by Max Barry

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East Germany

This post is partial reply to this article:

This article is a thinly veiled response to the nostalgia and support for the DDR by ex-East Germans. More precisely, 2009 survey found 57% of Eastern Germans defend the GDR.
"In 2009, a study revealed that 57 per cent of former East Germans preferred life in Communist East Germany under Soviet rule, and 8 per cent of those polled refused to accept any criticism of the former German Democratic Republic..." Of those polled, 49% said “The GDR had more good sides than bad sides. There were some problems, but life was good there.”
This is not an inconsistent spike of sudden nostalgia,
Nov 9, 1999, the CNN reported that a survey among East Germans found, "more than 40 percent said they were happier under the communist regime. A majority said they were unhappy with the economic changes."

An introduction: East Germany is often compared to West Germany however again context is always forgotten. The GDR started at a lower level of economic development and was forced to bear the burden of paying War reparations to the Soviet Union for the massive losses and damage inflicted on the USSR in WW-2. These conditions were largely responsible for the less attractive aspects of life in the GDR: lower pay, longer hours, and fewer and poorer consumer goods compared to West Germany. The GDR comprised only one-third of German territory and had a population of 17 million. By comparison, the FRG comprised 63 million people and made up two-thirds of German territory. [1] Additionally since it was less industrialized than the West even before WW-2, the new GDR started out poorer than its new capitalist rival. Per capita income was about 27 percent lower than in the West.

Reparations were taken from Germany because of the immediate needs of soviet society in risk of the large scale famine occurring and further consumer goods shortages. They were not taken after 1954 (before that allies were actively destroying FRG economy in an effort to neuter it, comparing to which reparations from GDR were relatively light). Instead USSR helped GDR to rapidly reindustrialize (10.1% GDP growth in 1954; credit from USSR of 485 million soviet rubles, 33 factories were transferred in 1954 alone, total worth of 2.7 billion ostmarks). Industry output growth in 1950-1958 240%, FRG - 210%. Starting conditions in 1950: GDR - 110.6% of 1936 gdp, FRG - 110.9%. Despite this the DDR grew 525% (in 1995 Euro) while the FRG grew only by 334% [4]

Despite all this however, "East Germany’s national income grew in real terms about two percent faster annually that the West German economy between 1961 and 1989."[3]. It's possible to have high growth with it all going to the top of society however. Fortunately this didn't happen to the German Democratic Republic. The mean Gini coefficient – a measure of income equality which runs from 0 (perfect equality) to 1 (perfect inequality) – was 0.24 for socialist countries in 1970 compared to 0.48 for capitalist countries. [2]

Minimum wage was about 200 marks, average wage about 900 marks. Rent for a luxurious apartment was about 100 marks. Some sample prices:
- A loaf of bread: 0,50 M
- 1 kg of wheat: 1 M
- A bottle of milk: 0,34 M
- A chocolate bar: 2 M
- A simple meal in a restaurant: 2,35 M
- A pack of cigarettes: 1,60 M
- An EP with pop music: 4,60 M

[1] John Green, “Looking back at life in the GDR,” The Morning Star (UK), October 7, 2009
[2] Shirley Ceresto, “Socialism, capitalism, and inequality,” The Insurgent Sociologist, Vol. XI, No. 2, Spring, 1982
[3] Shirley Ceresto, “Socialism, capitalism, and inequality,” The Insurgent Sociologist, Vol. XI, No. 2, Spring, 1982.
[4] Heske. Volkswirtschaftliche Gesamtrechnung DDR 1950-1989
2 and 3:
4: and
Heske calculated Eastern German and Western German economic growth. He worked for the planning commission both West and East German governments and is quoted in schoolbooks today. GDP = BSP in German - if you look at the numbers growth in East Germany was higher.

A 2017 example on how much things have worsened for the former GDR:
- 3 million people lost their jobs, fired after over 14,000 East German industries were sold for practically nothing. This is something that occurred continually over the past decades since 1989. This is an increasing trend, as unemployment in former East German territories was 17% in 1999, double that of West Germany, (when there was NO unemployment prior to the re-unification).
One can argue, hollowly, that they weren't absolutely necessary workers, or that management needed re-organization but these mass-firings don't seem to be very helpful and in the end often require assistance. As cited in 1999 by a highly anti-communist CNN article, "The Skett machine tool plant in Magdeburg, for example, slashed its work force from 12,000 to 500, but still needed state aid before turning a profit."
Moreover, people lost job opportunities due to West Germany rejecting East German personal qualifications,
""It's been a mixed blessing," said Ilka Dietmann, 28, an East Berlin student who is now unemployed. She is bitter about losing the chance to become a teacher because the government didn't recognize her college education."Life has become stressful in East Berlin and very expensive. A lot of people lost their careers. Life has changed, and not always for the better," she said."
- In 10 years after 1989 at least 1.5 million fewer children were born than in the previous 10 years.
- Rural regions that had all sorts of amenities (jobs, bus/train connections, postal services, bars, community centers, libraries, youth clubs, Public Kindergartens) have been eliminated.
- In the GDR women retired at 60, now it's at 67. Only 1/2 or 2/3 of the pension was needed to cover necessities, while today the entire pension barely covers these needs.
- In the GDR women were allowed in the armed forces. The reunification resulted them in being booted out. Only 10 years later were women allowed to join again.
- Average child IQ dropped from 102 to 95 by using the FRG's education system. As a side note Finland's Education system is based on the GDR's, Finland is one of the highest rated on PISA.
- Homosexuality was not prosecuted after 1957 in the GDR, and in 1988 legislation made it 'illegal' was going to be completely stricken. In the FRG anti-homosexuality laws were upheld til 1994.

And now onto the content of the first-mentioned article:

1) "(state nurseries were) the location of the state’s first phase of ideological indoctrination."
Does the previously mentioned Church nursery not promote the same thing? The Catholic church has many dogmas that are taught and enforced through fear of hell. In the USA from grade K-12 students are forced to Stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, and those who refuse are sent to the office and given detentions and are regarded as anti-patriots... double-standards much? Additionally political classes did not begin until much later in the school system. And while the author is criticizing the school for approving a song about police, yet the US national anthem is literally about rockets and bombs. Oh I forgot, wanting to be a decent defender of society and people is now wrong.

"Grenzsoldaten (the border guards with shoot-to-kill orders)"
Because the troops in capitalist countries are shooting people with rainbows and sunshine, and only halt them in place, right. They're border troops in a country that is on the border of hostile countries and is the playing board for espionage. Prior to several incidents of sabotage and spies getting caught, the GDR had open borders with its Western cousin, the East German government was forced to isolate itself from this.

Also this is grossly exaggerated:

The West literally funded terrorist groups, who (for example) bombed a military airport and carried out other organized acts of sabotage and terror in the GDR. That's even acknowledged by western media.

"The day-care centers were rigid, authoritarian, and uninspired, programmed to encourage "group-think" and not creativity."
That is an outright lie, this is the same naive argument used by anarchists the world over to say "lets get rid of the government, because the government is bad", without ever thinking of the long term consequences, only here its "you can't have order and standards in school that's oppressing creativity", which didn't stop the Warsaw Pact from producing a good 1/2 of the worlds innovations during the Cold War and from producing some of the most quality films and music of the Cold War, meanwhile in the USA we celebrate 'artists' like Andy Warhole and his paste-pics. Compare the hand-writing and writing composition of a student today and in the past, the wording and neatness is strikingly different, "cursive, what's that!?".

"Punishments could be severe, too: standing in the corner, no lunch, maybe even spankings."
This is severe? This is supposed to be unique? It was the 20th century. Being put in the corner or spanked or getting a ruler on your knuckles was pretty standard for the ENTIRE WORLD. Heck you want problems, lets compare British Schools. They didn't screw around with spankings and lunch confiscation, they would CANE YOU UNTIL YOU BLEED. And that was the punishment for ANYTHING, just Read Roald Dahl's books such as his autobiographical novel Boy. Frankly I think whatever teacher the author had didn't spank him enough. As a student in the USA I had my knuckles rapped with a wooden ruler, and frankly I thank my teacher for that because it made me pay attention to math and learn it well.

"And no wonder there was a spot for every kid: The adult-to-child ratio was just 1 to 9. Today it’s 1 to 6.3 in eastern Germany and 1 to 3.8 in the west."
First off, source for this information? Second where is the Western German ratio at the same time? Why only show West Germany today? This little snide remark is a non-sequitur and also ignores the fact that West Germany had a massive economic base whilst East Germany did not. An inconvenient truth eh?

2) "As soon as the GDR agency in charge of recycling stopped paying in 1990, the volume of materials it collected dived by 90 percent. Soon after, it was forced to close all 16,000 recycling centers and fire 11,000 staff."
Key statement, 1990, y'know when there was massive socio-political unrest artificially created by Gorbachev's idiocy and inflated by Western provocateurs seeded in the ranks of protesters. This is like criticizing Romes army for being weak at the end when Romes economy and system had collapsed. The system worked when it was installed and properly maintained.

3) "the fact is, you can get almost all of the GDR products today in just about every supermarket or specialty store, even if they’re produced now by private instead of state-owned companies."
Except that now prices are higher and wages are worth less because the private companies don't have state-subsidies like in the GDR and price control's removal lead to massive inequalities compared to the GDR years. Hundreds of US stores have many great products, but the average person will rarely be able to buy them and have to opt for cheaper, worse products. As for the white bread mentioned next... oh wow, the cheap bread for quick consumption is not great quality what a surprise, oh wait that's every country in the world... screw me, double-standards through the roof!

4) I don't know anyone who claims this, however considering how most jokes today are about "yo mama" and crap like it, (which the GDR was disapproving of), I'd say its right, jsut because funny dark humor remains doesn't mean it is as prevalent, as can be seen, most is replaced by dumb humor at the level of degenerates.

5) This is just whining about how "it could only work if conditions are perfect", That's what a hospital is for. This is like the critics of blood-transfusion whining about blood-borne diseases. THAT'S WHY WE'RE NOT DOING THIS DOMESTICALLY! Also about the Milk Powder, Milk Powder is not a good alternative, not by a long shot, it's unhealthy and artificial.


6) Nudism wasn't really something East Germany was screaming about in general. The mentioning of "The Triumph of The Will" is a blatantly obvious attempt to equate nazis with communists (as usual). An inane point over-all that ignores the fact that East German customs remained the same as they'd always been, politics are what changed.

7) The Reality Check here is missing the point entirely and ends up only confirming the point made, the GDR had its opposition fashion journal but also promoted healthy living. Sex Tips in today's magazines are some of the cringiest, (and false) lies I have seen, promoting motherhood and good work-ethic is far more civilized. The word libertine has never held a positive connotation and shouldn't.

8) Oh wow a personal account of bitterness towards individuals and like a typical liberal classifying it as "institutional oppression" MFW, and then his little question to a "OPPOSITIONIST" who has every reason to say "nothing about the GDR was good", like a typical counter-culturist edge-lord. Also as stated before, this is anecdotal idiocy, in response I give you this: Victor Grossman, a well-known protester from East Germany explained the 1989 protests,
“most participants in the demonstrations and rebellions in the fateful autumn of 1989 wanted an improved [East Germany], not a dead one.” - Blackshirts and Reds, Michael Parenti

Just a little bit on the Berlin Wall:

It was mined, there was a trench to block vehicles as well as a line of obstacles for APCs on certain strategic locations. Plus there were guard towers with armed guards and automatic rifles. Westerners claim that those were there solely to keep DDR citizens from fleeing to the west which is obviously rubbish, the main purpose was to block NATO spies and saboteurs from trespassing into DDR territory or out of DDR territory. Actually, nobody had to flee and risk his or her life on the border. You could legally leave the DDr for good and move to the West. In order to do that you would have to ask the authorities to get your citizenship removed. When the authorities approved of that request (process time could take years though) you could just pack your belongings together, hop on a train and settle in the oh-so-free West. I think the process was called Ausreiseantrag or Übersiedlungsantrag.

"However, even after the wall was built there was regular, albeit limited, legal emigration from east to west. In 1984, for example, East Germany allowed 40,000 people to leave. In 1985, East German newspapers claimed that more than 20,000 former citizens who had settled in the West wanted to return home after becoming disillusioned with the capitalist system. The West German government said that 14,300 East Germans had gone back over the previous 10 years." (

The authorities had a reason for calling the border "Antifaschistischer Schutzwall", it may have prevented something awful. It was unpopular among the general population and made it easy for Western propaganda to portray the DDR negatively. The West attempted to lure people into working in the West by paying them higher wages than usual. However the closed border between the BRD and DDR was one of the most important if not the most important strategic frontlines during Cold War. Before it was built in the early 1960s the border was open and there was free movement between the BRD and DDR for all citizens of either the BRD and DDR, yet the majority of the 17 million DDR citizens felt no desire to move to the BRD for better wages or whatever. Under "The Berlin Wall – Another Cold War Myth"