East German jokes , jibes popular in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, also known as East Germany) between 1949 and 1990, reflected the concerns of East German citizen and residents. Jokes frequently targeted political figures such as Socialist Party General Secretary Erich Honecker or State Security Minister Erich Mielke , who headed the Stasi secret police.  Elements of daily life, such as economic scarcity, relations between GDR and the Soviet Union or Cold War rival United States were also common.  There were also ethnic jokes , highlighting differences of language or culture between Saxony and Central Germany .
The 11th Congress of Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), held 17–21 April 1986, unequivocally confirmed Honecker for another term as party head. The SED celebrated its achievements as the “most successful party on German soil”, praised East Germany as a “politically stable and economically efficient socialist state”, and declared its intention to maintain its present policy course. East Germany’s successes, presented as a personal triumph for Honecker, marked a crowning point in his political career. Mikhail Gorbachev’s presence at the congress endorsed Honecker’s policy course, which was also strengthened by some reshuffling of the party leadership. Overall, the 11th Congress exhibited confidence in East Germany’s role as the strongest economy and the most stable country in Eastern Europe. Gorbachev praised the East German experience as proof that central planning could be effective and workable in the 1980s.