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German History in Documents and Images
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The Founding of the German Democratic Republic (October 7, 1949)
In the Soviet occupation zone, the People's Congress movement was organized in parallel with the constitutional and political discussions that led to the establishment of the Federal Republic. It conceived of itself as a movement in opposition to the division of Germany, which had become increasingly more pronounced after the failure of the foreign ministers' conference in Moscow in March 1947. At the Second People's Congress on March 17-18, 1948, the German People's Council [Deutscher Volksrat] was constituted, and at its ninth conference on October 7, 1949, the People's Council proclaimed the establishment of the German Democratic Republic and resolved to transform itself into a Provisional People's Parliament [Provisorische Volkskammer]. In this photo, Wilhelm Pieck reads the founding manifesto of the National Front, which protested the increasingly Western orientation of the Federal Republic of Germany, which had been founded a few months earlier. The message in the background reads: "Long live the National Front of the Democratic Gemany." Photo by Jochen Moll.