The German Democratic Republic (GDR; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik [ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʀaːtɪʃə ʀepuˈbliːk] or DDR), informally known in English as East Germany, was a state within the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War period. From 1949 to 1990, it administered the region of Germany which was occupied by Soviet forces at the end of the Second World War—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; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the control of the GDR.
After failures to negotiate the terms for peaceful reunification of the country, the Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet Zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. The East was often described as a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, and the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. Soviet forces however remained in the country throughout the Cold War to counter the heavy US military presence in the West. The Stasi security force was established to defend the state against political subversion and was helped by the Soviet Army to suppress an anti-Stalinist uprising in 1953. Until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party (SED) with other parties functioning in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany.
Political geography is the field of human geography that is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures. Conventionally political geography adopts a three-scale structure for the purposes of analysis with the study of the state at the centre, above this is the study of international relations (or geopolitics), and below it is the study of localities. The primary concerns of the sub-discipline can be summarised as the inter-relationships between people, state, and territory.
"Political geography in essence builds a country economy" The origins of political geography lie in the origins of human geography itself and the early practitioners were concerned mainly with the military and political consequences of the relationships between physical geography, state territories, and state power. In particular there was a close association with regional geography, with its focus on the unique characteristics of regions, and environmental determinism with its emphasis on the influence of the physical environment on human activities. This association found expression in the work of the German geographer Friedrich Ratzel who, in 1897 in his book Politische Geographie, developed the concept of Lebensraum (living space) which explicitly linked the cultural growth of a nation with territorial expansion, and which was later used to provide academic legitimation for the imperialist expansion of the German Third Reich in the 1930s.
National People's Army
Group of Soviet Forces in Germany
British Frontier Service
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact. The terms Communist Bloc and Soviet Bloc were also used to denote groupings of states aligned with the Soviet Union, although these terms might include states outside Central and Eastern Europe.
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.
The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart" (German: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall) by GDR authorities, implying that neighbouring West Germany had not been fully de-Nazified. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the "Wall of Shame"—a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt—while condemning the Wall's restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize the "Iron Curtain" that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.
Note: Varies by jurisdiction
Note: Varies by jurisdiction
West Germany (German: Westdeutschland) is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland or BRD) in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990.
During this period, the NATO-aligned West Germany and the socialist East Germany were divided by the Inner German border. After 1961, West Berlin was physically separated from East Berlin as well as from East Germany by the Berlin Wall. This situation ended when East Germany was dissolved and its five states joined the ten states of the Federal Republic of Germany along with the reunified city-state of Berlin. The enlarged Federal Republic of Germany with sixteen states (known simply as "Germany") is thus the continuation of the pre-1990 Federal Republic of Germany.