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By many measures, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) had the strongest economy in the Eastern bloc and was one of the most important industrial nations worldwide. Nonetheless, the economic history of the GDR has been primarily discussed as a failure when compared with the economic success of the Federal Republic and is often cited as one of the pre-eminent examples of central planning's deficiencies. This volume analyzes both the successes and failures of the East German economy. The contributors consider the economic history of East Germany within its broader political, cultural and social contexts. Rather than limit their perspective to the period of the GDR's existence, the essays additionally consider the decades before 1945 and the post-1990 era. Contributors also trace the present and future of the East German economy and suggest possible outcomes.