Timeline for the GDR

A timeline of the GDR, showing both real events and those in the counter-factual world of Stealing the Future.

Real-life events are marked with red markers, while black markers denote fictional events from the East Berlin Series.

For further background information on the events of autumn 1989 see: Revolution in Berlin,  a timeline put together by the Robert Havemann Stiftung and N Richardson Little’s excellent and clear article The Long Fall of the Berlin Wall which deals with the period between the 9th November 1989 and the 1st July 1990.

End of World War II

5th August 1945

Germany is occupied by the Soviets, the US, UK and France. Some territories in the east are taken over by Poland and the Soviet Union. Berlin is put under joint 4-power administration, but is deep within the Soviet Occupation Zone.

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Founding of the GDR

7th October 1949

After the establishment of both NATO and West Germany in spring 1949, the Soviets founded the GDR.

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Inner-German border closed

26th May 1952

Closure and fortification of inner-German border between the GDR and the FRG, including around the back of West Berlin (but not between East and West Berlin). Between 1952 and 1990 the border is continuously reinforced.

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1953 Uprising

17th June 1953

After a strike by construction workers on the Stalin Allee project in Berlin the day before, protesters gather in East Berlin and around the country demanding a new government and an end to Soviet occupation. The uprising is put down with the support of the Soviet Army.

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Berlin Wall erected

13th August 1961

West Berlin is sealed off from the East, border fortifications around the back of West Berlin and along the inner-German border are further reinforced.

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Stasi raid the Umweltbibliothek in East Berlin

25th November 1987

The opposition library and venue the Umweltbibliothek was raided by the Stasi in an attempt to shut down a Samisdat printing press. Those detained in the raid are quickly released after publicity and pressure both at home and abroad.

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Rosa Luxemburg Demonstration

7th January 1988

Protestors join the official Rosa Luxemburg Demonstration. Over 100 detained, 25 forced into temporary or permanent exile.

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Hungary opens borders to the West

2nd May 1989

Hungary begins to open up its border to Austria, triggering the departure of tens of thousands of East Germans, first through Hungary, then via Czechoslovakia.

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Elections in the GDR

7th May 1989

Falsified election results (98.5% in favour of State parties) are exposed by activists who took exit polls at voting stations throughout the country.

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First Monday Demonstration

4th September 1989

First of the regular mass Monday Demonstrations, which continued until after reunification, was held in Leipzig.

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Alexanderplatz Demonstration

4th November 1989

The largest independent demonstration in the history of the GDR. This is the point at which the history of Stealing the Future diverges from reality.

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Berlin Wall Opens

9th November 1989

New regulations on foreign travel are announced, but the uncertainty of the Politbureau spokesman combined with a deliberate misinterpretation by some western media leads to East Berliners massing at the Wall. At 10.45pm the first border guards capitulate: the Berlin Wall had fallen.

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General Strike in Stealing the Future

20th November 1989

In the world of Stealing the Future a general strike is called to protest against the West German government’s attempts to co-opt the East German government and force a speedy re-unification. The strike strengthens the East Germans’ resolve and confidence that they can transform their society.

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For Our Country Statement

26th November 1989

This popular statement, signed by other 2 million people called for GDR of solidarity, freedom and social justice and condemned any betrayal of material and moral values that unification would inevitably bring.

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First Central Round Table Meets

7th December 1989

Modeled after the Polish Round Tables instituted in April 1989, the East German Round Table was introduced by the SED (Communist Party) in an attempt to co-opt the opposition. The Round Tables became a major focus of power, advising and directing the government until the elections in March 1990. In…

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Referendum in Stealing the Future

7th January 1990

In the world of Stealing the Future a referendum is held on the issue of reunification. The plebiscite follows the exposure of Helmut Kohl’s underhanded attempts to force reunification and a clear majority vote in favour of continued independence.

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Citizens storm Stasi HQ

15th January 1990

Throughout the country People’s Committees have taken over Stasi offices, preventing the removal of arms and the destruction of files. In East Berlin this doesn’t happen until January 1990 when the main Stasi headquarters is occupied during a demonstration.

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Volkskammer Elections

18th March 1990

First free parliamentary elections in East Germany. Helmut Kohl, the West German Chancellor guarantees East Germans rapid economic growth and that nobody would be worse off if they voted for his party the CDU (and by extension, reunification).

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Currency union – the DM comes

1st July 1990

The West German Deutsche Mark is introduced in the East, leading to near total collapse of East German industry.

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Reunification

3rd October 1990

The GDR secedes itself to the Federal Republic of Germany – East Germany ceases to exist.

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West Silesia Gains Independence

1st March 1993

In Stealing the Future West Silesia gains independence from the federal state of Saxony, itself becoming a state within the GDR.

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Body of Hans Maier found

22nd September 1993

In the book Stealing the Future, the body of prominent politician Hans Maier is found. This is the start of the narration of the story by Martin Grobe.

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Nazi demonstration in East Berlin

14th March 1994

The story Thoughts Are Free, the sequel to Stealing The Future begins with a Nazi demonstration on the streets of East Berlin

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Dr Kaminsky tours the GDR

12th June 1994

At the start of the third book in the East Berlin Series, Dr Kaminsky, the General Secretary of the PDS (successor party to the Communists) holds a rally to mobilise his followers. Meanwhile Karo the punk is engaging in a little protest against the populist leader.

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