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January 23, 2019

Cluster-Seminar Public Finances and Living Conditions

Initial Conditions and Nation Building: Evidence from East Germany

Date

January 23, 2019
12:30 - 13:30

Location

Anna-J.-Schwartz-Raum
DIW Berlin
Room 5.2.010
Mohrenstr. 58
10117 Berlin

Speakers

Jonas Jessen
At the end of World War II, 40% of the pre-arranged Soviet occupation zone in Germany was under the control of the Allied Expeditionary Force. This occupation was very short-lived and the Red Army gained full control of the Soviet zone less than two months after the German surrender. However, this paper shows that the brief Allied occupation systematically increased opposition to the budding authoritarian regime that the USSR set up in what would become the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). We exploit variation in the identity of the initial occupation army within the Soviet occupation zone, stemming from the idiosyncratic line of contact separating Soviet and Allied forces. We show that support for the state party (SED) during the last free elections in 1946 was systematically lower in the areas initially occupied by the Allies, while the incidence of protests during the 1953 uprising was higher. This increased resistance to the regime in the Allied-liberated region persists until the 1989 protests leading to the demise of the regime.

Topics: Europe

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