SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

East Germany

East Germany the German Democratic Republic, was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990, the period when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Described as a communist state in English usage, it described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", it consisted of territory, administered and occupied by Soviet forces following the end of World War II—the Soviet occupation zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone did not include it; the German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. However, Soviet forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War; until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party, though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front.

The SED made the teaching of Marxism -- the Russian language compulsory in schools. The economy was centrally planned and state-owned. Prices of housing, basic goods and services were set by central government planners rather than rising and falling through supply and demand. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the Soviets, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Emigration to the West was a significant problem—as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically; the government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines. Many others spent large amounts of time imprisoned for attempting to escape. In 1989, numerous social and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalisation; the following year and fair elections were held, international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany.

The GDR dissolved itself, Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a sovereign state again. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were prosecuted after reunification for crimes committed during the Cold War. Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north. Internally, the GDR bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin, known as East Berlin, administered as the state's de facto capital, it bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989; the official name was Deutsche Demokratische Republik abbreviated to DDR. Both terms were used in East Germany, with increasing usage of the abbreviated form since East Germany considered West Germans and West Berliners to be foreigners following the promulgation of its second constitution in 1968.

West Germans, the western media and statesmen avoided the official name and its abbreviation, instead using terms like Ostzone, Sowjetische Besatzungszone, sogenannte DDR. The centre of political power in East Berlin was referred to as Pankow. Over time, the abbreviation DDR was increasingly used colloquially by West Germans and West German media; the term Westdeutschland, when used by West Germans, was always a reference to the geographic region of Western Germany and not to the area within the boundaries of the Federal Republic of Germany. However, this use was not always consistent. Before World War II, Ostdeutschland was used to describe all the territories east of the Elbe, as reflected in the works of sociologist Max Weber and political theorist Carl Schmitt. Explaining the internal impact of the GDR regime from the perspective of German history in the long term, historian Gerhard A. Ritter has argued that the East German state was defined by two dominant forces – Soviet Communism on the one hand, German traditions filtered through the interwar experiences of German Communists on the other.

It always was constrained by the powerful example of the prosperous West, to which East Germans compared their nation. The changes wrought by the Communists were most apparent in ending capitalism and transforming industry and agriculture, in the militarization of society, in the political thrust of the educational system and the media. On the other hand, there was little change made in the independent domains of the sciences, the engineering professions, the Protestant churches, in many bourgeois lifestyles. Social policy, says Ritter, became a critical legitimization tool in the last decades and mixed socialist and traditional elemen

MolÄ—tai Astronomical Observatory

The Molėtai Astronomical Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Vilnius University Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy. It is located on the Kaldiniai Hill next to 10 km from the town of Molėtai; the old astronomical observatory of Vilnius University, opened in 1753, the new University observatory near Vingis Park, built in 1921 appeared inside the city of Vilnius where conditions turned out to be unsatisfactory for astronomical observations. In 1969, a new observatory was started in the Molėtai district, about 70 km north of Vilnius, it is built on the Kaldiniai Hill just near the small village of Kulionys, about 10 km from the town of Molėtai. In the fall of 1969, the first 25 cm diameter telescope of the Molėtai Astronomical Observatory was mounted. On, it was placed to the 35/51 cm Maksutov telescope. In 1974 and 1991, the reflecting telescopes of 63 cm and 165 cm diameters were put into operation. MAO has three research telescopes: 35 cm Maksutov telescope, which replaced MAO's first 25 cm telescope in 1975, 63 cm Cassegrain telescope, 165 cm Ritchey–Chrétien telescope, which MAO claims is the largest in Northern Europe.

List of largest optical reflecting telescopes Molėtai Observatory

Bill Turner (public servant)

William Terry "Bill" Turner was a senior Australian public servant. He was Comptroller-General of Customs between 1949 and 1952, heading the Department of Trade and Customs. Turner was born in Woolloomooloo, New South Wales on 1 December 1887. Turner joined the Commonwealth Public Service in 1905 in as a clerk in the Department of Trade and Customs, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916, embarked from Australia for overseas service on 24 January 1917 aboard HMAT Anchises A68. After he returned from military service, Turner returned to the customs department and was put in charge of the activities of the Commonwealth public trustee and subsequently the Clearing Office in New South Wales. During the Second World War, Turner was responsible for contraband administration and export control, he was promoted to the role of Comptroller-General in January 1949. He retired with plans to spend his retirement in Canberra. Colleagues and business stakeholders celebrated Turner's retirement and honoured him at a function at the Menzies Hotel.

More than 100 people attended, Turner was presented with an Australian painting and a radiogram for his wife Annie. Turner died on 26 January 1959 at Canberra Community Hospital, his body was cremated. Turner was made a companion of the Imperial Service Order in June 1953, in recognition of his public service as Comptroller-General of Customs