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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Industrial Expansion

Imperial Germany industrialized rapidly, and by 1890 it was Europe's foremost industrial power. Employment in the industrial and mining sectors had surpassed employment in agriculture by the turn of the century. Industrial development followed upon a significant growth in population, which increased from 40.9 million in 1870 to 49.5 million in 1890 and 67.8 million in 1914. During this period, Germans migrated to the urban and industrial areas west of the Elbe River, swelling the population of the Rhineland, Westphalia, and Saxony.

German industrialization was sparked by the railroad building of the 1840s and the subsequent development of coal mining. Coal mining created new industrial districts, most significantly in the Ruhr and the Saar. Iron ore extraction and iron and steel production accompanied the development of coal mining. Germany's acquisition of Alace-Lorraine in 1871, an area rich in iron ore, made possible the doubling of steel output between 1880 and 1900. Electrochemicals, however, occupied first place in German industry. Large salt and potassium deposits encouraged chemical manufacture, including, by the 1880s, pharmaceuticals, dyestuffs, fertilizers, and ammunition. Germany also developed its hydroelectric power and in the decade before World War I produced 50 percent of the world's electrical equipment.

Data as of July 1987