2. Ulbricht decided to speed the establishment of Sovietization in 1950
The third congress of the SED took place in 1950. As General Secretary of the party, Ulbricht controlled the agenda. He announced a new five-year plan for the GDR, during which industrial production would double. Ulbricht could not move forward in his plan at the time, because Stalin supported the reunification of Germany. In March, 1952, Stalin presented a plan to the Western Allies, in a document which became known as the Stalin Note. Stalin proposed a reunited Germany, independent of alliances with either the West or the Soviets. He also suggested the new Germany be disarmed. The Western Allies counterproposal suggested the new Germany be rearmed for defensive purposes, and be free to engage in defense alliances such as the then proposed European Defense Community. Stalin refused to accept a rearmed Germany, and by mid-1952 it became evident the country’s division would remain for the foreseeable future.
With reunification out of the picture for the time, Stalin approved the plans established by Ulbricht for the Sovietization of the German Democratic Republic. Ulbricht moved quickly to implement his plans. Work quotas were imposed to increase production. They were increased later in 1952, and again in early 1953. Despite the imposition of the quotas production continued to lag, often due to shortages of raw materials and failures in transport. The quotas had the effect of cutting wages, since more work was required for the same amount of money. Farmers were ordered to join collectives, with the amount and type of crops planted determined by the state. Farmers fled East Germany in droves, leaving almost 40% of the GDR’s agricultural acreage unplanted. Workers and professionals joined in the flight to the West. By late 1952, the East German government’s policies were subjects of concern for more moderate factions in Moscow.