The Differences Between East Vs West Germany

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

There are many differences between East and West Germany during the Cold War. Some of them were social, economic, cultural, and political. Additionally, there was a strong military presence in both countries which played a key role in separating the two regions. The Berlin Wall is one notable example that served as an effective barrier for years until it fell in 1989 due to protests from citizens who wanted to unite with West Germany. This event marked the end of communism in Eastern Europe which led to the fall of the Soviet Union before its dissolution on December 26th, 1991 after nearly 67 years since its establishment on April 30th, 1922 (Gorbachev).

Following World War II, the two sides of Germany were divided until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Here are some of the main differences between East and West Germany.

In East Germany, the government played a much larger role in people’s lives. All media was controlled by the state, and access to basic items like food and clothing was rationed. 

In West Germany, citizens had more freedom. The government played a smaller role in people’s lives, and private enterprise thrived. Access to food and other items was not restricted, making them more readily available.

Comparison between East and West Germany

Parameters of ComparisonEast Germany  West Germany
Higher unemployment rateHave a higher unemployment rateLower unemployment rate
Average wageLess wageMore wage
CountryEast Germany was a communist countryWest Germany had a democratic government with free elections
EconomyIn East Germany, the economy was centrally planned and controlled by the state In West Germany, the economy relied on market forces to determine prices and production levels 
WealthierLess wealthyWealthier

What is East Germany?

East Germany is an area of Central Europe that was under communist rule from 1949 to 1989. It’s bordered by Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. The people who lived there were called East Germans or Germanies. This blog post will explore what this region is like today and how it has changed since its reunification with West Germany in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.   For more information about East Germany read on.

East Germany is a term used to describe the area of Germany that was under the control of the Soviet Union after World War II. This region was known as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) or the German Democratic Republic. The Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Berlin, was a physical symbol of this division.

East Vs West Germany

What is West Germany?

It is the western part of Germany. It is one of the four countries that make up the Federal Republic of Germany. West Germany was established in 1949 and it helps to unify post-war Europe after World War II. The country also has a democratic government and economy which are capitalist, as well as a culture that’s based on Western and Central European cultures with some Southern German influences.

West Germany was a country that was formed after World War II in 1949. It was created out of the western portion of the former German Reich. The country consisted of two parts: the Federal Republic of Germany and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. West Germany lasted until 1990 when it reunited with East Germany to form a single, unified German nation.

East Vs West Germany

10 Differences Between East and West Germany

1. The East German government was communist, the West German government is democratic.

2. The East German economy was based on a central command system with state ownership of the means of production, while in the West it is based on free-market capitalism.

3. In East Germany you had to be careful what you said or did because there were informers everywhere, while in West Germany they are not as common.

4. There are many more people living in East Germany than there are living in West Germany.

5. The average annual income per person is higher for people who live in Western Europe than it is for those who live in Eastern Europe.

6. Education and healthcare have been better funded by the government since reunification so that they are equalized between both countries now.

7. East Germany was a socialist state and West Germany was capitalist.

8. more people were living in East Germany than West Germany.

9. The Berlin Wall separated the two countries for over 30 years.

10. Westerners could travel to East Berlin, but Easterners couldn’t travel to West Berlin or other parts of the west without an official permit.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of East Germany

1. East Germany was a socialist state established in 1949.

2. The country’s capital was Berlin.

3. In 1990, the Berlin Wall came down and East Germany became reunified with West Germany.

4. The GDR had a population of 16 million people at its peak in 1989.

5. One of the most famous buildings in East Berlin is the TV tower that stands tall over Alexanderplatz.

6. In 1973, Erich Honecker became head of state for East Germany.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of West Germany

1. West Germany was a democratic capitalist country in Central Europe.

2. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was the socialist state that surrounded it.

3. In 1937, Hitler and Joseph Stalin signed a non-aggression pact called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

4. West Germany had an estimated population of 66 million people in 1989 while East Germany only had about 17 million people.

5. Between 1949 and 1990, Berlin was divided into two parts – one part belonging to East Germany and one to West.

6. After World War II, there were four zones – American, British, French, and Soviet – all located in what would soon become West Germany.


While the economy in West Germany began to prosper, East German citizens were still suffering from shortages of food and other necessities. The disparity between the two countries was clear for all to see as many people would cross over the border to buy cheaper goods at stores in West Berlin. This became known as “the shopping gap.” When it came time for reunification, there was much debate about how best to address these disparities. Several factors must be considered when addressing this issue including what is happening now with both economies post-reunification, whether or not East Germans have since been able to catch up economically with their counterparts living just across the border in Western Europe, and if they have caught up enough so that unification will not need to be revisited in the future.


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