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SED's Third Party Congress at Werner Seelenbinder Hall in East Berlin (July 20-24, 1950)
At its First Party Conference in January 1949, the SED decided to transform itself into a Leninist-Stalinist party of "a new type" along the lines of the Soviet Communist Party [KPdSU]. At a meeting in Moscow in early May 1950, Otto Grotewohl, Wilhelm Pieck, Walter Ulbricht, and Fred Oel├čner had Stalin personally approve the program for the 3rd Party Congress scheduled for July 1950. Changes requested by the Soviets were inserted word-for-word into the texts of the speeches given at the congress. At its Third Party Congress, the SED decided to continue transforming itself into a new type of party; it also decided on a new statute, on the introduction of a central committee instead of a party executive committee, and on the Five-Year Plan. The party's centralized top-down decision-making made it factually impossible to implement potential suggestions for changes to the "recommendations" of the party leadership. Party congresses thus played a chiefly propagandistic role. Photo by Herbert Hensky.