Map of East Germany
East Germany had an area of 41,828 sq mi (108,333 km²), a little larger than South Korea. The major cities and population in 1988:
Berlin (Capital Hauptstadt ) 1,200,000
Leipzig 556,000 site of the 1989 Monday demonstrations
Dresden 520,000 Heavily damaged in WW2
Dresden has become the economic, political and
cultural center of eastern Germany. The Dresden area was called the Valley of the Clueless" (Tal der Ahnungslosen before unification because it could
not receive West Germany tv broadcasts.
( renamed Chemnitz )
Rostock 250,000 Major port on the Baltic Sea
Erfurt 215,000 unlike most major German cities was not heavily damaged during WW2, medieval center still intact
Postdam 140,000 Residence of the Prussian kings until 1918. Site of the July 1945 meeting between Truman , Churchill and Stalin to plan post war Europe. The Glienicke Bridge across the Havel connected the city to West Berlin and was the scene of some Cold War exchanges of spies.
Cottbus 125,000 large population of Sorbs
Zwickau 120,000 a center for the mining of coal and production of Trabant automobiles.
Jena 107,000 home of the Zeiss optical firm
Dessau 105,000 famous for the Bauhaus design school
Until 1952, the GDR consisted of the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Saxony and the capital, East Berlin.
In the administrative reform of 1952, the states were abolished and replaced with 14 smaller districts. The districts were named after their capitals: Rostock, Neubrandenburg, Schwerin, Potsdam, Frankfurt (Oder), Magdeburg, Cottbus, Halle, Leipzig, Erfurt, Dresden, Karl-Marx-Stadt (named Chemnitz until 1953 and again after 1990), Gera, and Suhl. East Berlin was recognized as a district in 1961.
Travel to East Germany. It was possible to visit East Germany. Once inside, a visitor would be closely watched by the Stasi. Any East German talking with a foreigner would be questioned. Travelers were required to register with the Volkspolizei. Customs were difficult with any western newspapers, books, CDs,etc being seized .
Magdeburg in the 1970s
famous bust of Karl Marx in Karl Marx Stadt
Deutsche Reichsbahn was the national railway of East Germany