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Cold War EcologyForests, Farms, and People in the East German Landscape, 1945-1989$
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Arvid Nelson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106602

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106602.001.0001

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Initial Conditions and Reparations

Initial Conditions and Reparations

(p.29) 3 Initial Conditions and Reparations
Cold War Ecology

Arvid Nelson

Yale University Press

As World War II was coming to an end, more than eight million refugees from Germany's eastern provinces made their way to the broad northern plains between the Oder and Elbe rivers. They left their ancestral homelands in East Prussia, joined by other refugees from Prussia's New Mark and Pomerania, and by Germans from the uplands of Silesia. After the war, the new peasants were perplexed by the prospect of farming their small plots alone, coupled with their lack of experience. In the first months of Soviet occupation, those who settled in East Germany lived better than their counterparts in the West. However, reparations lasting from 1945 to 1954 crippled the East German economy in its infancy. Both reparations and land reform were first made manifest in East Germany's farms and forests. The Socialist Unity Party of Germany leadership created a new, socialist Forest Service from scratch.

Keywords:   refugees, peasants, reparations, land reform, East Germany, farms, forests, Socialist Unity Party, World War II, Forest Service

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