Politics 1950 up to 2000

Poster for the Baltic Sea Week 1959 Poster for the Baltic Sea Week 1959

region Mecklenburg

In 1952 Mecklenburg was split into the districts of Rostock, Schwerin and Neubrandenburg. Political power was exercised by SED district leaders on the basis of orders from East Berlin. District councils had a controlling influence on the economy and administration.

On 17th June 1953 there were strikes in large companies for free elections, the release of prisoners or a reduction in rules. The demands were fulfilled in part but the strike leaders were detained.

From 1958 to 1975 the Baltic Sea week of the Baltic Sea countries took place in the district of Rostock. The background was the GDR’s struggle to receive international recognition.

From 1958 the “coast border brigade” monitored the north and became, in 1961, part of the “NPA border troops” with the construction of the Berlin Wall. The MfS controlled the border crossings and monitored the population.

The Soviet army was stationed approximately 30 km to the east of the border. Military airfields were built in Laage and Parchim.

From 1959, Radio GDR developed in Rostock the largest GDR regional programme with the “Ferienwelle.” In 1962 GDR television established the Baltic Sea studio in Rostock.

The first demonstrations in the north against SED politics took place from 19.10.1989 in Rostock after prayers for peace. The loosely structured New Forum also organised protests in other towns. New democratic forms developed communal round tables. The party landscape changed at the same time.

The federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was re-formed in 1990 and Schwerin was the state capital. The CDU led the first two governments. Since then the state premiers have come from the SPD.

Verleihung des Namens „Volksmarine“ an die Seestreitkräfte der DDR 1960 GDR's naval force receives the name
„Volksmarine“ (People's Navy), 1960

region Western Pomerania

After dissolution of the estates in 1952, the regions of Western Pomerania are incorporated into the districts of Rostock, Neubrandenburg and Frankfurt/Oder. Political power lies with the district and municipal leadership of the SED, although they receive instructions from East Berlin. The councils in the districts and municipalities are in charge of administration and the economy.

New municipal zoning ignores the historical Pomeranian structures. The merger between Ribnitz and Damgarten in 1950 to create a unified city is particularly drastic. The free district of Stralsund is the only constant feature. The GDR uses the Baltic Week of Baltic States, held in Rostock between 1958 and 1975, as a means of acquiring international recognition in the Cold War. The Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme visits Stralsund in 1984, where he is welcomed by Erich Honecker.

Demonstrations against SED policies flare up in the north in 1989 and are held after the Monday 'prayers for peace'. The loosely structured New Forum organises protests in several cities. The first SPD association of the three northern districts forms in Stralsund on 18 October 1989.
Communal round tables are set up to discuss new forms of democracy.

The State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is reconstituted in 1990, and Schwerin is made capital city. Landesverband Vorpommern e.V. unites stakeholders advocating a state of Western Pomerania, but to no avail. The conservative CDU forms the first two governments. A woman prime minister from the centre-left SPD has governed since 1998.


Exhibits from the area Politics:

(select exhibit or time)