Totalitarian Document Archive

  • Constitution of the German Democratic Republic (1968)
    In 1968, the communist government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) wrote a new constitution for the Cold War nation. Its previous constitution, written in 1949 by the leaders of the Soviet occupation zone in Germany, was at least superficially a liberal constitution that guaranteed a large number of political rights. It continued the traditional division of Germany into federal states, or Länder, and presented itself as the democratic successor to Hitler' Nazi regime.
  • Constitutional Principles Act (1990)
    After Die Wende, or the peaceful revolution which overthrew East Germany’s communist government in late 1989, the first and only free elections in the country’s history were held in March 1990. The victors were the Alliance for Germany, a coalition of parties led by Lothar de Maizière who ran on a platform of reunifying as quickly as possible with the West. The country’s newly elected parliament faced a huge number of challenges.
  • Democratic Election Laws (1990)
    Law amending and supplementing the constitution of the German Democratic Republic In accordance with Article 63 and Article 106 of the Constitution of the German Democratic Republic, the People’s Chamber shall adopt the following amendments and additions to the Constitution: Section 1. Article 3 is repealed. Section 3 of the East German constitution granted power to the National Front, which was a government institution dominated by the communists and which controlled the candidates nominated for seats in the parliament.
  • Partial Remission of Penalties Act (1990)
    In September 1990, in the final days of the German Democratic Republic’s existence, the Volkskammer – the GDR parliament – enacted a law which served as a form of amnesty for many prisoners incarcerated in the communist state. Because East Germany was not a democratic country, and courts were not an independent branch of the government, trails were not free or fair. This law thus was a small recompense for those sentenced under this brutal, harsh, and unforgiving regime.
  • Suppression of Communism Act (1950)
    The Suppression of Communism Act, 1950 was a law enacted by the South African government to enforce and perpetuate its racist system of apartheid. Nominally passed to control the spread of “communism”, in reality the law defined “communism” and “communist” so broadly that virtually any opposition to the system of apartheid was prohibited by the law. It gave sweeping powers to the government, allowing authorities to dissolve organizations, shut down and censor newspapers, and enact restrictions on individual movements and activites, all without due process.