West Germany, East Germany and India

Events leading up to and during the Cold War which created West Germany as a First World country and East Germany as a Second World country and India as a Third World country and the impact of these different political/ ideological/ economic systems on the people of these countries.

Creating an East and West Germany divide

Events which affected the whole of Germany or led to the divide of East and West Germany

Interim Joint Occupation Agreement


Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin agreed that, at the end of the war, their countries would jointly occupy Germany until a lasting decision on Germany's future could be made (Spellman 2006 24).

Yalta conference highlights need for reconciliation


At Yalta, Churchill and Roosevelt recognise the need for reconciliation and reconstruction, rather that punitive peace for Germany so as to prevent Soviet advancements into a bitter and resentful Germany (Spellman 2006 24).

Potsdam agreement: Germany is divided


At Potsdam, the details of the division of Germany was finalised. Intended as a stop gap measure, it remained in place for forty years (Spellman 2006 25).

Berlin Blockade

June 1948 - May 1949

Stalin closed off access to West Berlin for West Germany. In response, Western powers, led by America, airlifted supplies into Berlin for 11 months until the Soviets eventually reversed the policy (Mitchell 2005 50-60; Spellman 2006 29).

Currency union

1 July 1990

The agreement to share a single currency was an early step towards reunification. It involved the removal of subsidies and barriers to free trade, and resulted in some short-term social and economic tensions. It had difficulties, raising unemployment and social tension in East Germany as the protective subsidies were removed (Fulbrook 2004 249).

Formal Re-unification

3 Oct 1990

Driven by the Chancellor of West Germany, East and West Germany were formally reunited less than a year after the 40th anniversary of the formation of the West German Democratic Republic (Fulbrook 2004 249).

The First General Elections of the reunited Germany

Dec 1990

Kohl, the West German Chancellor, became the first Chancellor of the whole of Germany (Otis 2005 123).

West Germany and other First World Events

Events occurring in West Germany or in other Western countries leading up to and during the Cold War.

Truman Doctrine was launched to counter Soviet influence


Through the Truman Doctrine, the USA pledges to support free people around the world from subjugation. This Doctrine was intended to counter Soviet influence in developing countries (Spellman 2006 28).

The USA launched the Marshall Plan to provide conditional economic assistance

1947 - 1949

he Marshall Plan was a major economic reform initiative undertaken by the USA in an effort to politically and economically ‘colonise’ developing countries. , East Germany, under instructions from the Soviet Union, were not able to accept it. The Marshall Plan had a substantial impact on post-war recovery and reconstruction in West Germany (Mitchell 2005, 61; Spellmann 2006, 26). The USA gave $2.4 billion in aid to West Germany (Alt & Schneider 1962, 54).
The way the Marshall Plan was used was often seen as propaganda for the high standard of living available through capitalism. There was a large focus on housing, which the United States ensured was mandated was built to a higher standard of living than usually seen in West Germany and a large focus on West Berlin, as it was the show case for capitalism in the East (Grunbacher 2012, 703-705) Assistance under the Marshall Plan came ‘with strings attached’, offering its funds with conditions that the Soviet Union was a violation of national sovereignty. The Soviet Union prevented the Eastern bloc from accepting such aid sharpening the divide between the East and West (Fulbrook 2004 210-211; Spellman 2006 26).

Western zones of occupation are united


The Western (Allied) zones of occupation are united and free provincial elections are held (Spellman 2006 25).

West Germany's 'Economic Miracle'

1947 - 1959

A number of factors resulted in Germany becoming the most prosperous state in Europe in 1955.
These included: industry not completely destroyed during the war, a skilled work force, the availability of 'exploitable "free" labor' through repatriation which kept wages low, wide-scale replacement of machinery with modern technology, high investment, external aid through the Marshall plan and other foreign aid and the lack of the 'back ward regions' of East Germany to support (Alt & Schneider 1962 46-54; Spellman 2006 61).

Formation of the German Federal Republic

May 1949 - 14 Aug 1949

Wanting to strengthen West Germany against the Soviets, particularly following the Berlin Blockade, the Western occupied zones were united as a new state (Spellman 2006 29). Elections held on the 14 Aug, 1949, elected the Western Christian Democratic Party, led by Adenauer (Spellman 2006 29).
The Cold War division changed the image of West Germany in the eyes of the occupiers. Particularly after the Berlin Blockade, West Germany changed from being seen as ‘a defeated nation of despicable Nazis’ to an ally in the fight against the spread of Communism (Fulbrook 2004 211).

(image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Adenauer)

Increasing prosperity in West Germany

1950 - 1955

The average income rose 12% each year between 1950 and1955.
Unemployment dropped by almost two-thirds (Mitchell 2005 61).

West Berlin incorporated into West Germany


West Berlin was incorporated into West Germany's financial and legal system. The importance of West Germany's financial system can be seen through the growth in West Berlin, which, until it was incorporated, was far behind West Germany in standard of living, with 300,000 people unemployed, but with targeted American help and subsidies its reconstruction was accelerated and it was brought up to the West German standard (Mitchell 2005 61).

The GFR joins NATO


Germany joined NATO and started rebuilding its military power (Spellman 2006 29).

GFR is a founding member of the European Economic Community


A series of legislations, policies and memberships leading up to this showed that West Germany was strongly committed to Western integration (Fulbrook 2004 213-214).

Economic Recession

1965 - 1966

The 1960s in West Germany were a time of frustration and criticism of materialism and consumerism. A weak government, which collapsed after this recession and a new coalition government added to a feeling that there was no real opposition in parliament (Fulbrook 2004 217).

Freer access between East and West Germany under Chancellor Brandt


Improved relationships between East and West Germany under a leader who was willing to recognise the division between East and West in return for freer access between East and West Berlin (Spellman 2006 51).

Oil Crises


The oil crises affected the economic situation in most countries, leading to a general recession in the later 1970s (Fulbrook 2004 230).

Relative economic stagnation

1980 - 1990

A general recession as well as multiple oil crises in the 1970s adversely affected the West German economy, highly reliant on trade and fuel imports. The 1980s had relatively low growth rates, for 2-3% and relatively high unemployment, reaching 8-10% (Fulbrook 2004 230-231).

East Germany and other Second World Events

Events occurring in East Germany or in other countries in the Soviet Union leading up to and during the Cold War.

Council for Mutual Economic Assistance


The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, an economic aid program for the Eastern bloc, was the Soviet Union’s response to the Marshall Plan, (Spellman 2006 26).
The USSR sought to rebuild without western aid, and looked to the Eastern bloc for resources, and markets. Eastern bloc states, , denied access to Western markets and influence, were under the power and control of the Soviet Union were forced to follow the Soviet pattern of economic development (Mitchell 2005 67).

East German Exodus

1949 - 1961

Roughly 3 million people flee East Germany. A high number of those who left were important to the government for the establishing of a new 'Socialist' German state. This included: 16,000 engineers, 5,000 doctors, dentists and veterinarians, 1,000 university professors and 15,000 teachers. Half of those leaving were under 25 and most were under 45 (Mitchell 2005 94).

Formation of the German Democratic Republic (GDR)

Oct 1949

In response to the Western-created state, the Soviets created their own state, without elections (Spellmann 2006, 29). Ulbricht, the leader of the SED (Socialist Unity Party), was prime minister. A series of purges within the party during the 1950s and the abolition of the upper chamber of parliament strengthened Ulbricht's position (Fulbrook 2004, 214)

East Germany's 'economic miracle'

1950 - 1970

East Germany embarked on post-war reconstruction and development without many of West Germany’s advantages. It lacked external aid, has fewer mineral resources, less and industry, and was burdened by reparations to Russian reparations. In these circumstances, East Germany’s post-war economic recovery was very impressive; it became the strongest country economically in the Soviet bloc, with living standards 50% higher than in Russia. By 1970 East Germany became the world’s 11th largest industrial power (Alt & Schnieder 1962, 53; Ardagh 1991, 371-72). Even with these advancements, by the early 1960s it was clear that the East German economy was not a serious rival for West Germany (Fulbrook 2004 215).

The Ministry for State Security (Stasi) is established

Feb 1950

Collectivisation begins in factories


The collectivization of industry left workers disgruntled when, after 7-8 years, the economy was still struggling. This was to do with the war recovery and having to pay Soviet reparations, but also because large collectivised factories could not adjust quickly or efficiently to a changing market or to changing demands (Ardagh 1991 269).

A 'Security Zone' and 'Death Strip' reinforce the East-West Border


In an effort to prevent people fleeing East Germany, a stronger border was enforced around the boundary between East and West (Mitchell 2005 62).

Death of Stalin


Confiscation of departees property


Laws were put in place to deprive those who fled East Germany of the property and goods (Mitchell 2005 62).

June 1953 uprising

17 June 1953

Increase in compulsory work norms by 10% without any increases in pay led to a strike. The strikes turned political and Soviet tanks were brought in. This started a purge of those deemed responsible for the uprising, with 1200 people sentenced to death (Mitchell 2005 62-63). The strong response to the uprising strengthened the position of Ulbricht, and the lack of Western response weakened the possibility of reunification (Fulbrook 2004 214-215).

'Youth Initiation' committees established


State run groups designed to attract young people emotionally and ideologically to the State (Mitchell 2005 91).

Thaw in relationships under Kruschev's leadership


Initial hopes are for better relationships with the Eastern bloc and a less hard line approach within the bloc under Khruschev, who denounced Stalin’s regime (Spellman 2006 45).

Collectivisation of land into co-operatives

1955 - 1956

Land taken from private ownership. This move was tried to be made attractive through 'offering' to the public the destruction of private farms, but was resisted by many farmers (Mitchell 2005 91).

Warsaw Pact


The Warsaw Pact was a defence treaty between members of the Eastern bloc. Members of the Warsaw Pact were not permitted to join any other coalition or alliance, such as NATO (Mitchell 2005 69).

Forceful suppression of Hungarian uprising


This suppression led to a tightening of the Soviet system in all Eastern bloc countries (Spellman 2006 47).

Travel restrictions introduced


A new law was introduced making it an offence, punishable by up to 3 years’ imprisonment to travel to an unauthorised destination outside East Germany (Mitchell 2005 91).

Compulsory 'polytechnical' education


In an effort to ensure that all students were taught by the state, and taught the state’s ideology, education was a priority. The curriculum had h a strong vocational focus and, to ‘bring the classroom closer to real life’, schools were partnered with a nearby factory or farm and students did practical work and received instruction at these partner industries (Ardagh 1991 376; Mitchell 2005 91).

Construction of the Berlin Wall commenced

13 Aug 1961

The flight of millions of East Germans to the West became a serious problem for East Germany depleting the country of a much-need labour force and damaging the image of the socialist dream (Spellman 2006, 47).
The Berlin Wall, though a symbol of East Germany’s lack of ability to control its citizens or be the dream worker’s paradise it proclaimed, halted the exodus of young and skilled workers. In the following years, d East Germany achieved a relatively high level of prosperity for an Eastern bloc state (Ardagh 1991 270; Life behind the wall 2004; Mitchell 2005, 96,).

High annual growth

1963 - 1973

East Germany’s annual growth averaged 5% in these years, but subsequently its growth failed to match that of comparable Western states (Ardagh 1991 372).

'New Economic System'

1963 - 1967

This new policy permitted the decentralisation of some economic decision-making and provided incentives for people to acquire certain technical skills and qualifications. The 1960s, with people coming to terms with a system they were now forced to accept, marked a period of improvement in education, social policies and new opportunities which created a large amount of social mobility (Fulbrook 2004, 217).
This new system was removed after the Prague Spring in 1968 under fears that economic decentralisation may lead to political democratisation (Fulbrook 2004, 236).

Right to leave the GDR removed from the Constitution


Restrictions of travel were designed to ensure people did not leave and not come back. The elderly were allowed to leave for up to 60 days a year, for, as they were no longer regarded as productive labour, their departure was not an issue for the State. People in the labour force could get permission to visit West Germany for family events; however both members of a married couple could not leave at the same time and single men under 26 were generally barred from leaving (Ardagh 1991 402).

Honecker’s leadership brings a new focus on consumer goods


Honecker though he recentralised the economy, also increased the focused on consumer goods in an attempt to address concerns of the population over supply (Fulbrook 2004, 219; Life Behind the Wall 2004). However the focus on consumer goods was at a cost to industry and a centrally planned economy had difficulties adjusting to changes in demand (Life Behind the Wall 2004).

Renewed cultural repression


After hopes for the increased liberalisation / cultural freedom in the first half of the decade, the second half saw a lot of these advancements close off again, exemplified by the forced exile of a critical musician, Wolf Biermann in 1976. The Protestant church was the exception, managing to reach an agreement with the State to help consolidate their position (Fulbrook 2004 219).

Closer ties between East and West Germany


Improvements in the relationship between East and West Germany led to increased possibilities of travel and communication in the 1980s, highlighted when Honecker visits the Federal Republic (Fulbrook 2004 219).

Democratisation in Hungary and Poland

1988 - 1989

In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union, economically weak and overstretched was moving to ease international tensions. Gorbachev's reforming leadership led to processes of democratisation and economic restructuring and the weakening power of Soviet Russia over its satellites (Fulbrook 2004, 243).
Hungary, under its new leadership, waived visa restrictions on East Germans travelling to the west. Over 1.5 million East Germans applied for exit visas, and there was a flood of people moving to West Germany through Hungary and seeking refuge in West German embassies (Fulbrook 2004, 243-244; Otis 2005. 121-122).

Discontent spread despite promised reforms

18 Oct 1989

Krenz announced reform and , but people were unconvinced that this change would really take place and the demand for more radical changes grew. Limited travel concessions were announced, but this did not satisfy people. The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on 23 October that each Eastern bloc country had a right to freedom of choice of government led to an increase in demonstrations in East Germany (Fulbrook 2004 245; Mitchell 2005 122).

Fall of the Berlin Wall

9 Nov 1989

A press conference announces that new travel freedoms effectively meant the destruction of the Berlin Wall (Fulbrook 2004, 245; Otis 2005, 122).

Party reforms the SED

Jan 1990

Krenz was replaced by a young and relatively reformist leader, Gysi. The SED attempted to change their image through a large purge on the old leadership and by adopting a new name. But changes were unconvincing and by mid-January, half of the former members of the SED had left (Fulbrook 2004 248).

India and other Third World Events

Events occurring in India or affecting India leading up to and during the Cold War

India's booming economic growth

1939 - 1945

Rapid industrial growth and development as India exports large amount of war material and supplies, creating a shift in the balance of payments to India's favour for the first time (Part two: South Asia: India 2000 267).

War induced famine devastate Bengal


Around 1 million Bengalis died from war induced famine (Spellman 2006 67).

Indian population reaches 350 million


(Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 267)

Partition of India announced

3 June 1947

The Mountbatten plan announced that at Independence, there would be the creation of two countries, Pakistan and India divided along religious lines. In the process of division, there was much violence, destruction and death. (Partition of India: Origin of Hatred)
This partition caused the movement of huge numbers of refugees, and there was much violence along the border towns. In addition, the division created a severe food shortage in India, as Pakistan received the areas of land which had been most productive and the influx of refugees meant there were more mouths to feed (Raj 1983 395-396).

India gains independence

15 Aug 1947

India's independence was the first instance of a colonial power surrendering its claim to another country without having to be defeated militarily. Once India gained independence it became the world's most populous democracy (Spellman 2006 68).
Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the leading negotiators for independence, became India's first prime minister.
Nehru's 'tryst of destiny' speech, delivered at the Independence ceremonies, focuses on growth for India and improvements in living conditions.

Gift of land movement

1948 - 1958

Vinoba Bhave, a disciple of Gandhi, walks from town to town asking for donations of land to give to landless labourers. In the first ten years, one million acres of land were given (Part two: South Asia: India 2000).

Assassination of Ghandi

30 Jan 1948

India's National Constitution was drafted

26 Jan 1950

It was believed that only a strong federal ‘Centre’ would ensure India’s unity and allow for social and economic development. India’s Constitution placed the central government in charge of defence, foreign affairs, transportation, currency and the postal service and left states in charge of education, health and sanitation and agriculture. ( McLeod 2002 131; Spellman 2006, 77,).
The Constitution abolished caste-based discrimination of untouchables, but included no mechanism for enforcement (Part two: South Asia: India 2000).

First Five-Year Plan

1951 - 1955

The planned economy focused on rebuilding railroads, agricultural development and increases in the manufacturing of consumer goods. In the course of the plan there was a 25% increase in agricultural production (Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 267). The government also restricted imports to encourage Indian industry to supply all manufactured goods and render imports unnecessary (McLeod 2002 138).

Cultural development and rural extension program


This program moved college students and technical experts to villages to support agricultural, water and educational initiatives (Part two: South Asia: India 2000 367).

India's first free elections


173 million people were eligible to vote of whom 45.7% voted. This was a high turn-out, given that 3/4 of the population were illiterate (Spellman 2006 78)

Government sponsored family planning


State-sponsored family planning was introduced as part of an effort to reduce the population growth. However funding was modest and it was relatively ineffective (Spellman 2005 79).

Changes in marriage laws

1955 - 1956

Changes in marriage laws increased the rights of women in marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. For women who were educated and knew their rights, this made a difference, but quite often these new laws were ignored by families and local officials (McLeod 2002 143). Raising the marriage age to 15 also formed part of an effort to decrease population growth. Enforcement was lax, however, and there was little support for the policy in communities with traditions of arranged marriages (Spellman 2006 79)

Second Five-Year Plan

1956 - 1961

A focus on food production, industry and mining. The Plan focused on controlled industry, with a central role given to government-owned factories and privately owned factories subject to licensing laws.Industrial production doubled as a result. At the end of the first and second five year plans, electricity production had quadrupled, and an increase in food production from 51 million tons to 82 million tons (Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 367-368). While the plans were productive, a stagnant agricultural industry meant they were less successful then anticipated and a growing population kept pace with the creation of industrial jobs. Both government and private businesses had flaws and were inefficient, but were shielded from competition through import restrictions (McLeod 2002, 139 ). Agriculture could not keep pace with the growing population, from 1957 India was importing over 3,000,000 tons of grain each year to provide a 'substandard diet' (India's population problem 1954, McLeod 2002 140).

Third Five-Year Plan

1961 - 1966

The third Five-Focused on heavy industry. By the end of this plan, India was ranked 7th in the world for industrial nations (Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 368).

China invades India

Oct 1962

Border skirmishes and unsuccessful occurred in the late 1950s, but Nehru did not believe there was a real threat. After a month of fighting, China announced a cease-fire but did not leave the area. The immediate result of the war was an increase in India's defence budget to 40% of the total budget in 1963-1964. This came at the cost of development expenditure. (McLeod 2002 143-144).

India refuses to sign nuclear non-proliferation treaty


Indira Gandhi elected Prime Minister


Indira Gandhi tried to get the country to improve through an emphasis on state planning, creating protective tariffs and heavy handed birth control. This led to corruption and complacency due to the amount of red tape that had to be overcome and the alienation of traditional Indian society (Spellman 2006 79).

'Green Revolution'

1965 - 1970

Scientific advances into new strains of wheat and rice and government funding of fertilisers and irrigation dramatically increased wheat yields. By 1970, India was growing 5 times as much wheat as it had ten years earlier. India no longer needed to import wheat and became a net agricultural exporter (McLeod 2002 154). The green revolution continued into the 1980s, when the introduction of dwarf Indian high-yield rice in wheat production doubles its yield. (Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 368).
The effect was not immediately felt in India as in the early 1970s the concentration of new wheat types neglected the production of other grains, leading to an increase in the price of food, exacerbated by the Arab-Israeli War in 1973 which created inflation (McLeod 2002 154-155).

Revised Fourth Five-Year Plan

1970 - 1974

Increased economic difficulties towards the end of the third Five-Year Plan because of a series of bad harvests y, heavy spending on defence and low export sales reduced India’s ability to import food and made India increasingly reliant on food aid, much from the United States. The fourth Five-Year Plan was postponed and a series of one year stop-gap plans were used until an agreement could be reached (McLeod 2002 174).
Once introduced. the Plan focused on increased funding for agriculture and tough commitment to family planning (Part two: South Asia: India 2000 368).

Family Planning Program

1970 - 1977

This program encouraging two child families was implemented. Abuses of this policy and the harshness of its implementation led to its collapse in 1977, with an overall decline in the use of birth control with a return to higher birthrates (Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 368).

India signs peace pact with Soviet Union

Aug 1971

India’s relationship with the USA was strained. US food aid the mid-sixties came with the proviso of economic reforms which priced raised the price of imported goods above what Indians could afford, and Indira Gandhi condemned US involvement in Vietnam. India’s leaning towards Soviet countries meant the USA became allies with Pakistan. Indira, wanting a relationship with a superpower in the event of trouble with China, turned to the Soviet Union. The pact was for twenty years of ‘peace, friendship and cooperation’ (McLeod 2002 149-152).

Fifth Five-Year Plan

1974 - 1979

Ambitious aims for the 'removal of poverty and 'attainment of economic self-reliance' (Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 368).
An increased emphasis on agriculture and birth control (McLeod 2002 154).

The Emergency

26 June 1974 - Jan 1977

In 1975, a court had barred Indira Gandhi from elective office for 6 years due to a complaint that she had used government facilities during the 1971 election to give her an unfair advantage. A rally organised by Janata Morcha, a rival political party, held the 25th June 1974 called for Indira to be forced to follow the court's ruling. The next day, Indira told the president to call a state of emergency, her opponents were arrested and the government took control of the press. Indira worked to removed the economic causes of discontent and increased industrial production. However unpopular policies involving birth contorl, including compulsory vasectomies and the slum clearance in Delhi further decreased Indira's popularity. Indira, believing herself to still be popular, ended the emergency in January 1977 and called an election for March the same year. The Janata Party and its allies won two thirds of the seats (McLeod 2002 155-157).

Nearly 1 in 6 people on earth are Indian


Rapid Economic Growth

1980 - 1990

A combination of latent effects of Nehru's economic plans, the Green Revolution lowering the cost of food, alternative employment for the rural poor in construction and in expanding cities and heavy government spending caused a boom in Indian exports and a steady decline in the proportion of the population unable to afford basic needs (McLeod 2002 167).

Indira Gandhi is again Prime Minister

Jan 1980 - 1984

In party fighting between members of the Janata and the inability to get decisions passed because of multiple different views meant that the Janata party slowly lost all its support and Indira, who had been working to win back support seemed like the best alternative, she won back two thirds of the seats and reigned until her death in 1984 (McLeod 2002 158-162).

Population reaches 684 million


(Raj 1983 393).

Seventh Five-Year Plan

1985 - 1990

Rajiv loosened licensing laws, import controls and restrictions on joint business ventures. This Plan made the private sector responsible for funding economic development. However, after this plan, Rajiv lost interest in economic reform and did little more (McLeod 2002 166-167).

Severe economic crisis


The break up of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe had disrupted India's trade and cut of much of their aid. The Gulf War in 1991 raised petroleum prices and contributed to India's escaping inflation. India was unable to repay loans as their imports, despite restrictions on foreign goods, outweighed exports (McLeod 2002 179).

Assassination during 1991 elections

June 1991

Rajiv was attempting to get back power in these elections, but was assassinated the day after voting began. The elections were then postponed. The party that he belonged to, and that Indira created, Congress (I) gained power (McLeod 2002 174).

Government abandons centralised planning

July 1991

In order to increase trade and economic situation which was in crisis, the new government makes plans to liberalise its economy, these plans were continued over the next ten years to remove the central elements of Nehru's government (McLeod 2002, 179-180; Part two: South Asia: India 2000, 369).