Honecker’s new political emphasis on the “unity of economic and social policy” took the Five-Year Plan as an example and promised greater benefits for retired workers, mothers, and young married couples, as well as better housing-market conditions.

Social Policy and Economic Planning (April 28, 1972)


Joint Resolution of the Central Committee of the SED [Socialist Unity Party of Germany], the national executive board of the FDGB [Free German Trade Union Federation], and the Council of Ministers of the GDR on sociopolitical measures in carrying out the main tasks of the Five-Year Plan resolved at the VIII. Party Congress of the SED, April 28, 1972

The Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the national executive board of the Free German Trade Union Federation, and the Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic hereby resolve:

– to raise the pensions and social welfare of 3.4 million citizens;
– to implement measures to support working mothers, young married couples, and birthrate development;
– to create better living conditions for workers and employees and to adjust rents for apartments in new [i.e., postwar] housing so that they better correspond to income.

These decisions continue the path that was set by the main task of the Five-Year Plan from 1971 to 1975. The path consists of further raising the material and cultural living standard of the people on the basis of a high rate of development of socialist production, increased effectivity, scientific and technological progress, and the growth of work productivity.

The successful implementation of the resolutions of the VIII. Party Congress, the progress made in the continuous and stable development of our national economy, the reduction of existing disparities, and the vigorous struggle to satisfy the plan—all of this makes us certain that our socialist economy will continue to develop well; and therefore, it is now possible to carry out an extensive part of the social policy program of the VIII. Party Congress. This shows the workers of the GDR that commitment and diligence pay off.

The measures now adopted demand a great expenditure of financial and material resources, which must be continually reacquired. Without a doubt, these measures will serve as an incentive to the working class, collective farmers, members of the intelligentsia, and all other workers to further increase the economic strength of our country through good work and creative initiative, and, with their high achievements in socialist competition, to contribute to the general strengthening of the GDR through socialist rationalization and increased work productivity. The workers themselves are carrying out the principle: The resolutions of the VIII. Party Congress will come to pass!

These significant measures show how the main task of the Five-Year Plan that was decided by the VIII. Party Congress will be implemented, how everything possible is being done for the well-being and happiness of the people, and for the interests of the working class and all workers.

Source: Gemeinsamer Beschluß des Zentralkomitees der SED, des Bundesvorstandes des FDGB und des Ministerrates der DDR über sozialpolitische Maßnahmen in Durchführung der auf dem VIII. Parteitag der SED beschlossenen Hauptaufgabe des Fünfjahrplanes, 28. April 1972, reprinted in Günter Benser, ed., Dokumente zur Geschichte der SED, vol. 3, 1971–1986. Berlin, 1986, pp. 73–74.

Translation: Allison Brown