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Socialist Unity Party Of Germany The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) was the governing party of the German Democratic Republic from its formation on October 7, 1949, until the elections of March 1990.
The SED was a Communist political party with a Marxist Leninist ideology. Official East German and Soviet histories louis vuitton jobs atlanta portrayed the merger between the SPD and KPD in the Soviet zone as a voluntary pooling of efforts by the socialist parties. However, there is much evidence that the merger was more troubled than commonly portrayed. The Soviet Military Administration in Germany (Russian initials: SVAG) directly governed the eastern areas of Germany following World War II, and their intelligence operations carefully monitored all political activities. An early intelligence report from SVAG Propaganda Administration director Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Ivanovich Tiulpanov indicates that the former KPD and SPD members created different factions within the SED and remained mutually antagonistic for some time after the formation of the new party. Also reported was a great deal of difficulty in convincing the masses that the SED was a German political party, and not merely a tool of the Soviet occupation force. According to Tiulpanov, many former members of the KPD expressed the sentiment that they had "forfeited (their) revolutionary positions, that (the KPD) alone would have succeeded much better had there been no SED, and that the Social Democrats are not to be trusted" (Tiulpanov, 1946). Also, Tiulpanov indicated that there was a marked "political passivity" among former SPD members, who felt they were being treated unfairly and as second class party members by the new SED administration. As a result of these problems, the early SED party apparatus frequently became effectively immobilized as former KPD members began discussing any proposal, however small, at great length with former SPD members, so as to achieve consensus and avoid offending them. A problem the Soviets identified with the early SED was its potential to develop into a nationalist party. At large party meetings, members applauded speakers who talked of nationalism much more than when they spoke of solving social problems and gender equality. Some louis vuitton mens bracelet uk even proposed the idea of establishing an independent German socialist state free of both Soviet and Western influence, and of soon regaining the formerly German land that the Yalta Conference, and ultimately the Potsdam Conference, had (re)allocated to Poland, the USSR, and Czechoslovakia. Soviet negotiators reported that SED politicians frequently pushed past the boundaries of the political statements which had been approved by the Soviet monitors, and there was some initial difficulty making regional SED officials realize that they should think carefully before opposing the political positions decided upon by the Central Committee in Berlin. The Party Congresses The 1st Congress The first party Congress (Vereinigungsparteitag), which convened on April 21, 1946, was the unification congress, specifically, a forced unification of the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands or KPD, led by Wilhelm Pieck) and the Social Democratic Party of louis vuitton alma interior Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands or SPD, led by Otto Grotewohl). Initially, this decision was applied to the whole of occupied Germany. The union was rejected consistently in the three western occupation zones, where both parties remained independent. The union of the two parties was thus effective only in the Soviet zone. The SED was modelled after the louis vuitton alma bag price Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1946, the unification was announced in the Soviet occupation zone with an emblem depicting a handshake. The 2nd Congress The second party Congress convened from July 20 24, 1947, and adopted a fresh party statute and transformed the party executive committee into a central committee (Zentralkomitee or ZK). The 3rd Congress The third party congress convened in July 1950 and emphasized industrial progress. The industrial sector, employing 40% of the working population, was subjected to further nationalization, which resulted in the formation of the "people's enterprises" (German: Volkseigener Betrieb These enterprises incorporated 75% of the industrial sector. The 6th Congress The sixth party Congress convened from January 15 21, 1963. The Congress approved a new party program and a new party membership statute. Walter Ulbricht was re elected as the party's First Secretary. A new economic policy was introduced, more strongly centralized the "New Economic System of Planning and Line." The 7th Congress First Secretary Walter Ulbricht announced the "ten requirements of the socialist moral and ethics". During his report at the seventh party congress in 1967, Erich Honecker had called for a return to an orthodox Socialist economic system, away from the recently instituted New Economic System. But the about face in economic policy this year cannot be attributed to Honecker's advancement alone. During the last two winters, the GDR/DDR had been plagued with power shortages and traffic breakdowns. The 8th Congress From 1971 onwards, congresses were held every five years. The last was the 11th Party Congress in April 1986. In theory the party congress set policy and elected the leadership, provided a forum for discussing the leadership's policies, and undertook activities that served to legitimize the party as a mass movement. It was formally empowered to pass both the Party Program and the Statute, to establish the general party line, to elect the members of the Central Committee and the members of the Central Auditing Commission, and to approve the Central Committee's report. Between congresses the Central Committee could convene a party conference to resolve policy and personnel issues. In the spring of 1971, the eighth Congress rolled back some of the programs associated with the Ulbricht era and emphasized short term social and economic problems. The SED used the occasion to announce its willingness to cooperate with West Germany and the Soviet Union in helping to solve a variety of international problems, particularly the future political status of Berlin. Another major development initiated at the congress was a strengthening of the Council of Ministers at the expense of the Council of State; this shift subsequently played an important role in administering the "Main Task" program. Honecker was more specific about the SED's position toward the intelligentsia at the Fourth Plenum of the Central Committee, where he stated: "As long as one proceeds from the firm position of socialism, there can in my opinion be no taboos in the field of art and literature. This applies to questions of content as well as of style, in short to those questions which constitute what one calls artistic mastery." The 9th Congress The ninth party Congress in May 1976 can be viewed as a midpoint in the development of SED policy and programs. Most of the social and economic goals announced at the eighth Congress had been reached; however, the absence of a definitive statement on further efforts to improve the working and living conditions of the population proved to be a source of concern. The SED sought to redress these issues by announcing, along with the Council of Ministers and the leadership of the FDGB, a specific program to increase living standards. The ninth Congress initiated a hard line in the cultural sphere, which contrasted with the policy of openness and tolerance enunciated at the previous congress. Six months after the ninth Congress, for example, the GDR/DDR government withdrew permission for the singer Wolf Biermann to live in East Germany. The congress also highlighted the fact that East Germany had achieved international recognition in the intervening years. East Germany's growing involvement in both the East European economic system and the global economy reflected its new international status. This international status and the country's improved diplomatic and political standing were the major areas stressed by this congress. The Ninth Party Congress also served as a forum for examining the future challenges facing the party in domestic and foreign policy. On the foreign policy front, the major events were various speeches delivered by representatives of West European Marxist Leninist parties, particularly the Italian, Spanish, and French, all of which expressed in varying ways ideological differences with the Soviet Union. At the same time, although allowing different views to be heard, the SED rejected many of these criticisms in light of its effort to maintain the special relationship with the Soviet Union emphasized by Honecker. Another major point of emphasis at the congress was the issue of inter German detente. From the East German side, the benefits were mixed. The GDR/DDR regime considered economic benefits as a major advantage, but the party viewed with misgivings the rapid increase in travel by West Germans to and through the GDR/DDR.
Additional problems growing out of the expanding relationship with West Germany included conflict between Bonn and East Berlin on the rights and privileges of West German news correspondents in East Germany; the social unrest generated by the "two currency" system, in which East German citizens who possessed West German D marks were given the privilege of purchasing scarce luxury goods at special currency stores (Intershops); and the ongoing arguments over the issue of separate citizenship for the two German states, which the SED proclaimed but which the West German government refused to recognize as late as 1987. During the ninth Congress, the SED also responded to some of the public excitement and unrest that had emerged in the aftermath of the signing of the Helsinki Accords, the human rights documents issued at the meetings of the 1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Before the congress was convened, the SED had conducted a "People's Discussion" in order openly to air public concerns related to East Germany's responsibility in honoring the final document of the Helsinki conference.
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