"'Volkswahlen 1958' in Ostberlin. Mit Pauken und Trompeten wurden die Ostberliner zur 'Wahl' geholt."
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Picture 46: The photographer notes: „1958, East Berlin. Officials with trumpets and drums summon the people to the „elections“.“
Above the entrance to the polling station is the motto used for the elections to Parliament in November 1958: „Take part in the planning, take part in the work, take part in the government! Put your trust in the candidates of peace!“ The slogan implies that voting is a way of having a share of the power. However, the single-list system, with only one party and one list of candidates, meant that there were only two choices to be made: whether or not to vote, and whether to vote for or against the complete list. Voting against it, or not voting at all, was recorded and often led to repression. The state applied intensive propaganda during the run-up to the elections; but there was also enormous social pressure to acquiesce in the election farce, since people went to vote in groups, with their neighbours, colleagues or fellow students. However, reports from 1958 show that the voters themselves saw it as a farce.
The election result was a victory of 99.87% for the ruling party. Above the entrance, four stereotyped figures – a Russian woman, a Negro man, an American woman and a Chinese man – symbolize four continents and thereby declare the GDR’s proletarian internationalism and commitment to peace. At this time, the GDR was striving for international recognition.