Soviet Germany? – COLD WAR DOCUMENTARY

Soviet Germany? – COLD WAR DOCUMENTARY


Last time, we talked about the severing of
Germany, and the founding of the capitalist, democratic Federal Republic of Germany. We
ended with a setup that we’d come back and take a look at the same events, but from the
other side. What was East Germany, or the German Democratic Republic, or the much cooler
acronym the DDR. And how did it form into the socialist Marxist-Leninist
state until the reunification in 1990? Ich bin dien Gasgeber David und das ist….der
Kalte Krieg. To begin, we’re going back…for a third
time on this channel to the Potsdam conference. There is a reason we started there, months
and months ago! It had a massive impact on both Germanies, as you can guess. It was the
conference held shortly after Germany’s surrender in 1945, ending the Second World
War in Europe. Half of the eastern parts of Germany were straight-up annexed by Poland
as a form of reparations for totally devastating the country (Soviet involvement notwithstanding
I guess). Remember when we said last time a lot of the expelled Germans came from Poland
and Czechoslovakia, well now you know why. After the Germans left, polish settlers literally
showed up and settled the region, many of whom had been displaced themselves from parts
of Eastern Poland, annexed by the Soviet Union. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t go into
one dark detail of this period of occupation which I didn’t get into in the West Germany
video, sexual assault. Oh yes, content warning for this section for those sensitive to the
subject of sexual assault. Just fast forward to this time code to avoid it. I didn’t
get into this in the previous video because the three western allies did not AS MUCH participate
in the mass sexual assaults and rapes of Germans in the post-war moment. However, it was particularly
endemic at the hands of the Red Army. Under the Soviets, this was an act of humiliation
against the defeated Germans. The number of women raped by the red army is not known but
estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. Many women were raped repeatedly
some as often as the horrifying number 70 times. The Soviets did try to punish soldiers
for committing these assaults, even executing some of the worst offenders but still, in
the end, the mass sexual assault of German civilians would continue until 1948. And they
only really halted it by containing soldiers to guarded posts and camps, physically separating
them from the civilian population. While in the west, the number of victims was
still in the six digits. War crimes are war crimes, no matter the country. Almost 200,000
women were made victims of US soldiers, and some more by British and French troops. This
story has largely gone untold by historians, and when it has been written in the west,
has for years been extremely focused on the Red Army’s crimes. The thin discourse on
it is frankly disappointing. But this dark chapter is told in Germany.
Ok, dark section over. I just don’t want to give the false idea that the victory of
the allies in World War Two was all glory and honour while the victory in the East was
one strictly of terror. What was left of eastern Germany after the Polish annexation was a
Soviet administered occupation zone. Now in the Soviet occupation zone, the same programmes
of denazification, and demilitarisation took place as had occured in the West but just,
hoe to put this…more. The Soviets didn’t shy away from straight-up confiscating factories
owned by the government of Nazi Germany, or former nazis. At Potsdam, the western powers
told Stalin his demand for reparations was too large. So, his goal was to get his pound
of flesh during the occupation. The Soviets took their occupation as an opportunity
to make Germany repay for the damage and devastation wrought upon them by the Germans in Second
World War. Many narratives don’t cover how the USSR took a harder hit than any single
country in Europe to defeat fascism. The USSR lost a staggering 13.7% of their population.
To fight the Nazis, they had to radically dismantle their entire economy, literally
hauling factories brick by brick into the east of the country to keep the fight against
the Germans going. Millions of tons of equipment, food, and various
materials were taken from east Germany directly back to the Soviet Union. They weren’t destroying
german factories however, but instead dismantling them, brick by brick and shipping them back
east to rebuild Soviet industry. The long term consequence of this, as I am sure you
can imagine, was that the Soviet occupation zone did not have as easy a time recovering
from the war. It started to fall further and further behind its western counterparts.
At the same time, the relationship between the USSR and the United States was, well,
deteriorating. Although it was offered offered, the Soviets rejected Marshall Plan aid for
East Germany, fearing it was a way for the US to exert influence over states in Europe.
And they weren’t entirely wrong. See more on that in our video on the Marshall Plan.
The next year, the western powers met to unify the occupied western parts of Germany into
a capitalist country and soon after introduced a western-only German currency. These moves
further isolated the USSR and eastern Germany. The Soviets were not pleased. They responded
by leaving the organised taskforce for managing the German occupation, and blockading Germany,
forcing the Berlin Airlift. Again, we made a video about this before if you’re interested.
While all this was going down, the East German government was starting to establish itself.
The Soviets agreed to multi-party elections in their occupation zones but pressured the
German Communist and social democratic parties to merge into a Socialist Unity Party. It
quickly became a Marxist-Leninist party, which governed in the Soviet-style. In east Germany,
the Socialist Unity Party just barely won the most seats in the 1946 election. And like
in many other elections held at the time there is some dispute as to how democratic this
election was. In 1948, this government and the German Economic Commission took control
over East Germany. Then, when getting ready to draft a new east
german constitution in 1949, another election was held. However, this time, the candidates
could only come from an approved list, which was dominated by Communists. This was apparently
their way of getting fascism out of the electoral system, but as you can imagine, was more likely
a power play to secure a communist government. Mainly because this new political regime allowed
for the National Front, a party for former Nazis. All the parties in this new government
were basically subservient to the socialist unity party, and just gave the veneer of a
multi-party system. The Socialist Unity Party also purged its social democrats and democratic
socialists. So this is not exactly a model of freedom and representation.
In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany or West Germany made its declaration of existence,
and five months later, this governing body in the East declared the foundation of the
German Democratic Republic. The Soviets would withdraw, but still held significant ‘influence’
over East Germany. The first actions of this new government were
the mass nationalisation of private industries, and a soviet style central planning of the
economy. It was complete with its own 5-year plans and everything! This led to a massive
emigration wave of East German citizens, which would become a significant problem for them
by the early 50s. The government pushed for more Sovietization,
at the behest of Stalin. Between reparations payments and remilitarization, again at Stalin’s
demand, a massive chunk of the DDR’s budget was going to debt repayment and military expenses.
The five-year plans prioritised heavy industry instead of luxuries like… food. The people
suffered as the government prioritised making steel and weapons over their welfare.
Seeing the mass exodus of citizens to the west, the government tried to turn this around,
and repurpose the planned economy to make more consumer goods. Their plan, however,
required higher work quotas for citizens, meaning more work but the same pay. Which
is kind of the story of the western capitalist countries starting in the early 70s if you
think about it, but at a much slower pace. But you know what? That is a story for a future
video! Stay tuned. But, then, in 1953, Joseph Stalin died. The
pressures from the USSR on East Germany lightened under the new regime. The government admitted
it had made mistakes, hoping it would relax tensions with the people. And well, it didn’t.
It led to a two-day uprising. Long story short, because we are going to to a future episode
on this specific event, a bunch of workers went on strike and rallied a 40,000 strong
protest against the government in East Berlin. The government responded with violent repression,
aided by Soviet troops. Between 55 and 125 people died in the conflict. It’s just one
of the events which, spoiler alert, led to the construction of the Berlin Wall.
As you can see, East Germany’s post-war story was… different. The Soviets under
Stalin used brutal, authoritarian tactics to suppress democracy and resistance to the
puppet regime there. Keep in mind, the creation of the two Germanies separated families and
friends for decades. However, for all this time, Germans kept a hold on a dream, a dream
that they’d all come back together one day. As we all know now, they would have to wait
quite a while. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s topic and
to make sure you don’t miss future episodes, please make sure you are subscribed to our
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Cold War Channel and don’t forget, “The trouble with a cold war is that it doesn’t
take too long before it becomes heated.”

74 Comments on "Soviet Germany? – COLD WAR DOCUMENTARY"


  1. Some wiseman once said: "Countries that have the word 'democratic' in their land title are the least democratic."

    Reply

  2. When will empires learn? … Never get too full of yourself and embark on a campaign to conquer Russia. Russia has no qualms sacrificing it's men to repel you and even march back on you to end your reign.

    Reply

  3. Please make a video on when US and USSR almost fought each other over Bangladesh in 1971
    https://warisboring.com/in-1971-the-u-s-navy-almost-fought-the-soviets-over-bangladesh/

    Reply

  4. Just came across your channel and is hooked and subscribed. Can you make a video on India's blitzkrieg in 1971?
    https://www.historynet.com/indias-blitzkrieg.htm

    Reply

  5. Thank you so much for another great video. Could you recommend me any great book or books that talk about the "retaliation" german women suffered from the Red Army and allied forces? Or the best book on it. Thanks a lot!

    Reply

  6. Looking for a country for your fellow war weary Aryans in the SOVIET BLOC free from the influence of those capitalist pigs? Well look no further than the German Democratic Republic We got the GESTAPO 2.0, we got the Stalinist Government, we got the mass Starvation, we got the thousands of homeless refugees. Well what are you waiting for? Just walk down to the nearest border crossing and get IMPRISON… ow I'm sorry I meant get some rest.

    Reply

  7. Thanks for content warning.
    Ya’ll killing it with these videos cannot wait those subscriptions to match the quality of your content.

    Reply

  8. Awesome job once more, the way you guys balance the facts is what make this channel special, really special. I am proud to support your guys on Patreon, this is a prime historical channel and deserve all the help possible to self sustain. Thank you for what you do.

    Reply

  9. 1:40
    YouTube: Demonetized

    Russia: Oi Ban

    Me: Well nobody like the ugly truth tho it should be learn it ain't all sunshine and rainbow sometime

    Reply

  10. I'm from Germany and I love your videos. I can't get enough of the content that describes WW2 history and the cold war time. I hope that by telling it we keep it present in our heads and hearts and don't let it happen ever again. And I love the way you talk and explain things! Thanks!

    Reply

  11. Weird, I remember that fact of sexual assault from Allied forces from a movie. It tried to portray it as consensual but I have doubts, lots of it….

    Reply

  12. Sexual Assault, Greed, and Death go hand and hand with Socialism and Communism theyre one and the SAME! oh and Adolf warned the world what would happen if Communism one the World! were living in it TODAY!

    Reply

  13. "Many narratives don't cover how the USSR took a harder hit than any single country in Europe to defeat fascism." Are you kidding me? That's all I ever hear! 'The Soviets lost the most in the struggle and destroyed most of the German divisions! Lend-Lease helped but the Soviets did most of the work!' The glorification of the Soviet effort and loss is not an 'untold story.' The narrative that isn't covered is reminding them that Stalin co-invaded Poland with Hitler and gave him supplies to continue fighting in exchange for 'non-aggression' towards him and letting him take over eastern Europe, then ignoring warnings about an upcoming German invasion. Hitler was only able to inflict such damage upon the USSR because Stalin gave him the materials to do so. If he hadn't traded oil and food, Germany would have been too undersupplied to have even tried Barbarossa.

    Reply

  14. I love your videos. Please continue these series with an brand new post cold war Chanel later. Greetings from Istanbul/Turkey 🀘😎

    Reply

  15. i find ddr to be the most interesting part of the cold war. many east germans mis aspects of life in ddr, altiough they dont want the system back. hope you make more episodes on ddr, as there was much more, then the wall and stasi to explain life under comunism. it should not be glorified, but at least be understood what east germans mis about the gdr, that disapeard and was consumed by the bundesrepublik.

    Reply

  16. Just a friendly suggestion, please try not to copy other channels (I'm talking regarding the last phrase). I would better for you as channel and David as host to present a personal way on how narrate the events, maps etc than to copy almost 1:1 other successful channels or hosts. My opionion of course.

    Reply

  17. The funny thing is, the Soviets used the exact same tactics on their own country as Nazi Germany did to them.

    Reply

  18. Can I know from where did you guys get the photo of Stalin hung on the wall,I would like to buy that Mamma Stalin photo with frame.

    Reply

  19. I dont blame russians for violent stoping of protests. Imagine ppl going through ww2 and 10 yrs latereast germans and hungarians again starting bullshit…

    Reply

  20. @The Cold War Please consider covering East Germany's economic problems in the 1950s which led to at least one amazing story: One of the senior SED ministers responsible for economics shot himself at his desk rather than trying to make the ever-failing five-year plans successful.

    Reply

  21. The GDR from what I understand had the best army in the entire Warsaw Pact aside from the Soviet Union. They kept a lot of German traditions and uniforms. When the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968 the other Warsaw Pact countries threatens to withdraw from the invasion due to GDR involvement. In fact Czechoslovak opposition claimed that East Germany invaded and compared it to 1938. Even though it’s a lie, it scared a lot of people. Due to the German involvement in WWII they really didn’t have any real involvement in any major conflicts during the era. However they sent advisors to Africa and other countries who were having low to medium level conflicts and were very effective from what I understand

    Reply

  22. Bringing communism to east Germany while at the same time turning it effectively into a colony. I don't think the Russians were using communism as a way for economic prosperity but for control.

    Reply

  23. The only problem with this story of the cold war left…Is that it seems to be explained by leftist Americans. Who is trying a power grab of a Democracy now?
    yall take Care, John

    Reply

  24. I appreciate your "telling it like it is" concerning "the dark portion" of this video.
    Thanks 😁 CWC.

    Reply

  25. How does a communist country making sure fascists and capitalists do not stand in an election differ from a capitalist party making sure that even a very mild socialist does not win a primary, or how in the general election the two parties on offer to voters are strictly capitalist? I would think that to non-capitalists it would look like capitalists rigging the game to make sure only capitalists have power.

    Reply

  26. Recently discovered your channel (as well as Kings and Generals) and am working my way through the videos. I noticed you have a playlist, but it's ordered with the newest video at the top of the playlist. Since it appears that your videos are structured in chronological order, would it be possible to reverse the order of the videos in your playlist? Unless I'm missing something, YouTube does not make it easy to watch a playlist in reverse order.

    Reply

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