At the end of the Second World War the allies and the Soviets met along the Elbe River. The third army under George S.Patton faced significantly less opposition due to Nazi forces being moved south in the attempted operation Alpine Fortress, resulting in the Third army reaching the city of Torgau, this did not however effect operations in the north. After Soviet forces reached the US occupied city of Schwerin, an incident occurred which left seven dead Soviet troops and twelve dead US troops. At the time this event exacerbated existing tensions between the Western allies as both sides blamed the other for the incident and demanded an apology. This contributed to Stalin’s decision to refuse to vacate West Berlin until the Western allies handed the territory west of the Elbe River part of the planned Soviet occupation zone. In response to Stalin’s refusal the Americans declared that they would continue to occupy the land west of the Elbe until they received their portion of Berlin. In order to punish the allies Stalin refused compensate Poland with the lands east of the Oder-Neisse line and only gave them Upper Silesia and the Stolp, Lauenburg and Bütow regions of Pomerania. Another side effect was that while the Czechoslovakian government had wanted to expel the entirety of their ethnic German population they were not able to do so, due to the heightened tensions between East and West. To accommodate the remaining Germans the cities of Aussig and Reichenberg were selected to have a 15 mile radius in which Germans were allowed to live. These were the only areas Germans were permitted to live in, and the areas saw a large rise in population due to expellees. Things developed in a similar manner to OTL in the following years, with a few differences the establishment of East and West Germany was not however affected. Ulbricht still helped to create and rule the GDR.
In January 1959 after the assassination of Tito a revolution broke out in Yugoslavia and a pro-western democratic government took over after a short civil war, which requested and got NATO membership, however losing the territories of Kosovo and Macedonia which were taken over by communist Albania and Bulgaria respectively. This however was met with an objection from the Soviet government but was not backed up with force as Nikita Khrushchev was still consolidating his power after the death of Stalin in December 1958, the western recognition over the loss of Kosovo and Macedonia mollified Khrushchev and convinced him not to take further action. Unfortunately for Khrushchev this decision inspired a wave of Democratic revolutions in the Eastern Bloc starting in Czechoslovakia and then spreading to Poland, Hungary, Romania and East Germany. These revolutions did not however stand much of a chance of success as while most had partial military backing none had the full support of their respective militaries and only the assumption of western support. Khrushchev responded to this by using Soviet border troops to put down the revolutions in Poland and Romania in conjuncture with troops stationed in these countries as well as those local units that had not joined the revolution. Next Hungary and Slovakia were put back under communist control with the further use of Soviet troops.
The situation in East Germany however, was different to that of the other countries due to the loss of a large portion of the ruling party due to several assassinations across the GDR of Ulbricht, several members of the Politburo and Volkskammer. This marked the beginning of the East German uprising. While the loss of leadership could have led to a successful uprising, if it were not for the decisive actions of Gerald Götting, a senior politician to survive the wave of assassinations, and the military to crush the uprising in its early stages. Götting provided a suitable face for the military to use to temporarily replace Ulbricht as he was well known and respected. The success of putting down the revolt was due to several factors among which were, the quick institution of martial law and military action, the greater presence of Soviet troops along the iron curtain than in other Eastern Bloc countries and the movement of Soviet troops in Poland and Romania already showing the futility of revolution. This enabled East Germany to be fully under military control after two weeks after Ulbricht’s death. German troops them proceeded to assist Soviet and Czechoslovakian troops in the regaining control of the Czech portion of Czechoslovakia. The area around Prague however proved the hardest to recapture as it was the starting point of the revolutions in the Eastern Bloc and firmly entrenched with democratic militias. The city suffered a week long siege in which it was continually bombarded turning the city to a ruin. Khrushchev termed this the price of the revolution and resolved to make an example of Czechoslovakia, by breaking of Slovakia into its own republic, and by granting the cities of Reichenberg and Aussig to Germany for its quick actions with dealing with its revolution and the assistance it gave in helping put down the revolution in Czechoslovakia.
Once peace was fully restored in the Eastern Bloc fresh elections were held under close Soviet supervision, providing leaders all very loyal to Moscow. In East Germany Götting was chosen due to his role in the revolution as the face of the civilian administration, and his clear loyalty to socialism. Götting then set about reforming the GDR in a number of ways politically, economically and socially; among which was the abolishing of the old Länder and the creation of the new Bezirks, As well as renaming the city of Schneidemühl to Friedrich-Engels-Stadt.