How accurate is it to say that the economic achievements of the GDR were limited?

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Lewis Cheesman

How accurate is it to say that the economic achievements of the GDR were limited?

        There has been much discussion over the economic achievements of the GDR. The GDR were extremely successful with how they managed the economy, however, they could only be successful to a certain extent. It was evident that the GDR would never be able to compete economically compared to the likes of the USA, USSR and the FRG. Although, this does not mean their economic achievements weren’t successful with minor limitations and the smaller economic potential.  

The major success within the GDR was the agricultural production success that they had after collectivisation. Collectivisation caused many problems in the GDR because the vast amount of people that were emigrating to the west. This is evident when 15,000 East German farmers left to go to the West as they’d rather go to the FRG rather than be forced into collectivisation. A second period of collectivisation occurred in the GDR which led to food shortages and the East Germany bishops protested against the GDR government due to the disregard for human rights. However, the GDR pursued the state ownership of agriculture and industry which were modelled on plans from the USSR in the 1930s. In 1955 the GDR reached the end of its five-year economic plan and even though they faced a series of difficult challenges the GDR did succeed in the fact that they were able to double the industrial production in this time which is a huge bonus and success to the GDR’s economy as I clearly outweighs the limitations. Even though the GDR government did succeed with the industrial side of things the East German people still favoured the FRG due to the living standards that they had compared to the FRG.

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Conversely, the GDR’s economic achievements were limited by the mid 1980’s the GDR’s foreign debt levels were high. This is clear to see by the statistic that in 1970 the foreign debt in the GDR was 2.2 billion deutschemarks and by the year 1987 is was 34.7 billion deutschemarks. The economic downturn that followed the oil crisis of the mid 1970s produced a clear sign of stagnation in the GDR. The debt significantly increased and although the GDR had improved by a large amount as they had a basis of basically noting to begin with. The amount of debt that ...

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