The State Planning Commission, 1950 – 1990

Abgeschlossenes Projekt


This research project is part of a four-volume history of the German Federal Ministry for the Economy and its predecessors between 1917 and 1990. The project is supported by the Federal Ministry for the Economy and Technology. The volume on the development of the East German economic administration between 1945 and 1990 centers on the State Planning Commission (SPC) of the GDR and its place among East German institutions. A number of selected areas of conflict are examined here by six different authors, which not only illuminate the scopes of action and areas of difficulty of this administration, but which are also of relevance to GDR economic history as a whole. Andreas Malycha’s contribution to the volume centers on the institutional history of this complex administrative apparatus.

With this project, begun in February 2013, Andreas Malycha looks into the structural internal workings of a centrally organized Soviet-style economic administration. The history of the SPC and its predecessors is investigated here with a chief focus on institutional and personnel aspects. This includes, in particular, an exploration of the close intertwinement between the SED and the state, and of the dependence on the directives and ordinances issued by the SED from its seat of power, as well as a look into the opportunities and limitations of economic planning and steering. This specifically involves the matrix of relationships between the politburo, the central party apparatus, the GDR Council of Ministers, and the SPC, along with the scope for action available to these different instances. This involves whether and for which particular phases there is evidence of self-organization with regard to economic policy, despite all dependence on the changing political guidelines established by the SED leadership.

The goal of the project is a problem-oriented history of administrations, in which the SPC can be embedded in the sociopolitical context and the guidelines set out in SED economic policy at different times. The results of this research on the history of this specific institution, one that was under particularly strong political control, can ultimately contribute to answering the question of whether economic rationality could at all develop within communist economic bureaucracies and could prevail against the political imperative of party rule.

Publications within the project

Dierk Hoffmann (Hrsg.)

Die zentrale Wirtschaftsverwaltung in der SBZ/DDR.

Berlin 2016


Dierk Hoffmann, Andreas Malycha (Hrsg.)

Erdöl, Mais und Devisen.

Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte

Berlin 2016


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