Auferstanden aus Ruinen (German for "Risen from Ruins") was the national anthem of East Germany (German Democratic Republic (GDR), German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR)) during its existence from 1949 to 1990.
In 1949, the Soviet Zone of Allied-occupied Germany became a Socialist country called the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
For an anthem, lyrics were written by the poet Johannes R. Becher (who later became Minister of Culture) .
Two musicians proposed music to Becher's lyrics, and the version of Hanns Eisler was selected. He had been in exile in the 1930s and might not have noticed that his music was very similar to the 1930s hit song Goodbye Johnny sung by Hans Albers.
Written in 1949, the anthem reflects the early stages of German separation, in which continuing progress towards reunification of the occupation zones was seen by most Germans as appropriate and natural. Consequently, Becher's lyrics develop several connotations of "unity" and combine them with "fatherland" (einig Vaterland), meaning Germany as a whole. However, this concept soon would not conform to an increasingly icy Cold War context, especially after the Berlin Wall had been erected in 1961 by the East German government.
In 1973, East and West Germany were admitted to the United Nations simultaneously, following talks between the two governments that conferred a degree of mutual recognition. The term Germany was later removed from the GDR constitution, and only the anthem's tune was played on official occasions. No new lyrics were ever written to replace Becher's which continued to be used unofficially.
Auferstanden aus Ruinen ceased to be a national anthem when the German Democratic Republic dissolved and its states joined the Federal Republic of Germany in the German reunification in 1990.
Das Lied der Deutschen of 1841, was again the anthem of a united Germany. East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maizière had proposed that Becher's lyrics be added to the united German anthem, but this was rejected by Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
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