The First Group of SED Reformers Takes Charge

  • Dietrich Orlow


In late October 1989 a group of SED reformers forced the hardliners to give up their leadership positions. By this move the SED reformers hoped to stop the erosion of Communist power. To accomplish their goal they turned to Kaderpolitik: change personnel, not policies. In successive waves of resignations, all of the old leaders were replaced by new faces.

The plan failed. Neither the SED’s rank-and-file members nor the people of the GDR were convinced that personnel changes at the top were enough. The reformers’ one popular decision, the opening of the GDR’s borders, came too late to keep them in power. By the end of 1989 they had resigned their party and state offices and vanished from the political scene, leaving the SED to reorganize itself as a new party, the SED/Party of Democratic Socialism.


Secretary General Central Committee German Democratic Republic Liberal Democratic Party District Leader 


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Copyright information

© Dietrich Orlow 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietrich Orlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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