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|Soviet occupation zone of Germany|
Sowjetische Besatzungszone Deutschlands
|Military occupation zone of the Soviet Union part of Allied-occupied Germany|
The Soviet occupation zone in red
|• Type||Military occupation|
|Historical era||Post-World War II |
|8 May 1945|
• German Democratic Republic established
|7 October 1949|
|Today part of|
The Soviet Occupation Zone (German : Sowjetische Besatzungszone (SBZ) or Ostzone; Russian : Советская оккупационная зона Германии, Sovetskaya okkupatsionnaya zona Germanii, "Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany") was the area of Germany occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II in 1945. On 7 October 1949 the German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly referred to in English as East Germany, was established in the Soviet Occupation Zone.
The SBZ was one of the four Allied occupation zones of Germany created at the end of World War II. According to the Potsdam Agreement, the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (German initials: SMAD) was assigned responsibility for the middle portion of Germany. Eastern Germany beyond the Oder-Neisse line, equal in territory to the SBZ, was to be annexed by Poland and its population expelled, pending a final peace conference with Germany
By the time forces of the United States and Britain began to meet Soviet forces, forming a Line of contact, significant areas of what would become the Soviet zone of Germany were outside Soviet control. After several months of occupation these gains by the British and Americans were ceded to the Soviets, by July 1945, according to the previously agreed upon occupation zone boundaries.
The SMAD allowed four political parties to develop, though they were all required to work together under an alliance known as the "Democratic Bloc" (later the National Front). In April 1946, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) were forcibly merged to form the Socialist Unity Party which later became the governing party of the GDR.
The SMAD set up ten "special camps" for the detention of Germans, making use of some former Nazi concentration camps.
In 1945, the Soviet occupation zone consisted primarily of the central portions of Prussia. After Prussia was dissolved by the Allied powers in 1947, the area was divided between the German states (Länder) of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. On 7 October 1949, the Soviet zone became the German Democratic Republic. In 1952, the Länder were dissolved and realigned into 14 districts (Bezirke), plus the district of East Berlin.
In 1952, with the Cold War political confrontation well underway, Joseph Stalin sounded out the Western Powers about the prospect of a united Germany which would be non-aligned (the "Stalin Note"). The West's disinterest in this proposal helped to cement the Soviet Zone's identity as the GDR for the next four decades.
"Soviet zone" and derivatives (or also, "the so-called GDR") remained official and common names for East Germany in West Germany, which refused to acknowledge the existence of a state in East Germany until 1972, when the government of Willy Brandt extended a qualified recognition under its Ostpolitik initiative.
East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic, was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990, the period when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Commonly described as a communist state in English usage, it described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state". It consisted of territory that was administered and occupied by Soviet forces following 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 and West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.
The Potsdam Agreement was the August 1945 agreement between three of the Allies of World War II, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union. It concerned the military occupation and reconstruction of Germany, its borders, and the entire European Theatre of War territory. It also addressed Germany's demilitarisation, reparations and the prosecution of war criminals.
Otto Grotewohl was a German politician who served as the first prime minister of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1964.
The Soviet Military Administration in Germany was the Soviet military government, headquartered in Berlin-Karlshorst, that directly ruled the Soviet occupation zone of Germany from the German surrender in May 1945 until after the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in October 1949.
The former eastern territories of Germany are those provinces or regions east of the current eastern border of Germany which were lost by Germany after World War I and then World War II; having been parts of the German Empire from 1871, and previously, of Prussia and Austria. They include provinces that historically had been considered 'German', and others that only became 'German' in 1871.
Allied-occupied Germany was the state of Germany upon defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, when the victorious Allies asserted joint authority and sovereignty over Germany as a whole, defined as all territories of the former German Reich west of the Oder–Neisse line, having declared the destruction of Nazi Germany at the death of Adolf Hitler. The four powers divided "Germany as a whole" into four occupation zones for administrative purposes under the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union, respectively. This division was ratified at the Potsdam Conference. The four zones were as agreed in February 1945 by the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union meeting at the Yalta Conference; setting aside an earlier division into three zones proposed by the London Protocol.
The Stalin Note, also known as the March Note, was a document delivered to the representatives of the Western allied powers from the Soviet Occupation in Germany on March 10, 1952. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin put forth a proposal for a reunification and neutralization of Germany, with no conditions on economic policies and with guarantees for "the rights of man and basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, press, religious persuasion, political conviction, and assembly" and free activity of democratic parties and organizations.
The Free State of Prussia was a state of Germany from 1918 to 1947.
The German Democratic Republic (GDR), German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), often known in English as East Germany, existed from 1949 to 1990. It covered the area of the present-day German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, and Thüringen. This area was occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, with the remaining German territory to the west occupied by the British, American, and French armies. Following the economic and political unification of the three western occupation zones under a single administration and the establishment of the German Federal Republic in May 1949, the German Democratic Republic was founded on 7 October 1949 as a sovereign nation.
The administrative divisions of the German Democratic Republic were constituted in two different forms during the country's history. The GDR first retained the traditional German division into federated states called Länder, but in 1952 they were replaced with districts called Bezirke. Immediately before German reunification in 1990, the Länder were restored, but they were not effectively reconstituted until after reunification had completed.
The territorial changes of Germany include all changes in the borders and territory of Germany from its formation in 1871 to the present. Modern Germany was formed in 1871 when Otto von Bismarck unified most of the German states, with the notable exception of Austria, into the German Empire. After the First World War, Germany lost about 10% of its territory to its neighbours and the Weimar Republic was formed. This republic included territories to the east of today's German borders.
The flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland was the largest of a series of flights and expulsions of Germans in Europe during and after World War II. The German population fled or was expelled from all regions which are currently within the territorial boundaries of Poland, including the former eastern territories of Germany and parts of pre-war Poland.
NKVD special camps were NKVD-run late and post–World War II internment camps in the Soviet-occupied parts of Germany from May 1945 to January 6, 1950. They were set up by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) and run by the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs MVD On 8 August 1948, the camps were made subordinate to the Gulag. Because the camp inmates were permitted no contact with the outside world, the special camps were also known as silence camps.
The Oder–Neisse line is the basis of the international border between Germany and Poland. It runs mainly along the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers and meets the Baltic Sea in the north, just west of the ports of Szczecin and Świnoujście.
The Democratic Bloc was an association of political parties and organizations in the GDR.
The German People's Congress was an initiative of the SED and the participation of the bloc parties at the London Conference of Allied Foreign Ministers in November and December 1947. Delegates from all over Germany gathered for the first time on 6 December 1947 that entered together body. Their main demand was the key to a German government. The SED presented their all-German claim to the three people's congresses.
The Soviet Control Commission was a monitoring and management committee established by the Soviet Union in order to oversee the leadership of the German Democratic Republic. It was active from 10 October 1949 and 28 May 1953 and it was legitimated by the Potsdam Agreement between the Allies.
The State of Saxony-Anhalt was a subdivision of the Soviet occupation zone and state of East Germany which corresponds widely to the present-day German state Saxony-Anhalt. After the retreat of the US troops from the Western parts - following the agreements of the Yalta Conference - it was formed as administrative division called Province of Saxony by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) in July 1945. The province was a re-establishment of the Province of Saxony which existed in Prussia from 1816 to 1944. On 1 July 1944, the Province of Saxony was divided along the lines of its three government districts of Halle-Merseburg, Magdeburg and Erfurt. The two provinces became part of the new state including small parts of Thuringia (Allstedt) and Soviet-occupied parts of Anhalt (Dessau) and Brunswick. Following the first election for the Landtag in October 1946, the state was renamed to Province of Saxony-Anhalt on the same day. With the abolition of Prussia in February 1947, it was named State of Saxony-Anhalt. Compared to the administrative divisions of Nazi Germany, it comprised the Gaue Magdeburg-Anhalt, Halle-Merseburg and small parts of Southern Hanover-Brunswick and Thuringia.
The State of Mecklenburg was a subdivision of the Soviet occupation zone and one of the states of East Germany which corresponds widely to the present-day German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The state was originally formed as an administrative division, the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) in July 1945. It consisted of the 1934-established Mecklenburg and parts of the former Prussian provinces of Pommern and Hanover. The city of Swinemünde was handed over to Poland in October 1945, becoming part of Szczecin Voivodeship. In November 1945, a transfer of small territories along the Inner German border to the former Province of Schleswig-Holstein was carried out as part of the Barber–Lyashchenko Agreement. About 2.1 million people were estimated to live in Mecklenburg in 1946. From 1947, the term Vorpommern was excluded from the official name as the SMAD feared that this would support revisionist actions against formerly German parts of Poland. Compared to the administrative divisions of Nazi Germany, Mecklenburg comprised the Gaue Mecklenburg and parts of Pomerania and Eastern Hanover.
The State of Brandenburg was a subdivision of the Soviet occupation zone and state of East Germany which corresponds widely to the present-day German state Brandenburg. The state was originally formed as administrative division Province of March Brandenburg by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) in July 1945, a re-establishment of the Prussian Province of Brandenburg, excluding the Eastern parts behind the Oder–Neisse line to Poland. With the abolition of Prussia in February 1947, it was named State of March Brandenburg but in June 1947 the SMAD forced to change the name to State of Brandenburg. In August 1945, a transfer of territory was ruled out between Allied-occupied Berlin. Compared to the administrative divisions of Nazi Germany, it comprised the Western part of the Gau March Brandenburg and small parts of Berlin.