THE SITUATION AND PROSPECTS IN EAST GERMANY (SNIE 12.4-60)

Created: 5/3/1960

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE NUMBER

THE SITUATION AND PROSPECTS IN EAST GERMANY

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ih Data

THE SITUATION AND PROSPECTS IN EAST GERMANY

THE PROBLEM

To assess the situation in East Germany and thc outlook for the Communistthere over the next several years.

CONCLUSIONS

strength and stability of Easthas grown significantly in recent years. The regime In the last analysis depends upon Soviet support, and the presence of Soviet troops tends to spare the leadership any ultimate test of its authority; but it is strong enough now to withstand those internal stresses and strains It is likely to undergo. Tho SED (the Communist Party) now has nodifficulty in enforcing its political will. Tlie recent growth of East German industry has been rapid, and there will probably be substantial increases inover thc next few years. There will remain, however, serious troubles in agricullure. Though living standards will remain lower than in West Germany, they will probably continue to rise, and the political importance of the disparity and the economic incentive to move West will continue to decline. (Paras.)

There hasradualby the population to the regime,the sharp decline in the expecta-

tion that the Western Powers will be able toommunist withdrawal and restore thc unity of Germany. Thisis, however, purely conditional;the surface there remain strong anti-Soviet sentimentseep-seated all-German national consciousness. The very nature of Communist totalitarian rule is such that if opposition broke out it would probably do so suddenly,and without previous planning. If disorders became widespread, theforces, including the army, would probably not be reliable or adequate.)

e believe that the time Is not far oil when the SovieU. without hazarding the internal security of the regime, could make substantial troop withdrawals,as much as one-half of their presentmaller withdrawal, though one large enough to have propagandamight be made at any time.we believe that thc Soviets will feel obliged for the foreseeable future to maintain in East Oermany sufficient

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to copeeneral breakdown of regime security. The Soviets arcto underestimate the hazard to Communist control of East Germanyin the continued existence of another and stronger Germany.)

he Soviet and SED leaders almostdo not consider the final end of their policy to be merely the achievement of political and economic stability in this area fragmented from the GermanThey almost certainly hope that, by fashioning East Germany into anof the "superiority of the socialisthey can have in theowerful instrument which can advance their cause in West Germany now and be ready to exploit the internal crisis in West Gennany and the Western alliance which they anticipate.)

hc manner in which the West Berlin problem is handled will have aeffect on thc prestige and authority of thc East German regime. Should the

East German people come to consider that the freedom of West Berlin is likely to be lost or even compromised, the belief that Communist power in East Germany was unshakeable would increase greatly. On the other hand, if the Communists appeared clearly rebuffed on Berlin, the prestige of thc East German regime would be set back, and the tendency towardwith it would be at least temporarily arrested.

f Germany continues divided for many years. East Germany will probably continue to gain In political stability and economic power, and internal threats to public security will diminish. Itragment of the German nation and,reature of Soviet policy, its regime is unlikely ever to be able to associate with itself the force of German national sentiment. Its security will continue to be threatened by any shift in the relation of forces In Central and Eastern Europe which seems likely to give an opportunity for the reassertion ofnational aspirations.

DISCUSSION

INTRODUCTION

n3 the East German regime was challenged by an open revolt from which il was saved only by the intervention of Soviet troops. Developments since then, and thc continued presence of Soviet troops, make any similar challenge today seem improbable. Our purpose in this estimate is to appraise the trends which have strengthened thishold on power and to estimate its prospects.

II. TRENDS AFFECTING THE STRENGTH AND STABILITY OF THE EAST GERMAN REGIME

Tho Poliiicol System

n East Germany, as In any Communist state, the strength and eflecUveness of the parly apparatus, thc main instrument ofpower, is crucial. Sincehc Socialist Unity Party (SED) hasno serious difficulty In enforcing its political will on Uie country. Its success has doubtless been aided by German submis-

SEGfRET

lo constituted authority, but even moreoviet military occupationarger scale than anywhere else In Eastern Europe There continues to beertain amount ot tension between central partyand local administrators who. caught bclween orders from Berlinisaffected population, tend to drag their feet lnparty programs. Even though much of the rank-and-file membership joined forreasons, the party has developed administrative cadres down to the local* level which appear to be at least effective enough for its purposes. While the bulk of the younger generation In East Germanyubstantial part of the party apparatus is now composed of younger members who have been carefully selected and schooled and who are probably generally reliable.

9 The real strength of the SED, however, has been in the hard core of professionalwhich forms the central party ap-paratus. The continuity of5 by Walter Ulbricht hasthis strength. Although he is widely detested, even within party ranks, hispersonality and personal ascendancy have saved the SED from serious factionalism, the most dangerous disease to whichparlies are exposed. With8 of the opposition led by Karl Schirdewan. the party's unity seems to have bren firmly restored. Disagreements overpolicy, mainly with respect to thc pace and methods of pushing on toward fullcontinue to arise, but these seem now to be resolved within the framework of routine party discipline. The chanceserioussplit over thc main lines of party policy seem to have declined as the worst economic difficulties have been overcome and thc fear of populur resistance has subsided. In recent years, the more open commitment of Soviet policyrolonged division of Germany has also silenced those Communists who seem to haveolicy ofurther hardening of that division.

he capability of the regime to cope with Internal security problems has Unproved. The security police has gamed In professional quality and experience. Attempts atconspiratorial activity are now unlikely to escape detection, and significant organized opposilion Is for all practical purposes The German Evangelical Church remains the only Important body havingconnections outside Eastbut Its significance is chieflyocus of moral opposition. Local outbreaks ofcould and probably would be suppressed by the Internal security forces. If they were to become widespread, however, it is doubtful that even the East German Army could beupon to quell them. The presence oftroops as the final guarantee of theot the regime tends to spare the Eastforces any ultimate test.

nother indication of the regime'sIs the considerable reduction of direct Soviet control over the day-to-day affairs of the regime. Soviet advisers, who as late34 were stationed In all important East German ministries and In the armed forces down to battalion level, have been gradually withdrawn. By thc fallew Soviet advisers remained, and these were principally with the security andservices. There are no longer Soviet advisers in the party itself, control now being exercised through contacts between the top East Oerman and Soviet leaders. This change in direct Soviet control reflected the alteration in Sov ct methods which occurred in all the satellite countries after the death of Stalin In consequence, the East German leaders, having been encouraged to do so by thehave tried to act more as If theirs were an independent regime, and they probably al times have evenertain pressureMoscow to adopt the kind of policies which best suited East German Interests.

Popular Altitudes

lso important to thc more stable security situation hasradual accommodation on the part of the population to thet regime. Both the growing economic

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ot thc regime and the relativeIn Soviet power have contributed lo this trend. There ls even some pride in East Germany's achievements. Large numbers of those least willing to make theleft in the heavy refugee exodus ofyears. The attitudes of thoseharp decline. Intensified by the events in Hungaryn any expectation that Western policy will be able toommunist withdrawal and restore the unity of the country. There Is even someof what is taken loack of Interest and effort tor reunification ln West Germany, and Ihis acts psychologically to favorThc economic incentive toor flight is also diminishing for most groups as living conditions Improve.

n part due to these factors and also in part to the increased effccliveness of GDR security measures, the flow of refugees lias declined sharply over the last two or threeeriodic upsurges continue to occur, however, as new pressures are brought to bear on particular occupational groups. The movement to East Germany from the West, although it has remained approximatelynow probably amounts to about one-third the movement out of East Oermany. The current outflow of refugees probably hasinor effect on economic growth, though it docs from time to time accentuate shortages of specific skills. East Germans continue to have extensive personal and family

r* ment of Refugees from Beat Gen cny lo Weil Germany (These are official Westfigures based on the numbers of official appllcauons for refugee slalua.)

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19S3

I95G

January February March April ..

I Appro*.)

contacts with West Germans, and this factor probably has sustained thc refugee flow to some extent. These contacts are likely to diminish over time, especially in view of the obstacles which the East German regime imposes.

should be emphasized, however,growing attitude of accommodationregimeurely conditional one. primarilyense of theof any prospect for removing power rather than from anyacceptance of lt. Beneath the surfaceOermany there continues to besentimenteep-scalednational consciousness. It maythat German nationalism is strongerEast than In West Oermany. The veryol Communist totalitariansuch that It opposition breaks out itdo so suddenly, violently, andprevious planning, and become In such an event, the securitythc army, would probably notor adequate, and the regime wouldto call upon Soviet forces. fortuitous combination ofwhich by its very nature cannotthe East German population lsto resort to acts of desperationregime.

Development

economic achievements of thcrecent years are one of tho main sourcesgrowing strength. With Uie nearof the Soviet imposed drain on theeconomy, and with recentinvestment and foreign trade, theeconomy hasoingIt is stUl much less productiveWest German economy, but has ahigher rate of growth. Industrydependent on the USSR for creditsmaterials, which has resulted In agreater orientation of the wholeto the Bloc system. AboutercentGerman trade is now with Blocpercent with West Germany, ander-

wlth other non-Bloc countries. In two

SEC/RET

the past three years. East Germany was the USSR's most important trading partner, andas second only to Communist China.

plans for overtaking WestIn per capita consumptiono be realized, living standardsOermany have now reached orlevels, except ln housing, andconsumption now isercent of that in West Germany.Is unlikely lo change significantlynext few years, although theGermanl continue to rise,process, the difference in livingEast and West Germany islose its poUtical Importance, and theIncentive lo move West, especially for

the East German Industrial worker, Is

III. THE LONGER TERMhe Soviet and SED leaders almostdo not consider the final end of their policy lo be merely the achievement ofand economic stabilitytatefrom thc German nation, even though It has become an important and productive member of the Bloc They almost certainly hope that, by fashioning East Germany into an example of the "superiority ofspecially over the syslem In Wesl Germany, they can advance their cause in Germanyhole. The immediate aim is to show the world and the Germans that East Germany is an established politicalthat its internal measures ofare Irrevocable and acceptable to the population, and that ltermanent part of the Bloc. They apparenUy hope ln the next few years to realize their proclaimed goals to raise per capita production and living standardsevel comparable to those in West Germany, and at thc same time complete the socialization of the country. They believe that these achievements would materiallythe regime's prestige at home and its in- Influence in West Germany and enhance the

remains the weakest spoteconomy. Last fall the partythe course of fixing responsibility forresults in agriculture, again focusedon the question of farmand reaffirmed Ulbrlcht's program ofpressure on private farmersSubsequently, unexpectedsuccesses in overcoming resistance toledecision to pressa "blitz" campaign throughoutand onpril the regimeagriculture was fully collectivized.thc campaign has for the most partthe paper consent of farmers toActually attempting to carrynecessary organizational measures inalmost certainly will add loconsiderable short-term problemsregime in agricultural production.in the next year or so, thehave to reckon with strong passivefrom thc peasantry, and withadded expense in providingmachinery and farm buildingsin the change-over from privatefarming Food supplybe aggravated temporarily, andmorale. In the longer run.will probably result In

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or at least neutralizing Westby important states would not only con-

many and ultimately achieving tneto internal stability, but would also be

Uon of Germany under Communistlong step in qualifying the regime for its

... _ .role in the contest for Germany. To

hether East Germany proves able topfrom

the role assigned to It by Communist Yugoslavia, but it

lso depends heavily on representation inoun-

ments in Wes Germany and elsewhere^ acn

thew. West Germany andJ f

Western alliance are bound to encounter -*

interna, crists ultimately, and it is their

to have in the^ Ens.German regimeEst Oerman effort at present is directed

ful insuument ready toeaploit the^ npw Afrlcan th wm w

when it arrives and indeed help toa diplo-

f possible. In the meantime however, Recognition by fl ew

East Qerman regime may itself. -

make flight ^vc all Jt is

symbol meaning thatwell be faced for the first timeue-

Bast Oermany is not finally . .

'crisis. There docs not appear to be

Should the East German populace come .

conclude lhat thc freedom of West Berlinto Ulbricht andto be lost or evenrobably ensue.that Communist power in EastV'Tupermanent and irresistible wouldwithin the party toThere would probablyutcc^ne. Aninal chance fornot handlethose who remained, the tendencyih"caccommodation with the regimeewstimulated On thc other hand,SMkrccouP lumlne to aCommunist assault on the freedomUrwecnBerlin should seem to have beenUlbricht.

he Communists attach greatand are probably of lesser caliber. Ul-

to their persistent campaign to winhas been by norilliant leader,

international status for East Germany byhis political sagacity and his will to power

RET

laining wider diplomatic recognition. been assets to the party and regime.

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SEfCRET

if no equally powerful leader appears, however, Ulbricht's loss will lend to be offset by thc development, as the regime matures, of an elite class entrenched In positions of power In thc party, state, and economicThus, whatever changes of leadership may occur in the future, they are unlikely to diminish the capacily of the regime to maintain and administer power.

The Soviets would probably regard aof their troops In East Oermanyseful maneuver at an appropriaten connection wtth thc Summit, or at some stage In the disarmament game, or as anpolitical pressure against West German and NATO armament programs. They would expectove to be taken also as aof Iheir confidence In the viability of the Communist regime in East Germany. We believe lhat the time Is noi far oft* when the Soviets, without hazarding the internal security of the regime, could reduce their troops in East Germany substantially,by as much asmaller withdrawal, though one large enough to have propaganda Impact, might be made at any time.

Nevertheless, we believe that the Soviets will feel obliged for the foreseeable future to maintain in East Germany sufficient troops to cope with the possibilityeneralof regime security. However effective thc regime's security apparatus may be against internal opposition, or howeverlis economic development, the Soviets are unlikely tu underestimate the hazard to

Communist control of East Germany Inherent in the continued existence of another and stronger Germany. Although Germansentiment seems, in consequence of the defeat5 and the subsequentof the country, to remain largelytoday, it ts too deep-rooted to be wholly without effect on the long-term relations of the two Germanics

f the division of Germany continues for many years, we believe that East Germany will continue to make gains In political stability and economic power. Its population willremain fundamentally alienated from the regime, but will increasingly accommodate Itself to lifeommunist state so lhat any threat to public security arising from purely internal causes will progressively diminish. Institutional and personal ties between thc two parts of Germany will probably have less and less political significance. The effective influence of West Germany on developments in East Germany will probably continue to decline Nevertheless, the persistence of na-tlonollst sentiment In both Germanics willotential hazard to the East German regime. ragment of the Germanwhose regimereature of SovielEast Germany is unllkelv ever to be able to associate the force of national sentiment with Itself and its policies. Its security will continue to be threatened by any shift In the relation of forces ln Central and Eastern Europe which would seem likely to give an opportunity for the reassert ion of Germanaspirations

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