A large detailed map, printed by the Propaganda Office in 1964, shows the development of the industry in Eastern Germany from 1949, especially after the so called Seven Year Plan, as well as the projects planned in the future. The in-set maps show important industrial location in 1949, electrification of the railroad system in 1963 and planned development until 1970 and 1977, electric plants, chemical plants, metal factories, factories for making machinery, and factories for making electric appliances.
The Seven Year plan was introduced in the German Democratic Republic under the influence of similar plans in the USSR, which promised higher industrial production and construction of numberless housing projects. The project started in 1956 as the Second Five-Year Plan (1956–60) under the slogan "modernization, mechanization, and automation".
In 1958–59 the government encouraged voluntary collectivization and 1959 some law-breaking farmers were arrested by the Stasi. By mid-1960, nearly 85% of all arable land was incorporated and by 1961 the socialist sector produced 90% of the GDR's agricultural products. As the Five-Year-Plan did not meet the planned results, it was replaced by the Seven-Year-Plan (1959–65), which aimed at achieving West Germany's per capita production by the end of 1961. As a result of the pressure from the state 2.5 million citizens between emigrated from GDR 1949 and 1961, of which 50% were younger than 25 years.
The map was issued in 1964 by VEB Hermann Haack Geographisch-Kartographische Anstalt Gotha (the publishing arm of the Hermann Haack Geography-Cartography Institute in Gotha). The institute was the premier cartographic organization in East Germany (the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or DDR) and was widely considered to be the most advanced autonomously operated map producer in the Eastern Block.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the DDR had become synonymous with bad industrial practices, however, the Hermann Haack Anstalt was a rare exception in that it maintained a very high standard of production in line with its pedigree. Indeed, the Haack Institute was the direct successor of the Justus Perthes Geographical Institute. Founded in Gotha in 1785, during the 19th Century the Perthes firm rose to become the preeminent map publisher in Germany. Its popular publications such as the Shul-Atlas and Steiler’s Hand-Atlas made the company the most financially successful cartography enterprise in Continental Europe. It was also responsible for ground-breaking thematic and scientific cartography as well as impressive wall maps.
Hermann Haack (1872-1966), one of pre-WWII Germany’s most prominent mapmakers, joined the Perthes firm in 1898 and eventually rose to become its director. Haack was credited for improving production quality and standardizing map symbols and colour coding. During WWII, in 1944, at the age of 72, Haack retired from the firm. In the wake of the war, while its personnel was depleted and production lagged, the physical operation at the Perthes Villa in Gotha remained unaffected and the firm continued to function.
The Communist government of the DDR nationalized the firm in 1953 and curiously invited Hermann Haack, then 81 years old, to return to lead the enterprise under its new name, the Hermann Haack Anstalt. While the company was to be wholly owned by the state, Haack was given an unusually high degree of autonomy and ample resources to ensure that the quality of production approached pre-war levels. While never overtly political, Haack had maintained friendly contacts with Communists and labour leaders during the 1920s and 1930s, and was ideologically acceptable to the new regime.
The Haack Anstalt was granted the DDR monopoly on the production of school maps and all civilian wall maps. With technical abilities that far exceeded those of the remaining cartographic institutes throughout the Warsaw Pact countries, it serviced many external commissions, notably from the Soviet Union.