the collective head of state that governed East Germany from 1960 to 1990.



Götting was born in Nietleben, in the Prussian Province of Saxony, today part of Halle/Saale. During World War II, he served in the Reichsarbeitsdienst, an auxiliary support and supply organization, and later in the Wehrmacht. He was briefly held as a prisoner of war by US forces in 1945.

Province of Saxony province of Prussia

The Province of Saxony, also known as Prussian Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1945. Its capital was Magdeburg.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

<i>Wehrmacht</i> unified armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945

The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe. The designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the previously used term Reichswehr, and was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.

In 1946, Götting joined the East German Christian Democratic Union, a Christian-democratic party. He then spent two years at the Martin Luther University of Halle, where he studied German studies, history and philology.

German studies is the field of humanities that researches, documents, and disseminates German language and literature in both its historic and present forms. Academic departments of German studies often include classes on German culture, German history, and German politics in addition to the language and literature component. Common German names for the field are Germanistik, Deutsche Philologie, and Deutsche Sprachwissenschaft und Literaturwissenschaft. In English the terms Germanistics or Germanics are sometimes used, but the subject is more often referred to as German studies, German language and literature, or German philology.

History past events and their record

History is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection between textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics. Philology is more commonly defined as the study of literary texts as well as oral and written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning. A person who pursues this kind of study is known as a philologist.

In 1949, Götting became General Secretary of the CDU and, after the establishment in the Soviet Zone of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was elected as a member of the People's Chamber (Volkskammer), the East German legislative body, in which he served for the next forty years. A loyal supporter of the Communist Socialist Unity Party, Götting helped push out those CDU members not willing to do the SED's bidding in the 1950s.

East Germany Former communist country, 1949-1990

East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic, was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", and the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.

Socialist Unity Party of Germany Marxist-Leninist political party and ruling state party of the GDR

The Socialist Unity Party of Germany, established in April 1946, was the governing Marxist–Leninist political party of the German Democratic Republic from the country's foundation in October 1949 until its dissolution after the Peaceful Revolution in 1989.

Over the years, Götting came to hold a number of influential positions within the East German state: from 1949 to 1963, he served as the Chairman of the CDU faction in the People's Chamber; from 1958 to 1963 as Deputy Prime Minister of the GDR; and from 1963 to November 1989 Götting served as Deputy Chairman of the Council of State, a position equivalent in rank to the vice-presidency of the GDR. Götting also served as Chairman of the People's Chamber from 1969 to 1976 and as its Vice-Chairman from 1969 to 1989. Finally, Götting was elected Chairman of the CDU at its 1966 party congress. As chairman, he worked closely with the other parties that formed the National Front, the SED-dominated alliance that governed East Germany. During his party leadership, he published brochures exploring the relationship between Christianity and socialism.

National Front (East Germany) alliance of political parties and mass organisations in East Germany

The National Front of the German Democratic Republic was an alliance of political parties (Blockpartei) and mass organisations in East Germany, controlled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, which stood in elections to the East German parliament, the Volkskammer.

Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management, as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership can be public, collective or cooperative ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them, with social ownership being the common element shared by its various forms.

Götting held a number of other positions in East German society. From 1961 to 1969, Götting was Vice-President of the German-African Society, and from 1963 he was a member of the Albert Schweitzer Committee. He visited with Schweitzer twice, which meetings he recorded and publicized in his book “Begegnungen mit Albert Schweitzer“. In 1976, Götting was elected Chairman of the People's Friendship League of the GDR.

Albert Schweitzer French-German physician, theologian, musician and philosopher

Albert Schweitzer, OM was an Alsatian theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by the historical-critical method current at this time, as well as the traditional Christian view. His contributions to the interpretation of Pauline Christianity concern the role of Paul's mysticism of "being in Christ" as primary and the doctrine of Justification by Faith as secondary.

On 2 November 1989, just days before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Götting was forced to resign as Chairman of the CDU. Five days later he stepped down from his position as a member of the Council of State, too. In December Götting was arrested, but released in February 1990.

On 19 May 2015 Götting died in Berlin, aged 91.

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Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Johannes Dieckmann
President of the People's Chamber
Succeeded by
Horst Sindermann