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By Corey Ross

In the 2 many years following the defeat of the 3rd Reich, East Germany was once reworked from a war-ravaged profession area into an obvious version of Soviet-style socialism. in response to large archival examine, this booklet explores the development of socialism in East Germany now not from the normal standpoint of the celebration and kingdom experts. fairly, it specializes in the results on the grass-roots, the place styles of well known opinion, social and cultural groups from the pre-eminent earlier and the divided loyalties of neighborhood functionaries performed a very important function in shaping the face of "real present socialism."

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Extra info for Constructing Socialism at the Grass-Roots: The Transformation of East Germany, 1945–65

Sample text

The parties are only shoved into the foreground in order to disguise the foreign control. 18 Yet the ‘Sovietness’ of Order 234 was not actually the main problem. At a more basic level, it was viewed as divisive and unfair. There were vast differences between its effects in different branches of industry and different factories. While the distribution of extra goods and hot lunches was understandably welcomed and reportedly had positive effects on morale in the enterprises that benefitted most (above all energy and raw materials), there was also bitterness among those workers left out of the social measures of Order 234.

The commissions or authorities often refuse to distribute sown land in order to maintain the unity of the large estates. 6 That these were not merely isolated cases is indirectly evidenced by the Soviet Order 6080 of August 1947 removing all former land owners at least 50 kilometers from their previous estates. 7 The demolition of the old manor houses in 1947 – in the Soviets’ and German communists’ eyes the very embodiment of Junkertum – and their replacement with new farming settlements faced many of the same difficulties.

At the Deko-Pneumatik factory, for example, workers were not only paid the standard 15 per cent piece-rate bonus, but also an extra 10 per cent for dirty work; at the sugar refinery in Thöringswerder bonuses amounted to around 50 per cent of total wages. Instead of seeking the reasons for the problems in their own planned economic system, the effects of reparations and the lack of a wage incentive, the Soviets instead blamed the German administration: ‘All of these facts show that neither the Ministry for Labour, nor the Ministry for Economic Planning, nor the Central Administration of the people’s own enterprises are earnestly dealing with the wage question’.

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