East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic, was a communist state in central-western Europe, during the Cold War period. It described itself as a socialist "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. Until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party, though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany.