The Kapp Putsch known as the Kapp–Lüttwitz Putsch after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz, was an attempted coup on 13 March 1920 which aimed to undo the German Revolution of 1918–1919, overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish an autocratic government in its place. It was supported by parts of nationalist and monarchist factions; the coup took place in the capital and the legitimate German government was forced to flee the city. The coup failed after a few days, when large sections of the German population followed a call by the government to join a general strike. Most civil servants refused to cooperate with his allies. Despite its failure, the putsch had significant consequences for the future of the Weimar Republic, it was one of the causes of the Ruhr uprising of March 1920, which the government suppressed by military force, whilst dealing leniently with those behind the putsch. These events polarized the electorate, resulting in a shift in the majority after the June Reichstag elections.
After Germany had lost World War I, the German Revolution of 1918–1919 ended the monarchy and the German Empire was abolished and a democratic system, the Weimar Republic, was established in 1919 by the Weimar National Assembly. Right-wing nationalist and militarist circles opposed the new republic and promoted the stab-in-the-back myth, claiming that the war had only been lost because the brave efforts of the undefeated German military had been undermined by civilians at home. In 1919–20, the government of Germany was formed by the Weimar Coalition, consisting of the Social Democratic Party, German Democratic Party and Zentrum. President Friedrich Ebert, Chancellor Gustav Bauer and Defence Minister Gustav Noske were all members of the SPD. According to the constitution, the president was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, represented in peace time by the Minister of Defence; the most senior officer of the land forces was called Chef der Heeresleitung, a post held in early 1920 by General Walther Reinhardt.
Gustav Bauer was obliged to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 though he disagreed with it. The treaty had been dictated by the victorious Allies of World War I. In early 1919, the strength of the Reichswehr, the regular German army, was estimated at 350,000, with more than 250,000 men enlisted in the various Freikorps, volunteer paramilitary units consisting of returning soldiers from the war; the German government had used Freikorp troops to put down Communist uprisings after the war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which came into effect on 10 January 1920, Germany was required to reduce its land forces to a maximum of 100,000 men; the initial deadline was set for 31 March 1920. Freikorps units were expected to be disbanded. Since the reason for their creation—internal repression—had become obsolete with the crushing of the leftist uprisings, they were becoming a threat to the government; some senior military commanders had started discussing the possibility of a coup as early as July 1919.
Although the putsch has been named after Wolfgang Kapp, a 62-year-old nationalist East Prussian civil servant, planning a coup against the republic for a while, it was instigated by the military. On 29 February 1920, the Defence Minister Noske ordered the disbandment of two of the most powerful Freikorps, the Marinebrigade Loewenfeld and Marinebrigade Ehrhardt; the latter numbered from 5,000–6,000 men and had been stationed at the Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz, near Berlin, since January 1920. An elite force, it had been created from former Imperial Navy officers and NCOs, boosted by Baltikumer. During the civil war in 1919, the brigade had seen action in Berlin, it was opposed to the democratic government of Friedrich Ebert. Its commander, Korvettenkapitän Hermann Ehrhardt, declared that the unit would refuse its dissolution. On 1 March, it staged a parade without inviting Noske. General Walther von Lüttwitz, in command of all the regular troops in and around Berlin, the highest ranking general in the army at the time and in command of many Freikorps, said at the parade that he would "not accept" the loss of such an important unit.
Several of Lüttwitz' officers were horrified at this open rejection of the government's authority and tried to mediate, by setting up a meeting between Lüttwitz and the leaders of the two major right-wing parties. Lüttwitz was not dissuaded from his course of action. Noske removed the Marinebrigade from Lüttwitz' command and assigned it to the leadership of the Navy, hoping that they would disband the unit. Lüttwitz agreed to a meeting with President Ebert, suggested by his staff. In the evening of 10 March, Lüttwitz came with his staff to Ebert's office. Ebert had asked Noske to attend. Lüttwitz, drawing on demands by the right-wing parties and adding his own, now demanded the immediate dissolution of the National Assembly, new elections for the Reichstag, the appointment of technocrats as Secretaries for Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs and Finance, the dismissal of General Reinhardt, appointment of himself as supreme commander of the regular army and the revocation of the orders of dissolution for the Marinebrigaden.
Ebert and Noske rejected these demands and Noske told Lüttwitz that he expected his resignation the next day. Lüttwitz went
Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School, along with Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, is regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modernist architecture. Gropius was a leading architect of the International Style. Born in Berlin, Walter Gropius was the third child of Walter Adolph Gropius and Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber, daughter of the Prussian politician Georg Schwarnweber. Walter's uncle Martin Gropius was the architect of the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin and a follower of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, with whom Walter's great-grandfather Carl Gropius, who fought under Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher at the Battle of Waterloo, had shared a flat as a bachelor. In 1915 Gropius married Alma Mahler, widow of Gustav Mahler. Walter and Alma's daughter, named Manon after Walter's mother, was born in 1916; when Manon died of polio at age 18, in 1935, composer Alban Berg wrote his Violin Concerto in memory of her.
Gropius and Mahler divorced in 1920. On 16 October 1923, Gropius married Ilse Frank; the couple adopted a daughter together, Beate Gropius, known as Ati. Ise Gropius died on 9 June 1983 in Massachusetts. Walter's only sister Manon Burchard is the great-grandmother of the German film and theater actresses Marie Burchard and Bettina Burchard, of the curator and art historian Wolf Burchard. Gropius could not draw, was dependent on collaborators and partner-interpreters throughout his career. In school he hired an assistant to complete his homework for him. In 1908, after studying architecture in Munich and Berlin for four semesters, Gropius joined the office of the renowned architect and industrial designer Peter Behrens, one of the first members of the utilitarian school, his fellow employees at this time included Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Dietrich Marcks. In 1910 Gropius left the firm of Behrens and together with fellow employee Adolf Meyer established a practice in Berlin. Together they share credit for one of the seminal modernist buildings created during this period: the Faguswerk in Alfeld-an-der-Leine, Germany, a shoe last factory.
Although Gropius and Meyer only designed the facade, the glass curtain walls of this building demonstrated both the modernist principle that form reflects function and Gropius's concern with providing healthful conditions for the working class. The factory is now regarded as one of the crucial founding monuments of European modernism. Gropius was commissioned in 1913 to design a car for the Prussian Railroad Locomotive Works in Königsberg; this locomotive was unique and the first of its kind in Germany and in Europe. Other works of this early period include the office and factory building for the Werkbund Exhibition in Cologne. In 1913, Gropius published an article about "The Development of Industrial Buildings," which included about a dozen photographs of factories and grain elevators in North America. A influential text, this article had a strong influence on other European modernists, including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, both of whom reprinted Gropius's grain elevator pictures between 1920 and 1930.
Gropius's career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He was drafted August 1914 and served as a sergeant major at the Western front during the war years and as a lieutenant in the signal corps. Gropius was awarded the Iron Cross twice after fighting for four years. Gropius like his father and his great-uncle Martin Gropius before him, became an architect. Gropius's career advanced in the postwar period. Henry van de Velde, the master of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar was asked to step down in 1915 due to his Belgian nationality, his recommendation for Gropius to succeed him led to Gropius's appointment as master of the school in 1919. It was this academy which Gropius transformed into the world-famous Bauhaus, attracting a faculty that included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky. In principle, the Bauhaus represented an opportunity to extend beauty and quality to every home through well designed industrially produced objects.
The Bauhaus program was experimental and the emphasis was theoretical. One example product of the Bauhaus was the armchair F 51, designed for the Bauhaus's directors room in 1920 – nowadays a re-edition in the market, manufactured by the German company TECTA/Lauenfoerde. In 1919, Gropius was involved in the Glass Chain utopian expressionist correspondence under the pseudonym "Mass." More notable for his functionalist approach, the "Monument to the March Dead," designed in 1919 and executed in 1920, indicates that expressionism was an influence on him at that time. In 1923, Gropius designed his famous door handles, now considered an icon of 20th-century design and listed as one of the most influential designs to emerge from Bauhaus. Gropius designed the new Bauhaus Dessau school building in 1925-26 on commission from the city of Dessau, he collaborated with Carl Fieger, Ernst Neufert and others within his private architectural practice. He designed large-scale housing projects in Berlin and Dessau in 1926–32 that were major contributions to the New Objectivity movement, including a contribution to the Siemensstadt project in Berlin.
Gropius moved to Berlin. Hannes Meyer to
The National Socialist German Workers' Party referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany, active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920; the Nazi Party emerged from the German nationalist and populist Freikorps paramilitary culture, which fought against the communist uprisings in post-World War I Germany. The party was created to draw workers away into völkisch nationalism. Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, anti-capitalist rhetoric, although this was downplayed to gain the support of business leaders, in the 1930s the party's main focus shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes. Pseudo-scientific racist theories were central to Nazism, expressed in the idea of a "people's community"; the party aimed to unite "racially desirable" Germans as national comrades, while excluding those deemed either to be political dissidents, physically or intellectually inferior, or of a foreign race.
The Nazis sought to strengthen the Germanic people, the "Aryan master race", through racial purity and eugenics, broad social welfare programs, a collective subordination of individual rights, which could be sacrificed for the good of the state on behalf of the people. To protect the supposed purity and strength of the Aryan race, the Nazis sought to exterminate Jews, Romani and most other Slavs, along with the physically and mentally handicapped, they disenfranchised and segregated homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and political opponents. The persecution reached its climax when the party-controlled German state set in motion the Final Solution–an industrial system of genocide which achieved the murder of an estimated 5.5 to 6 million Jews and millions of other targeted victims, in what has become known as the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler, the party's leader since 1921, was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. Hitler established a totalitarian regime known as the Third Reich.
Following the defeat of the Third Reich at the conclusion of World War II in Europe, the party was "declared to be illegal" by the Allied powers, who carried out denazification in the years after the war. Nazi, the informal and derogatory term for a party member, abbreviates the party's name, was coined in analogy with Sozi, an abbreviation of Sozialdemokrat. Members of the party referred to themselves as Nationalsozialisten as Nazis; the term Parteigenosse was used among Nazis, with its corresponding feminine form Parteigenossin. The term was in use before the rise of the party as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backward peasant, an awkward and clumsy person, it derived from Ignaz, a shortened version of Ignatius, a common name in the Nazis' home region of Bavaria. Opponents seized on this, the long-existing Sozi, to attach a dismissive nickname to the National Socialists. In 1933, when Adolf Hitler assumed power in the German government, the usage of "Nazi" diminished in Germany, although Austrian anti-Nazis continued to use the term, the use of "Nazi Germany" and "Nazi regime" was popularised by anti-Nazis and German exiles abroad.
Thereafter, the term spread into other languages and was brought back to Germany after World War II. In English, the term is not considered slang, has such derivatives as Nazism and denazification; the party grew out of smaller political groups with a nationalist orientation that formed in the last years of World War I. In 1918, a league called the Freier Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten Frieden was created in Bremen, Germany. On 7 March 1918, Anton Drexler, an avid German nationalist, formed a branch of this league in Munich. Drexler was a local locksmith, a member of the militarist Fatherland Party during World War I and was bitterly opposed to the armistice of November 1918 and the revolutionary upheavals that followed. Drexler followed the views of militant nationalists of the day, such as opposing the Treaty of Versailles, having antisemitic, anti-monarchist and anti-Marxist views, as well as believing in the superiority of Germans whom they claimed to be part of the Aryan "master race".
However, he accused international capitalism of being a Jewish-dominated movement and denounced capitalists for war profiteering in World War I. Drexler saw the political violence and instability in Germany as the result of the Weimar Republic being out-of-touch with the masses the lower classes. Drexler emphasised the need for a synthesis of völkisch nationalism with a form of economic socialism, in order to create a popular nationalist-oriented workers' movement that could challenge the rise of Communism and internationalist politics; these were all well-known themes popular with various Weimar paramilitary groups such as the Freikorps. Drexler's movement received support from some influential figures. Supporter Dietrich Eckart, a well-to-do journalist, brought military figure Felix Graf von Bothmer, a prominent supporter of the concept of "national socialism", to address the movement. In 1918, Karl Harrer convinced Drexler and several others to form the Politischer Arbeiterzirkel; the members met perio
Weimar is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east 80 kilometres southwest of Leipzig, 170 kilometres north of Nuremberg and 170 kilometres west of Dresden. Together with the neighbour-cities Erfurt and Jena it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with 500,000 inhabitants, whereas the city itself counts a population of 65,000. Weimar is well known because of its importance in German history; the city was a focal point of the German Enlightenment and home of the leading personalities of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. In the 19th century, famous composers like Franz Liszt made Weimar a music centre and artists and architects like Henry van de Velde, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Walter Gropius came to the city and founded the Bauhaus movement, the most important German design school of the interwar period.
However, the political history of 20th-century Weimar was inconsistent: it was the place where Germany's first democratic constitution was signed after the First World War, giving its name to the Weimar Republic period in German politics, as well as one of the cities mythologized by the National Socialist propaganda. Until 1948, Weimar was the capital of Thuringia. Today, many places in the city centre have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites and tourism is one of the leading economic sectors of Weimar. Relevant institutions in Weimar are the Bauhaus University, the Liszt School of Music, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library and two leading courts of Thuringia. In 1999, Weimar was the European Capital of Culture. Archaeological finds dating back to the Thuringii epoch show that the Weimar part of the Ilm valley was settled early, with a tight network of settlements where the city is today; the oldest records regarding Weimar date to 899. Its name changed over the centuries from Wimares through Wimari to Wimar and Weimar.
Another theory derives. The place was the seat of the County of Weimar, first mentioned in 949, one of the mightiest actors in early-Middle Ages Thuringia. In 1062 it was united with the County of Orlamünde to the new County of Weimar-Orlamünde, which existed until the Thuringian Counts' War in 1346 and fell to the Wettins afterwards; the Weimar settlement emerged around the count's wooden castle and two small churches dedicated to St Peter, to St James. In 1240, the count founded the dynasty's monastery in Oberweimar. Soon after, the counts of Weimar founded the town, an independent parish since 1249 and called civitas in 1254. From 1262 the citizens used their own seal; the regional influence of the Weimar counts was declining as the influence of the Wettins in Thuringia increased. Hence, the new small town was marginal in a regional context due to the fact that it was situated far away from relevant trade routes like the Via Regia; the settlement around St James Church developed into a suburb during the 13th century.
After becoming part of the Wettin's territory in 1346, urban development improved. The Wettins fostered Weimar by granting privileges to the citizens. Now Weimar became equal to other Wettinian cities like Weißensee and grew during the 15th century, with the establishment of a town hall and the current main church. Weimar acquired woad trade privileges in 1438; the castle and the walls were finished in the 16th century. After the Treaty of Leipzig Weimar became part of the electorate of the Ernestine branch of Wettins with Wittenberg as capital; the Protestant Reformation was introduced in Weimar in 1525. As the Ernestines lost the Schmalkaldic War in 1547, their capital Wittenberg went to the Albertines, so that they needed a new residence; as the ruler returned from captivity, Weimar became his residence in 1552 and remained as such until the end of the monarchy in 1918. The first Ernestine territorial partition in 1572 was followed by various ones Weimar stayed the capital of different Saxe-Weimar states.
The court and its staff brought some wealth to the city, so that it saw a first construction boom in the 16th century. The 17th century brought decline because of changing trade conditions. Besides, the territorial partitions led to the loss of political importance of the dukes of Saxe-Weimar and their finances shrunk; the city's polity weakened more and more and lost its privileges, leading to the absolutist reign of the dukes in the early 18th century. On the other hand, this time brought another construction boom to Weimar, the city got its present appearance, marked by various ducal representation buildings; the city walls were demolished in 1757 and during the following decades, Weimar expanded in all directions. The biggest building constructed in this period was the Schloss as the residence of the dukes. Between 1708 and 1717 Johann Sebastian Bach worked as the court's organist in Weimar; the period from the start of the regencies of Anna Amalia and her son Carl August through to Goethe's d
Historical Cemetery, Weimar
The Historical Cemetery is the main cemetery of Weimar. It includes the Weimarer Fürstengruft, with which it forms part of the Classical Weimar World Heritage Site. Media related to Historischer Friedhof Weimar at Wikimedia Commons
Degenerate art was a term adopted in the 1920s by the Nazi Party in Germany to describe modern art. During the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, German modernist art, including many works of internationally renowned artists, was removed from state owned museums and banned in Nazi Germany on the grounds that such art was an "insult to German feeling", un-German, Jewish, or Communist in nature; those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions that included being dismissed from teaching positions, being forbidden to exhibit or to sell their art, in some cases being forbidden to produce art. Degenerate Art was the title of an exhibition, held by the Nazis in Munich in 1937, consisting of 650 modernist artworks chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art. Designed to inflame public opinion against modernism, the exhibition subsequently traveled to several other cities in Germany and Austria. While modern styles of art were prohibited, the Nazis promoted paintings and sculptures that were traditional in manner and that exalted the "blood and soil" values of racial purity and obedience.
Similar restrictions were placed upon music, expected to be tonal and free of any jazz influences. Films and plays were censored; the early 20th century was a period of wrenching changes in the arts. In the visual arts, such innovations as Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism—following Symbolism and Post-Impressionism—were not universally appreciated; the majority of people in Germany, as elsewhere, did not care for the new art, which many resented as elitist, morally suspect, too incomprehensible. Wilhelm II, who took an active interest in regulating art in Germany, criticized Impressionism as "gutter painting" and forbade Käthe Kollwitz from being awarded a medal for her print series A Weavers' Revolt when it was displayed in the Berlin Grand Exhibition of the Arts in 1898. In 1913, the Prussian house of representatives passed a resolution "against degeneracy in art". Under the Weimar government of the 1920s, Germany emerged as a leading center of the avant-garde, it was the birthplace of Expressionism in painting and sculpture, of the atonal musical compositions of Arnold Schoenberg, the jazz-influenced work of Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill.
Films such as Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu brought Expressionism to cinema; the Nazis viewed the culture of the Weimar period with disgust. Their response stemmed from a conservative aesthetic taste and from their determination to use culture as a propaganda tool. On both counts, a painting such as Otto Dix's War Cripples was anathema to them, it unsparingly depicts four badly disfigured veterans of the First World War a familiar sight on Berlin's streets, rendered in caricatured style. In 1930 Wilhelm Frick, a Nazi, became Minister for Culture and Education, announced a campaign "against Negro culture—for German national traditions". By his order, 70 Expressionist paintings were removed from the permanent exhibition of the Weimar Schlossmuseum in 1930, the director of the König Albert Museum in Zwickau, Hildebrand Gurlitt, was dismissed for displaying modern art; as dictator, Hitler gave his personal taste in art the force of law to a degree never before seen.
Only in Stalin's Soviet Union, where Socialist Realism was the mandatory style, had a modern state shown such concern with regulation of the arts. In the case of Germany, the model was to be classical Greek and Roman art, regarded by Hitler as an art whose exterior form embodied an inner racial ideal. Art historian Henry Grosshans says that Hitler "saw Greek and Roman art as uncontaminated by Jewish influences. Modern art was an act of aesthetic violence by the Jews against the German spirit; such was true to Hitler though only Liebermann, Meidner and Marc Chagall, among those who made significant contributions to the German modernist movement, were Jewish. But Hitler... took upon himself the responsibility of deciding who, in matters of culture and acted like a Jew."The "Jewish" nature of all art, indecipherable, distorted, or that represented "depraved" subject matter was explained through the concept of degeneracy, which held that distorted and corrupted art was a symptom of an inferior race.
By propagating the theory of degeneracy, the Nazis combined their anti-Semitism with their drive to control the culture, thus consolidating public support for both campaigns. The term Entartung had gained currency in Germany by the late 19th century when the critic and author Max Nordau devised the theory presented in his 1892 book Entartung. Nordau drew upon the writings of the criminologist Cesare Lombroso, whose The Criminal Man, published in 1876, attempted to prove that there were "born criminals" whose atavistic personality traits could be detected by scientifically measuring abnormal physical characteristics. Nordau developed from this premise a critique of modern art, explained as the work of those so corrupted and enfeebled by modern life that they have lost the self-control needed to produce coherent works, he attacked Aestheticism in English literature and described the mysticism of the Symbolist movement in French literature as a product of mental pathology. Explaining the painterliness of Impressionism as the sign of a diseased visual cortex, he decried modern degeneracy while praising traditional German culture.
Despite the fact that Nordau was Jewish and a key figure in the Zionist moveme
East Germany the German Democratic Republic, was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at 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 of Democratic Germany.
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 USSR, 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. Several others were imprisoned for many years. 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, open 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 in reunified Germany 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 rest of 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 DDR 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 elements about equally. At the Yalta Conference during World War II, the Allies (the U. S. the UK and