East Germany emerged as a communist state from the Soviet occupied zone of Germany after World War II. It was founded in 1949 and formally ceased to exist in 1990 when it was absorbed by West Germany.
East Germany, also known as the Democratic Republic of Germany (GDR), was a member of the Soviet-controlled Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. It had a centrally planned economy and did not experience the 'economic miracle' in the 1950s and 60s that helped catapult West Germany from the ruins of World War II.
Helmut Kohl, who died today aged 87, leaves behind an economic legacy which was, at times, controversial. He's respected as the father of the European Union and the common currency, the euro. However, his handling of the reunification of Germany was contentious, especially for East Germans who say mass unemployment and economic hardship.