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Christian Democratic Union (East Germany)

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Title: Christian Democratic Union (East Germany)  
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Subject: Socialist Unity Party of Germany, East German general election, 1990, Party of Democratic Socialism (Germany), Leadership of East Germany, Gerhard Pohl
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Christian Democratic Union (East Germany)

Christian Democratic Union of Germany
Christlich-Demokratische Union Deutschlands
Leader Andreas Hermes (1945)
Jakob Kaiser (1945-1947)
Otto Nuschke (1948-1957)
August Bach (1957-1966)
Gerald Götting (1966-1989)
Lothar de Maizière (1989-1990)
Founded 1945
Dissolved October 1990
Merged into West Germany CDU
Headquarters East Berlin, German Democratic Republic
Membership  (1987) 140,000[1]
Ideology 1945-1952, 1989-1990:
Christian democracy
Christian socialism
Political position 1945-1952, 1989-1990:
National affiliation Democratic Bloc (1945-1950)
National Front (1950-1990)
Alliance for Germany (1990)
International affiliation None
Colors Blue, Yellow
Party flag
Politics of East Germany

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (German: Christlich-Demokratische Union Deutschlands, CDU) was an East German political party founded in 1945. It was part of the National Front with the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) until 1989.

It contested the free elections in 1990 as an arm of the West German Christian Democratic Union, into which it merged after German reunification later that same year.

Party politics

CDU poster showing Otto Nuschke and reading 20 years of CDU and Christians in service of peace and Socialism

The CDU was primarily made up of devout middle class Christians, and was originally very similar to its West German counterpart. Its first chairman was Andreas Hermes, who had been a prominent member of the Centre Party during the Weimar Republic and a three-time minister. He fled to the West in 1946 and was replaced by Jakob Kaiser, another former Centre Party member. Kaiser in turn was pushed out in 1947 in favour of the more pliant Otto Nuschke, a former member of the German Democratic Party. Nuschke and his supporters gradually pushed out those CDU members who weren't willing to do the Communists' bidding. This culminated at the Sixth Party Congress in 1952, at which it formally transformed itself into a loyal partner of the Communists. At this gathering, it declared itself "a Socialist party without any limitations" in accordance with the new line of "Christian realism."

In the 22 "Theses on Christian Realism", the CDU committed itself to the "Socialist reorganisation of Society" (1. edition, 1951). Emphasising the "exemplary realisation" of Karl Marx's "teaching on building a new, better social order" in the USSR, it was declared that Socialism offered at the time "the best opportunity for the realisation of Christ's demands and for exercising the practical Christianity." The programme also asserted the CDU's support for the working class' leading role in establishing socialism, a development which the party regarded from its 6th Congress on as "historically necessary and consistent."[2]

Its deputies, like all other East German parties, consistently voted for the government proposals in the Volkskammer, The only exception was the March 9, 1972 vote on the abortion law, when there were 14 'nays' and 8 absentees among the CDU deputies.

After Nuschke's death, the party was led by August Bach for a shorter period and in 1966 longtime general secretary Gerald Götting was elected chairman. Götting, who was chairman of the Volkshammer (and de facto vice president of the GDR) from 1969 to 1976, carried on and elaborated the pro-government line.

Götting remained Chairman and an SED ally until Erich Honecker was deposed in favour of Egon Krenz in October 1989. On 2 November 1989, Götting was deposed as CDU chairman by inner party reformers. In December 1989 Lothar de Maizière, a lawyer and deputy chairman of the Evangelical Church Synod of East Germany, was elected chairman. From that point on the party deposed (and later expelled) its former top figures, and became the strongest proponent of speedy reunification with West Germany.

In March 1990, the CDU became the main element of the Alliance for Germany, a centre-right coalition. It won the first (and as it turned out, only) free general elections and became the biggest party in the People's Chamber. In April de Maizìere became Prime Minister of the GDR, heading a grand coalition that immediately set about reuniting the country with the West.

In August 1990, the Democratic Awakening, a minor member of the governing coalition, merged into the East German CDU. The merger brought Democratic Awakening spokeswoman and future Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel into the party.

In October 1990, the East German CDU merged into the West German CDU.


Exterior of Neue Zeit building, rear view, with the Berlin Wall in the foreground, 1984.

The official newspaper of the party was Neue Zeit, published by Union: Verlag.[3]


Andreas Hermes 1945
Jakob Kaiser 1945–1947
Otto Nuschke 1948–1957
August Bach 1957–1966
Gerald Götting 1966–1989
Wolfgang Heyl 1989 (acting)
Lothar de Maizière 1989–1990

General secretaries

Georg Dertinger 1946–1949
Gerald Götting 1949–1966
Martin Kirchner 1989–1990

East German CDU politicians

See also


  1. ^ Dirk Jurich, Staatssozialismus und gesellschaftliche Differenzierung: eine empirische Studie, p.31. LIT Verlag Münster, 2006, ISBN 3825898938
  2. ^ Christlich-Demokratische Union Deutschlands (CDU) [Ost] by Ralf G. Jahn
  3. ^ [1] OCLC WorldCat

External links

  • chronik der wendeChristlich Demokratische Union of the GDR from
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