TimeLine of East German History




East Germany





Feb 4 - 11

May 1-2

May 8




May 29



June 10



July 1


July  16-Aug 2


Aug 15


Oct 31



Yalta Conference

Suicide of Hitler  Fall of Berlin

Nazi Germany surrenders




German Communists, led by Walther Ulbricht arrive in Berlin


antifascist democratic political parties allowed to form in the Soviet zone, elections to be held in Oct of 1946


Germany is divided among the 4 Allies


Postdam Conference




Soviet allow police to re-arm, would become Volkspolizei (Vopo)




















Japan surrenders









The Communist Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Christian Democratic Union of Germany and Liberal Democratic Party of Germany merged to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). Walter Ulbricht became first secretary















Former U.S.President Herbert Hoover argues against the Morgenthau Plan to turn Germany into a pastoral state


Marshall Plan starts, aid offered to Soviet Union and its German sector-rejected as 'dollar imperialism'















March 7










June 12-24


June 25

June 28


Sept 6



Soviets placesevere travel restrictions on travel through their zone to reach Berlin


Soviets withdraw from the ACC (Allied Control Council)


London Conference: US,UK and France support for fusing the three Western zones of Germany ( trizone) into an independent, federal form of government, and bringing Western zones into the U.S.-led economic reconstruction efforts



US, France and Great Britain announced a new currency, the Deutsche mark


Soviets close autobahn and rail links to Berlin


US and UK Berlin airlift begins

Soviet announce currency for East Germany, the ostmark


East German Communists occupied the city council building, A crowd of 500,000 West Germans gathered at the Brandenburg Gate to protest






May 12


April 4


May 23


Oct 11



Agreement reached to end blockade of Berlin


NATO formed


Federal Republic of Germany formed


German Democratic Republic formed with Wilhelm Peck as president


Wilhelm Pieck







Walter Ulbricht

general secretary



















Walter Ulbricht

general secretary


























Walter Ulbricht

general secretary




























Walter Ulbricht

general secretary









Feb 8



East Germany joins the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) a economic organization of communist states


Stasi founded




June 5 Korean War Starts




First Five Year Plan 1951-1955


















June 16




June 17

Germany reaches pre-war levels of industrial production


East German reparations to Soviet Union finished, est to be $22 million


Stalin dies


GDR announces New Course (Neue Kurs) economic policy to increase the availability of consumer goods


Productivity quotas raised by 10%, if the new quotas were not met then workers would have salaries reduced


Strike by Berlin construction workers leds to 1953 uprising

West Berlin radio broadcast news about the strike, helping incite riots throughout East Germany


400,000 protesters gather in East Berlin, many protests throught East Germany, demanding Soviets leave and government be replaced. Volkspolizei and Soviet troops stationed in East Germany suppress the riots




















July 27 Korean War ends




Soviet Union grants East Germany sovereignty,




May 9


May 14


Nov 12



West Germany joins NATO


Warsaw Pact of USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany formed


West German army Bundeswehr formed, in part to provide soldiers against the numerically superior Warsaw Pact forces






March 1


Second Five Year Plan 1956-60: Ulbricht's leadership confirmed,focus on technological progress, accelerated efforts toward agricultural collectivization



East Germany forms the National People’s Army

Oct 23-Nov 10 Hungarian Revolution





first nuclear reactor in East Germany

Oct 4 Sputnik






Khrushchev announces Allied troops would be given six months to leave Berlin, later backs down





Seven-Year Plan (1959–65) aimed at achieving West Germany's per capita production by the end of 1961 and 85% increase in labor productivity


143,000 flee East Germany





199,000 flee East Germany

May 5 U-2 spy plane shot down over USSR




Aug 13


Oct 21




Construction starts on Berlin Wall


Tank standoff in Berlin




Cuban Missle Crisis








Ulbricht adopts Soviet economist Evsei Liberman's reforms in the New Economic System (NES), allowing for some decentralization in decision making


Kennedy visits Berlin, makes Ich bin ein Berliner speech




Oct 14 Leonid Brezhnev removes Khrushchev from power, becomes General Secretary of the Soviet Union



March Nicolae

Ceausescu becomes leader of Romaina










Economic System of Socialism (ESS) 1968-70, focus on high-tech, centralized planning was reintroduced, managers given more freedom to decide material and labor needs, factories were taxed on assets, managers required to repay government loans


East German troops sent into Czechoslovakia during Rrague Spring rebellion

Jan 5-Aug 21 Prague Spring rebellion in Czechoslovakia

Nov Brezhnev reiterates the Soviet policy to use force against hostile to Communism-Brazhnev Doctrine



Willy Brandt becomes Chancellor  of West Germany, starts policy of Ostpolitik to improve relations with East Germany

 Sino-Soviet clash on border-leads to detente to prevent a US-China alliance










Aug 12










Treaty of Moscow between West Germany and the USSR, GDR recognized, Allies to leave Germany, Soviet troops to leave by end of  1994, no foreign troops or nuclear weapons in East Germany, Germany renounces claims to territory former German territories east of the Oder-Neisse line




May 3





Ulbricht forced to resign, replaced by Erich Honecker


Honecker introduces Main Task economic policy, re-emphasizing Marxism-Leninism with more centralized state planning. Attention paid to produce more consumer goods


direct telephone service between East and West Germany restored




Erich Honecker

general secretary


















Erich Honecker

general secretary





























Erich Honecker

general secretary




















Erich Honecker

general secretary








Basic Treaty between East and West Germany, each ecognized each other as sovereign states for the first time





Sept 18




Both East and West Germany admitted to the UN












Günter Guillaume, Willy Brandt's personal assistant, arrested as a Stasi agent, Brandt resigns


East Germany defeats West Germany at the World Cup


Diplomatic relations established with the US




 April 30, end of Vietnam War






 Soviets move SS-20s to East Germany






Sigmund Jähn, first German cosmonaut, flew to Soviet space station Salyut 6




Dec 7 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan-end of détente era, with the imposition of a grain embargo by the U.S



Solidarity formed in Poland

Reagan becomes president, takes strong stance against Soviet Union, Cold War escalates



Dec Wojciech Jaruzelski  declares martial law in Poland


 Christian Democrat conservative Helmut Kohl comes to power in West Germany, new conservative approach to the GDR, American missiles deployed despite protests

 Nov 10 Brezhnev dies, succeeded by Yuri Andropov










 SS-23 nuclear missiles deployed in East Germany

 March Regan starts SDI program-Evil Empire speech


Sept 1 Korean Air flight 007 shot down by Soviet jets


Nov KGB reports that US may be planning sudden nuke strike with Able Archer military exercise closest to war since Cuban missile crisis





 Feb 4 Yuri Andropov dies,succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko


Reagan reelected


Soviets plan 45 percent increase in military spending into its next five-year plan




 March 10, Konstantin Chernenko dies


Mikhail Gorbachev starts policy of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring)




 Reykjavik summit, Gorbachev and Reagen come close to agreeing to remove all nuclear weapons from Europe, but Reagen refuses to halt SDI .



June 12





Regan makes ' Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!' speech at Berlin


Honecker visits West Germany







East German police raid Zion Evangelical Church in Berlin, Honecker begins moving against dissidents


renounces Brezhnev Doctrine


Nov George H Bush elected









Sept 4



Oct 7



Oct 8





Oct 17



Oct 18



Sept 1



Nov 4



early Nov


Nov 7



Nov 9




Nov 29


Dec 7



Dec 15



Dec 19






Hungary removeds its border restrictions, thousands begin to leave East Germany


Monday demonstrations  begin in Leipzig, Wir sind das Volk! - "We are the people!"chants


GDR 40th anniversary celebration with Gorbachev as guest of honor


Erich Mielke chief of the Stasi, tells agents to prepare 'Day X' when thousands of dissidents would be arrested, the large size of the demonstrations made this impossible



Honecker orders Leipzig police to use force if necessary, orders not obeyed


Politbüro forces Honecker to resign, replaced by Egon Krenz


Krenz meets with Gorachev in Moscow, declare there will be no reunification


Czechoslovakia opens borders to East Germans wanting to go to West Germany, in a few days 50,000 leave via this route


massive demonstrations in Berlin of up to half a million people


East German cabinet resigns, Hans Modrow, mayor of Dresden made new prime minister


Politburo member Günter Schabowski, due to a misunderstanding, announces all the borders to be open, leading to a mass exodus, opening the Berlin Wall and reulting in the fall of the SED


Stasi ordered to stop spying on East Germans


Egon Krenz forced to resign, Manfred Gerlach becomes last head of East Germany till 1990


SED renames itself the Party of Democratic Socialism, Open elections scheduled for May, 1990, then moved up to March


Chancellor Helmut Kohl visits East Germany


Feb 15, Soviet troops leave Afghanistan


April Solidarity wins elections in Poland


June 3-4 Tiananmen

massacre, hundreds killed


 Solidarity wins majority against Communists in Polish elections


Nov 16-Dec 29 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, overthrow of Communist government


Oct Communist in Hungary agree to free elections in 1990






















Dec 16 Timisoara uprising against Nicolae Ceausescu


Dec 25 Ceausescu executed



Jan 15



Jan 30



Feb 10


March 19




April 7






July 1



July 14


Sept 12



Oct 3


Dec 2



over 100,000 demonstrate at Stasi headquarters on Normannen Street in Berlin and break in


East German PM Modrow  declares some sort of confederation will happen


Gorbachev gives his assent to reunification


In early 1990 Kohl campaigns for Christian Democrats in east Germany, Willy Brabdt for the Eastern Social Democrats


Election day, pro unification Alliance for Germany wins


 the new Volkskammer admits East Germany's share of the responsibility f the Holocaust. Lothar de Maiziere made prime minister


Deutsche mark becomes offical currency of East and West Germany


Gorbachev agrees to reunification within  NATO


Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany



East and West Germany officially reunited


first all German election since 1932, Kohl and Christian Democrats win overwhelming victory




















Dec Walesa becomes president of Poland, ending Communist rule





March 14


July 1


Trabant stops production  unemployment in East Germany at 40%


Honecker flown by Soviet jet to Moscow


Warsaw Pact dissolved





July Boris Yeltsin become president of Russian Federation


Aug 18 Soviet coup attempt fails


Aug 24 Ukraine declares independence


Sept 6 Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.declare independence


Des 26 Gorbachev resigns, Soviet Union dissolved






July 22




Nov 12


Jan 13

Treuhandandanstadt 'Trusteeship' privatizes over 9,000 east German businesses  


 Stasi files opened to individuals


Russians hand Honecker to Germans


Attacks on foreigners


Honecker's trial begins


Honecker ruled too ill to stand trial, allowed to go to Chile with family,









May 29



Honecker dies in Chile