East Germany

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Common name for the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik).

After World War II, the Allies partitioned Germany into four occupation zones: American, British, French and Soviet sectors. After the three western zones returned to self-rule as the Federal Republic of Germany, the portion occupied by the Soviet Union in the East officialy became the German Democratic Republic and remained under Soviet influence until shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union.

The East German government was controlled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands or SED), and the country was famed for its police state and its heavily fortified border with West Germany to prevent its citizens from defecting to the West.

In November 1989, the East German government caved in to immense pressure from within, and finally opened their borders to West Germany. After a short period of negotiations between both German states and the four World War II victors, the GDR was dissolved and its territories integrated into the West German constitution as five member states on October 3, 1990.

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