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Opinions on East Germany

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Soviet cogitations: 112
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Apr 2013, 20:13
Pioneer
Post 04 Jan 2014, 02:19
Comrade Gulper wrote:
They want it back -- the good parts. They want excellent health care, guaranteed employment, and a decent standard of living. They want an economy that doesn't buckle and warp under the constant fluctuations of "free market" speculation.


The fact is that every country has "good" and "bad parts". Life in East Germany was mostly good but of course not perfect. As you mentioned, it had excellent healthcare, and guaranteed employment (and the standard of living was a little more than "decent").

Comrade Gulper wrote:
What they DON'T want is constant Stasi surveillance, Olympic doping, and walls built clear across people's houses in the middle of the fragging night.


I don't really think that life in the GDR was under "constant Stasi surveillance" although I'd be lying if I said the Stasi were never pervasive. Nevertheless, as strict and as extensive as they may have been, they were useful to East Germany as they helped stabilize the life and society, helped prevent corruption, stopped crimes, and brought people to justice. I know that the Stasi secret police definitely brings up negative images in the minds of many, who associate it with spying and censorship, ruthlessness and which has led East Germany to be described as a "police state" but I don't necessarily think that having a "secret police" is a bad thing. After all, isn't protecting the rights of the workers and stopping criminality a good thing? That was what the Stasi was trying to achieve, no matter how pervasive they may have been. There were problems, sure, but they were effective.

And as for the whole Berlin Wall thing - you'd be surprised. There are many East Germans who wished the wall never fell, and most of them wish for the return of the GDR. Yes, there was a good side and a bad side to life under German socialism. However, if the positives outweigh the negatives, which they do in this case, that sounds like a good thing.

Comrade Gulper wrote:
So, yes, they want Socialism back, but NOT the half-baked, hastily assembled, Soviet client state that was the DDR. This is the 21st century, and Germany isn't short of rational minds that can do better than that.


Half-baked? Hastily assembled? Care to go into more detail about this comrade? Like I said, there were problems, but the DDR was a well-developed state with a great economy, good standard of living, excellent healthcare and education, guaranteed employment, feelings of solidarity, etc.
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Soviet cogitations: 6399
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 04 Jan 2014, 02:56
After German reunification, many East German women mourned the loss of their previous social positions.

Quote:
As you mentioned, it had excellent healthcare,


Was the standard of healthcare on par with that found in the West?
Now what is this…
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 04 Jan 2014, 18:05
Let us be clear about the Berlin Wall, if 'socialism' in East Germany was superior to conditions found in West Germany then the only reason the wall need have been built would have been to keep people OUT not keep them IN!

I find it bizarre that socialists are oppossed to immigration/emmigration. Lets be clear, the wall was built because East Germans thought, rightly or wrongly, that life was better in West Germany and wanted to live there. As the West Germans were happy to have them, what is the problem?

Living standards were higher in the West Germany and they had universal health care too, spending twice as much per citizen as they did in the East.

As for East German women morning, many lost their lives or the lives of sons and daugthers who tried to make it over the wall.

As for the East German economy, what does anyone make of this? What was Honecker playing at?

From wikipedia

"Also on the same day he took office, Krenz received a top secret report from planning chief Gerhard Schürer that showed the depths of East Germany's economic crisis. It showed that East Germany didn't have enough money to make payments on the massive foreign loans that propped up the economy, and it was now DM123 billion in debt. Although Krenz had been the number-two man in the regime, Honecker had kept the true state of the economy a secret from him. Krenz was forced to send Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski to beg West Germany for a short-term loan to make interest payments. However, West Germany was unwilling to even consider negotiations until the SED abandoned power and allowed free elections—something that Krenz was unwilling to concede."

Aren't socialists supposed to work in unison? Why had Honecker hidden this from the rest of the politburo? If an economy, that in 1989, was DM123 billion is debt is considered a success...I'd hate to see a failure!

Whatever benefits East Germans enjoyed were not sustainable. The regime was at crises point and could not have continued to spend as it had done on hospitals, welfare benefits etc. The game was up and Krenz knew it!
Soviet cogitations: 112
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Apr 2013, 20:13
Pioneer
Post 04 Jan 2014, 22:26
Yami wrote:
Let us be clear about the Berlin Wall, if 'socialism' in East Germany was superior to conditions found in West Germany then the only reason the wall need have been built would have been to keep people OUT not keep them IN!

I find it bizarre that socialists are oppossed to immigration/emmigration. Lets be clear, the wall was built because East Germans thought, rightly or wrongly, that life was better in West Germany and wanted to live there. As the West Germans were happy to have them, what is the problem?


I am not opposed to immigration/emigration. East Germans could travel across the whole socialist bloc with relatively little hindrance, and visits to the West were allowed. Emigration to the West was even sometimes allowed. And no, most E. Germans did not think life was better in W. Germany. Some of them sure did, however, this was hardly a majority.

Yami wrote:
Living standards were higher in the West Germany and they had universal health care too, spending twice as much per citizen as they did in the East.


Source? East Germany had universal, free state-owned healthcare as well.

Yami wrote:
As for East German women morning, many lost their lives or the lives of sons and daugthers who tried to make it over the wall.


They were mourning because they were no longer equal to men as they were under socialism,

Yami wrote:
As for the East German economy, what does anyone make of this? What was Honecker playing at?

From wikipedia

"Also on the same day he took office, Krenz received a top secret report from planning chief Gerhard Schürer that showed the depths of East Germany's economic crisis. It showed that East Germany didn't have enough money to make payments on the massive foreign loans that propped up the economy, and it was now DM123 billion in debt. Although Krenz had been the number-two man in the regime, Honecker had kept the true state of the economy a secret from him. Krenz was forced to send Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski to beg West Germany for a short-term loan to make interest payments. However, West Germany was unwilling to even consider negotiations until the SED abandoned power and allowed free elections—something that Krenz was unwilling to concede."

Aren't socialists supposed to work in unison? Why had Honecker hidden this from the rest of the politburo? If an economy, that in 1989, was DM123 billion is debt is considered a success...I'd hate to see a failure!

Whatever benefits East Germans enjoyed were not sustainable. The regime was at crises point and could not have continued to spend as it had done on hospitals, welfare benefits etc. The game was up and Krenz knew it!


I don't know how accurate that is. But what I do know is you are only focusing on the bad side. There were economic problems, every country has them, but on the whole the GDR economy performed exceptionally well.

Szabo wrote:
Was the standard of healthcare on par with that found in the West?


I have unfortunately not been able to find a good source on the answer to that question.
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Soviet cogitations: 6399
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 05 Jan 2014, 01:31
Quote:
As for East German women morning, many lost their lives or the lives of sons and daugthers who tried to make it over the wall.


Let's not get too carried away here. The official number of deaths attributed to the East German border guards is 178. That's not to say this number isn't significant, but when compared to the GDR's population of 16.11 million, it is fairly miniscule.

I don't go along with the line of thought though (that some carry) that these people were traitors to the socialist cause and deserved what they got. I would hope the shooting of a ten-year-old boy would leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.
Last edited by Szabo on 05 Jan 2014, 11:01, edited 1 time in total.
Now what is this…
Soviet cogitations: 12389
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
Ideology: None
Philosophized
Post 05 Jan 2014, 02:09
Szabo wrote:
I don't go along with the line of thought though (that some carry) that these people were traitors to the socialist cause and deserved what they got. I would hope the shooting of a ten-year-old boy would leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.

It was always better to let the ones who wanted to go, go. I don't buy this bullshit "brain drain" argument for a second. If no more Germans wanted to stay in the territory, then screw it-- have Poland annex it outright and populate it with their own people. Of course, I don't believe it would ever have come to this but, then, I also don't believe in the classic Western scenario of "Last man out please turn off the lights".
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Soviet cogitations: 14444
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 05 Jan 2014, 21:11
Brain drain is a documented fact.
That's why the third-world is in the state that it is. Most third-world doctors are working in first-world countries for instance. A wall won't stop this, but it wasn't intended to keep people in either. We cannot allow those who we trained from childhood to be cherry-picked by the west to leave is with almost nothing but mediocre talent.
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Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 05 Jan 2014, 22:23
Quote:
We cannot allow those who we trained from childhood to be cherry-picked by the west to leave is with almost nothing but mediocre talent.

Then pay them properly. Voila.
Doctors unlike say lawyers often do their job for humanistic reasons rather than financial ones but of course their work must be appreciated and rewarded. In the USSR f. ex. doctors often weren't paid much more than ordinary workers, which is unfair.
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Soviet cogitations: 25
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 05 Jan 2014, 00:40
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 06 Jan 2014, 04:45
Loz wrote:
Then pay them properly. Voila.

This is not so easy if you wish to maintain wage equality, and even harder if you are a less developed country.

Does anyone know the exact laws around emigration/immigration in DDR? Were they similar to USSR?
— Crìsdean R.

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In following the revolutionary road, strive for an even greater victory.
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Soviet cogitations: 6399
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 06 Jan 2014, 10:53
Quote:
Does anyone know the exact laws around emigration/immigration in DDR? Were they similar to USSR?


"From 1945 to 1961, a relatively large number of East Germans left the country through emigration or escape. Since the construction of the Berlin Wall, however, the numbers departing have been smaller. According to official statistics, approximately 320,000 persons have left since 1961; the unofficial estimates are much higher. According to some West German estimates, another 400,000 to 500,000 East Germans have applied to emigrate and await exit permits. In 1984 the East German regime allowed over 40,000 people to emigrate, and in 1985 the figure was over 20,000."
-- http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?f ... CID+gx0078)

I don't know about East Germany, but in Romania, applying to emigrate had pretty dire consequences:
Quote:
Attempts to discourage emigration were not left entirely to the media. The official policy allowed emigration only on an individual basis, and only in specific cases--usually for family reunification. In later years, the PCR ironically suggested that families could be reunited by immigration into Romania. Obtaining permission to leave the country was a lengthy, expensive, and exhausting process. Prospective emigrants were likely to be fired from their jobs or demoted to positions of lower prestige and pay. They were often evicted from their homes and publicly castigated. At the same time, they were denied medical care and other social benefits, and their children were not permitted to enroll in schools.
Now what is this…
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 06 Jan 2014, 12:04
I don’t know how an economy running a deficit of 123bn marks can be described as a success. Imagine a Germany where the best car they produce is a Trabant! Then imagine a Germany where they produce a BMW...which would you say had the better economy?

Seriously when Germany reunited 60% of the East Germany economy had to be scrapped. Pollution was a serious problem in E. Germany. The Trabant produced 4 times the legal limit of lead emission that would have been allowed in West Germany. So much for the comrades lungs eh? Maybe lungs were stronger under socialism?

But for those Germans that mourn the passing of East Germany, I hope they don’t drink coca-cola or Pepsi, visit McDonalds or read or watch any films that were banned in the East.

As for stopping the brain drain, the only way you can do that is to establish socialism on a worldwide basis. At least people here are realistic, a wall will not stop a brain drain and why would you want to stop that anyway. As for the third world being short of Drs...hmmm I though the trend now was for health tourism from the 1st to the 3rd World. As health care is much, much cheaper in the 3rd World and their standards have caught up with the 1st World, why pay $40 000 for an op in America when the same on one will cost $4000 in say India.
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 06 Jan 2014, 13:24
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_h ... nification

More on the poor performance of the economy of East Germany. It's telephone system was a joke...the comrades were not allowed to dial outside of their borders, their infrastructure was poor and it's power stations had to shut down for health and safety reasons! 'Elf and safety problems? In a workers paradise? Are you telling me that workers in West Germany enjoyed better working conditions than in the East?

People really want to work in unsafe working conditions?
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Soviet cogitations: 6399
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 06 Jan 2014, 15:55
Quote:
I don’t know how an economy running a deficit of 123bn marks can be described as a success. Imagine a Germany where the best car they produce is a Trabant! Then imagine a Germany where they produce a BMW...which would you say had the better economy?


Unlike the BMW, the Trabant wasn't produced for profit. Surely you don't think the East German government should've supplied every East German with their own BMW?
Now what is this…
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 06 Jan 2014, 16:17
No that is not what I am saying, but are you saying that every East German should have been happy waiting 7 years for a car that was a) rubbish and b) choking them to death, whilst those in the West had BMWs audios and Mercs?
I love how you write the Trabant was not produced for profit, when that is disingenuous, if they could have made a profit they have. It’s just that nobody bought them. The Yugo and the Lada were produced to make a profit but the Trabant was worse than either. You don’t see many trabants on the road...wonder why?
Do you think people in East should have put up and shut up with what they got?
East Germany should only have bought luxury, West German cars for the party elite...oh you mean they did that
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Soviet cogitations: 6211
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2004, 20:49
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Embalmed
Post 06 Jan 2014, 18:39
Most West Germans have continued to drive VW cars, hardly BMWs and Mercedes. It's like you're saying everyone in the UK drives around in Bentleys.

Quote:
Seriously when Germany reunited 60% of the East Germany economy had to be scrapped.


The Treuhandanstalt had no intention of modernising any section of the economy post-annexation, which they could have done, instead of throwing 2.5 million people onto the scrapheap and then onto a benefits system that was markedly less comprehensive than the way of life they were accustomed to. The way that the government has handled the economy post-annexation is pretty miserable, whole towns are falling to pieces because the gubmin still really couldn't care less.

Gauck, believes the Oder-Neisse line is an aberration too. I consider a lot of the pro-imperialist views, like this one, of many Germans, largely Western, to be far more dangerous than the actions a pretty small nation-state
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"Phil Spector is haunting Europe" -Dr. Karl H. Marx
Soviet cogitations: 112
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Apr 2013, 20:13
Pioneer
Post 07 Jan 2014, 00:49
Yami wrote:
I don’t know how an economy running a deficit of 123bn marks can be described as a success. Imagine a Germany where the best car they produce is a Trabant! Then imagine a Germany where they produce a BMW...which would you say had the better economy?


A country's economy is not measured by how good or bad its cars were. Also, like EPC said, most W. Germans weren't driving BMWs.

Yami wrote:
But for those Germans that mourn the passing of East Germany, I hope they don’t drink coca-cola or Pepsi, visit McDonalds or read or watch any films that were banned in the East.


They are products of corporations. This is not a good thing. You should know this.

Yami wrote:
As for stopping the brain drain, the only way you can do that is to establish socialism on a worldwide basis.


Every country is different. For some countries, brain drains are a problem. For others, it's not.

Yami wrote:
You don’t see many trabants on the road...wonder why?


Because it's a car that's no longer being produced from a defunct state that was never exported to the West?
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Soviet cogitations: 3618
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 22 Oct 2004, 15:15
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Politburo
Post 07 Jan 2014, 10:47
Yami wrote:
But for those Germans that mourn the passing of East Germany, I hope they don’t drink coca-cola or Pepsi, visit McDonalds or read or watch any films that were banned in the East.


They probably drink Vita Cola and eat Currywurst. Don't judge other people by your own rock-bottom standards.
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 07 Jan 2014, 12:24
Drinking coca-cola makes me a fascist? I’ve tried every coke on the market and it’s the one I like best. Pepsi is good too but too sweet for my pallet. Give capitalism it’s due, they do make good coke and cars.
A countries economy should be judged on whether it meets the needs and wants of its population. East Germany failed there.
Oh and despite Yugoslavia no longer existing there are still Yugos on the road. Even they were better than the Trabant.
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Soviet cogitations: 6211
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Aug 2004, 20:49
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Embalmed
Post 07 Jan 2014, 14:27
"Drinking coca-cola makes me a fascist?"

I don't know where you got that from, but yes, it does. Explain Kofola and Vita Cola?

"Pepsi is good too but too sweet for my pallet."

Palate*.
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"Phil Spector is haunting Europe" -Dr. Karl H. Marx
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Soviet cogitations: 589
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Dec 2013, 14:24
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 07 Jan 2014, 14:38
ach ja!

Pallets are what my beloved coca-cola are delivered on, palate is what I taste with.

Is that what happened to Hitler and Mussolini? They drank too much coca-cola?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vita_Cola

It did survive the collapse of the wall and is doing quite well in some regions.

http://www.trabant-nt.de/374/en/the-pro ... nt-nt.aspx

Amazingly, someone bright spark wants to revive it! For a profit of course, but, to date it hasn't happened yet.
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