The establishment of the Communist social model in one part of Germany was a result of international postwar developments, of the Cold War waged by East and West, and of the resultant partition of Germany. As the author argues, the GDR's 'new' society was deliberately conceived as a counter-model to the liberal and market regulated system. Although the hopes connected with this alternative system turned out to be misplaced and the planned ecomy may be thoroughly discredited today, it is important to understand the context in which it developed and failed. This study, a bestseller in its German version, offers an in-depth exploration of the GDR ecomy's starting conditions and the obstacles to growth it confronted during the consolidation phase. These factors, however, were t decisive in the GDR's lack of growth compared to that of the Federal Republic. As this study convincingly shows, it was the ecomic model that led to failure.
Andre Steiner is the Research Director of the Department of Economic and Social History at the Center for Contemporary History Potsdam (ZZF) and Professor of economic and social history at the University of Potsdam. He has been a Research Fellow at Institutes for Economic History in Berlin and Mannheim and was Professor at the Ruhr University Bochum. His publications include Die DDR-Wirtschaftsreform der sechziger Jahre: Konflikt zwischen Effizienz- und Machtkalkul (Berlin, 1999); Von Plan zu Plan: Eine Wirtschaftsgeschichte der DDR (Munich, 2004); and Preispolitik und Lebensstandard: Nationalsozialismus, DDR und Bundesrepublik im Vergleich (editor, Cologne, 2006).