In der Soviet zone of occupation, property to the total amount of 3.2 hectares were expropriated without compensation payments after 1945. 2.2 million hectares of this land was distributed to more than 500 000 property-less farmers, agricultural workers and new farmers in plots of between 4 and 8 hectares. A similar action was carried out in a trial run in the West of Germany. Here however, the former owners were paid compensation.
In the middle of the fifties, the farmers in the GDR were forced to bring their land into agricultural production co-operatives. In the preliminary preparations of the talks for the reunification, the issue of the handling of the land reform was an important point. It was decided not to touch this property. After the reunification, this agreement was cast into doubt repeatedly, but always confirmed anew. Mikhail Gorbachev, who is alleged to have demanded and guaranteed the inviolability of the land of the land reform during the talks, denied this package deal at the beginning of 1998.