East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR), was a socialist state in Central Europe, during the Cold War period. It described itself as a "workers' and peasants' state." From 1949 to 1990, it administered the portion of Germany that had been occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II -the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder-Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin, but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.
The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet Zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, and the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. Soviet forces, however, remained in the country throughout the Cold War.
In 1989, numerous social, economic and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalization. The following year open elections were held, and international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany. The GDR dissolved itself and Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a fully sovereign state again.
Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north; the Polish People's Republic to the east; Czechoslovakia to the southeast and West Germany to the southwest and west. Internally, the GDR also bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin known as East Berlin which was also administered as the state's de facto capital. It also bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989.