Less than five months after Great Britain, the United States, and France established the Federal Republic of Germany in West Germany, the Democratic Republic of Germany is proclaimed within the Soviet occupation zone. Criticized by the West as an un-autonomous Soviet creation, Wilhelm Pieck was named East Germany’s first president, with Otto Grotewohl as prime minister.
Approximately half the size of West Germany, East Germany consisted of the German states of Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Lusatia, Saxony, and Thuringia. Berlin, the former German capital, remained divided between West and East German authorities, even though it was situated deep within the communist Democratic Republic of Germany. East Germany ceased to exist in 1990, when its land and people were absorbed into the democratic Federal Republic of Germany.