The ESS (1968-71)


The ESS (1968-71)


  • Between 1968 and 1971, the GDR economy grew by an average of 5.7%
  • Industrial production rose considerably across all sectors, including electronics and light industry, this helped to improve the supply of consumer goods
  • Industrial production rose 43% between 1958 and 1965
  • Progress was made rebuilding urban areas such as Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig
  • More centrally planned and extended to include agriculture and trade as well as industry
  • It restored price subsidies by the state to promote key industries
  • Placed more emphasis on developing computer technology and chemical and plastics industries, with higher production quotas
  • This was in line with what the USSR wanted


  • The GDR did not have the required facilities, experts, and financial investment to match those of the West
  • The GDR did not meet Ulbricht's aim of overtaking the economy of the FRG
  • Demand still often exceeded supply
  • The desire to overtake the FRG placed emphasis on a few industries and not enough on consumer goods
  • Not followed when Ulbricht was replaced by Honecker
  • Consumer goods were of inferior quality to the FRG causing dissatisfaction


The ESS was more of a success than the NES. The ESS had a positive impact on all industrial production sectors. 


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