ABSTRACT

One other problem was that the Soviet Zone lacked the hard coal and steel needed to feed the sinews of industry. In 1938, only 7 per cent of Ger­ many’s iron and steel products originated in what became the Soviet Zone, although the population there constituted 32 per cent of the Reich’s popu­ lation.2 The industry suffered heavily from Soviet dismantling policies. Only about 2 per cent of Germany’s hard coal was produced in the area of the Soviet Zone/GDR before the war and the area was actually running out of reserves.3 The well-developed chemical industry suffered from the fact that 80 per cent of the sulphuric acid came from West Germany. Although before 1945 33 per cent of German motor vehicle production originated in what became the Soviet Zone/GDR, its factories delivered only 14 per cent of such essentials as tyres, spark plugs, pistons and glass. Many of the dyes for the textile industry also came from the West. One natural resource it did possess was uranium, now needed for the new nuclear industry. But the Soviets took charge of this and the East German economy benefited little from it. When the Soviets did give the green light for the GDR to develop a nuclear energy capacity, they saw to it that their client was dependent on their technology. It has been concluded that ‘The situation in the energy sector and the historical dependence on Soviet nuclear technology played a significant role in the economic downfall of the GDR.’4