1 January: By order of the GDR Interior Ministry, the letter "D" for "Deutschland" must be replaced on GDR vehicles by the sign "DDR" (Deutsche Demokratische Republik).
12/13 February: The Nobel Literature Prize laureate Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn is expatriated from the Soviet Union. He spends several days with German author Heinrich Böll in Cologne.
14 March: Both German states sign a protocol on establishing Permanent Missions in Bonn and East Berlin, which start work on 2 May. Günter Gaus becomes the Permanent Representative of West Germany in the GDR; Michael Kohl becomes Permanent Representative of the GDR in West Germany.
March: Visitors to the Leipzig spring trade fair report on a noticeable improvement in the supply situation in the GDR. However, the real situation outside the "showcases" of Berlin and Leipzig does not necessarily conform with this appearance, especially as more and more products from the normal range are being moved to the "exquisite" shops, which also entails hidden price rises.
24 April: Günter Guillaume, a GDR spy in the West German Chancellery and personal adviser to Chancellor Willy Brandt, is arrested. Willy Brandt steps down on 6 May as a consequence; Helmut Schmidt is later chosen as his successor. In December 1975 Guillaume is sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for spying for the GDR; his wife is sentenced to eight years in jail.
24 April: West Germany and the GDR sign an agreement on non-commercial clearing and payment transactions, and on healthcare. The latter includes introducing medical treatment free of charge during travel to the respective other state.
3 May: In view of the high number of escape attempts (3,004) in 1973 (1972: 2,699) and 242 successful "border breakthroughs", Erich Honecker reaffirms the order to shoot to kill: "A perfectly clear view of the target must be guaranteed everywhere (…); as previously, firearms must be used ruthlessly in the case of attempts to break through the border, and the comrades who have used firearms successfully are to be commended." In the new order "DV 018/0/008" for the GDR border troops, the use of firearms is to be announced in advance by the call "Stop! Border guard! Hands up!" But frequently, border troops fire at a distance of 100 to 300 metres.
8 May: German-German sports agreement between the "Deutscher Sportbund" ("German Sports Federation") (DSB) and the "Deutscher Turn- und Sportbund" ("German Gymnastics and Sports Federation") (DTSB). The agreement includes 33 planned joint events.
15/16 May: The FDP politician and former foreign minister Walter Scheel is elected as new West German president. The following day, Helmut Schmidt is elected Chancellor by the German Bundestag.
13 Juni – 6 July: In West Germany, the 10th World Cup takes place. Teams from the two German states meet in the first round. The GDR eleven takes a surprise victory over the West German team with a goal by Jürgen Sparwasser. But West Germany still becomes world champion with a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands.
18 June: SED General Secretary Erich Honecker meets CPSU leader Leonid Brezhnev for talks in the Kremlin in Moscow. Without mincing words, the Soviet party leader gives free rein to his anger at the Romanian CP leader, Nicolae Ceaucescu, who Brezhnev says is obstructing the success of the European security conference. "Between us," he confides to Honecker, "the time will come when we will have to tell Ceaucescu the truth to his face. We will ask him: Where are you going? Either with us, or you’ll be playing a dangerous game." – Honecker tries to allay Brezhnev’s misgivings about over-generous concessions by the GDR to West Germany. He says that issues surrounding family reunions are being treated on a restrictive basis and that he is the sole person to take decisions on permits to leave the country. Moreover, he says, the GDR uses the pretext of family reunions to get rid of "many criminal elements" in West Germany.
He adds that the GDR will also gradually reduce its payment obligations to West Germany.
19 June: The West German Bundestag decides that the Federal Environment Agency is to have its headquarters in West Berlin. The GDR protests because it sees this as a violation of the Four-Power Agreement.
16 July: In the Berlin border zone, a 120-kilometre-long border fence fitted with an alarm system is constructed. An analysis by GDR border troops however complains about its "tendency to break down", which is attributed to the "low corrosion-resistance" of the material. It says that if material with a higher corrosion-resistance is not used in future, the available personnel will not be able to guarantee the maintenance of the fence.
9 August: US President Richard M. Nixon steps down over the "Watergate Affair". His successor is Gerald R. Ford.
4 September: The USA and the GDR start diplomatic relations.
5 September: Signing of contract for Soviet natural gas supplies to West Germany to the year 2000.
14 September: The state bank of the GDR issues new bank notes bearing the inscription "Mark of the GDR" instead of the previous "Mark of the German Central Bank".
7 October: On the 25th anniversary of the GDR, the SED deletes the words "Germany" and "German nation" from the GDR constitution. It adds a passage stating that the GDR is "for ever and irrevocably" linked with the Soviet Union.
17 November: A pastoral letter from the Roman Catholic bishops of the GDR in which they speak out against the state monopoly on education.
29 November: The two RAF terrorists Ulrike Meinhof and Horst Mahler are handed down long prison sentences for attempted murder while freeing Andreas Baader.
8 December: The Oslo Nobel Prize committee retrospectively awards the Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn the Literature Prize for 1970. The Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc states announce a boycott of the award ceremony.
12 December: The so-called "swing" for trade between the two German states is extended; the interest-free overdraft that the West German government grants the GDR is raised to 850 million DM per year. In response, the SED lowers the compulsory amount to be exchanged during visits to the GDR from 20 DM to 13 DM, and for visits in East Berlin from 13 DM to 6.50 DM (from 15 November 1974). West German pensioners travelling to the GDR or to East Berlin are also exempted from the minimum exchange rate from 20 December.