Historically, East Germany was the Soviet Union's most pliant and loyal ally in Eastern Europe. Lack of international recognition made East Germany dependent on the Soviet Union. Until the Four Power Agreement on Berlin and the signing of the Basic Treaty by the two Germanies in the early 1970s, the noncommunist world treated the Federal Republic of Germany as the "real Germany" and East Germany as nothing more than an artificial state lacking international legitimacy. In 1954 Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet representative at the Four Power Foreign Ministers Conference in Berlin, proposed simultaneous elections in both Germanies leading to the creation of a unified German state. If such elections had been held, the SED would have lost power.
The presence of West Germany also made the SED regime more dependent on the Soviet Union. Before the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, 2.5 million East German citizens had walked across the border to live in West Germany. A common language, family ties and access to West German media left the East Germans much less isolated from West European culture than were their counterparts in Eastern Europe.
This publication reproduces the State Department Decimal Files 762B, 862B and 962B from the General Records of the Department of State in the custody of the National Archives.