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Socialist Unity Party of Germany 1946-1990 (East Germany)

Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED

Last modified: 2004-12-29 by santiago dotor
Keywords: east germany | german democratic republic | socialist unity party | sozialistische einheitspartei deutschlands | sed | oval (white) | circle (blue) | text: german | handshake | flag (red) |
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[Socialist Unity Party (East Germany)] 3:5
by Volker Moerbitz Keith
Flag adopted 1948, abolished 1990

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The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands or SED) was the ruling party of the former German Democratic Republic. The SED was founded 1946 by a forced unification of the KPD and SPD in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany. In 1989 after the fall of the Mauer [the Berlin Wall] it renamed itself SED-PDS, and since February 1990 only PDS.

Marcus Schmöger, 14 August 2000

The leading Socialist Unity Party was the result of the (Soviet-influenced) unification of the Social Democratic and Communist Party in the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany in 1946. The SED was the leading East German party, having about two million members and 127 seats in the East German Parliament (1986). The party's General Secretariat was de facto the country's governing body.

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 23 January 2001

The Socialist Unity Party of Germany was founded 21th April 1946 by a forced unification of the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands or KPD) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands or SPD). Initially this decision was applied to the whole of occupied Germany. The union was refused consistently in the three western occupation zones, where both parties remained independent. The union of the parties was thus only effective in the Soviet zone. The Socialist Unity Party of Germany was modelled after the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the year 1946, the unification was announced in the Soviet occupation zone with an emblem of a handshake. After that the first flag was adopted on the meeting of the union in East Berlin.

Designers shaped in the year 1948 the new insignia. The oval emblem was now on the red cloth.

In November 1989, the peaceful revolution took place in East Germany. On the 17th December 1989 the name of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany was altered to Socialist Unity Party of Germany-Party of Democratic Socialism (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands-Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus or SED-PDS).

Jens Pattke, 21 March 2001

Unification Emblem 1946

[Unification Emblem 1946 (East Germany)]
by Jens Pattke

Flag 1946-1948

[Socialist Unity Party 1946-1948 (East Germany)] 2:3
by Jens Pattke
Flag adopted 1946, abolished 1948

Flag 1948-1990

[Socialist Unity Party (East Germany)] 3:5
by Volker Moerbitz Keith
Flag adopted 1948, abolished 1990

A red flag with the party emblem (a white disk with at the center a red flag with clasped hands, around the edge a blue yellow-bordered circle with the letters "SOZIALISTISCHE EINHEITSPARTEI DEUTSCHLANDS" in yellow) at the center. Ratio 3:5. Illustrated in Oliver 1993, p. 32.

Norman Martin, March 1998

The emblem showed two clasped hands in front of a red flag. The whole upright oval was surrounded by the inscription Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands within a ribbon (source: Rabbow 1970, pp. 231-233. The emblem had been discontinued in January 1990, when the SED was renamed to SED-PDS and soon to PDS only [Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus or Party of Democratic Socialism]. In the same month construction workers were ordered to remove the symbol from the SED central building in Eastern Berlin (source: Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, 22th and 24th January 1990).

Dieter Linder, 11 April 1997

I might add that the party emblem was rather oval (about 1:2) than round. The only time I saw the party flag was at party congresses and (very few) at May Day demonstrations.

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 26 June 2000

A red flag with SED symbol in center, the symbol showing the historic handshake of 1946 between the two communist and social democratic leaders in front of the red flag, surrounded by the party's name. The flag was flown in front of party buildings, at party congresses, during parades at May Day and National Holiday and other political events. The existing image needed a slight correction, as the party symbol was oval not round. Sources: German Democratic Republic propaganda website and German Democratic Republic parties website.

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 23 January 2001

Yes, you are right [that the emblem is oval]. I made my image from a written description (I only knew then the central emblem from a small picture: hands and flag). According to Flaggenkurier no. 11 the blue [bordering the oval] is light blue.

Jaume Ollé, 24 January 2001