May 1st Festivities in the GDR

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East German May Parade
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One of the biggest state-organized mass gatherings in the GDR took place annually on May 1st, International Workers’ Day. The state mandated that everyone participate in large public gatherings, such as demonstrations, specific groups, and parades, especially in cities such as East Berlin, Leipzig and Halle-Neustadt. Students, sports teams and groups of factory workers as well as units of the National People’s Army of the GDR marched together in the streets, celebrating the achievements of the international labor movement. Anyone who refused to take part in the spectacle aroused suspicion among the authorities.

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