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 Oelßner 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.