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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Christian Democratic Union

The CDU is the only party in East Germany with a counterpart of the same name in West Germany; both parties have the same roots. Originally CDU members came from the ranks of farmers, craftsmen, small manufacturers, and Christians, both Protestants and Roman Catholics. At the time of its formation in 1945, the CDU was an independent political party representing middle-class interests. By 1948, however, the original CDU leadership had been removed or suppressed, and the party had lost its independent status. Since that time, Western observers have considered the CDU an auxiliary of the SED, useful for its appeal to the Christian, middle-class constituency. Since the CDU's Sixth Party Congress in 1952, when it embraced socialism and affirmed that a socialist society affords the best opportunity to practice Christianity, the party has been modeled on the SED's organizational pattern.

Gerald Goetting, chairman of the CDU in 1987, has held that post since May 1966 and has been active in the party since the immediate post-World War II period. Goetting has been a deputy in the People's Chamber and a member of the Presidium of the National Front since 1950. Since 1960 Goetting has been a deputy chairman of the Council of State, and he was president of the People's Chamber until he was replaced in 1976 by Horst Sindermann. At that time, Goetting was moved to the presidency of the League for Friendship Among Peoples (Liga für Volker Freundschaft), which oversees the activities of twenty-five or thirty individual friendship committees involved in international relations.

Data as of July 1987