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UPRISING IN EAST GERMANY 1953

NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE COLD WAR READERS

Series Editor MALCOLM BYRNE

Previously published: THE PRAGUE SPRING '68 THE 1956 HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION

Forthcoming: Poland, 1980–81 The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe: Soviet Policy toward Eastern Europe, 1985-89 Poland, 1986–1989 Czechoslovakia, 1987–1989 Hungary, 1989–1990

Produced in collaboration with: The Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

UPRISING IN EAST GERMANY 1953
THE COLD WAR, THE GERMAN QUESTION, AND THE FIRST MAJOR UPHEAVAL BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN

Compiled, edited and introduced by CHRISTIAN F. OSTERMANN
Editorial coordination by MALCOLM BYRNE

CEU PRESS

CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY PRESS

Published in 2001 by Central European University Press An imprint of the
Central European University Share Company Nador utca 11, H-1051 Budapest, Hungary Tel: +36-1-327-3138 or 327-3000 Fax: +36-1-327-3183 E-mail: ceupress@ceu. hu Website: www. ceupress. com 400 West 59th Street, New York NY 10019, USA Tel: +1-212-547-6932 Fax: +1-212-548-4607 E-mail: mgreenwald@sorosny. org

©2001 by The National Security Archive All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the permission of the Publisher. ISBN 963 9241 17 2 cloth ISBN 963 9241 57 1 paperback ISSN 1587-2416 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Uprising in East Germany 1953: the Cold War, the German question, and the first major upheaval behind the Iron Curtain / compiled, edited and introduced by Christian F. Ostermann; editorial coordination by Malcolm Byrne; [produced in collaboration with The Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson International center for Scholars]. p. cm. — (National Security Archive Cold War readers, ISSN 1587-2416) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN - ISBN 1. Germany (East)—History—Uprising, 1953—Sources. 2. German reunification question (1949–1990)—Sources. 3. Cold War—History—Sources. 4. Soviet Union—Foreign Relations—1953–1975—Sources. I. Ostermann, Christian F. II Byrne, Malcolm. III. Series. DD286. 2. U67 2001 943' 10875—dc21 2001047177 Printed in Hungary by Akademiai Nyomda, Martonvasar

For Lisa

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CONTENTS

Preface by Charles S. Maier, Harvard University Introduction and Acknowledgements Acronyms and Abbreviations Chronology of Events
PART ONE

xv xix xxvii xxxi

THE ORIGINS OF THE CRISIS

Introduction Document No. 1: Soviet and East German Minutes of Conversations between Josef Stalin and SED Leaders in the GDR, 1 April and 7 April 1952 Document No. 2: CPSLJ CC Resolution Approving the Deployment of Border Guards along the Eastern Border of the GDR, 2 January 1953 Document No. 3: Memorandum of Discussion at the 136th Meeting of the National Security Council, 11 March 1953 Document No. 4: Draft Instructions for General Vasilii Chuikov and Vladimir Semyonov Regarding GDR Control of Borders, 18 March 1953 Document No. 5: Memorandum by Ivan Tugarinov, "On the Western Powers' Policy Regarding the German Question, " 18 April 1953 Document No. 6: Memorandum on the German Question, from Georgii Pushkin and Mikhail Gribanov to Vyacheslav Molotov, 18 April 1953 Document No. 7: Soviet Foreign Ministry Memorandum, "Regarding Further Measures of the Soviet Government on the German Question, " 28 April 1953 Document No. 8: Cable from N. Spencer Barnes to U. S. Department of State Reviewing Developments in the GDR since Stalin's Death, 30 April 1953 Document No. 9: Memorandum from Vladimir Semyonov to Vyacheslav Molotov Evaluating the Prospects for a Successful Resolution of the German Question, 2 May 1953 Document No. 10: Report on 4 May Disturbances at the Tobacco Depot in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 7 May 1953

1 22 43 44 50 52 67 71 74

82 86
VI1

Document No. 11: USSR Foreign Ministry Draft Memorandum, "On Further Soviet Government Measures Pertaining to the German Question, " 8 May 1953 Document No. 12: Memorandum from the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs to Vladimir Semyonov, "On the Question of Preventing the Defection of Inhabitants from the GDR to West Germany, " 15 May 1953 Document No. 13: Memorandum from General Vasilii Chuikov, Pavel Yudin, and Ivan Il'ichev to Georgii Malenkov Critically Assessing the Situation in the GDR, 18 May 1953 Document No. 14: CIA Report Evaluating Vladimir Semyonov's Appointment as Soviet High Commissioner for Germany, 29 May, 1953 Document No. 15: Cable from Ambassador Charles Bohlen to John Foster Dulles regarding the Transfer of Soviet Control in East Germany to Soviet High Commissioner Vladimir Semyonov, 29 May 1953 Document No. 16: Materials for a Meeting of the Organizational Secretariat of the CPCz CC, with Attached Report on Party Activities in Plzen in Connection with the Events of 1 June 1953, 31 July 1953 Document No. 17: Radio Free Europe Report on the Strikes in Plzen during Early June 1953, 8 September 1953 Document No. 18: USSR Council of Ministers Order "On Measures to Improve the Health of the Political Situation in the GDR, " 2 June 1953 Document No. 19: Otto Grotewohl's Notes of Meetings between East German and Soviet Leaders in Moscow, 2–4 June 1953 Document No. 20: SED CC Politburo Minutes Discussing Moscow's Directives for the New Course, 6 June 1953 Document No. 21: Cable from Samuel Reber to U. S. Department of State Outlining U. S. Perspectives on Four-Power Talks, 13 June 1953 Document No. 22: Transcript of Conversations between the Soviet Leadership and a Hungarian Workers' Party Delegation in Moscow, 13 and 16 June 1953 Document No. 23: Letter from Lavrentii Beria to Georgii Malenkov Reflecting on the Events of Spring 1953, 1 July 1953 Document No. 24: Transcript of the CPSU CC Plenum Meetings Regarding Beria's Views on the German Question in Spring 1953, 2–3 July 1953 (Excerpts)

90

97

100

110

111

113 128 133 137 139 142

144 155 158

VIII

6: 00 p. 37: Situation Report from Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii and Marshal Leonid Govorov to Nikolai Bulganin. m. 28: Radio Telegram from Vladimir Semyonov Providing Situation Report to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin. m. 29: Situation Report from the Czechoslovak Mission in Berlin to Foreign Minister Vaclav David. 34: Cable from Cecil Lyon to the State Department Reporting on Afternoon Meeting of the Western Commandants. as of 11: 00 p. 17 June 1953. m. CET) Document No. as of 2: 00 p. m. m. CET Document No. 7: 26 a. 32: Cable from Cecil Lyon to U. as of 11: 00 p. m. "Report on the Events in Berlin on 16 and 17 June 1953. 31: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. 17 June 1953. Moscow Time (5: 26 a. m. 17 June 1953. 26: Situation Report from Vladimir Semyonov and Andrei Grechko to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin. Moscow Time (4: 30 p. 9: 00 p. m. m. 36: Pravda Correspondent P. 17 June 1953. 17 June 1953 200 202 208 210 IX . received 1: 45 p. 2: 05 a. 17 June 1953. m. m. 33: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. Moscow Time (9: 00 p.PART TWO THE UPRISING Introduction Document No. CET Document No. 25: Situation Report from Vladimir Semyonov and Andrei Grechko to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin. 17 June 1953. 27: Cable from the Czechoslovak Mission in Berlin to Foreign Minister Vaclav David. Moscow Time (12: 05 a. CET Document No. m. CET) Document No. received 6: 30 p. CET Document No. as of 5: 30 p. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. Naumov to Dimitrii Shepilov. m. 17 June 1953. CET) Document No. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. Anspacher to George A. 18 June 1953. Department of State Relaying Minutes of the First Meeting of the Western Military Commandants in Berlin. CET Document No. Morgan. m. CET) 163 181 183 185 186 188 190 192 194 196 198 Document No. 35: Telephonogram from Vladimir Semyonov and Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin Reporting on the Situation in East Berlin. 17 June 1953. 17 June 1953 Document No. 17 June 1953. S. m. 11: 15 a. 30: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. CET Document No. CET Document No. 38: Psychological Strategy Board Memorandum from John M. 17 June 1953. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. " 22 June 1953 Document No.

3: 35 p. HICOG James B. Conant on the Effects of East Zone Troubles on Soviet Policy. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. as of 1: 00 p. as of 8: 00 a. as of 2: 00 p. m. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. 17 June 1953. 54: Memorandum from Karl Schirdewan to First Secretaries of the District Leaderships of the SED. 48: Telephonogram from Vladimir Semyonov and Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin Reporting on the Situation in East Berlin. "Comment on Berlin Rioting. GET) Document No. Moscow Time (6: 00 a. 19 June 1953. 49: CPCz Information Bulletin on Czechoslovak Reaction to the Events in East Germany. 20 June 1953. 19 June 1953 Document No. 39: Cable from John Foster Dulles to HICOG Bonn on the Propaganda Value of the East Berlin Demonstrations. 44: Telegram from Cecil Lyon to U. 45: CIA Current Intelligence Review Analyzing the "Communist 'New Look'" and "Recent Unrest in Eastern Europe. Ivan Fadeikin to Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii. 2 of the WUBP in Wroclaw (Poland). 19 June 1953 Document No. 18 June 1953. 47: Report from KGB Resident in Berlin Col. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. m. 1: 02 a. CET Document No. m. Moscow Time (8: 00 a. 50: Order from the Polish Minister of State Security. EST (18 June 1953. CET Document No. 52: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. m. Document No. m. 7: 00 p. S. 21 June 1953 Document No. " 19 June 1953 Document No. 53: Special Report No. CET) Document No. Moscow Time (11: 00 a. 40: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. CET) Document No. m. 18 June 1953. " 18 June 1953 Document No. m. m. 20 June 1953 Document No. 41: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. Moscow Time (4: 00 p. 7: 02 p. Regarding Spillover from Events in Berlin. 51: CIA Current Intelligence Digest. m. 42: Telephonogram from Vladimir Semyonov and Vasilii Sokolovskii to Vyacheslav Molotov Reporting on the Situation in East Berlin. CET Document No. Department of State Reporting on Developments in Berlin. 43: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. m. S. m. 18 June 1953. m. as of 6: 00 p. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. to Regional Branches Outlining Steps to be Taken to Limit Spillover of Events in East Germany. CET) Document No. 19 June 1953 Document No. 18 June 1953. as of 10: 00 a. 18 June 1953. 55: Diary Entry from U. m.Document No. 46: Minutes of Discussion at the 150th Meeting of the National Security Council on 18 June 1953. 21 June 1953 CET) 213 214 216 217 219 220 222 225 232 236 237 241 243 244 245 247 248 . 19 June 1953 Document No.

" 25 June 1953 Document No. Sokolovskii and Yudin. 4 of the WUBP in Wroclaw (Poland). 23 June 1953 Document No. 9 July 1953 (Excerpt) Document No.Document No. 00 p. 59: Special Report No. Vladimir Semyonov. " 8 July 1953 Document No. D. 72: Memorandum from Sergei Kruglov to Georgii Malenkov Summarizing an East German Investigation into the Alleged Western Role in the Provocations of 17 June 15 July 1953 249 251 252 255 257 286 288 289 291 293 295 297 299 303 309 314 315 XI . 68: Report from Maj. 2 July 1953 Document No. 64: Report from Lt. 69: Memorandum from Georgii Pushkin to Andrei Vyshinskii Regarding Proposals Made by Semyonov. 71: CIA Information Report.. Sergei Dengin to Vladimir Semyonov. "On the Situation in the Soviet Sector of Berlin. "Berlin Situation as of 5. 62: CIA Information Report. Enclosure to Minutes No. 8 July 1953 Document No. 61: CIA Intelligence Memorandum. 9 July 1953 Document No. 27 June 1953 Document No. m. 26 June 1953 Document No. -Gen. "Indications of [Soviet] Intentions in Europe. 56: CIA Current Intelligence Bulletin on Comments by Charles Bohlen and the Deployment of Soviet Troops. Fedenko to Lt. "Continuing Resistance among Workers. Noting the Spread of Rumors about East Germany. 65: Protocol #1 of a Meeting of the Vyshinskii Commission to Draft a Proposal Pertaining to the GDR. 23 June 1953 Document No. 70: Note from Sergei Kruglov to Georgii Malenkov. 40 from the SED Politburo Session of 21 June 1953. " c. 66: Memorandum from Vladimir Semyonov and Pavel Yudin to Vyacheslav Molotov Regarding Inter-Zonal Movements in Berlin. 63: Memorandum from Secretary of the Moscow Committee N. N. and Pavel Yudin "On the Events of 17-19 June 1953 in Berlin and the GDR and Certain Conclusions from These Events. 67: Otto Grotewohl's Handwritten Notes of a SED CC Politburo Meeting. 58: Minute from Selwyn Lloyd to Winston Churchill. 57: CPSU CC Memorandum to the SED CC. 60: Report from Vasilii Sokolovskii. -Gen. Reflecting British Perspectives on the Berlin Uprising. 24 June 1953 Document No. -Gen. 9 July 1953. with Attached Communication from Pyotr Fedotov and Ivan Fadeikin Regarding the SED CC Politburo. Mikhailov to Nikita Khrushchev. " 24 June 1953 Document No. 22 June 1953 Document No. Pavlovskii Summarizing Data on the Number of Participants in the East German Uprising. " 10 July 1953 Document No. F. 4 July 1953 Document No. 21 June 1953 Document No.

10 July 1953 Document No. 89: Memorandum from John A. 81: CIA Information Report. 25 June 1953 Document No. " 7 August 1953 Document No. 88: Cable from James Conant to John Foster Dulles. " 13 July 1953 Document No. 86: CIA Information Report. 75: Czechoslovak Communist Party Information Bulletin. 8 August 1953 Document No. "United States Objectives and Actions to Exploit the Unrest in the Satellite States. 8 August 1953 Document No. "Probable Effect of Recent Developments in Eastern Germany on Soviet Policy with Respect to Germany. 87: Conclusions from Reports of the SED District Leaderships. 83: Intelligence Advisory Committee. " 21 July 1953 Document No. 73: Summary of Discussion at the 151st Meeting of the National Security Council. 77: Memorandum of Informal Psychological Strategy Board Meeting. "Plans for Renewal of Strikes in East Germany. POLICY Introduction Document No. Special Estimate (SE–47). "Unrest over Food Packages. 84: Letter from James Conant to John Foster Dulles. 79: Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles. 76: Memorandum of Informal Psychological Strategy Board Meeting. 1 July 1953 Document No. 28 July 1953 Document No. 14 July 1953 Document No. c. Bross to Allen Dulles Regarding Food Depots along Zonal Boundaries. 11 August 1953 317 329 332 335 337 339 341 344 345 351 353 355 359 361 363 364 365 366 XII . 78: Report of the Chief of the WUBP in Olsztyn (Poland) for June 1953. 31 July 1953 Document No. " 29 June 1953 Document No. 74: NSC 158. S. 10 July 1953 Document No. 85: Draft Resolution of the CPSU CC. 82: Letter from President Eisenhower to Field Marshal Montgomery of Alamein. 9 July 1953 (Excerpts) Document No.PART THREE THE AFTERMATH: IMPLICATIONS FOR U. 8 July 1953 Document No. 1 July 1953 Document No. 80: CIA Special Supplement to the Current Intelligence Weekly.

92: CIA Information Report. " 10 September 1953 Document No. c. "Estimated Damage as a Result of the June 16/17 Mass Demonstrations. S. 17 September 1953 Document No. 90: Memorandum from Leonid Brezhnev to Nikita Khrushchev. 93: HICOG Report on the U. " 16 October 1953 Document No. " 11 December 1953 Epilogue Main Actors Bibliography Index 368 371 374 376 390 392 xm .Document No. "United States Policy Toward the Soviet Satellites in Eastern Europe. 91: Report of the Polish Diplomatic Mission in Berlin for the Period 21 June-31 August 1953 (Excerpts). 94: CIA Information Report. September 1953 Document No. "Aftermath of the Riots. Food Aid Program for East Germany. 20 August 1953 Document No. 174. 95: NSC Report No.

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The documentation provided in this collection is a precious one. from the National Security Archive and the Cold War International History Project—organizations whose continuing publications have provided essential insights into the recurring crises of the Communist system from the 1940s until its collapse by 1991—have assembled a series of sources that demonstrate the true depth and amplitude of the East German uprising of 16–17 June 1953. and unpopular and unproductive collectivization. It provided poignant and indelible images of unarmed citizens in East Berlin as they challenged Russian tanks with fists and rocks. or the emergence of Solidarity in 1980. with their careful summaries and the guide to the secondary literature and other publications provided by the notation. the East German uprising of 17 June 1953 sometimes seemed too local and ephemeral to represent more than a momentary outburst of anger. as recent archival disclosures and memoirs confirm. it was the first real mass uprising within the Soviet sphere of influence. This volume will serve to keep us from forgetting again.PREFACE Unlike the Hungarian revolution of 1956. The problem for his lieutenants became how to manage a succession without the unleashing of lethal rivalry. To be sure. the reader will understand how complex a set of problems crystallized during this period. but it far transcended a dispute over labor conditions. above all by the radio station RIAS. and it might still allow genuine loyalties and political commitments to develop over time—but many observers had tended to forget that it was the underlying scaffolding of the Communist system. Still. " that is by state demands for increased time and output on the job. along with the Cold War International History Project. even as they quickly came to realize that their control over Eastern Europe could evaporate given the anger among the population against ideological repression. Stalin's power confirmed xv . as even the Russian representatives cautioned that it could easily be blown away by a popular revolt. The documentation collected in this volume presented by the National Security Archive. It reveals first-hand the deep uncertainties in the Soviet system as the ideological obsessiveness of Stalin's last months suddenly altered with his abrupt disappearance. This was not an unreal basis of power. The Soviet had become warped around the unquestioned authority of its leader. It became convenient for West Germans to subtly downplay its role even as they commemorated it each year. It reveals the East German State to be fragile in the extreme. It was triggered by the issue of work "norms. It remained unclear to what extent it had been orchestrated across the West Berlin sector lines. discloses a new Soviet leadership often uncertain about their power and unsure of what policies to follow. The editors. Working through these documents. In effect 1953 foreshadowed the deep crisis of legitimacy that would finally overtake the GDR and the Soviet control of Eastern Europe in autumn 1989. Precisely because it came first it was overlaid in memory by the later challenges to Communist rule. the Prague spring of 1968. It revealed that ultimately the structures of Communist control rested on armed domination. it was not just a manufactured cold-war event. But the revolt was quickly suppressed. increased demands for labor.

as the once cocky and choleric Security Chief. The archives suggest the brief openness of a history that soon reverted to dismaying closure. the reluctance of Washington. the critics of his authoritarian methods were the ones to be sacrificed. But Kremlin leaders had to consider the disaffection of the population and the arrogance and insensitivity of the leaders they had elevated to power. his successors oscillated over the German problem. As the documents suggest. The Soviets did not doubt it was justified. that musical cooperation was fine. London. local commanders found it easiest to fall back on the idea of Western provocateurs and agents. but an army was better. so we learn here. he supervised a convulsive effort to construct socialism in Eastern Europe. that after the uprising the Russians must compel their vassals to liberalize. rather. The collection here reveals one gem after another. Khrushchev's bitter denunciation of Beria for alleged willingness to surrender East Germany. Walter Ulbricht's proposal to post soldiers along the Soviet sector boundaries in Berlin to impede flight (a Wall before the Wall). No matter what misgivings Moscow may have harbored about the skill of the East German communists. shortly before the East German explosions. however. Not that they had opposed the disastrous policies of collectivization before the uprising. they could and did use force. or Washington's awkward debates and—in this reader's judgment at least—the NSC's and CIA's banal analyses of East European developments. reports on the little-known demonstrations in Bulgaria and Pilsen (Plzen).the control for local communists who were both subservient to his guidelines and ambitious to emulate his authority at the vertex of their own home parties and states. Instead. Czechoslovakia. It was at least a gambit designed to hinder Western integration—a concept deeply opposed by Konrad Adenauer and soon believed in Washington. The Machiavellian realism of the dictator led him repeatedly to urge some restraint upon the East Germans even as in the last year of his life. but whether they might simply lose control of their Satellite State—and perhaps Hungary and Czechoslovakia as well. who were thanking him for sending performers to a Beethoven festival. the Kremlin's fierce dressing down of the arrogant Matyas Rakosi in spring 1953 as anxiety grew about unrest in the satellites. trying to steer a course between the hard-liners who remained posted in Berlin and the renunciationists—each of which positions was soon a stake in the domestic battle for the succession. For Stalin's successors the problem by the spring of 1953. was not whether they wished to wager on such a negotiation. but they were shaken by the disaffection. they were logical but incorrect. Rather. To cite just a few: Stalin's "jocular" advice to his East German supplicants. a still emerging Khrushchev. The documents published here leave little doubt as to the depth of the threat that the Soviets perceived and the vulnerability of their control. along with others. decided they had to cling to Ulbricht all the more firmly. And after Stalin's sudden death on 5 March 1953. Germany on the basis of national elections was anything more than a ploy to slow down the European Defense Community and Western rearmament. initially approved and then sternly vetoed by the new Russian collective leadership against the advice of their men on the scene. and Paris to respond positively to Stalin's 1952 offer—genuine or spurious—to negotiate German reunification meant that the East German State must be consolidated—even as the SED leadership apparently still fantasized that they might successfully compete as a party in West Germany. Historians have long debated whether the famous Stalin note of April 1952 calling for a unified. to be far too costly to pursue. they had xvi . Their own local henchmen seemed sometimes so clumsy and over-zealous. deprived even of his glasses. if not Paris and London. neutralist but still rearmed. was reduced to fawning (and obviously unavailing) appeals to his arresters. ultimately control would rest on tanks. Of course. But although CIA observers felt. just as eight years after 1953 it would be constructed on the basis of a sealed border.

Within the larger sub-optimal economy of the state-socialist systems. the Soviets forswore intervention. The East German State was built upon the memory of 1953. Charles S. Soviet enforcement of the SED's power did not mean that over the years and decades a certain degree of acceptance could not emerge. Absent the Soviets. Churchmen would carve out a conditional autonomy. there was no reason it would subsist. Urban infrastructure and buildings could decay. They were wrong. but brute industrial output would remain dominant in the Eastern bloc. and although suppressed at the time. Even ideals. manipulated as they were for political ends. Western intellectuals found the rawness of the anticommunist aspirations awkward. many willing to try and work within the limits of the system whether as simple workers. managers. Was it not in fact slightly embarrassing? The Adenauer and Erhard governments had an unavowed stake in the status quo of a divided Germany. When the Social Democrats came to power in Bonn. The Empire was indeed shaken: to have to rely on force revealed the limits and hollowness of its supposed historical mandate. 1953 came to seem distant and irrelevant. the lineaments of an alternative future will soon emerge. some scholars would attempt honest research. In this sense. None theless what this volume suggests is not the limits of the movement but its genuinely radical thrust. which set the limits to change as well as revealing the limits of consensus. dissenters would find their careers blocked—indeed some would be expelled or imprisoned—the media would continue the vapid uncritical slogans (although Western television would provide some alternative for many). The 17th of June soon acquired the standing of a cold-war artifact. the East Germans played a key role providing machine tools and cooperating on computer ventures. The difference was that the demonstrators of 1989 abjured violence. violent and spontaneous. Two long generations would come of age. private autos would remain expensive and shoddy. They do not need a coherent program. The demonstrations remained as the East German index of vulnerability—and as the power of the GDR leadership deliquesced in October 1989. But from the perspective of 1989 and with the help of the reports and transcripts now collected here we can see that it had represented an alternative world. they sought to reassure themselves that control was not yet so precarious as in June 1953. but on their part.feared (rightly as it turned out) the undermining of authority that a rapid reversal of policy might cause. They just have to say No to power in a demonstrative and courageous fashion. Popular movements do not have to set out a well-articulated alternative social vision to be truly radical. the demonstrators deserved to be remembered by a national holiday. unpredictable for both sides in the great struggle. Eventually Western loans and cross-border visits would allow the GDR's secondrate and tawdry material life. a continuing revelation as to how thin the authority of even massively authoritarian systems might become. could still motivate—notably the idea of antifascism. the muffled public sphere (riddled through by private sociability and the emerging postmodern protests of the 1980s) to subsist for four decades. always decisively behind the West. or researchers. and celebration of the movement's national aspirations could become a potential rebuke. but never renouncing high tech. and it did not take violence under those conditions to force a transformation. or some vague commitment to peace. Maier Harvard University XVII . their Ostpolitik did not allow for an easy reckoning with those who had defied the East German regime—although Willy Brandt lived long enough to celebrate the demonstrators of 1989. athletes.

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as a root cause. Kans. " workers and peasants were throwing stones at the organs of a state that had been proclaimed in their name. farmers. "Politische Gedenktage in Deutschland: Zum Verhaltniss von offentlicher Erinnerung und politischer Kultur. Jackson Records. the idea that "Day X" had been a U. the events of 1953 would become part of the propaganda. Legitimation eines neuen Staates. 121–132. will single out those brave East Germans who dared to rise against the cannons of tyranny with nothing but their bare hands and their stout hearts. xix 1 . Juni 1953.3 While in the years after SED leader Walter Ulbricht's death in 1973. The "proletariat" had risen against the "dictatorship of the proletariat. pp. " Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte B25/93 (June 1993). and youth against a tyrannical regime was the first major uprising within the Soviet empire since the Kronstadt un rest in 1921. -instigated plot remained predominant. ed. New York Times. / am quite certain that future historians. " Dwight D. and identity of both sides of the Cold War in Germany. legends. " Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht 44 (1993). 32-39. almost mortal blow. Did it mark the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire? Was it the dawn of the post-Cold War world? The spontaneous revolt of workers.INTRODUCTION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ". in their analysis of the causes which will have brought about the disintegration of the Communist Empire. East Germans had dealt their Communist rulers—and their Soviet masters—a heavy. 26 July 1953. ideologically and diplomatically. " in 17. the widespread rebellion against the oppressive Communist government in East Germany in the summer of 1953. Dwight D. Politically. pp.. " Historical research into the deeper causes of the crisis remained a taboo in East Germany where history was used in the service of legitimizing the regime. Box 3. 3 Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk. 2 See Ilse Spittmann. Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk. 704–724. the Riling Socialist Unity Party (SED) quickly charged that the uprising had been a "fascist provocation" hatched by American and West German "imperialist agents. D. Juni im Wandel der Legenden. S. pp.2 In the GDR. Some Soviet and SED officials stubbornly adhere Draft letter from the President to Chancellor Adenauer. Before long. less grossly distorted picture of what had happened. Eisenhower Library (Abilene. Dietmar Schiller. Eisenhower to Konrad Adenauer 20 July 1953 For President Eisenhower. ).. C. 1997). "Der 17. "Die Historiker der DDR und der 17. 20 July 1953. Parteiarbeiter an der historischen Front: Geschichts\vissenschaft in der SBZ/DDR 1945 bis 1961 (Berlin: Links. Ilse Spittmann and Karl-Wilhelm Fricke (Koln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik. suppressed only by a Soviet military crackdown. Juni—Arbeiteraufsiand in der DDR. some East German historians tried to give a more differentiated. was a pivotal moment in the Cold War. 1988). It demonstrated to the world that the "captive peoples" of the Soviet bloc could and would oppose Stalinist rule when the opportunity arose—and that the Moscow-backed regimes could be upheld only by military force. as for many of his contemporaries in East and West. and increasingly in the 1980s.

Semjonov. or a "failed revolution"?7 As the documents presented in this reader will show. " Aus Politik und Zeilgeschichte B25/93 (June 1993). Progressively. the events in the East were already manipulated for the political purposes of the day: for Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Von Stalin bis Gorbatschow. Ulbricht returned the country to a hard-line course. official statements and public commemorations in West Germany on the "Day of German Unity" became a rather precise barometer of the dominant strain of Deutschlandpolitik of the day. Over the years. Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundeslages. Though the new evidence seems to suggest that the protests were marked by both social-labor grievances and political demands from the beginning. Juni im Deutschen Bundestag von 1954 bis 1990.4 and the legend of Western provocation. ed. Within East Germany. Ostpolitik. pp.to this view even today. "Putsch—Volksaufstand—Arbeitererhebung. Solschenizyn und die westliche Linke. 17 June in the West was a symbol for German unity in the quest for freedom. Against the backdrop of detente. most historians emphasized the uprising's political goals and its broad popular base. see also Alexander Gallus. 193–195. 291-293. Stenographische Berichte. 6 Rudi Dutschke. the memory of 17 June faded and lost its emotional appeal. At the same time. 291-299. 280th session. First Legislative Period. In the 1970s and early 1980s. quoted in Edgar Wolfrum. "5 But even as early as the summer of 1953. Juni als Krise im Kalten Krieg. " in Die Sowjetunion. the student movement and German Left began to discover 1953 and interpret it according to their own conceptions—as a failed attempt at class struggle by East German workers against the all-German state-capitalist (East) and bourgeois (West) elites. the uprising bolstered support for his policy of integrating the Federal Republic with the West in the hopes of some day negotiating with the East from a position of strength. die despotische Verfremdung desselben und der Weg der DDR zum Arbeiteraufstand vom 17. pp. p. In West Germany. for many within the Social Democratic opposition in the FRG. Erinnerungen (Leipzig: Faber & Faber. 4 See for example the memoirs of the SED chief ideologue. Ein halbes Jahrhundert in diplomatischer Mission. 3–11. Rudi Dutschke and Manfred Wilke (Reinbeck: Rowohlt. Juni 1953. "Der Kommunismus.. pp. many West Germans increasingly wondered whether to commemorate 17 June at all. "Der 17. popularized in such books as Stefan Heym's Der Tag X (later published in the West as Funf Tage im Juni) and taught for years in high schools and universities throughout the GDR may still have its hold on many. 1996). the focus shifted towards the economic roots of the crisis. 14070. At the height of the Cold War. Ruud van Dijk. 17 June was hailed as "the most important event in the recent history of German democracy. the 1953 crisis had a profound impact not only on the GDR but outside it as well. 12–21. Wladimir S. p. pp. the revolt prompted calls for further immediate steps towards German reunification. "Der 17. "Kein Sedantag glorreicher Erinnerung: Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit in der alten Bundesrepublik.6 Historians soon took up the battle where the politicians had left off. XX . Deutscher Bundestag. Kurt Hager. 1939-1991 (Berlin: Nikolai. Was it largely a "workers' revolt with potential for a popular uprising. the unanimous condemnation of the Soviet military action resulted in the adoption of an annual "Day of German Unity. " a genuine popular revolt. pp. 1975). and the seeming permanence of Germany's division in late 1960s and 1970s. 5 Deutscher Bundestag delegate Stefan Meier on 3 July 1953 in the parliamentary debate on the law. By contrast. " Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichie B25/93 (June 1993). affecting the policies of each of the greater and lesser powers involved. 7 Torsten Diedrich. curiously. to this day German historians argue acrimoniously over the character of the revolt. " Deulschland Archiv 30: 2 (1997). " In parliament. ed. 1995). 434. " Dentschland Archiv (1998).

as was immediately evident in the massive expansion of the state security apparatus. Haunted by the 1953 experience, Walter Ulbricht and the GDR political elite became advocates of equally harsh crackdowns against subsequent crises in other Warsaw Pact countries. In Moscow, the intersection of the post-Stalin power struggle with the East German uprising, and its potential for spilling over into other countries, including the USSR, undercut those Soviet leaders who strove for a more flexible Deutschlandpolitik. Once the ousted KGB chief Lavrentii Beria was identified (rightly or mistakenly) by his Kremlin rivals with the idea of moderating or abandoning socialism in the GDR, such a policy option became a political taboo. This circumstance laid the foundation for Soviet-East German relations for the next three decades. The Western response, as revealed by the new documentation, was more complex. The initial reaction was essentially passive, although Western radio broadcasts, in particular RIAS, worked aggressively to spread the news of the East Berlin strikes. In the aftermath, the U. S. government, especially, sought to capitalize on the uprising in several ways: by putting Soviet German policy on the defensive, strengthening the position of Adenauer, and maintaining a level of instability inside the GDR. But, this was a far cry from the ambitious "roll-back" rhetoric of the Eisenhower presidential campaign and first term. Despite their general caution, U. S. policymakers stumbled on a surprisingly successful method of exacerbating the SED's difficulties—through a food program aimed at providing the GDR popu lation with vitally needed supplies. In fact, the overwhelming response to the program by ordinaiy East Germans gave pause to many in the West and influenced the rethinking of American strategy towards Eastern Europe later that year. The uprising was equally important for British policy inasmuch as it undermined even further Winston Churchill's efforts towards East—West summitry and a great power deal to bring an early end to the Cold War. Despite the wealth of new evidence partially represented here, questions remain. Who within the Soviet leadership favored a more flexible Deutschlandpolitik in the spring of 1953 ? What were the goals—and limits—of this more accommodating policy? How did the uprising affect the decision-making process in Moscow? Would a more decisive, aggressive Western stance on 17 June have strengthened the position of the East German population vis-a-vis the SED regime? Did Western intelligence agencies launch any additional clandestine operations in the GDR during or after the uprising? Although the new documents shed important light on these and other questions, they can only be answered through further archival releases in Moscow, Washington, and Berlin.

Nonetheless, the opening of sometimes extraordinary new primary sources in the last decade has altered and deepened our understanding of the crucial events of 1953.8 Until 1990, scholars researching this history had to rely on a relatively small quantity of published documents, a scattering of not-yet published Western archival materials, the records of the Ostburo of the Social Democratic Party (with its many ties to East Germany), and accounts
8 Documents for this reader were drawn largely from the Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, the Russian Foreign Ministry Archives, the Russian General Staff Archives, the Foundation "Archive of the Parties and Mass Organizations of the Former GDR" with the Federal Archives "Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der ehemaligen DDR im Bundesarchiv, " the Hungarian National Archives, the Bulgarian National Archives, the Archive of Modern Records (Warsaw), the Archive of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee, the Center for the Storage of Contemporary Documentation (Moscow), the Archive of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the National Archives and Record Administration, College Park, Maryland,

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by those who had personally experienced the unrest.9 While the strikes and demonstrations in East Berlin were fairly well known, new historical evidence, in particular the internal records of the SED and the files of East German State Security (the Stasi), have a great deal to tell that was previously obscure. For example, these documents show that the unrest was far more widespread and prolonged than many Western observers had assumed. 10 Strikes and strike threats had occurred in the fall of 1952 and appeared with greater intensity in the spring of 1953 at individual plants (although they remained limited to the shop floor). We know now that these actions continued into July—less forcefully to be sure—but the fact that they took place at all under conditions of martial law was indicative of the depth of the crisis in the GDR. Numerous studies also now reveal the history of the 1953 uprising as it played out in various East German localities and among prominent professional groups. With the recent boost in access to relevant materials it has also become clear that anti-regime activities in the countryside were more intense and widespread than Western observers had assumed. The "Herrnstadt File, " a memoir-like document written in 1956 by Rudolf Herrnstadt, the leading opponent of Ulbricht within the SED, and hidden by his family from the Stasi, sheds light on the dramatic power struggle within the party leadership that resulted in Herrnstadt's ouster in July 1953. " Unfortunately, historians are still being hampered by difficulties in archival access. While the SED Politburo, GDR State Security and Foreign Ministry files are by and large accessible, Russian documents crucial for an understanding of Soviet policy have not been fully released. Key documents, such as the transcripts of CPSU Presidium meetings in the spring and summer of 1953, memoranda of conversations between USSR and foreign officials, cable traffic as well as intelligence and military records have not yet become available. The Soviet General Staff documents presented in this reader are only a fraction of the materials that must exist in contemporary Russian military archives. The same is true for the limited number of MVD/KGB documents that have become available. 12 While the situation with regard to the U. S. State Department materials is somewhat brighter, selected foreign policy records as well as military files also remain closed to researchers. As for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), numerous intelligence reports were released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and through the Agency's Historical Review Program. But the available materials are limited almost exclusively to analyses of events as opposed to field activities. Information on covert CIA intelligence operations in East Germany before and after the uprising which might reveal socalled "sources and methods" have been exempted from the FOIA and remain state secrets. The situation in the British, French, and Federal Republic archives is similarly restrictive. Because of these limitations on access, the documents which follow do not attempt to provide a full record of the 1953 crisis. Rather, they are meant to represent the highlights of what is now available through cooperative, multi-national research efforts, and to provide a
9 The standard account was for many years Arnulf Baring, Der 17. Juni 1953 (Stuttgart: DVA, 1982): see also Spittmann and Fricke. ed., Der 17 Juni 1953. 10 The best study is Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, Armin Mitter and Stefan Wolle, ed. Der Tag X—17. Juni 1953. Die Innere Staatsgriindung der DDR als Ergebnis der Krise 1952/54 (Berlin: Chr. Links, 1994). 11 Rudolf Herrnstadt, Das Herrnstadt-Dokument. Das Politburo der SED und die Geschichte des 17. Juni 1953, ed. Nadja Stulz-Herrnstadt (Reinbeck: Rowohlt, 1990). 12 Recent publications that include new Russian and U. S. documentation include Donald P. Steury (CIA History Staff), On the Frontlines of the Cold War: Documents on the Intelligence War in Berlin, 1946–1961 (Washington, D. C.: CIA, 1999); David Murphy, George Bailey and Sergei Kondrashev, Battleground Berlin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997).

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baseline for new exploration of the subject. The focus, therefore, is on recently released records from Russian, German, Czech, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Polish, British and American archives that help to document the international context, that is, the Soviet, East European and Western perceptions of, and involvement in, the crisis from the time of Stalin's death on 5 March 1953 until the fall of that year. 13 In so doing, the hope of those involved with this volume is to contribute to our knowledge of an important chapter in the international history of the Cold War. As far as the domestic context of the crisis in East Germany (or any of the other countries) is concerned, the materials do shed light on some interesting issues, but internal matters are mainly dealt with if they influenced international developments. The documents appear largely in chronological order and fall into three main parts. Where they relate more closely to the topic of a part other than the one to which they belong chronologically, they have been placed according to topical relevance. Introductory essays by the editor precede each of the three document parts, placing the archival materials in their larger historical context. The headnotes for the documents provide additional information regarding each item. Footnotes to the documents are by the editor, unless marked as belonging to the original document. The source line indicates the archival provenance, or a generally accessible current location, for the materials, as well as the name of the translator. While the document transcriptions and translations attempt to provide a sense of how the document looked and read in its original, declassification stamps and letterheads have usually been omitted. Transliteration of the Cyrillic follows international standards. Diacritics have generally been used when rendering foreign names, but spellings have not been corrected in reprinted English-language documents. Editorial additions or deletions for relevance or space have been marked with brackets ("[ ]").

This document collection is the result of a multi-year, multi-archival international collaborative research effort conducted under the auspices of the National Security Archive's "Openness in Russia and East Europe Project" (directed by Malcolm Byrne). In collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson International Center's Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) and its Russian and East European partners, the National Security Archive organized a remarkable series of conferences aimed at expanding the historical record and informing the public debate over a series of key crises in the Cold War. The Archive's principal partners include: the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences; the Institute of Contemporary History and the recently-formed Center for Advanced Studies of the Anti-totalitarian Resistance, both of the Czech Academy of Sciences; the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; the Civic Academy Foundation (Bucharest); the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and the human rights research and advocacy group "Memorial" (Moscow). This documents reader is, in part, an outgrowth of one conference in the Archive/CWIHP series: "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe, " organized by the editor, on the American side, and co-sponsored and hosted by the Potsdam-based Center for Contemporary History Research, in November 1996. As with the related conferences on the Prague Spring and subsequent Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia (Prague, April 1994); the 1956
13 Additional supporting documents have been posted on the National Security Archive's and CWIHP's websites. Where documents were cut from this volume due to space limitations, full versions are accessible at the National Security Archive in the "Russian and East European Archival Documents Database" (READD) collection, sponsored by the Archive and CWIHP.

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Hungarian Revolution (Budapest, September 1996); the 1980–81 Solidarity crisis in Poland (Warsaw-Jachranka, November 1997); and the collapse of the communist system in Eastern Europe (Musgrove Island, USA; Budapest; Prague; Warsaw, 1999); the Potsdam conference provided an opportunity for scholars from throughout Europe, the former Soviet Union and North America to collect, disseminate and discuss the newly available archival sources. The documents prepared for this meeting by the Archive, CWIHP, and others, as well as the analyses presented by the participants, helped provide a foundation for this volume. For their generous support, the editor and the National Security Archive would like to thank the following: — Malcolm Byrne, deputy director and director of research at the Archive, who oversees the "Openness Project" and its publications; — James Hershberg of George Washington University, and former director of CWIHP, for his editorial involvement and encouragement at all stages of this undertaking; — Vladislav Zubok of the National Security Archive, for his editorial advice and support; — Hope Harrison of George Washington University and Thomas A. Schwartz of Vanderbilt University for reviewing and commenting on the manuscript; — All those scholars and archivists who contributed documents to the collection, including Jordan Baev, Csaba Bekes, William Burr, David Haight, Hope Harrison, Alexei Filitov, Viktor Gobarev, Volker Lange, Andras Mink, Leonid Reshin, Krzysztof Ruchniewicz, Bosko Spasojevic, Michael Thurman, Natalia Tomilina, Oldrich Tuma, Zoia Vodopianova, and Vladislav Zubok. — For help with translations, Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie, Csaba Bekes, Jan Chowaniec, Nedialka Douptcheva, Hope Harrison, Christiaan Hetzner, Caroline Kovtun, Daniel Rozas, Svetlana Savranskaya, Radek Spicar, Michael Thurman, Kathryn Weathersby, David Wolff, Vladislav Zubok. — Greg Domber, research assistant at the National Security Archive and CWIHP, for his long hours organizing the collection, transcribing and editing documents, and helping to compile the front matter; — Catherine Nielsen, research assistant at the National Security Archive, for copy-editing, translation checking, and document transcription; — Christoph Klessmann of Potsdam University and director of the Center for Contemporary History Research who hosted the 1996 Conference, "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe; " — National Security Archive Executive Director Tom Blanton for support throughout this project; — Other staff members of the National Security Archive: Pete Voth for early work on the front matter; Aliza Saivetz for copy-editing and keyboarding; Jimmy Wong for document transcription; Bill Burr for help in acquiring documents from the CIA through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); Will Ferroggiaro for additional FOIA assistance; John Martinez for assistance with scanning; Mary Burroughs for additional transcriptions; — Former CWIHP Director David Wolff, who oversaw some of the early document translations; xxiv

— Geir Lundestad and Olav Njolstad at the Norwegian Nobel Institute, for their support of the editor's work through the Institute's fellowship program; — CWIHP Advisory Committee members William Taubman, John Gaddis, Prof. Warren Cohen, Sharon Wolchik, and Samuel F. Wells; Nancy L. Meyers, CWIHP administrator; and Janine Rowe, Michael Thurman, Christiaan Hetzner CWIHP research assistants; — Robert S. Litwak, director of the Division of International Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who oversees CWIHP's activities; — Anne C. Kjelling, librarian of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, for her invaluable help with locating sources; — The scholars and archivists who participated in the 1953 conference, particularly: Robert R. Bowie, Gary Bruce, Ruud van Dijk, Leo Gluchowski, Manfred Hagen, Richard Immerman, Wanda Jarzajsek, Jurgen Kocka, Klaus Larres, Jochen Laufer, Michael Lemke, Vojtech Mastny, Elke Scherstjanoi, and Gerhard Wettig; — The philanthropic foundations whose generous support has made the Openness Project and this volume possible: The Open Society Institute (New York), The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (Chicago), The Smith Richardson Foundation (Westport, CT), and the German Marshall Fund of the United States; — Central European University Press for its continuing support of this book series, especially Klara Takacsi-Nagy, director and editor of CEU Press, and Frances Pinter, former director of the Center for Publishing Development.

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ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

ACC Amembassy BDJ BGL BMV BPO CC Cde. CIA CIC CDT CDU Cominform Comintern CPCz CPSU CSM CSR CZV DAD EAD EDC EE EUCOM EUR FDGB FDJ FGY FRG GDR GEC GER GVP HICOG HO HVDVP JNV JZD KBW

Allied Control Commission American Embassy [West German] Federation of German Youth Factory or trade union leadership Czechoslovak Bureau of the City Committee Factory Party Cell Central Committee Comrade Central Intelligence Agency United States Army Counterintelligence Corps Commandant Christian Democratic Union Communist Information Bureau Communist International Communist Party of Czechoslovakia Communist Party of the Soviet Union Czechoslovak Youth Association Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Czechoslovak Factory Party Worker's Committee [West] German Intelligence Service Eastern Affairs Division, HICOG European Defense Community Eastern Europe European Command, United States Army Bureau of European Affairs, U. S. Department of State East German Free German Trade Unions Free German Youth Free German Youth Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) German Democratic Republic (East Germany) German Economic Commission Bureau of German Affairs, U. S. Department of State All-German People's Party United States High Commission(er) for Occupied Germany East German Retail Trading Association Main Administration of the German People's Police Czechoslovak City Government Czechoslovak standard fanning cooperatives Polish Internal Security Corps xxvii

KGB KgU KNV KPD KPDR KV KVP LDP LM LPG MDP MFA MfS MGB MID MO MRS MSA MTS MVD NATO NIE NEP NSC NVA OCB PRC PSB PUBP PUWP PZPR RFE RIAS ROK S/P SAG SCC SED SNM SP SPD STB SVAG/SMAG TAN U. N. UBP USIG VB xxviii

Committee for State Security, USSR Fighting Group against Inhumanity Czechoslovak organ of state administration, Regional National Committee Communist Party in West Germany Korean People's Democratic Republic Czechoslovak Regional Party Committee Garrisoned People's Police, GDR Liberal Democratic Party Czechoslovak People's Militia Agricultural Production Cooperative Hungarian Workers' Party Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USSR Ministry for State Security (Stasi), GDR Ministry of State Security (Russian acronym), GDR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, USSR Polish People's Militia Machine-Rental Stations Mutual Security Agency, United States Machine Tractor Stations Ministry of Internal Affairs, USSR North Atlantic Treaty Organization National Intelligence Estimate New Economic Policy National Security Council National People's Army Operations Coordinating Board, United States People's Republic of China Psychological Strategy Board, United States County Office of State Security, Poland Polish United Workers' Party Polish United Workers' Party (Polish acronym) Radio Free Europe Radio in the American Sector of Berlin Republic of Korea Policy Planning Staff, U. S. Department of State Soviet State-Stock company (after 1954 Soviet–German joint stock company) Soviet Control Commission Socialist Unity Party, GDR Free German Youth (Russian acronym), GDR Polish Communist youth organization German Social Democratic Party Czechoslovak State Security Soviet Military Administration in Germany Technically-based work norms United Nations Office of State Security, Poland Administration for Soviet Property in Germany Czechoslovak public security

VEB VFC VOPO Vopos VP WRN

WUBP

High-Frequency Telephone line (used by Soviets for secret communications) Peoples' Owned Plant Volunteer Freedom Corps People's Police, GDR People's Police, GDR People's Police, GDR "Liberty, Equality, Independence, " (Polish underground anti-communist resistance movement) Voivodship Office of State Security, Poland

Abbreviations Used in Document Source Citations
AAN AGSh A MSZ AP AP RF AUV KSC AVP RF CA MSWiA d. DDEL DDEP f. FOIA FRUS \. 11. MBP NARA op. por. RG SAPMO-BArch SVRA TsKhSD ZW ZMP Archive of Modern Records, Warsaw Archives of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Moscow Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Warsaw Polish National Archives, Warsaw Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow Archive of the CPCz Central Committee, Prague Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, Moscow Central Archives, Ministry of Interior and Administration, Warsaw Delo (File) Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas Dwight D. Eisenhower Papers Fond (Collection) Freedom of Information Act Foreign Relations of the United States List (Page) Listy (Pages) Minister of Public Security National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland Opis' (Inventory) Portfolio Record Group Foundation "Archive of the Party and Mass Organizations of the Former GDR"—Federal Archives, Berlin Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Center for the Storage of Contemporary Documentation, Moscow Provincial Office, Polish Youth Union

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7 October 1949: The German Democratic Republic is proclaimed. The Western powers institute an airlift to supply the city. France. creating the EDC. XXXI . claiming that the Federal Republic is the only legitimate government in Germany. signing agreements on the future of Germany. France. S. S. It enters into effect on 24 August. The former provinces are abolished and replaced by districts and precincts. and Ulbricht in Moscow. Britain. Great Britain and the FRG sign the Paris Agreement. 24 July 1952: The GDR Council of Ministers announces special privileges for agricultural collectives. 23 July 1952: The Volkskammer passes legislation reorganizing the territorial divisions within the GDR. Walter Ulbricht retains the position of deputy prime minister. 27 May 1952: The U.. 4 April 1949: The NATO treaty is signed. 8 July 1952: Stalin sanctions the announcement of the "Planned Construction of Socialism. The Western powers refuse to recognize the new state. Germany is to be united.CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS Pre-1952 7-8 May 1945: Germany surrenders. ending the war in Europe. Pieck becomes president and Grotewohl prime minister. USSR. including the disarmament of the country. The agreement awaits ratification by the signatories. but prohibited to join any military alliance. and the FRG sign the General Treaty officially ending the Allied occupation of West Germany. 26 May 1952: In Bonn. " and permitted to create an army. The Western Allies are unconvinced that the proposals are genuine but engage in an exchange of messages with Moscow which ends with a Western note on 23 September. the U. 1 and 7 April 1952: Stalin meets with Grotewohl. S. 15 September 1949: Konrad Adenauer is elected Federal Chancellor. 17 July–2 August 1945: Leaders of the U.. 27–22 April 1946: The SED is created when the SPD and KPD merge. Wilhelm Pieck of the KPD and Otto Grotewohl of the SPD are elected co-chairmen. "democratic. and Britain attend the Potsdam Conference.. " 9-12 July 1952: The Second Party Congress of the SED meets and adopts the policy of the "Planned Construction of Socialism" in the GDR. 23 May 1949: The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany is proclaimed. 1952 10 March 1952: Stalin sends the first of several notes to the governments of the three Western powers proposing a peace treaty with Germany. 12 May 1949: The Soviets end the blockade of Berlin. Pieck. 24 June 1948: The Soviet "blockade" of Berlin begins.

1953 15 January 1953: The GDR State Planning Commission points to "alarming deficiencies" in the state-run industrial concerns. political adviser to the Soviet Control Commission. 16 April 1953: Reacting to the Soviet "Peace Offensive. 77 May 1953: Winston Churchill delivers a speech to the House of Commons calling for a Great Power summit on the German problem. however. " This begins the so-called "Peace Offensive" that will dominate U. 3 May 1953: Hundreds of tobacco workers in Plovdiv and Khaskovo. 75 April 1953: Ulbricht publishes another article in Neues Deutschland reiterating the necessity of creating socialism in the GDR. secretary of state in the Ministry of Trade and Food.. reaffirms the voluntary nature of the agricultural cooperatives (LPGs). but a struggle for power soon develops within the Kremlin. National Security Council meets to discuss the policy implications of Stalin's death. 75 December 1952: Minister of Trade and Food Hamann and Secretary of State Albrecht are relieved of their posts and arrested. and extends the term of these payments. Junge Gemeinde. go on strike. 11 March 1953: The U. Bulgaria. 15 March 1953: Before a session of the USSR Supreme Soviet. 18 April 1953: The Soviet Union grants the SED additional economic aid. C. S. 4 April 1953: The Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs announces that the Kremlin doctors arrested on 9 January 1953 (in the infamous "Doctor's Plot") had been detained without justification. The SED press office attacks labor unions for disregarding the question of higher work norms. " President Eisenhower delivers a speech entitled "A Chance for Peace" in Washington.. 21 November 1952: Paul Baender (SED). is recalled to Moscow to become the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Third European Department responsible for Germany. Eisenhower is elected president of the United States. S. 5 March 1953: Stalin dies. -Soviet relations over the coming months. including the United States. Mid-April 1953: Small-business owners in the GDR are precluded from receiving ration cards. the SED regime heightens its fight against the Protestant Church. Khrushchev. reduces reparations payments by 20-25%.4 November 1952: Dwight D. and Beria join forces to lead the Soviet government. and admits to mistakes made by local courts and party officials in dealing with small and middle-class farmers. is relieved of his post and arrested. Malenkov. 27-22 April 1953: Vladimir Semyonov. D. xxxii . he makes no reference to the establishment of armed forces. 25 April 1953: Pravda reacts in a positive way to Eisenhower's 16 April speech. 19 March 1953: The West German Bundestag ratifies the Paris and Bonn treaties. especially its youth organization. 8 March 1953: Neues Deutschland publishes an article by Ulbricht calling for the GDR to continue vigorously to pursue the "Planned Construction of Socialism" in the GDR. Malenkov announces that there is "no litigious or unresolved question which could not be settled by peaceful means on the basis of the mutual agreement of the countries concerned.

Calling for free elections and a new government. " 12 June 1953: Transport company workers demonstrate in front of Brandenburg prison. The same day. 14 May 1953: The CPSU Presidium meets to discuss the deteriorating situation in the GDR. xxxiii . the "voluntary" increase in work norms remains in place. 15 June 1953: Members of the CPSU CC leadership meet with Albanian leader Enver Hoxha. 28 May 1953: The GDR Council of Ministers decrees the implementation of the norm increase by 30 June. Andrei Grechko is named commander of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. the next day unless Grotewohl satisfactorily addresses the workers' concerns. 7 June 1953: Workers strike at the Skoda munitions plant in Plzen. 9 June 1953: The SED CC Politburo adopts the "New Course. " 28 May 1953: Vladimir Semyonov is appointed Soviet High Commissioner for Germany after the SCC is dissolved. Many policies of the "Planned Construction of Socialism" are relaxed. however. Many party members are shocked by the dramatic changes in policy. 16 May 1953: The SED Politburo's decision to increase industrial work norms by 10% is published. 75 June 1953: Semyonov meets with Grechko and agrees to call Soviet troops from their summer training camps back into garrisons. 11 June 1953: Confusion reigns among the party and the population as to the significance of the "New Course. 75 June 1953 (7: 30 p. relaxing judicial controls. and revising the heavy industry plan. 75 June 1953: A workers' delegation from Stalinallee Block 40 presents a resolution on the 10% work norms increase to aides of Grotewohl. The delegation threatens a strike to begin at 7: 00 a. m. " Ulbricht and his policies come under intense criticism from within the SED leadership. 2 June 1953: The USSR Council of Ministers completes an order criticizing the forced construction of socialism in the GDR. 12–13 June 1953: Workers in East Berlin institute work slow-downs to protest the increased work norms. 13-16 June 1953: Members of the CPSU CC leadership hold meetings with Hungarian communist leaders in an attempt to mitigate some of the worst excesses of Stalinist rule under Matyas Rakosi. but resentment among labor leaders and workers is widespread.): RIAS news reports on protest strikes at three East Berlin construction sites. " publishing a communique in Neues Deutschland on 11 June. m. Czechoslovakia. Grotewohl. Disturbances and work stoppages continue until 3 June. Ulbricht. during which Franz Dahlem (Ulbricht's main domestic opponent) is ousted and a "voluntary" 10% increase in work norms is decreed. and Fred Oelssner arrive in Moscow for two days of discussion with the CPSU CC Presidium on adopting the "New Course" for the GDR.13–14 May 1953: The 13th Plenum of the SED CC is held. 5-9 June 1953: Grotewohl and Ulbricht return to East Berlin and meet almost continuously with the SED CC Politburo over the next four days to discuss Moscow's instructions for the "New Course. SED meetings in many state companies prepare for the "voluntary adoption" of the decree. The Soviets' demands include ending forced collectivization. 27 May 1953: The Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers meets to discuss the situation in the GDR and decides to terminate the "forced construction of socialism. the strike soon leads to rioting and violent clashes with the Czechoslovak militia. -Gen. 7 June 1953: Col.

17 June 1953 (1: 00 p. 17 June 1953 (approx.16 June 1953: An article in the union paper Tribune argues for the necessity of the norm increase. 12. 11. The demonstration continues throughout the day. m.): The SED CC Politburo meets at party headquarters. m. the following day. martial law is declared in 167 out of 217 districts throughout the GDR. xxxiv . 16 June 1953 (4: 30 p. Sometime after 10. Dibrova declares martial law in the Eastern Sector of Berlin. workers at the Hospital Friedrichshain and Stalinallee Block 40 construction sites begin to gather. Strikes occur at other East Berlin construction sites and plants. m. 17 June 1953 (afternoon): RIAS continues to broadcast reports about the demonstrations and riots in the Eastern Zone. 000 people have joined the demonstration. demonstrations and riots occur throughout the GDR.): RIAS begins to report on the volatile situation in the East Sector of Berlin and on calls for a general strike. CET. Eventually.): Soviet Commandant. m. -Gen. 17 June 1953 (evening): Demonstrations and rioting continue throughout the afternoon and into the evening. 00 a. 16 June 1953 (early afternoon): The government announces the revocation of the forced norm increase. C. m. 17 June 1953 (early morning): Ulbricht meets with State Security Chief Wilhelm Zaisser and General Heinz Hoffmann about the deployment of KVP units. but the concession comes too late. Grotewohl and Ulbricht fail to appear. Soviet troops enter the outskirts of Berlin. By 10: 30 a. by now the workers are also demanding free elections and the resignation of the government.): Demonstrations continue in front of the House of Ministries. 00 a. D. The protestors disperse. m. All train and tram traffic into the Eastern Sector of Berlin is terminated. forcing their way through ranks of Volkspolizei and KVP troops. 16 June 1953 (evening): Three thousand members of the Berlin SED Party Aktiv meet in the Friedrichstadtpalast to hear speeches by SED party leaders. Strikes. eventually marching towards the center of Berlin and congregating at the House of Ministries. 25. including Ulbricht and Gro tewohl. Calls are made for a general strike at 7: 00 a. EST): President Eisenhower discusses possible reactions to the growing crisis with his adviser. 00 noon): Soviet tanks and troops fire into the crowd of demonstrators around and inside the House of Ministries. m.): Masses of workers begin entering Berlin and congregating at the House of Ministries. By 9: 00 a. 17 June 1953 (approx. 10: 10 a. 80–100 demonstrators storm the government building..): The three Western Commandants meet in West Berlin. m. Soviet troops and MfS arrest hundreds of demonstrators. 16 June 1953 (12: 00 p. m. 10. Heavy Industry Minister Fritz Selbmann and Professor Robert Havemann speak to the workers. Jackson. Early in the morning. 17 June 1953 (approx. m.. but fighting continues throughout the afternoon and into the evening. 16 June 1953 (late evening): Semyonov meets with the SED leadership about bringing Soviet troops into Berlin. Despite repeated calls by the assembled demonstrators. 7: 00 a. m. Semyonov instructs the SED leaders to move to Soviet headquarters in Karlshorst for safety. 00 a. m. Overnight. Maj. After an hour. 17 June 1953 (approx. riots occur in parts of East Berlin. 17 June 1953 (4: 10 p. 16 June 1953: The SED Politburo meets for its regular Tuesday morning meeting and decides to revoke the forced norm increase.

/ July 1953: The Psychological Strategy Board approves the implementation of a large-scale food program for East Germany. 27 June 1953: In order to avert a crisis similar to that in the GDR. ): After a day of prolonged debate. National Security Council holds its 151st meeting to discuss PSB D–45. 17 June 1953 (10: 36 p. demanding the release of strikers detained since 17 June. " Four days later. S. 20 June 1953: During a protest demonstration in Magdeburg-Rothensee. S. 9 July 1953: Travel restrictions between East and West Berlin and the system of temporary passes adopted after 17 June are removed. –1: 13 p.): The hastily assembled 14th Plenum of the SED Central Committee meets to adopt the Declaration drafted by the Politburo. Kopenick. 25 June 1953: The CPSU CC receives a lengthy report from Soviet military officials Semyonov. 9: 00 p. National Security Council. m. 19 June 1953: Martial law is relaxed in several East German cities. 20 June 1953: The SED Politburo meets for the first time since the morning of 17 June.): A special session of the Berlin House of Delegates takes place to commemorate the casualties of the day's unrest. 23 June 1953: For the first time since the uprising erupted. 18 June 1953: At the 150th meeting of the U. S. the Soviet military tribunal announces death sentences for two local residents: Alfred Dartsch and Herbert Strauch. Imre Nagy announces a New Course program in Hungary. 2-4 July 1953: The CPSU CC convenes a special Plenum to criticize Beria and to discuss the effects of the events in the GDR..–5:00 p. Hennigsdorf and Wiessensee threaten to strike. 21 June 1953 (11: 00 a. m. West German Chancellor Adenauer denounces the terror regime in East Berlin and the Soviet Zone. m. m. 18 June 1953: The Western Berlin Commandants release a communique denying charges of Western involvement in the riots. sit-down strikes occur in several factories in East Berlin. m. PSB D–45 is adopted as NSC 158.17 June 1953 (approx. 26 June 1953: KGB Chief Lavrentii Beria is arrested. In Magdeburg. Plan for Exploitation of Unrest in Satellite Europe. eight people are killed. Adenauer participates in a large memorial celebration for the victims in Berlin. m. President Eisenhower is briefed on the situation as Washington works to understand the policy implications. 18 June 1953: Soviet Commandant Dibrova announces that West Berlin resident Willi Gottling has been sentenced to death and executed. m. "Interim U. Yudin. and Sokolovskii on the demonstrations in the GDR. 10 July 1953: The Soviet government publicly announces Beria's arrest. " 21 June 1953 (11: 20 p.): Soviet Deputy Defense Minister Sokolovskii arrives in Berlin with Soviet Marshal Govorov. xxxv . 18 June 1953: Strikes and violence continue in cities and rural areas throughout the GDR. 21 June 1953: In cables to Eisenhower. The following day. Lichtenburg. 25 June 1953: The U. 8-9 July 1953: Grotewohl and Ulbricht travel to Moscow to meet with Soviet officials. the SED Politburo adopts the "Draft Declaration of the CC on the Situation and on the Immediate Tasks Facing the Party. m – 11: 20 p. 7 July 1953: Workers in Stalinallee. Churchill and French Prime Minister Mayer. 9: 00 p.

12 July 1953: Authorities lift the state of emergency in East Berlin. the June riots. they propose a four-power conference on Germany as part of an attempt to reclaim the initiative on the German issue from Moscow. and Elli Schmidt are not re-elected as candidate members of the Politburo. 75 August 1953: The first phase of the Food Distribution Program ends. The regime even inaugurates its own food distribution operation aimed at West Berlin retirees and unemployed persons. 28 August 1953: The second phase of the Food Distribution Program begins and continues until early October. "United States Policy Toward the Soviet Satellites in Eastern Europe. and Western sympathizers of. 20–22 August 1953: A top-level GDR government delegation travels to Moscow where Soviet officials promise increased economic aid. 6 September 1953: Chancellor Adenauer wins re-election. 202 food packages. Hans Jendretzky. 598. and West Germany publish an exchange of letters between Adenauer and Eisenhower officially announcing plans for a Food Distribution Program for East Germany. 26 August 1953: The Soviet Union sends a communique to the Western Allies agreeing to a four-power meeting on Germany as proposed by the Western powers on 15 July. He is executed on the last day of the proceedings. between exhortations to keep up morale and to maintain passive resistance. as expected. Anton Ackermann. 27 July 1953: The Food Distribution Program begins with distribution centers opening in the Western Sectors of Berlin that are easily accessible from the East. xxxvi . confiscating food packets. Nearly 865. " re-evaluating the Eisenhower administration's "rollback" policy. 12-14 July 1953: Large strikes and work slow-downs occur at several locations in East Germany. 8 August 1953: Malenkov announces the New Course in Soviet economic policy. which is not stationary. They also release a letter offering the Soviets $15 million worth of food aid for the East Germans. and invitations to suicide. concluding that U. " 16 July 1953: Max Fechner. including restricting travel to West Berlin. policymakers needed to walk a "fine line. declare an end to reparations payments. but this offer is promptly rejected. 000 people have come from East Berlin and throughout East Germany to receive 2. and initiating a propaganda program. 10–14 July 1953: The foreign ministers of the three Western powers meet in Washington. Mid-October 1953: The East German regime initiates a series of "terror trials" against 25 participants in. Early August 1953: GDR officials begin a campaign to combat the Food Distribution Program. " 18-23 December 1953: The trial against Beria takes place. 24-26 July 1953: The 15th SED CC Plenum is convened. Late September 1953: The Adenauer government begins urging a "visible stop" to the food program. is dismissed and arrested. The Soviets threaten to use troops and violent reprisals if work is not resumed.10 July 1953: The U. As a result of their talks. GDR minister of justice. Wilhelm Zaisser and Rudolf Herrnstadt are purged from the party. during which the party leadership reinforces its decision to follow the New Course. S. 14 July 1953: Ulbricht attacks the "Herrnstadt-Zaisser group. 11 December 1953: The National Security Council approves NSC 174. and elevate the diplomatic missions between the two governments to embassies. S.

1955 14 May 1955: The Warsaw Pact is established. Anton Ackermann is expelled from the CC for supporting the "Herrnstadt-Zaisser group. " Hans Jendretzky and Elli Schmidt are reprimanded on similar charges. 22-23 January 1954: At the 17th SED CC Plenum. The Federal Republic of Germany becomes a member of NATO in 1955. Soviet stock companies are transferred to GDR ownership. 20 September 1955: The USSR and East Germany reach agreement on the "full sovereignty" of the GDR. XXXVll . 23 October 1954: The Paris Treaties are signed. GDR reparation payments to the USSR come to an end. the GDR becomes a member.1954 1 January 1954: As part of a package of economic aid to East Germany.

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socialist Germany. and "extremely detrimental conditions and disruption" in Romania. which had remained essentially unresolved since the end of World War II. "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle and Upheavals in Eastern Europe (Part 1). By late 1952. mass terror. Bereitschaft :u Einheit in Freiheit? Die sowjetische Deutschland-Politik 1945-1955 (Munich: Olzog. The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation (Cambridge. One crucial moment was the Western powers' rejection of the March 1952 "Stalin note. the decision to undertake open and accelerated socialization of industry and agriculture seemed to mark a turning point in Soviet policy toward Germany. see also the massive documentation in Galina Murashko et a/. 1952). eds. 9-12 July 1952 (Berlin: Staatsverlag der DDR. pp. and the establishment of a unified and democratic. the devastating effects of these policies—both in human and economic terms—had gradually become evident. 18–32: Gerhard Wettig. Naimark. Soviet officials were receiving a growing number of accounts of economic dislocation and popular unrest. EIke Scherstjanoi. for the development leading up to the Second Party Conference. here: 6–7. But a series of events may have combined to remove the Kremlin's indecisiveness. Mass. Vostochnaia Yevropa v dokumentakh rossiiskikh arkhivov.PART ONE THE ORIGINS OF THE CRISIS INTRODUCTION Stalin and the Construction of Socialism in East Germany The roots of the summer 1953 East German crisis date back to July 1952. 1999). Towards the end of that year.2 Local communist rulers maintained control only through massive expansion of the largely Soviet-controlled security apparatus. 1997)." in which the Soviet leader had called for allied negotiations on a peace treaty for Germany. "Entscheidungen im Vorfeld der 2. 3-55. but "neutral" Germany. p. purges and show trials. 257-302." Journal of Cold War Studies 1:1 (Winter 1999). Soviet diplomatic and intelligence sources reported a state of "near-total chaos" in the Czechoslovak economy. .4 Even after the establishment of the GDR in October 1949 under the control of the SED (formed when the German Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party were forcibly merged in 1946). Stalin's policy continued to be. pp. Wettig. 4 Norman M. ed. Parteikonferen: der SED. 2 Cited in Mark Kramer. Die sowjetische Deutschland-Politik in der Am Adenauer (Rhondorder Gesprache 16) (Bonn: Bouvier. Protokoll der Verhandlungender2.: Harvard University Press." Betrage :ur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung 34:4(1992). torn between the full "satellization" of the new state and the realization of his all-German aspirations.. 13 July 1952. pp. by all indications.. 1995). held from 9-12 July 1952. Parteikonferenz. or SBZ. (Moscow: Siberian Chronograph." Neues Deutschland. 1998). "severe deficiencies" in Hungary. even in Moscow itself."1 A number of other East and East-Central European states had already embarked upon this approach a few years earlier.l. seeking to promote rapid short-term economic growth. 3 The German designation for the Soviet zone was Sowjetische Besat-ungs:one. "Beschluss der 2. see Heinz Heitzer. Parteikonferenz der SED (Februar bis Juli 1952). In East Germany. however. 2 (1949-53). an ' The SED (So-ialislische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) approved the program at its Second Party Convention. vol.3 the creation of a unified. "Zwei deutsche Staaten?" Tel Aviver Jahrbuch fur deutsche Geschichte 28 (1999). when the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) adopted a crash socialization and collectivization program termed the "Planned Construction of Socialism. Moscow's options had included the sovietization of the eastern occupation zone..

Links. precluded from receiving ration cards. 1)." mainly small entrepreneurs and wealthier farmers ("kulaks"). "Abschirmungspolitik gegenilber dem westlichen Deutschland im Jahre 1952. Analysen undDokumente (Berlin: Ch. Cold War International History Project Working Paper No. pp. 12-36. In this new phase of the "class struggle. Wettig. pp. 157-167. 786–805. Stalin also decreed the creation of an East German army—"without making much noise"—announcing that the "pacifist period" was over—"[pacifism] was needed in the past but not any more" (Document No. pp. Marz 1952 als geschichtswissenschaftliches Problem. the SED's drive for collectivization coerced independent farmers into "production cooperatives. pp. In agriculture. 1994). Archival Evidence on Soviet Foreign Policy in the Spring 1952. Darstellung und Dokumentation auf der Grundlage unveroffenllichter britischer und amerikanischer Akten." Deutschland Archiv 26: 7 (1993). "Die Deutschland-Note vom 10 Marz 1952 auf der Basis diplomatischer Akten des russischen AuBenministeriums. 411–419. (Bonn: Verlag Neue Gesselchaft. Many Westerners doubted that Stalin's offer was more than a propaganda ploy aimed primarily at delaying the signing of treaties which were to provide greater sovereignty for West Germany and accelerate its military integration with Western Europe. SED General Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Walter Ulbricht. but in a piecemeal fashion: "Even now they should not shout about socialism." By late 1952. Stalin had told visiting East German leaders." Zeitschrift fur Geschichle 2 (1991). 858-863. 115-129. Wettig." The Historical Journal37: 2 (1994). pp. to lag far behind that of Western Germany." and insisted that everything needed to be done to "strengthen the defense of this border"6 (Document No.all-German government and all-German elections. Forced socialization in industry and agriculture had driven East Germany's economy into the ground. 25: 8 (1992). 14 (Washington. The 1952 Stalin Note Debate: Myth or Missed Opportunity for German Unification. ed. In addition. Zwangsaussiedlungen an der innerdeutschen Grenze. The general population was directly affected as increased output targets for heavy industry caused consumer goods production. hard-line policies had already backfired. now seemed to signal openly that the priority of promoting all-German concerns had been abandoned in favor of unimpeded sovietization and consolidation of the eastern zone." in Die sowjetische Deutschland-Politik. Those who refused to go along were subject to heavy. meanwhile." the regime levied prohibitive taxes against remaining small and medium private enterprises in trade and industry. small business owners were. 1996). As early as April 1952. 1). Michael Lemke. and see the debate between Wettig and Elke Scherstjanoi. . Ruud van Dijk. The Soviet leader also sanctioned the socialization of GDR agriculture and industry. Wettig (Bonn: Bouvier.5 Prior to the summer of 1952." which met widespread public opposition. 6 See Stefan Creuzberger. state-enforced delivery quotas. Eine Chance =ur Wiedervereinigung? Die Stalin-Note vom 10 Mar= 1952." He further demanded that they turn the relatively open demarcation line between East and West Germany into a "border. "democratic" but neutral German state that would have its own national armed force. Deutschland Archiv. 1985). Rolf Steininger. Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte Supplement 12. "Die Stalin-Note vom 10. contrary to Stalin's advice in April to entice farmers to join well-equipped and productive collectives voluntarily. too. pp. Hardest hit was the "middle class. and proposed establishing a unified. and socio-economic conditions had become critical. Ein gewandeltes Problemverstandnis" Deutschland Archiv 25:2 (1992). Soviet designs for German unification had precluded full satellization of the GDR along the model of the East European "people's democracies. Inge Bennewitz and Rainer Potratz." But the announcement of the GDR's new policy by the country's strong man. and hence the living standard. by April 1953. DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. forcing them to buy food at exorbitant prices at state stores. need to organize an independent state. The resulting havoc caused food shortages throughout the GDR and even a 5 On the Stalin notes controversy see Gerhard Wettig. "Chance oder Risiko? Die Stalin-Note im auBenpolitischen Konzept der Bundesregierung. "you. 1997). "Stalin and German Reunification.

Arkhiv Sluzhby Vneshnei Razvedki Rossiiskoi Federatsii (ASVR).: Harvard University Press. Bulganin and Kaganovich were appointed deputy chairmen. the GDR no longer held "any attraction to citizens of West Germany. Mass. Bundesarchiv Potsdam [BA-Potsdam]. LI. 2589. some 122. quoted in David E. Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. On 15 March. 156. 97-99. Within the first six months of 1953.000 people left the GDR. Change of Guard in Moscow: The Post-Stalin Leadership and the "Peace Campaign " The growing crisis in East Germany coincided with a change of leadership in the USSR—in fact the dawn of a new era in the wake of Stalin's death on 5 March 1953. the new leadership immediately moved to set Soviet foreign policy on a more calm and flexible track. D. Nikita Khrushchev. Even as the dictator lay dying at his dacha in a Moscow suburb. Pleshakov." 1954. Nikolai Bulganin. KGB in the Cold War (New Haven. 45513. all of whom had held high positions under Stalin.7 As the Soviet intelligence chief could inform the CPSU Politburo. lgnatiev. Kondrashev and George Bailey. Murphy. from which virtually the entire East German population suffered. Inside the Kremlin's Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge. Hauptverwaltung der Deutschen Volkspolizei (MI/HDV). according to internal GDR statistics. 8 "TsK KPSS. Lazar Kaganovich. the Junge Gemeinde. A particular target were the churches. F. 1996). Zubok and Constantine V. Besides Malenkov and Beria. Conn 1997) p. Molotov. especially the dominant Protestant Church and its active youth organization.9 Seemingly ready to break with Stalin's hard-line and paranoid approach which had placed the Soviet Union on the defensive worldwide. despite the mostly sealed border. 19 February 1953.000 in 1952. Ministerium des Innern. the newly-created CPSU Presidium included Vyacheslav Molotov. Georgii Malenkov and Lavrentii Beria plotted to seize the reins of power. Anastas Mikoyan. . 9 Vladislav M. adding to other hardships such as frequent electricity outages or heating cut-offs. torn.000 people had turned their back on the regime in 1951. 11/962. It also carried out campaigns against restive social organizations. Maksim Saburov and Mikhail Pervukhin. Kliment Voroshilov. and some 182. over 225. The regime also intensified its battles on other fronts. Malenkov announced to the Supreme Soviet that there was "no litigious or unresolved question which could not be settled by peaceful means on the basis of the mutual agreement of the countries concerned 7 "Analyse der Republikflucht." an unprecedented number of East Germans fled to Western Germany. While prisons were filling up with the victims of socialist criminal "justice.few isolated strike incidents. preferred by many young East Germans to the SED-dominated Free German Youth (FDJ). The combined assault on society by the authorities put additional strains on the GDR's socio-economic fabric. in the first four months of 1953. 7. the SED proposed to take the drastic measure of virtually closing off the border between the Eastern and Western sectors early in 1953 (thus foreshadowing the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961) (Document No. It instituted a compulsory build-up of the armed forces." Top Secret Memorandum 708/1 by S. Sergei A. The momentary pre-eminence of Malenkov in what was presented to the party and the outside world as the new "collective leadership" was underlined by his appointment on 5 March as chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers."8 Eager to close the last escape valve—the still open sector crossings in Berlin—and to put pressure on the Western powers by increasingly harassing the Western outpost.000 East Germans left. 2). While some 166. Beria.

see also his "Wie die Regierung den 17. 12 Neues Deutschland. 762. The "hate America campaign" in the Soviet media was apparently called off. 12 Jahre Pankow (Koln: Kiepenheuer and Witsch. most importantly. or in collaboration with local Soviet and/or Kremlin leaders. 14 Fritz Schenk. a personal assistant to GDR planning chief Bruno Leuschner." Closing borders. 27 March 1953. 4). 762B. 13 The two officials were the commander in chief of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany. waived its long-standing claim on control of Turkish territory. place in doubt the sincerity of the policy of the Soviet government and the GDR government.0221/3-2753. General Vasilii I." It is unclear precisely when the East German leadership was informed of any impending changes in Kremlin policy toward the GDR. including the United States of America. Moscow's propaganda directives for the month of April apparently admonished the East Berlin newspapers to cease their vitriolic attacks New York Times." SBZ-Archiv 13 (1962). and. Similarly. was instructed to explain "tactfully" to the SED that the "grossly simplistic" measures they were proposing would interrupt the "established order of city life. that he was not liked or actively accepted by other Kremlin leaders. reasserted in the most vigorous terms his determination to proceed with the accelerated program of building socialism. the USSR signaled readiness for a truce in Korea.. DAD [West German intelligence service] shares our feeling that Ulbricht is momentarily in a particularly difficult and exposed position. continuing his efforts to isolate the Western outpost in the heart of the GDR. HICOG Berlin to Department of State. the Kremlin even hinted at its interest in a U.S.-Soviet summit on disarmament and other issues.12 With the backing of two key Soviet officials stationed in the GDR. Chuikov. 12 March 1953. Further. NARA.N. 1962)."10 In the following weeks. namely that the GDR would be left to its own devices to deal with its economic difficulties. Premier Otto Grotewohl. in a Neues Deutschland article published on 8 March (the day before Stalin's funeral). 8 March 1953. In fact DAD has some reports that Ulbricht was strictly a Stalin man. would present a "clear disadvantage" to the USSR in its relations with the Western powers." would "create bitterness among the Berliners and produce economic dislocations. however.. 182..OO/3–1253. Ulbricht also renewed an earlier request for Moscow's authorization to place border guards along the sectors between West and East Berlin.. Moscow's chief policy implementing arm in the GDR. p. Similarly. and the political advisor to the Soviet Control Commission. RG 59. Im Vor=immer der Diklatur. expressed regret for the shooting down of a British plane. p. Juni erlebte. and he took pains to attribute these policies to Stalin directly. eased the contentious traffic problem around Berlin. a growing consensus within the Moscow leadership seemed to emerge on the need for drastic changes in Soviet policies toward East-Central Europe that would help stabilize the deteriorating situation in the region. The Soviet Control Commission (SCC)." Lyon to HICOG Bonn. Moscow declared. secretary general.13 Once back from Stalin's funeral. 150. 17 March 1953. reports this in his memoirs. Apparently..14 A few days later. and that a movement to have him removed from his powerful position in the SED was only prevented by intervention of Stalin himself. Ulbricht fell noticeably silent. and agreed to the appointment of Dag Hammarskjold as new U. p. Semyonov. called for a resumption of quadripartite negotiations on safety in the Berlin air corridors. HICOG's Eastern Affairs Division in Berlin reported that it was unclear as to "whether Ulbricht acted on his own . which are actively and consistently supporting the unification of Germany and the conclusion of a peace treaty. Unaware of the Moscow's intentions—or perhaps in an effort to preempt any changes—Ulbricht. his colleague. including the creation of National Armed Forces. Vladimir S. 11 10 . A6. received his first inklings of the new Soviet leadership's intentions while in Moscow. Moscow refused to give Ulbricht a "green light" on any further measures of "border protection" along the sector line in Berlin. the Kremlin wanted to be sure that any countermeasures against the "hostile forces" in West Berlin aren't "hurried and simplistic" (Document No.

U. 21 On Slansky.OO/4-2053. Links Verlag. 762B. 160–187. 20 April 1953. RG. The GDR Council of Ministers eventually decreed the norm increase "recommended" by the Central Committee. RG.S. was how they fit "neatly into the changed tactical position currently being followed by Moscow. the regime sharpened the battle against potential centers of opposition such as the churches. pp. and launched new measures to undermine the existence of small entrepreneurs. the 13th SED CC Plenum20 ousted Franz Dahlem. 1995). observers detected "[n]oticeably more restraint in tone than [the] usual Ulbricht style. "The Rudolf Slansky Affair: New Evidence. no. the circumstances had shifted once again. RG 59. Record Group (RG) 59. National Archives II.000 people will be in prison by the end of 1953.OO/4-2053.against the Western powers and to focus their attention on West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer as an opponent to the peaceful solution of the German question."16 By mid-April. But the "de-dramatized" program. reinforced efforts to increase industrial productivity and the viability of the existing LPGs. U." an allusion to the purged Czechoslovak Communist leader who had been executed as an "Anglo-American spy" in December 1952. 762B. 20 April 1953. 762B. NARA." Slavic Review. . In mid-May. 17 The German phrase is Landwirtschaflliche Produklionsgenossenschaften. Ulbricht had somehow managed to reassure himself of Moscow's support. Politische Strajjustiz inderAra Ulbricht (Berlin: Ch. see Igor Lukes. as well as targeting certain key individuals.S. 19 HICOG Berlin to HICOG Bonn. although he made no references to the creation of armed forces or to the enactment of restrictive measures around Berlin.21 The SED also renewed its drive for austerity. (NARA). A report by the GDR Prosecutor's Office. 27 May 1953. l6 Falco Werkentin. "vigilance" against foreign enemies. especially in heavy industry. In his first major policy pronouncements since the 8 March statement. NARA. possibly by soft-pedaling some of the harshest features of SED policy. Ignoring the signs of growing dissatisfaction among the population.18 The "striking feature" of Ulbricht's pronouncements. "more than 40. ordered by the SCC. 762B. 20 The Plenum was held in Berlin from 13-14 May 1953. 15 HICOG Berlin to Department of State." a situation that would be "simply unfeasible."19 Despite the elimination of some of the "frightening features" of SED policy. considered Ulbricht's only serious rival within the party. 30 April 1953. On 10 April. for example. effective 1 June. 1 (Spring 1999)." including his reaffirmation of the voluntary nature of the production cooperatives (known as LPGs17) and his acknowledgment that local courts and party officials had erred in dealing with small and middle-class farmers. pp. 18 HICOG Berlin to HICOG Bonn.00/5-2753. the Politburo had the CC adopt a 10 percent compulsory raise in industrial work norms. estimated that if the regime continued to convict perpetrators of economic crimes at the current rate. Ulbricht reiterated in two Neues Deutschland articles on 15 and 16 April that the construction of socialism in the GDR was the most important contribution to peace and German unity. and three days later granted East Berlin further economic support. ascribing the move to further "lessons of Slanskyism. but changed the deadline to 30 June. they observed. the party continued to put pressure on large segments of the population. and internal party discipline. the USSR Council of Ministers reduced the level of compulsory GDR shipments from Soviet enteiprises in East Germany.OO/4-3053. 70-71. and HICOG Berlin to Department of State. however.15 The SCC also forced a scaling back of the massive numbers of arrests and trials the SED regime had inaugurated under the pretext of enforcing a law for the protection of people's property. On the political level. still stressed increases in productivity. officials noted. NARA.

Eisenhower as well. box 1. contingency plans did exist. We have no plan. 2 (New York: Simon and Schuster. but to the new administration of Dwight D.D. it held out hopes. "Ever since 1946. Dulles was also dead-set against a four-power meeting.. "Well. 67-68. RG 59. there is evidence of group dissatisfaction throughout the population of the Soviet Union. the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB). Dulles therefore apocalyptically suggested that negotiating with the Kremlin would be "tantamount to inviting the fall of the French.The Eisenhower Administration and the Soviet "Peace Campaign " Stalin's death and his successors' "peace offensive" had come as a surprise not only to Ulbricht. forestalled any immediate action. Brands. W. see also "Minutes of Cabinet Meeting." DDEL. he's dead. 23 PSB D-24. vol. (3) . for the end of the occupation regime and West Germany's speedier attainment of sovereignty and international acceptance. Jackson. 1953/54. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. and thus precluded the resurgence of Germany as an independent military power. and Valur Ingimundarson." Led by Jackson. see H. Dwight D. negotiations with the Soviets remained a tempting alternative path to pursuing a resolution of East-West differences and German unity. NARA. 221-251. On Jackson."23 The thinking of the president and his administration about how to respond soon crystallized around the idea of a presidential speech. surprisingly urged a more cautious approach. Cabinet series. as well as the admittedly distant goal of fulfilling the national desire for reunification on Western terms."22 In fact. Eisenhower's Generation and American Foreign Policy (New York: Columbia University Press.24 By contrast. (2) strains must be presumed to exist between individuals and groups closely connected with the problem of succession. Jr. suggested formulating "A Message to the Soviet Government and the Russian Peoples" centering on a proposal for a four-power conference. And you can turn the files of our government inside out—in vain—looking for any plans laid. Eisenhower Papers. the Soviet Union.. the EDC assured West German military integration into the Western alliance. Britain and France. C. Opening the "Pandora's box" of the German question. March 6. just as he feared it would upset plans for the impending West German federal elections. ratification for the "European Defense Community" (EDC). favored an aggressive exploitation of this "first really big propaganda opportunity offered to our side for a long time. Internal disagreements. was certain to disrupt the American high-wire act of obtaining British. Cold Warriors. however. 1984).D." VierteljahrsheftefurZeitgeschichie 46:2(1998). But for both West Europeans and many Germans. proclaiming only the "many uncertainties in this field" and blandly stating that "(1) Stalin must die sometime. "'Der Chef deskaUenKrieges". pp. he believed. as well as West German. Eisenhower. French and Italian. pp." Eisenhower complained at a cabinet meeting on 6 March. an old World War II psychological warfare hand and long-time editor of Time & Life magazine. PSB Files. PSB D-24 (1 November 1952) was largely useless as an operative guideline. To many Germans. nobody had apparently examined the scenario very seriously. . but the key document. 117–137. Ann Whitman file. Jackson psychologische Kriegfuhrung und die deutsche Frage. because it would entail discussing German unification. an inter-agency panel set up to coordinate the administration's psychological warfare efforts. most immediately. known for his fervent anti-communism and calls for "liberation" of the "captive peoples" of Eastern Europe.1 know that all the so-called experts have been yapping about what would happen when Stalin dies and what we as a nation should do about it. 1953. 1988).. German and Italian Governments. Despite the fact that Stalin's demise had been expected ever since the end of World War II. We are not even sure what difference his death makes. 24 The four powers controlling German affairs were the United States. and possibly even rendering 22 Stephen Ambrose. To the West Europeans and Americans. Presidential adviser C. pp.

13 March 1953. "Minute. 431–469. It is just defensive: we are always worrying about what the Soviets will take next. 30 HICOG Berlin to Department of State. The phrase was used to avoid any reference to the GDR government as the "Berlin government" or "East Berlin government.S." Robert to Strang. Dulles sounded more pessimistic: "The present course we are following is a fatal one for us and the free world. both internal and external..S. was designed to seize the political and psychological initiative from the USSR and would. predicted—possibly even. "then certainly the EDC would be finished. 762B."30 Nevertheless. ambassador in Moscow." Internally. among other things. 28 HICOG Berlin to Department of State... Mandatory Review release. and break ourselves financially. Eisenhower's 16 April speech." (Document No. 27 HICOG succeeded the U." There was by then "every indication that Moscow [was] exercising complete control of SED policy and actions. NARA. RG 59.. Across the board. pp."28 In HICOG's view. Eisenhower Library (DDEL). Given how starkly Ulbricht's 8 March restatement of hard-line policies had contrasted with the Soviet peace campaign developed after Stalin's funeral. as the State Department briefed its embassies. Everything now seemed to be "building up towards a new offer on Germany. 26 "Solarium Project: Principal Points Made by JFD. see also John J. 762B. You can't hold the world by just defensive action much longer. here p. U." If any official proposition was made that German unity could be obtained by some other vehicle. or get some break we will lose bit by bit the free world. Yurechko. turn the Soviet peace offensive "into a 'peace-defensive'. "with Stalin gone . military occupation authorities as the U."26 Administration officials followed events in the GDR closely to see whether they gave any clue to Soviet intentions. Unless we change this policy. The speech.S. ha[d] been fully reestablished. "A Chance for Peace. Charles Bohlen. officials doubted that the speech or Moscow's other conciliatory gestures indicated a basic change in Soviet policies and long-range objectives. "The Day Stalin Died: American Plans for Exploiting the Soviet Succession Crisis of 1953. Dulles warned.OO/3-3153. 3. 25 7 . 29 Pankow was the city district of Berlin which housed the seat of the GDR government." However much out of step with Moscow Ulbricht had been. 449. called for a "deeds not words" test of the Soviet peace campaign. NSC). as quoted in Klaus Larres." as the new U. Dwight D. 30 April 1953." Diplomacy and Statecraft 6:2 (July 1995). 44-73. But Malenkov. "Eisenhower and the First Forty Days after Stalin's Death: The Incompatibility of Detente and Political Warfare. an agreement to end the Korean War and to address the German and Austrian problem. by mid-April it appeared that "coordination between Pankow29 and Moscow . information from the SPD East Bureau (the underground East Zone branch of the SPD) in Berlin predicted that Ulbricht "might be sacrificed by [the] Public Record Office (PRO)."25 In the end. pp. to avoid any mention of an East-West conference. Foreign Office (FO) 371/106 532/NS 10345/9. representation in Germany upon establishment of the partially sovereign Federal Republic in 1949. NARA. .S.. High Commission for Germany (HICOG)27 speculated that Ulbricht's emphasis on the necessity to develop national armed forces "may have represented an independent decision of Ulbricht not cleared with the new Kremlin leaders.. as Dulles boasted to the newspaper editors after Eisenhower's speech." 8 May 1953.S. had seized the initiative. however. rumors about Ulbricht's position persisted. Soviet Premier Georgii Malenkov's 15 March speech increased the pressure on the Eisenhower administration. not Eisenhower. the U. this was followed by a period "during which Ulbricht and his lieutenants were adjusting themselves and the SED's policy." The Journal of Strategic Studies 3:1 (May 1980). a really big one involving Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Germany.00/4–3053. He was careful. Eden's position in the British government untenable. joint occupation status of the city and to help legitimize the SED regime.Mr. Eisenhower suggested." delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington." The latter phrases would have tended to undermine Western Allied claims to a special. RG 59.

to mounting skepticism over the efficiency of Stalinist policies in the GDR and throughout Eastern Europe. 30 April 1953. 20 April 1953. will win the struggle for power." and to soft-pedal GDR media reports on West Berlin. recounted in 1992 that in response to reports on the critical situation in the GDR "we received secret instructions from Moscow not to collect such information. 1993). head of the Committee on Information. who at the time worked in the Radio and Press department of the Soviet Control Commission. or whether it was a combination of these factors. to place strong emphasis on the activities of the West German group "Deutsche Sammlung. 32 31 ." Quoted in Gerhard Beier. 27 May 1953. Masaev. informed the Third European Department of the Foreign Ministry (responsible for Germany) in mid-April."33 Much like their colleagues in Washington.OO/4-3053."31 Other signs seemed to suggest that "Ulbricht may have had his wings clipped somewhat by Moscow.00/5-2753.Soviets. RG 59. 762B. The report contained propaganda directives given by chief Soviet editors of Tagliche Rundschau to German editors at a meeting on 17 March.00/4–2053.S.S. NARA. HICOG Berlin to Department of State. RG 59. 762 B.40/4–153. 34 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State. reports on the growing dissatisfaction within the GDR seem to have been ignored in Moscow. instructions to popularize the new men in the Kremlin through a series of biographies." Tugarinov surmised that "the main reason for the alarm" in the West was that the Berlin to Secretary of State. with some slight outward modifications. RG 59. 762 B. 762B. It is unclear whether this occurred in reaction to the 19 March Bundestag agreement to the EDC treaty." and that the SED leader may "be making an effort to commit Moscow to this policy with the tacit support of a group in the Kremlin which. NARA. 962 B. NARA. NARA. "There is a widespread assumption in the USA and the Western European countries that. 1 April 1953. 30 April 1953. the U. 9 June 1953. The leadership in Moscow considered the GDR regime as strong and did not want to take note of negative aspects. On 1 April 1953. 762B. they reported that the SED apparatus was actively endeavoring "to achieve acceptance and implementation of what amounts to basically the same internal SED program as before. 762B. 37."34 Nevertheless. RG 59. p. mission in Berlin argued that the possibility could not be excluded that "Ulbricht represents a point of view which is still under discussion in Moscow.36 As Ivan Tugarinov. HICOG Berlin reported that CIC had obtained an intelligence report late the previous month. Wir Wollenfreie Menschen sein (K6ln: Bund. RG 59. RG 59. U. the Soviet government will come out with a proposal for convening a quadripartite conference to discuss the German problem.OO/4–3053. in the near future. NARA. observers in Berlin.OO/6–953. Lyon to HICOG Berlin." and HICOG speculated that the SCC "may call for a more drastic curtailment of Ulbricht's dominating position of control. Initially. whether it arose as part of a fundamental policy reassessment to try to forestall further moves towards West Germany's military integration. rather attention was focused on the impending ratification of the West German contractuals. RG 59. 36 Valerii I.00/6–953. 762B."32 HICOG officials perceptively noted contradictory signs in Moscow's actions and warned the State Department that "we [are] faced at present with unstable factorfs] in analyzing GDR developments re Soviet tactics and intentions vis-a-vis Germany as [a] whole. NARA. were skeptical that Soviet long-range objectives in Germany had changed: at the end of April. They included."35 Soviet Deutschlandpolitik in Spring 1953 The German issue was indeed under intense review within the Soviet leadership in the spring of 1953. 20 May 1953. NARA. See also HICOG Berlin to Department of State. 9 June 1953. HICOG Berlin to HICOG Bonn. 35 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State. RG 59. NARA. among other things. They were seen as incorrect and panicky. in his opinion. however.OO/5-2053. 33 Berlin to Secretary of State.

The existence of several internal Foreign Ministry drafts of the planned policy directive make clear that the initiative was by no means spontaneous or improvised.G. so far have not appeared. Wilfried Loth. Vladimir S. The head of the Soviet Foreign Ministry's Third European Department. Rumors of a new Soviet initiative on Germany had been reinforced by Moscow's recall in mid-April of the long-time political adviser to the Soviet Military Administration.. New slogans were needed. Semyonov. 1998). is the seemingly contradictory and ambivalent character of the evidence. Perhaps this incoherence and uncertainty is an accurate reflection of Soviet thinking about the German problem in the spring of 1953. in a memo on 18 April dealing with the "activation of our policy on the German question. though. 6). as a "new concrete step" (Document No. Das SKK-Statut. the popular movement against these treaties and in defense of German unification on peaceful and democratic foundations is becoming weaker in West Germany. The National Security Archive. As Semyonov put it in a memorandum on 2 May. even to the extent of abandoning socialism in the GDR? The documentary record is too fragmentary to provide a definite resolution of this question at this time. November 1996. 39 This document was provided by Prof Hope Harrison (George Washington University) for the conference on "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe. many of the memoranda are permeated with the expectation that new Soviet proposals would indeed be recognized as "new active steps" (Document No. What is noteworthy. 1949–1953 (Munchen: K." organized by the Cold War International History Project. timing." proposed to invite a GDR government delegation to Moscow headed by Grotewohl. Potsdam. The essence of these new proposals was both to boost the prestige of the East German regime and resurrect the idea of German unification (Document No. would react positively to any new Soviet proposals. 95-105.37 In recent years. and Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Pushkin. At the same time. Gribanov and Pushkin suggested the formation of 37 Hike Scherstjanoi. 7).38 Was it merely a propaganda move designed to forestall the further military integration of West Germany? Or did it reflect a new flexibility on the part of the post-Stalin leadership on the German question. and scope of this Soviet initiative on Germany has been controversial. interpreting the purpose. and their mobilizing role has somewhat weakened"39 (Document No. pp. as well as preparations for reorganizing the SCC as a new "Soviet High Commission" analogous to the Western High Commissions in West Germany. They pointed out that no GDR government delegation had officially traveled to the USSR since 1949 and that a visit would "increase the authority of the GDR."apparently pending announcement by the Soviet Union of new proposals on the German question" could "bring about the failure of American plans" to include West Germany in its "aggressive bloc" (Document No. and Elke Scherstjanoi at the conference on "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe. 38 This was apparent from the discussion between Gerhard Wettig.. and in that sense they would only serve the purpose of "exposing" Western "aggressive designs" in Germany." Potsdam. other Soviet Foreign Ministry officials seemed to believe that the new proposals on Germany would be more than purely propagandistic. Saur. "since the negative consequences of the Bonn and Paris 'treaties' . . Zur Geschichte der Sowjetischen Kontrollkommission in Deulschland. Strikingly. or as "serious further steps" (Document No. later the Soviet Control Commission. Mikhail Gribanov. November 1996. in particular the new Eisenhower administration. "old slogans regarding the question of German unification currently do not fully correspond to the changed circumstances." As a "new step" in the German question. 6). 9). 5). and the Zentrum fur Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam." Further. 9) in the direction of German unification that would exert influence on West German public opinion and Western European governments. Foreign Ministry and intelligence officials saw little chance that the Western powers.

would mean the "effective collapse of the aggressive plans of the North Atlantic bloc in Europe. at least for the time being." it was important to "avoid the impression that the Soviet government is on this occasion limiting itself only to diplomatic posturing. the memorandum also proposed the simultaneous withdrawal of all occupying armed forces immediately after the formation of the Provisional All-German Government. and finally." Reaching "some type 10 . written presumably as a result of a USSR Council of Ministers' meeting three days earlier. a POW amnesty." and since "the SCC continued to emphasize sharply the inequalities between the USSR and the GDR. It is crucial to understand that the proposals for a major initiative for German reunification presumed the "interim" existence. releasing a significant number of German prisoners of war. 11). the transfer of Soviet-owned enterprises to the GDR. and taking economic measures to bolster the GDR. the GDR and West German governments. He argued that the West would suffer "significant political damage" by "probably" coming out against the envisioned Soviet proposal which would "put [the German] question before the Germans as a real possibility even at the present time. Strengthening East Germany was hence the other side of the coin of any Kremlin proposal to the Western powers." and make the Western powers "very likely to decline the proposal to withdraw troops. Most importantly.a Provisional All-German Government composed of representatives appointed by the West and East German parliaments while preserving. the provisional government would draft an all-German election law." He noted that liquidating the SCC would constitute "clear. This. negotiations to establish the "Wismut" uranium-mining enterprise as a joint stock-company. To "thoroughly undermine" the Western powers' call for free and internationally supervised all-German elections. an invitation to a GDR government delegation. and in fact the key role. of a stable East German state. 9). placed the formation of an all-German government at the center of the Soviet proposal to "retain the initiative on the German question." The plan also called for the liquidation of the SCC. such as intra-German trade and postal communications. A provisional government would prepare recommendations for the unification process." Semyonov recommended the "removal of the Soviet military authorities' control over the GDR. The memorandum declared that the "chief task" now facing the Soviet Union was the "undeterred implementation of the policy to strengthen the political and economic positions of the GDR." and to take measures to strengthen friendly relations between the USSR and the GDR. such as the transfer of 33 Soviet-owned enterprises to East German control. practical proof of the sincerity of the Soviet government's proposals on all-German questions" (Document No. reorganizing the SCC as a Soviet High Commission." Since the Western governments would "in all likelihood reject these new proposals as well. and increase the all-German and international prestige of the East German state." arguing that such a "new concrete step" would "evoke a broad positive response among the German people" and "expose the position of the [other] three great powers on the German issue" (Document No. Since the GDR had "by now grown and strengthened to a sufficient degree to govern the country independently. it was argued. 7). This is borne out by a Soviet Foreign Ministry memorandum of 8 May. "Regarding Further Soviet Measures in the German Question. Semyonov. which developed additional measures on the German question (Document No. as the new head of the Foreign Ministry's Third European Department. Another Foreign Ministry proposal. however incompatible with Western ideas or interests this may have been. 9)." probably written around 28 April. but also be responsible for all-German problems of a more practical nature. Four days later. Further proposals included turning the Soviet mission in Berlin into an embassy. submitted essentially the same proposals to Molotov (Document No. a cut in reparations payments by 50 percent.

but also to the reorganizing and eventual dismantling of the SCC that spring. 2589. the mass flight could be explained not only by increased hostile propaganda among the GDR inhabitants carried out by West German organs. AVP RF. 157."41 As Beria's report pointed out. p. 42 SVRA file 3581. a secondary priority.40 By early May. Battleground Berlin. cited in Kramer. pp. published as facsimile in Murphy. 278. 151–168. 44 Top secret draft memorandum. adding that East German financial and economic obligations for 1953-1955 should be set at the 1953 level. 7. 154–168. SVRA. file 68881. f. Chuikovu."43 The degenerating situation was apparently discussed at a CPSU Presidium meeting on 14 May. "V Prezidium TsK KPSS. 39–40." The CPSU leadership Murphy. 7.42 Beria concluded that "the Central Committee of the SED and the responsible state organs of the GDR do not conduct a sufficiently active fight against the demoralizing work carried out by West German authorities" and that "they falsely assume that as long as free circulation exists between West Berlin and the GDR. and Bailey. "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle (part 1). Battleground Berlin. pp. 23." 14 May 1953."44 Less tactfully.of temporary or at least partial agreements on all-German questions" that would "popularize the USSR's policies on the German question. sec. 11. the quote is on pp. AS VR. The Soviet leadership termed the speech "politically misguided" and prone to "severely damage the struggle of both the GDR itself and the Soviet Union for the reunification of Germany on a peace-loving and democratic basis." p."p. f. by the desire among a number of youth to avoid serving in the GDR armed forces. vol." took. 21-28. 12. Yudinu. 41 Lavrentii Beria to CPSU Presidium." Beria then suggested having the SCC address these issues and discuss its proposals at a forthcoming meeting of the CPSU CC Presidium "in order to make the necessaiy recommendations to the German friends. 6. due in part to Beria's efforts after Stalin's death to revamp the security apparatus. Kondrashev. 326–328. Kondrashev. 44/B. and by the difficulties experienced in the GDR with regard to the supply of food and merchandise available to the inhabitants. Though occasional diplomatic and intelligence reports hinted at the "worsening class conflict in the GDR. Ulbricht was also to be rebuked for his 5 May speech commemorating Karl Marx." Moscow seems to have had little awareness of how quickly the situation in the GDR was deteriorating. d. 9 March 1953. 158." 6 May 1953. d. t. p. spotlighting the growing refugee problem. here 327-328. such flights are inevitable. p. at which the leadership approved a Foreign Ministry draft telegram that instructed the SCC "tactfully" to advise Ulbricht and Grotewohl that "collectivization in East Germany should be halted for at least the rest of the year. 43 Quoted in Murphy. and Bailey. vol. 3581. cited in Kramer. "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle (Part l). Based on a report by the chief representative of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs in Germany. which declared that the GDR had attained the status of a people's democratic state in which the dictatorship of the proletariat was to be carried out. Memorandum No. and Bailey. The memorandum presented the already familiar recommendations. 24. but also by the desire of individual groups of peasants to avoid entering into agricultural production cooperatives currently being organized. however. 11 40 . citing a report by Medvedev. Beria asked the CPSU Presidium on 6 May to offer "proposals for measures that will bolster the work of the appropriate organs in the GDR and halt the exodus of the GDR citizens to West Germany. "Proekt ukazanii tt. 18. Battleground Berlin. with all obligations ceasing as of 1956. op. by fears among the small and middle-size private entrepreneurs that their personal property and assets will be confiscated. the worsening conditions increasingly drew attention in Moscow. 9. for the moment. Colonel Ivan Fadeikin. with cover note from Molotov to the CPSU Presidium. 3. Kondrashev. II.

and had committed "serious mistakes" in its work with the intelligentsia. Ivan Il'ichev. expansion of consumer goods production. Das SKK-Statut. 3. op. These warnings from Germany must have caused Moscow planners to reassess the key role that had been ascribed to the GDR in their Germany initiative. Chuikov. food rationing. Of equal importance. it argued that the "Protokol No. Certainly." pp. the refugee crisis in the GDR seriously alarmed Soviet Foreign Ministry officials.41–42. especially among the youth" (Document No." while food shortages. Molotov might also have been trying to reassert Foreign Ministry prerogatives in German affairs over those of the Soviet military—successfully as it turned out. A 15 May memorandum by Gribanov and colleagues to Semyonov warned that the illegal movement of people from East to West Germany had become "massive" and recommended a temporary halt to the drive for new LPGs. Instead. 106. p. Ulbricht continued to annoy the Soviet leaders. 7 May 1953. 10.45 By mid-May. d. and "many cases of incorrect arrests" were occurring. part of a larger shake-up of the intelligence bureaucracy intended to ensure loyalty to the new leadership. had been implemented "without sufficient political and economic preparation. criticism focused on East Germany's "little Stalin" personally. the SED leadership had underestimated the significance of the mass flight. Furthermore. Battleground Berlin. 12 45 .47 Demonstrating a sharp break with the institutions and cadre choices of the previous era." they wrote. however. the ailing GDR president who was at that time staying in Moscow on vacation.—This might have been one of the reasons for Yudin's replacement by Semyonov at the end of the month. Pieck talked to Ulbricht who denied having anything to do with the decision or the preparations for his birthday festivities. 3. The paper. as well as "mass-political explanatory work. By and large. further housing construction. painted an even more ominous picture in a report to Malenkov: "measures to limit capitalist elements in the city and the countryside. pp. since on 27 May Semyonov was appointed to the new post of high commissioner. Kondrashev. At the 20 May CPSU Presidium meeting. 12)." 14 May 1953 TsKhSD. Mai 1953. avoided much of the usual ideological verbiage against the Western powers. 159-162. Three days later. 47 Scherstjanoi. 46 The Soviet leadership finally resolved to ask Mikhail Suslov to talk to Wilhelm Pieck. For Ulbricht's speech. including the planned festivities for his 60th birthday on 30 June. and Bailey. "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle (part 1)." Neues Deulschland. Beria won approval for a reorganization of the MVD's apparatus in Germany. Geburtstag von Karl Marx am 5. the suggested measures implied simply a more efficient continuation of Stalinist practices and fell far short of a fundamental change of course (Document No." In putting forth this proposal. cited in Kramer. and an amnesty. 23. pp. Churchill's 11 May call for East-West negotiations "at the summit" might have induced a greater willingness to take—or at least profess—more interest in all-German concerns. 24–25. f. see "Karl Marx—der gro" Bte Sohn der deutschen Nation: Aus der Rede des Genossen Walter Ulbricht auf der Gedenkkundgebung in Berlin zum 135.46 Following up earlier proposals by Semyonov directed at de-emphasizing Soviet control over the GDR and mirroring—at least nominally—the situation in West Germany. 48 Murphy. the CPSU Presidium finally decided to reorganize the SCC and establish a "Soviet High Commission in Germany. likely tabled by Molotov. and the head of the Soviet diplomatic mission in Berlin. 96–98. Yudin.also criticized SCC Political Adviser Pavel Yudin for committing "an egregious error" by not intervening with Ulbricht and failing to consult Moscow.11. No. 13). 8 zasedaniya Prezidiuma TsK KPSS ot 14 maya 1953 goda.48 Concerns about the stability of the GDR and increased expectations of four-power negotiations on German unification may have been one reason the policy memorandum that was eventually submitted to the Council of Ministers on 27 May placed greater emphasis on measures to effect all-German unity.

pp." Deutschland Archiv 26 (1993). see Scherstjanoi. 674–82.D. 3. moving the debate away from more all-German considerations to consolidation of the GDR. "Sowjetische Widervereinigungsbemiihungen im ausgehenden Friihjahr 1953? Neue Aufschlusse iiber ein altes Problem. Columbia University. 235-256. 39–47. pp. pp."51 The Presidium members agreed that the policy of "forced construction of socialism" had to be terminated in order to avert a full-blown crisis. Wettig. Lew Bezymenski. 1953-1961. 12. 13) (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. whether the crisis in the GDR led to arguments in favor of pursuing all-German concerns (as seemed to be indicated in the MID memorandum mentioned above) and even abandoning socialism in the GDR altogether (as Beria allegedly argued). Bereitschaft =u Einheit in reiheit. 81-83. 29–48. "Em Exklusivbericht aus Moskau 1953: Berija will die DDR beseitigen. D. 1994). "Zum Stand der Forschung uber Berijas Deutschland-Politik im Fruhjahr 1953. "Neue Erkenntnisse uber Berijas Deutschland-Politik. pp. Molotov. pp. pp. "Zum Stand der Forschung iiber Berijas Deutschland-Politik im Fruhjahr 1953." in Die Deutschlandfrage von der staatlichen Teilung Deutsch/ands bis zum Tode Stalin (Studien zur Deutschlandfrage. Hope Harrison. Richter. Bulganin and Khrushchev at the July 1953 CPSU CC Plenum. Neue Dokumente aus dem Archiv des Moskauer AuBenministeriums. "Die beginnende Umprientierung der sovvjetischen Deutschland-Politik im Fruhjahr und Sommer 1953. 1999). pp." not dated (second half of May). and Andrei Gromyko. as well as later accounts by Khrushchev. 51 See "Delo Beria. pp. 495-507. Wettig.. (Washington. dissertation. Since the minutes of this meeting—if they exist—have not been declassified. Cold War International History Project Working Paper No." Deutschland Archiv 28:5 (May 1995). the Soviet Foreign Ministry under Molotov seemed to be moving closer towards a serious proposal on the unification issue that might have been credible and attractive to Germans in East and West." 2 (1991). After all. 943-958. Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant (Princeton. f. "Die sowjetische Deutschlandpolitik nach Stalins Tod 1953. "Reexamining Soviet Policy Towards German in 1953.J." (Ph. 6. A "Beria Plan " to Abandon East Germany? The debate after Stalin's death within the Soviet leadership over policy toward the GDR probably culminated at the 27 May session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers and the days that followed. 1992)."49 For the moment.proposal for a provisional all-German government would be a way around the long-standing East-West juxtaposition of unification and the conclusion of a peace treaty on the one hand with free elections on the other. "On Further Measures of the Soviet Government in the German Question. der Nachfolgestreit nach Stalins Tod und die Moskauer DDR-Debatte in April-Mai 1953. vol. d. 50 James Richter." Deutschland Archiv 25:9 (1992). 497-549. the 27 May session had been called to "analyze the causes which had led to the mass exodus of Germans from the GDR to West Germany and to discuss measures for correcting the unfavorable political and economic situation in the GDR.11." Deutschland Archiv 26 (1993)." Vierteljahrshefte fur Zeitgeschichte 46:3 (1998). it remains unclear exactly how the German issue played out.C. The proposal could also supply the key component of a "political platform on the German question which accorded with the national interests of the German nation while at the same time conforming with the principles of democracy and contributing to the strengthening of peace in Europe. 259.. Amy Knight. pp. Zubok.: Princeton University Press.: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. pp. p. Wettig. Wettig. 144. 1412. 16. According to the testimony by Malenkov." Europe-Asia Studies 45:3 (1993). p. 671–691. 1992). Molotov..' Beria." in 7953—Krisenjahr des Kalten Krieges in Europa. or whether it prompted the exact opposite." Die Zeit 42 (15 October 1993). 13 49 . Reexamining Soviet Policy Towards Germany During the Beria Interregnum. "The Bargaining Power of Weaker Allies in Bipolarity and Crisis: Soviet-East German Relations. 183–200.50 Most likely the crisis forestalled any decision on the overall issue of an initiative on Germany. op. AVP RF. edited by Christoph Klessmann and Bernd Stover (Kdln: Bohlau. Beria was not satisfied with merely adjusting Top Secret Draft Memorandum. N. Wettig. 1993). Wettig. '"Unverfrohren und grob in der Deutschlandfrage .

as Molotov put it himself. Murphy. pp. Nekrassow.54 Much less ideologically committed than Molotov. pp. 23). Ende einer Karriere (Berlin: edition Q. at the January 1955 CC CPSU Plenum. Malenkov. Beria's alleged ally in 1953..A. 53 Resis. Malenkov and Molotov was apparently created to consider the matter. 1996)..S.. 334–335. Henker in Stalins Diensten. 335. Beria later acknowledged displaying "inadmissible rudeness and insolence . Reexamining Soviet Policy. 58 "Stenographic Report of the Plenum of the CPSU Central Committee. consisting of Beria.. TsKhSD. 323-324. See also Knight.: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.the pace of socialization in East Germany. 1993). and. Kondrashev. pp."52 According to Molotov." "Today I admit that I essentially took a wrong position on the German Question. "heretical" solutions. op 1. Inside the Kremlin's Cold War. Beria kept insisting on this point." 31 January 1955. 180. 57 Zubok and Pleshakov. The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity (New York: Oxford. and it makes no difference whether or not it is socialist'. Battleground Berlin." Molotov later recounted. In his controversial memoirs. "We asked.. Berija. even Molotov. "lacking deeper interest in fundamental policy decisions... following several discussions and a late evening telephone conversation." Diplomatic History 19 (1995). pp. East Germany. I agree with your stand. "And he [Beria] replied. 155. Molotov Remembers. D. neutral and non-socialist Germany.. 54 Vladislav Zubok." pp. "Soviet Intelligence: The 'Small Committee of Information'. 10 (March 1998). and Bailey. He told me that the best way to strengthen our world position would be to create a neutral. Beria finally gave in: "To hell with you! Let's not go to another meeting. ed. 34-36. 1992). 159–162. first published as CWIHP Working Paper No.55 The secret police chief followed German affairs closely. 2. 15-16. Khrushchev and N. Beria ordered me to prepare top-secret intelligence probes to test the feasibility of unifying Germany. Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. '"Unverfrohren und grob in der Deutschlandfrage . and he used his unmatched sources to challenge the foreign minister in his own field—foreign policy."53 Beria's alleged zigzags on policy towards the GDR conform to what we know about his views. Bulganin during the discussion on the German question" (Document No. p. Sudoplatov recounts that as early as April. 56 Vladislav Zubok. he was better informed about the growing crisis in the GDR than many of his rivals.11.. pp. Instead of terminating the forced construction of socialism. 1952-1953. "Die Aktion. 'Because all we want is a peaceful Germany. A special committee. toward comrades N. 29–48. no. "admitted" that he had been wrong when he held the view that "the task of socialist development in Democratic Germany" was "incorrect. pp. Albert Resis ed. provide additional evidence of his position. or. Beria.56 It is possible that Beria's exclusive knowledge among the leadership of the recent strides in Soviet nuclear weapons development (the USSR successfully tested a thermonuclear device later that year) might have given him less cause for concern about the wider repercussions of any radical solution in Germany.'. 4 (Washington. p. 65–66. 127. Special Tasks." in Vladimir F. d."58 Secondary figures such as KGB operative Pavel Sudoplatov. excerpted in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. according to Molotov. 55 Richter. 14 52 . 453-72. such as Molotov and Khrushchev seem to have mounted within the Presidium. In his letters from prison. "[p]rior to the May Day celebration in 1953. A year and a half later. the Nikita Khrushchev. a close collaborator of Beria." Beria would not shy away from unorthodox. see also Vojtech Mastny. Conversations with Felix Chuev (Chicago: Ivan Dee. f. 1993). Germany would be the balancing factor between American and Soviet interests in Western Europe. 'Why?'.57 His shifting stance was also fully in line with what is now known about his tendency to withdraw proposals as soon as he faced strong opposition.C. he allegedly shocked his colleagues with a proposal to forego socialism in the GDR altogether in favor of creating a united. now under attack by Khrushchev and Molotov. p. and with a wide-ranging intelligence apparatus at his command (even as he set out to revamp it). unified Germany run by a coalition government.

and Bailey. when asked for his views. Schecter. and read his own draft on German policy. 62 See statements by A. 52-53. Pavel and Anatoli Sudoplatov. David Murphy and Sergei Kondrashev have argued that "it was Beria's determination to reassert control over the security and intelligence apparatus that led to his downfall. 363-365. who. 151. a Western agent and a provocateur. Murphy. as if he was the master of the house. would become an autonomous province in the new unified Germany. pp. 50. no. Special Tasks: The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness—A Soviet Spymaster (Boston: Little. Potsdam. "Atomic Espionage and Its Soviet 'Witnesses'. much of the evidence on Beria's role in the Kremlin decision-making process remains fragmentary. Confronted with the results of Stalinist policies throughout Eastern Europe and eager to alleviate the strains within the region. pp. It is important to note that mention of Beria's alleged initiative on the German question was first made by his opponents at the July 1953 CPSU Plenum. Semjonow. The National Security Archive and the Zentrum fur Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam. which condemned him following his arrest on 26 June. in the very best manner of the Stalinist purges. 15 59 . Kondrashev. "took a paper out of his jacket pocket. Brown. and Bailey. 1994). 60 Wladimir S. or exaggerated any difference of opinion on his part." Journal of Cold War Studies 1:2 (Spring 1999). pp. charges in his 1995 memoirs that Beria was pursuing a line on Germany which would have "disrupted the continuity of our policy on the German question and aimed at shocking the Soviet Union and eliminating the GDR. put on his glasses. Von Stalin bis Gorbatschow. 290–291." writes in his 1995 memoirs that at that time. 155–56. 4 (Fall 1994).German Democratic Republic. "Soviet comrades" told him that "your party will have to solve a great and difficult task and prepare for free and secret elections. 3-38. with Jerrold L."60 However. and very likely biased. 1995)." Cold War International History Project Bulletin. 47–48. serious doubts have been raised about the existence of a "Beria plan. Beria's opponents might well have fabricated."59 Similarly." Murphy. Beria. For a review of Sudoplatov's memoirs see Vladislav Zubok. 61 On the events surrounding Beria's arrest see: Mark Kramer. pp. Filitov at the conference on "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe. Kondrashev. without haste. and Leona P." According to Sudoplatov. pp. It differed fundamentally from the one which I carried in my bag. participated in the key meetings of the Soviet leadership on Germany (as well as the later meetings with the SED leaders). "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle and Upheavals in East-Central Europe: Internal-External Linkages in Soviet Policy Making (Part 2).61 It is probable that Khrushchev and others leveled charges about Beria's views on Germany at the Plenum largely out of a desire to portray him in the most sinister manner possible—characterizing him as a traitor to the socialist cause. p. SED functionary Karl Schirdewan." Aufstandgegen Ulbricht (Berlin: AtV. November 1996." organized by the Cold War International History Project. contradictory. pp. Battleground Berlin. United in their fear of a powerful rival they hoped to eliminate. Beria intended to air the idea through his intelligence contacts in Central Europe and "begin negotiations with the Western powers. who headed the Department of "Leading Organs of the Party and the Mass Organizations. Battleground Berlin." Semyonov reports that during a Presidium meeting in the second half of May 1953. the new Soviet rulers decided in the spring of 1953 to impose course corrections on all of the satellite governments. as head of the responsible department within the Foreign Ministry. Semyonov. distorted.62 Unrest in East-Central Europe and Moscow's "New Course " The policymaking process on the German issue and growing concerns in Moscow about the deteriorating situation in the GDR have to be placed in the larger context of the growing crisis within the Soviet empire." Thus far.

66 Rumors about an impending monetary reform had persisted since late 1952. At the city's "Lenin" Skoda works. 1999). Only this time . eds. 93–113." pp.. 16 and 17)..S. 1967). the initial slogans against the currency reform quickly escalated into calls of "Plzen cerna. went on strike on 3 May 1953. The exodus in turn only provoked increased repression as Chervenkov sought to crack down on "illegal" emigration by severely punishing the relatives of those who fled. 15–17. and the recent death of Czechoslovak leader Klement Gottwald added to the atmosphere of uncertainty in the wake of Stalin's demise. 69 Ulc. 47. the workers. except that in this case monetary reform provided the catalyst for mass protests. pfijdou hosi z USA" (We shall have good times again.000 workers. Mass. Unsatisfied by the confused response of the director and other. Outraged by norm increases that effectively translated into wage-cuts. 164." in Christoph Klessman and Bernd Storer.. Czechoslovakia. decided to march to the city center.63 In Bulgaria. 14:3 (May-June 1957).: Harvard University Press. much like their German counterparts two weeks later. the workers demanded an explanation. and resulted in Bulgarians leaving the country en masse. proceeded to city hall. "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle (Part 1). 66 Klement Gottwald had died on 14 March 1953. Ulc was a district judge in Plzeft during 1956." p. See also Jifi Pemes." Problems of Communism. the boys from the USA will come back again)68—slogans clearly directed against the Communist regime. At first. The Soviet Bloc: Unity and Conflict (Cambridge. the protesters met with some resistance from the workers' militia posted outside the plant. After entering the mayor's office. 7953—Krisenjahr des Kallen krieges in Europa (Koln: Bohlen. taken a heavy toll on the population and the country's resources.69 By the time the demonstrators reached Republic Square the crowd numbered several thousand people. Roughly 3. 68 Plzen had been liberated by the U. 10). busts of 63 Zbigniew Brzezinski. pp. 16 . 67 Czechoslovak wartime and postwar President Eduard BeneS. 64 See Kramer.Two key moments of crisis that have been overlooked thus far—the unrest among tobacco workers in Bulgaria and the Plzen strike—foreshadowed the pattern of the uprising in East Germany. management repeatedly assured the workers that the currency was sound. CP leader and Prime Minister Vulko Chervenkov's ruthless collectivization and industrialization policies had. Moscow had supported Chervenkov's desire to increase industrial and agricultural production quotas in May 1953. hundreds of tobacco workers in Plovdiv and Khaskovo. forcing Chervenkov to dispatch a popular former deputy prime minister who had been purged in March 1949 to calm the workers (Document No. poorly-briefed party agitators. Mirroring the unfolding of the Berlin demonstrations. Prague radio announced that a reform had been promulgated. but with a large number of laborers looking on "as if it were a theater performance. He later defected to the United States." the militia stood no chance. joined by bystanders. Army in 1945. 46–49. and "Bude zase hej. he attended dozens of secret trials.65 The similarities to the developments in East Germany are remarkable. a Saturday. traditionally a reliable bastion for the Bulgarian CP. "Die politische und wirtshaftliche Krise in der Tscheckoslowakei: 1953 und Versuche ihrer Uberwindung. As an assistant judge after the Plzen uprising in 1953. "happy youths inside seized upon that traditional Bohemian form of political protest—de-fenestration. Returning to the factory the following Monday. much as in East Germany. Benesovi verna" (Black Plzen is faithful to Benes67). but on the afternoon of 30 May. But his policies led to scenes reminiscent of the GDR. p.64 Even more shocking to the new Moscow leadership must have been the demonstrations against a currency reform by thousands of workers in the western Bohemian city of Plzen. "The Unknown Revolt. 65 The only detailed account of the Plzen demonstrations is Otto Ulc's "Pilsen: The Unknown Revolt. on 1 June 1953 (Document Nos.

"71 "Long live Eisenhower!. were necessaiy in Eastern Europe. Voslochnaia Yevropa v dokumentakh rossiiskikh arkhivov. 73 L. d." Several party members in the Regional National Committee allegedly behaved "disgracefully. did authorities bring the turmoil under control (Document No." Only when the Interior Guard and a contingent of the Workers' Militia from Prague arrived in Plzen and martial law was declared. should be "considered as a warning that we do not have a clear view of the real internal political and economic situation in the Czechoslovak Republic. and the organs of the Revolutionary Trade Union Movement (ROH) and the Czechoslovak Youth Association (CSM) were not involved at all. 17 ." p.Stalin and Gottwald came flying out of the windows. In some instances local party or government officials were attacked. the demonstrators voiced their demands. were torn down and burned. 66.72 Czechoslovak Party and state authorities seemed paralyzed in the face of the spontaneous mass action. the City Committee failed to function as a party organ..-controlled Radio Free Europe. "The Unknown Revolt. 2. Party symbols. vol. 70 71 72 Ibid." adding that "it has to be openly stated that our recommendations have not always been successful. Beria informed Malenkov on 2 June. Ulc. a jeep ornamented with Czechoslovak and American flags was followed through the streets by several thousand protesters. f. it did not direct anything. the CP would later claim—"considered the demonstrations and riots to be expressions of popular discontent incited by a few provocateurs. Murashko et al." and thus allowing "the demonstrators to riot with impunity. 1/2 June 1953. 16). Pictures of former Czechoslovak presidents Masaryk and Benes could suddenly be seen in windows.S. as a later internal party report admitted: "The leadership of the state security and public security failed. Elsewhere. 918–919 (citing AP RF. for fear that party members "might join the demonstrators. The Plzen demonstrations struck a nerve in Moscow. Malenkov. the People's Militia was improperly led and deployed. Others stormed the nearby judiciary headquarters intent on destroying court files. II.000-strong party organization. 3." locking themselves in the Committee's building until well into the morning. 98-106 as source). For two days. op." An army detachment appeared at one point in front of the courthouse but was ordered by its commanding officer to leave."73 Criticizing the existing mechanisms for Moscow's economic and military control—the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (COMECON) and the Coordinating Committee that had been created in February 1951 to organize bloc defense matters—the intelligence chief warned that "what had happened in Czechoslovakia could be repeated in other countries and lead to more serious undesirable consequences. control over the city fell into the hands of anticommunist protesters. Leading party officials apparently at first—and wrongly. with Moscow providing "active and qualified assistance." "Death to the Communists!" throughout the city. by contrast. The local and regional party leaderships were also faulted for not mobilizing the 28." Drastic changes. Beria to G. 48. 806."70 After taking over the city's public broadcast system. The anti-government unrest. including "We want free elections!. A reference to the U." The GDR may have been his first case in point." "Long live Free Europe!." Beria emphasized that "we are not sufficiently informed about the real political and economic situation in other people's democracies either. Beria seemed to imply. pp. precisely at the moment when decisions on Germany were being made.

fell short of Soviet expectations. "Ober die MaBnahmen zur Gesundung der politischen Lage in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik. "On Measures to Improve the Health of the Political Situation in the GDR. The 2 June order. yours is [just] reform." Recent regime propaganda about the necessity of the GDR's transition to socialism. half-heartedly drafted the following night and tabled the next day. According to the memoirs of Rudolf Herrnstadt." when deciding on measures to strengthen the GDR in the future. it did not explicitly demand a reversal of the unpopular raised work norms. and a relaxation of political-judicial controls and regimentation. Significantly. was first published in Beitrdge zur Geschichle der Arbeiterbewegung 32 (1990). 802. It ordered a revision of the Five-Year Plan at the expense of heavy industry. the resolution (much like the preceding drafts by the Foreign Ministry). 651–654. The decree was handed to SED leaders Ulbricht and Grotewohl on 2 June. the order underlined the crucial role a "healthy" GDR was to play in this process (Document No. the GDR leaders were subjected to a verbal beating. 64. 18). 649. 18). f. 11. It also directed the termination of coercive measures against the Protestant Church and denounced the "cold exercise of power" by the Ulbricht regime. 18 . both the situation in Germany and the international circumstances as a whole.75 While re-emphasizing all-German unification. 153-161." released in 1989." an exasperated Kaganovich exclaimed (Document No. "Our document is [a] reversal.74 On the issue of Deutschlandpolitik. "Ein Dokument von groBer historischer Bedeutung vom Mai 1953 "Beitrage :ur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung 32 (1990). Beria was particularly aggressive." was deemed "incorrect. editor of the SED party organ Neues Deutschland.76 In their conversations at the Kremlin. 77 Rolf Stockigt." At the same time it was held "crucial to correct and strengthen the political and economic situation in the GDR and to strengthen significantly the influence of the SED among the broad masses of workers and in other democratic strata of the city and the country. the very same day they arrived in the Soviet capital. It acknowledged that the mass exodus of East Germans of all professions and backgrounds had created "a serious threat to the political stability of the German Democratic Republic" and called for a decided shift in economic policy on a broad front: an end to forced collectivization and the war on private enterprise. op. pp. 19). 3. d. ambiguously asserted that "at the present and in the near future" it was necessary to "put the tasks of the political struggle to reestablish the national unity of Germany and to conclude a peace treaty at the center of attention of the broad mass of the German people both in the GDR and in West Germany." Arguing that "the political and economic condition of the GDR is one of the most crucial factors not only in the resolution of the general issue of Germany but also in the peaceful settlement of fundamental international problems. serving as translator. p. which was "pushing the party organizations of the SED to unacceptably simplified and hasty steps both in the political and in the economic arenas. allegedly throwing the 74 AP RF. Grotewohl noted."77 The East German response. 76 Politburo member Fred Oelssner accompanied them. the Soviet leaders expressed their "grave concern about the situation in the GDR.The "New Course " and the Path to 17 June Beria's dire warnings came at the very moment the USSR Council of Ministers adopted as an "order" the final draft resolution on the GDR that had been under discussion since the Council Presidium's meeting on 27 May." sharply criticized the SED's policy of accelerated construction of socialism (Document No. The German version of the decree." the Council of Ministers' order decreed that it was "necessary to take strict account of the real conditions inside the GDR. 75 lbid.

A. 31. Ulbricht and Grotewohl issued orders to purge all literature on the Second Party Conference from libraries. "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle (Part 1). "we should turn to the Soviet government with the request that they lower the reparations payments. the Soviet leaders "urgently" demanded changes and warned "a catastrophe will occur if we do not improve the situation. the Soviet leaders acknowledged that "we all have made mistakes" and that the recommendations were not meant as "accusations." Demanding that the SED leaders "not worry about [their] prestige. Romanians. As with the East Germans. Praeger. Das Herrnstadt-Dokument. too (Document Nos. 20). The confrontation quickly produced changes: within days. Rakosi was allowed to hold on to his post as party leader. Rakosi resigned the premiership which passed to the agrarian specialist and reform-minded Imre Nagy. Unlike their criticism of the SED. 81 "Diskussionsrede auf der Sitzung des Politburos vom 6.6.documents at Ulbricht across the table with the remark: "This is a bad rewrite of our document!78" According to Grotewohl's notes. Malenkov and Beria were harshest in their criticism. a catastrophe will happen. Moscow's unhappiness was largely directed at Premier and party chief Matyas Rakosi. As in the German case." published by Scherstjanoi in "Wollen wir den Sozialismus?." A fellow Politburo member spelled out what must have been on everyone's mind: the only way "to get out of this catastrophic situation and improve our position" would be for the Soviet Union to give "us the same help that the USA is giving Western Germany through the Marshall Plan. pp. In each case."82 Herrnstadt. 70. Kramer. 1957). Just as their colleagues had been in Moscow. the East German crisis was apparently not mentioned in the record of the talks with the Hungarian leadership." "Much time [has been] lost.79 The transcript of the Soviet-Hungarian meetings shows striking similarities with the SED talks. 24-25. although cadre questions received considerable attention." East Berlin Mayor and Politburo member Friedrich Ebert wondered at one point during the 6 June SED Politburo session: "do we want socialism at all?"81 As a recently declassified report by KGB Berlin Resident Fadeikin shows. Poles and Bulgarians were planned for the following month. The Hungarian leadership (13-16 June 1953) was next. 79 78 19 . pp. Several days of intense discussion within the SED Politburo ensued (Document No.80 The SED delegation returned to East Berlin on 5 June." According to a later account. One has to act quickly. Talks with the Czechoslovaks. pp. The 2–4 June talks with the East German leaders presaged similar consultations with other satellite leaders. 658–680. "[n]o one reacted to this statement. Ulbricht argued to the Politburo on 9 June that instead of disrupting the economy by such a move." Beilrage :ur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung 32 (1990). see also Imre Nagy's contemporary (but posthumous) account in On Communism: In Defense of the New Course (New York: F. 21 and 22). the SED leadership was particularly unsettled by the shift of resources from the heavy to consumer goods industries. 58-59." p." Molotov added. the discussions focused on the "audacious" industrialization and socialization drive and abuses of power (especially by the security police) in Hungary. although Molotov and Bulganin did not lag far behind. the announcement of a comparable "New Course" program followed. Curiously. "[so] that all of G[ermany] can see it" (Document No. many Politburo members were troubled by the Soviet document. the embodiment of Stalinist rule in Hungary.1953." The Soviet leaders appealed to the Germans to "correct fast and vigorously. 82 See Document No." but insisted that "the starting-point for everything has to be a change in conditions in the GDR. 80 Gyorgy Litvan. Even before their arrival. Revolt and Repression 1953-1963 (London: Longman." Once again. followed by Albanian leader Enver Hoxha on 15 June. "if we don't correct [the political line] now. 1996). The Hungarian Revolution of 1956: Reform. Stunned by how sharply Moscow had reacted against the "construction of socialism." Malenkov warned. 19).

"Analyse iiber die Vorbereitung.83 Referring to the party leader's plans for an extravagant celebration of his own birthday. Harrison.) 85 The commission was to be composed of Ulbricht. 74. 87 The 11 June announcement was reprinted in Dokumente des Sozialistischen Einheitspartei Deutschlands: Beschlusse undErkldrungen des Zentralkommitees sowie seines Politburos undseines Sekretariats. 33/35 der auBerordentlichen Sitzung des Politburos des Zentralkomitees am 6. according to a local SED account. Reports from local party organizations. den Ausbruch und die Niederschlagung des faschistischen Abenteuers vom 16. the communique signaled the SED's final bankruptcy and the beginning of its demise. 2/5/546." organized by the Cold War International History Project. p. 428–430. carefully monitored by SED headquarters in Berlin. SAPMO-BArch. not understand the Party's New Course. "the entire village is in the bar. "Politics in East Germany and Soviet Policy Towards East Germany Leading Up to and Following the June 1953 Uprising." 20 July 1953. Potsdam. When. "'Wollen wir den Sozialismus?'."86 Heeding Semyonov's order. The National Security Archive and the Zentrum fur Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam. Many thought the SED retreat from crash socialization resulted from pressure by the West German government under Konrad Adenauer and the Western powers. by "inviting a few friends to drop in for dinner. Das Herrnstadt-Dokument. Juni 1953. Das Herrnstadt-Dokument." pp."88 To make matters worse." (summary of paper prepared for the conference "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe. 86 Herrnstadt. 1953. Das Herrnstadt-Dokument.. 65. Leitende Organe der Partei und der Massenorganisationen."84 The Politburo finally decided to draw up a comprehensive statement on "the self-criticism of the work of the Politburo and the Secretariat. drinking to the health of Adenauer. Quoted in Hope M. the SED published the "New Course" program in Neites Deutschland on 11 June. State Security chief Wilhelm Zaisser. as well as among the populace. Herrnstadt pleaded with Semyonov to give the SED two weeks to prepare the policy change. Oelssner. 1953 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press.6. candidly described the widespread disappointment..-22. NY 90/699. Semyonov recommended that he observe the occasion the way Lenin had his 50th birthday. pp. seemed increasingly inclined to support Ulbricht's critics. see Arnulf Baring. who had returned with the SED delegation from Moscow and participated in the sessions. Herrnstadt. the only segment of the population which seemed to have been excluded from the new liberalization was—paradoxically—the workers: the raised production norms Herrnstadt. Uprising in East Germany: June 17. the High Commissioner insisted that the communique had to be announced the next day. p. p." which would be presented to the CPSU CC. "Protokoll Nr. November 1996. 84 83 20 . but Semyonov urged speedy implementation of Moscow's instructions. 1972). the communique and its frank admission of past mistakes shocked many East Germans in and out of the party. Various Politburo members vented their dissatisfaction with Ulbricht's personality cult and his transformation of the CC Secretariat into his personal power base."85 The Politburo on 9 June also adopted language for a public announcement of the New Course. on the evening of 10 June. 1954). Herrnstadt. warning that "you may not have a state for much longer. pp." Another internal SED report summarized the developments: "broad segments of the population did . 123–127. It also resolved to set up a commission to "prepare an organizational reform of the working methods of the Politburo and Secretariat. 74. vol. for an English translation." SAPMO-BArch J IV 2/2/287. viewed it as a sign of weakness or even as a victory by the Americans or the Church. Most Politburo members had agreed that the announcement warranted careful preparation of the party and the population at large. 88 Abt. disbelief. Scherstjanoi.The emotional uproar over the New Course documents soon turned into explicit criticism of Ulbricht. In the small town of Seehausen. SAPMOBArch. Party members felt betrayed and "panicky. 658–680." some even called for Ulbricht's resignation. IV (Berlin: Staatsverlag des DDR. To many. See Grotewohl Notes.87 As expected by Herrnstadt and others. Semyonov. and Berlin SED boss Hans Jendretzky. and confusion within the ranks.

the Eisenhower administration reacted cautiously to the New Course announcement. NARA."96 Despite the warning signals." designed to "convince the world that [the] Soviet Union is prepared to compromise on Germany and that [the] Western Powers should therefore enter into talks with [the] Soviet Union before proceeding with the rearmament of the Federal Republic through [the] EDC."95 The State Department regarded the measures taken by the Ulbricht regime as "part of [a] build-up for a Soviet proposal for Four-Power talks."93 Not surprisingly then. Box 3. Eisenhower Papers. government tended to underestimate the crisis in the GDR. NARA. neither Moscow nor Washington expected the unrest and dissatisfaction to develop into a popular explosion and upset their own carefully elaborated agendas. RG 59.that had been arbitrarily imposed in May remained in force. 5 (Spring 1995). 15 June 1953. 89 On the events leading up to 16–17 June. Labor dissatisfaction was further fueled when the SED regime. strategic shift in Germany. 11 June 1953. seemed to show more than ever that Moscow would guarantee the existence of the communist regime in the GDR. see Christian Ostermann. intelligence estimates concluded that "the recent Soviet move in [the] GDR.S. Persons to President Eisenhower. 96 Gen. Ann Whitman File. therefore. If anything. HICOG estimated that the economic crisis brought on by collectivization and socialization was not critical: "[T]here is currently no reason to believe the situation has reached the stage of catastrophe or that the GDR Government does not have the means at its disposal to prevent it from becoming such. 762. no. 762. 11 June 1953.D. Office of Current Intelligence. 90 HICOG Berlin to Department of State. NARA."91 the U.00/6-253.89 In Washington. "Certainly no (rpt no) abandonment of East German Republic is indicated. 762B. groping to maintain its authority.. confirmed the controversial norm increases on 13 June."94 The CIA concluded that while the unveiling of the New Course was designed to cope with growing popular unrest and suggested at least an attempt at a basic solution of the refugee problem. DDEL. RG 59."90 Moreover. meanwhile. ambassador to Moscow reported. U. International Series. 2 June 1953. 762B. RG 59. 92 Ibid. 29 May 1953.OO/6–1553.. NARA. 10–20.00/6–953. HICOG's Eastern Affairs Division concluded that events in the GDR since April made Ulbricht's position "look as strong or stronger than ever. DDEL. 94 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State." Cold War International History Project Bulletin. "New Documents on the East German Uprising of 1953. the Russians' real intention was to "soften Western skepticism. 95 CIA. 91 Bohlen to Secretary of State. 30 May 1953. such as the appointment of Semyonov as Soviet high commissioner on 27 May. 93 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State. Dwight D.S.0221/5-3053. coupled with [the] Korean Armistice and other Soviet moves on [the] world chess board. Soviet moves in Germany.0221/5-2953. the day Ulbricht was in Moscow to listen to Soviet warnings. RG 59. 21 . pp. RG 59. Jackson Records. treating it with the same skepticism as it had the Soviet peace campaign. C.S. 9 June 1953."92 While acknowledging the imponderables of the situation in the Kremlin and the possibility that Ulbricht might eventually be sacrificed by the new Soviet rulers. represent a tactical and not . the Eisenhower administration initially doubted the seriousness of the New Course announcement. NARA. Box 14. See also Lyon to Secretary of State. 762. As late as 2 June. probably on Germany. the reorganization of the SCC was seen as "prompted in part by pressure from East Germany" whose leaders recently appeared to be in an "assertive mood. The U.

. The first group of questions has to do with the situation in Germany that developed in connection with the proposals of the Soviet government about the basic principles of the peace treaty with Germany on the one hand. and O. The program also included consultations with CPSU Central Committee members and an extensive movie agenda. p. France. he chose to pursue a hard-line militarization and socialization course in the GDR—several months prior to the formal adoption of the policy of "construction of socialism. 22 97 . eds. Pieck. Grotewohl. Ulbricht. which included the two-part movie "Tarzan. Now. 1994)." 98 According to Pieck's notes. and in connection with the military policy of the Western powers on the other.m. 1: Soviet and East German Minutes of Conversations between Josef Stalin and SED Leaders in the GDR. Malenkov. Instead. Pieck says that the Soviet government's proposals regarding a peace treaty with Germany inspired wide movement of the masses in Germany. Bulganin. While it assured the withdrcnval of all foreign troops and allowed a national army. respectively. Western officials rejected the proposal. and Ulbricht visited Moscow from 29 March to 10 April 1952. 1 April and 7 April 1952 Among the most significant Russian documents on the German question yet to emerge from the Russian archives. the recently discovered Russian transcripts of the secret consultations between Stalin and the SED leadership on 1 and 7 April 1952 shed new light on a critical moment in the events leading up to the 1953 crisis. and Semyonov (ACC) Interpreter: member of the Politburo of the SED [Oelssner] Comrade Pieck says that they have a number of questions. which they considered a blatant attempt to undermine plans to rearm West Germany within the Western Alliance (as part of the so-called European Defense Community) rather than a genuine effort to resolve East—West differences over German unification. unified Germany would not be permitted to join military alliances. Briefly summarizing that position. the conversation lasted from 9:00 p. which they would like to discuss with Comrade Stalin so that they get some clarity. See Wilfried Loth and Rolf Badstiibner. Grotewohl with J. Stalin showed a readiness to forego any further efforts to reach agreement with the West on the subject. Soviet and East German renderings of the discussion.V.Stalin91 1 April 195298 Attended by: Comrades Molotov. W. in his last such session with the SED leadership. and created Pieck. Wilhelm Pieck—Aufzeichnungen:ur Deutschlandpolitik 1945-1953 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Stalin had sent a diplomatic note to the governments of the United States. Two meetings in the CPSU Politburo took place (1 and 7 April). to 11:07 p. [Mikoyan].m. 382. Record of Conversation of Leaders of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany W. and Great Britain proposing that they resolve the issue of Germany's division by establishing a unified German state.DOCUMENT No. A month before this meeting. " The three documents reproduced here are. What tasks derive from this situation for the SED and for the government of the GDR? The position of the SED was formulated in the draft theses for the Second Conference of the SED.

a difficult situation for the Adenauer government, which became clear from the Western powers' response to the note of the Soviet government." That raises a number of issues, on which we would like to know Comrade Stalin's opinion. First. What are the prospects for concluding a peace treaty with Germany, will the conference of four powers be convened, and what results can we expect from the conference? Second. On holding free all-German elections without U.N. interference. Should we start a mass movement for such elections, trying to overthrow the Adenauer government? Third. How should the party continue its struggle in West Germany in the future? The main task at the present time is to achieve unity of the working class. The SED CC has recently sent a letter to the SPD CC with proposals on the issues of German unity and the peace treaty.100 However, it is most likely that the right-wing leadership of the Social Democrats will reject this proposal as well. Our next task is to pool all bourgeois nationalist forces together. In the near future, we will hold the "Conference of the Thousand"101 with the participation of various patriotic groups. Comrade Stalin asks—in the West? Comrade Pieck confirms this. The conference will elect a permanent presidium for organization of coordinated actions in the struggle for unity and the peace treaty. This will help us to expand the movement. The decisive issue will be the strengthening of the Communist Party of [West] Germany [KPD]. Last year, it achieved good results in its struggle against remilitarization and for German unity. In this connection, there is a danger that the Adenauer government might ban the Communist Party. However, those achievements do not correspond to the aggravation of the situation in West Germany. The elections held in the Southwestern state [of West Germany] have shown that the party has not yet achieved the trust of the wide masses. The KPD even lost votes in the percentage calculation in those elections. A partial reason for this is that the constituents did not take an active part in the elections. The SED CC tried to help the KPD by sending instructors and authorized officials to West Germany from the GDR. The problem is that the KPD does not have enough cadres, and that the cadres that it does have are not well-educated and well-prepared in order to organize a nation-wide campaign. Recently in the SED CC, we created a commission for developing a program for the KPD. We see it as very important because the KPD still does not have any party program and party members often exhibit indecisiveness and confusion on major issues of the national liberation struggle and working-class movement in West Germany. After the completion of the draft of the party program, we would like to ask the CPSU CC to help us with the final version. The second group of questions—continued Comrade Pieck-—follows from the tasks that arose as a result of the completion of the "General Treaty," which will probably be signed by the Western powers and the Bonn government in May.102 In our opinion, we should use
"On the exchange of notes, see Department of State, ed., FRUS 1952–1954 vol. VII, pt. 1 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1986), pp. 169-327. 100 On 24 March 1952, the SED CC sent a letter to the SPD leadership proposing common efforts against West German rearmament, for a peace treaty, and for the preparation of all-German elections. The SPD rejected the proposals. 101 Proposed by SED leaders, the "Conference of the Thousand" followed other SED schemes, such as the 1950-51 "Germans to one table slogan," for East-West German cooperation on German unification, designed to mobilize West German masses for SED policies. The SED/KPD-sponsored conference took place in the fall of 1952, but with only some 800 participants "from all classes" it failed to achieve any results. 102 The General Treaty (or "Bonn Treaty") provided for the full restoration of sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany (with the exception of matters pertaining to German reunification). It was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic on 26 May 1952.

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every opportunity to prevent the signing of the "General Treaty" (strikes, "appeal for peace," collecting signatures of the population in West and East Germany, drafting a national program on behalf of the Presidium of the "Conference of the Thousand"). The GDR government will make a statement to the effect that it does not recognize the General Treaty. In addition, we intend to undertake a number of measures, which would make the economic situation of West Germany more difficult (introducing higher tariffs on the highways between West Berlin and West Germany, creating problems on the roads connecting West Berlin and the GDR, introducing a system of passes for visits of residents of West Berlin to the GDR). The third group of questions—Comrade Pieck continued—refers to what kind of military defense should the German Democratic Republic create in the light of the threat from the West? Currently we have the People's Police in the GDR, but this is not a defense [force]. The police are poorly armed, and have bad revolvers that lack bullets. Comrade Stalin asks, what kind of police force is that? Comrade Ulbricht notes that nowhere in the world do they have such a police force, and that it cannot even defend itself against criminal elements. Comrade Stalin asks, why? You yourselves are to blame for this situation. [Illegible] Ulbricht says that the GDR could not produce weapons for the People's Police because it was prohibited by the quadripartite agreements.103 Comrade Stalin notes that you did not understand your rights well. You have a right to maintain your own well-trained and well-armed police. Comrade Molotov notes, and to produce weapons needed for your police. Comrade Stalin emphasizes that the GDR can produce its own machine guns, rifles, revolvers and bullets for the People's Police. You have the full right to do it. Comrade Pieck says that that is very good. Pieck asks whether they should take any steps to create a German army in the German Democratic Republic. Comrade Stalin says—not just steps; you need to create an army. What do you mean by steps? Comrade Pieck says that then they would have to produce ammunition. Comrade Stalin notes that the Western powers in West Germany violate all agreements, and do whatever they please. Comrade Pieck says that in order to create an army, they should organize the appropriate propaganda in the GDR, and show the difference between the army that is being created in West Germany and the National Army of East Germany. Comrade Stalin says that they should create an army without making much noise, without propaganda. Once the army is already organized, then you can shout about it.

103 Reference to the 1945 Potsdam Accords which provided for the demilitarization of Germany. See Department of State, ed., FRUS, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, 2 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1960).

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Comrade Pieck says that we were engaged in propaganda for the demilitarization of Germany—against any army whatsoever. But as a result of that, we had an expansion of pacifist moods, which we now have to take into account. Comrade Stalin responds that it was needed in the past, but not any more. Comrade Pieck says that this issue now conies up during discussions of the military aspects of the Soviet draft of the foundations for the peace treaty. We have a misunderstanding as a result. Comrade Stalin asks—what kind of misunderstanding? Comrade Ulbricht speaks about the spreading of pacifist moods in the GDR. Comrade Stalin asks, so if they attack you, are you going to defend yourself? This is called not resisting evil with violence. This is what Tolstoy preached. This is not pacifism—it is even worse. Comrade Pieck says that one of the important tasks for the GDR is to strengthen its democratic laws. Along with the successes in [socialist] construction in the GDR, we are experiencing a strengthening of the enemy's activities (the kulaks, the church). We should have more public statements about the need to increase our vigilance and the defense of the democratic order. We need to hold several public trials, so that people will know why there were arrests, and why we issued sentences. Up to this point, we were told that it was inexpedient. But it has to be done. In addition, it would be expedient to reconsider the sentences of the Soviet military tribunals on petty crimes. Currently, the GDR prisons are overcrowded. Maybe we should reconsider the sentences in petty cases. Comrade Stalin asks—to free the criminals? Comrade Molotov specifies—only in the least serious crimes. Comrade Pieck confirms this. Then Pieck speaks about the need to improve the standard of living of skilled workers in the GDR by creating wage rates and increasing salaries for more skilled workers. We also discussed the issue of what we could do for workers in private enterprises. Comrade Stalin asks—is their situation worse? Comrade Oelssner says, much worse. Comrade Pieck says that for workers in private enterprises, they plan to establish prizes— for completing state orders—and also to establish a social and cultural fund in the amount of 3% of the salaries of private enterprise workers. Comrade Stalin asks—have you thought about getting part or even half of the enterprises that belong to the Soviet Union in Germany? Comrade Ulbricht responds negatively. Comrade Stalin specifies—you did not think about it? Comrade Pieck says that it would be desirable. Comrade Stalin notes, we think that we will sell half of the Soviet enterprises to the GDR government, and then a year or more later we will also sell the second half. We say half calculating on the basis of profit they receive. If all Soviet enterprises produced, for example,

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800 million rubles of profit a year, then we would sell you the enterprises, which together produce 400 million rubles profit a year. Comrade Pieck says that that would be very good. Comrade Stalin says that we would need to talk about it in detail. We propose that you pay for part of it in [East German] marks, and the other part can be paid in goods. Then you will have many state employees. Comrade Pieck says that this would be very good. Then Pieck says that many members of the intelligentsia flee from the GDR to the West. Comrade Stalin notes, you should create your own intelligentsia. Comrade Oelssner notes that it is already being done in the GDR. Comrade Pieck says that we would like to conclude individual agreements with engineers and technicians. We made this decision long ago, but we have not implemented it. In the old [pre-war] Germany, the ratio of an average worker's salary to an engineer's salary was 1:2.5, and now in the GDR it is 1:1.7. The system of encouragement for inventors is very weak; the situation with issuing patents and with technical literature is unsatisfactory. Comrade Stalin specifies, with publication? You publish too little? Comrade Oelssner confirms this, and adds that the engineering and technological intelligentsia receive very little technological literature from abroad. Comrade Pieck speaks about the need to improve the work of the state apparatus of the GDR, which suffers from a very low level of responsibility and initiative. They should introduce strict controls over implementation, and create an appropriate control apparatus in the GDR Council of Ministers. Grotewohl will discuss this issue. We believe—continues Pieck—that questions of foreign policy should be under the direct control of the SED CC Politburo. Up to this point, the minister of foreign affairs has been predominantly in charge of those issues, but no good has come out of it so far. Comrade Stalin notes that secrets will not be kept if they do not introduce the necessary measures. Comrade Pieck speaks about the GDR's need for economic assistance from the Soviet Union. The beginning of 1952 produced poor results compared with 1951. The prospects [for the GDR economy] are not very good. We are asking for your assistance on five points, about which Grotewohl will report to you. These are the general questions. Turning to the situation in the party, Comrade Pieck says that the Eighth Plenum of the SED CC, which mainly discussed the issues of struggle against the bureaucracy, and strengthening the work of primary party organizations and organs of government, was held recently.104 Comrade Stalin asks, do you have strict registration of party members? How many members does your party have? Comrade Pieck responds that the party has [illegible] members. Comrade Stalin asks, fewer than you had last year?

104

The 8th Plenum of the CC SED was held 21-23 February 1952.

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Comrade Ulbricht says considerably fewer, because we carried out a vetting of party members and candidate members. While the vetting was going on, the admissions were temporarily halted. Comrade Pieck says that the party has [illegible] thousand party members, and 102 thousand candidate members. [Illegible] % of party members and candidate members are women. Workers at the bench—42.4%, employees of the service sphere—27.2%, peasants—5%, intelligentsia—4.3%, unemployed—[illegible], and others. Comrade Stalin asks whether they have unemployment. Comrade Pieck responds negatively. Comrade Ulbricht says that they do have unemployment. It emerged in connection with the deficit of raw materials. For example, in the textile region of Cottbus, they would have to fire approximately 1,000 workers. Comrade Stalin asks how the peasants feel about the regime. Comrade Pieck says that small- and mid-sized farm peasants feel positively about the regime, and fulfill their obligations to the state. The situation with the kulaks is very different; this year they have been sabotaging agricultural deliveries and even committing terrorist acts against village party activists. Therefore, the kulaks are mounting resistance. Comrade Stalin says that that is natural. Comrade Pieck speaks about great problems in the SED's work in the village. The machine-rental stations (MRS)105 represent the basis of our policy in the village. Comrade Stalin asks, do you have any collective farms? Having received a negative response, Comrade Stalin asks, for what do you have the MRS in the GDR then? [Illegible] Comrade Stalin asks [illegible], Do peasants go to the MRS for assistance? Do they help private peasants? Comrade Ulbricht confirms this and says that they need to create even more machine-rental stations. Comrade Stalin asks how they pay for work—in money, or in products? Comrade Pieck says that they pay money, and [he] emphasizes the importance of the MRS for political education of the village. Comrade Stalin asks whether the GDR has many MRS? Comrade Ulbricht gives the number of MRS as 540, and notes that they need to expand the MRS network to 600 stations. Comrade Pieck speaks about the difficult situation that developed in Berlin as a result of the split of the city into two parts. The Americans are trying to carry out their policy of undermining the GDR through West Berlin. The reaction concentrates in West Berlin. They
105 Machine-Rental Stations were created in 1949 as part of initial SED efforts towards a socialized agricultural system.

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publish many reactionary newspapers, support 3 powerful radio stations broadcasting to the GDR, and cany out a campaign of slander against the democratic order. [West] Berlin Social Democrats, trying to expand their influence to all Berlin, advocate holding separate elections for Berlin. As far as the number of party members is concerned, the SED has 39,700 members, and the SPD has 34,000 members hi Berlin, but the Social Democrats control the entire administrative apparatus of West Berlin. Comrade Stalin asks how many members the SPD has in East Berlin. Comrade Ulbricht responds that they have very few. Comrade Pieck says that after 1945, the SPD lost many members in Berlin, and that the masses were dissatisfied with its policies. In conclusion, Comrade Pieck expresses his gratitude to Comrade Stalin for his help to the German people, hi particular for the draft of the basic principles of the peace treaty, and for sending Soviet specialists to assist in the GDR. Comrade Pieck says that he would also like to thank the Soviet Control Commission in Germany, and Comrades [Gen. Vasilii] Chuikov and [Vladimir S.] Semyonov for their day-to-day assistance to the leadership of the SED CC. Then Comrade Grotewohl takes the floor. He states that the state apparatus of the GDR lags behind the pace and the extent of the development of culture and the GDR economy. Their main mistake is that they adopted the Weimar model of the state apparatus without any serious changes. The structural changes in the economy of the GDR (land reform and the planned economy) created completely new tasks for the government. The growth of the people's industry, strengthening of the planned economy, development of labor competition, introduction of technological norms, campaign for increasing the productivity of labor and the quality of production, introduction of collective agreements on enterprises, introduction of the agreement system and self-sufficiency created new problems in the economy, which led to a considerable development of the workers' consciousness. Of course, we make mistakes in our economic apparatus as well, but the new methods put down roots there more extensively than in the state apparatus. We made efforts to adjust to the new tasks after the creation of the GDR (the Weimar Republic had 14 ministries, and we created 25), but we were unable to achieve a genuine coordination between ministries and bureaus, and appropriate oversight of their work. The apparatus has been growing more horizontally than vertically. There were also drawbacks in terms of a division of responsibilities between the government and the party apparatus, which created parallelism and contradictions in their work. There is a lot of formalism and swelling paper reporting on the state apparatus. Our proposals have the purpose of creating a truly reliable control apparatus, and ensuring the quality of decisions being prepared. In order to achieve this, we intend to create a special apparatus at the Council of Ministers of the GDR. Member of the Politburo of the SED CC and Deputy Prime Minister [Heinrich] Rau will be relieved of his duties as Chairman of the State Planning Commission. He will be entrusted with all economic issues, including industry, transportation, and agriculture. Minister of Public Education [Paul] Wandel will be appointed deputy prime minister in charge of coordination of issues relating to sciences, public education and arts. We will create the position of state secretary for leadership over local authorities. These three officials will be directly subordinated to the SED CC Politburo, and will be in charge of all preparatory work in the relevant spheres. The work of the government will be closely linked to the party leadership. In addition, an International Relations Department will be created at the SED CC Politburo; it will direct the work of the Foreign Ministry. Comrade Stalin asks Grotewohl, how many deputies does he have?
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Comrade Gwtewohl responds that he has five deputies. Comrade Stalin asks what do they do? Comrade Grotewohl says that two of the five deputies are representatives of bourgeois parties,106 and we are glad that they do not do anything. Comrade Stalin asks what does Ulbricht do? Comrade Grotewohl responds that Ulbricht is in charge of many issues in the government having to do with the youth, sports, and so on. In general, he works as a liaison between the government and the party. Comrade Stalin asks what would happen if the first deputy were only in charge of industry, and coordinate only industrial issues. Comrade Grotewohl says that this is precisely what they have in mind for Rau. Comrade Stalin says that in addition to Ministers, they should have deputy prime ministers, and divide the tasks among them so that each of them was in charge of one branch of industry. Comrade Grotewohl says that in their reorganization plans, they start with precisely this idea. But the solution of this problem is greatly complicated by the existence of the bloc of parties. When new positions are created, they have to take into account the need to leave something for the bourgeois parties. However, as our tasks move forward, it becomes more and more difficult to give any ministry to the representatives of the bourgeoisie. Comrade Stalin asks, what do the bourgeois parties want? Comrade Ulbricht responds that they want to get positions and live a comfortable life. Comrade Stalin says that experience shows that one cannot lead through ministries. In addition to the ministries, you have to have deputies of the prime minister, who would be in charge of a certain group of ministries. From the point of view of management, you cannot do without it. Comrade Grotewohl says that in the GDR our task is to create such groups, but without giving anything to representatives of the bourgeoisie in the process. Their politicians will only create problems, especially if you take into account that they would have to make decisions on the issues of army, weapons, and so on. Comrade Stalin asks if the GDR has a ministry of defense, and who controls the police? Comrade Ulbricht responds that formally the GDR Ministry of the Interior is in charge of the police, but there is also a special state secretary for police issues, who is essentially not subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior. Comrade Stalin inquires who is your Minister of the Interior? Comrade Ulbricht responds that [Karl] Steinhoff is a very peaceful person. Comrade Stalin asks, can't you appoint a fighter to this post? A military man?
106 Besides the Communist Party, several non-communist parties had been formed in the Soviet Occupation Zone in 1945. Following the merger of the Communist Party with the SPD in 1946, the remaining non-Communist parties, most prominently the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LPD) increasingly evolved into loyal and dependant "transmission belts" of SED rule. By the 1950's, the "democratic bloc," in which the SED had joined with the non-Communist parties and Communist-run mass organizations, had degenerated into an acclamatory organ that assured SED control over politics in the GDR.

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Comrade Ulbricht says that they would need to do so.107 Comrade Stalin notes that if the chief of the police is weak, the police itself will be weak. Maybe they should not create a defense ministry, but instead create an embryo of it at the Ministry of the Interior. Comrade Ulbricht says that the part of the police represented by troops is only formally subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior, in reality it is directly subordinated to the GDR Ministry of [State] Security and to the Prime Minister. Comrade Stalin says that in this case it would be better to create such an embryo at the Ministry of State Security. Comrade Ulbricht expresses his agreement. Comrade Grotewohl says that the GDR is experiencing a number of economic problems, which they cannot resolve on their own. We are asking for help on the following issues: a) casting iron—25 thousand tons over the figure of the long-term agreement (justifies the request with statistical data).108 Comrade Stalin notes that we can provide that. Comrade Grotewohl says that they would need to get short-term credit for 2.5 million dollars to purchase a pipe-rolling complex from West Germany because of a serious lack of whole-rolled pipes (19 thousand tons less than needed). Comrade Stalin says that we can give them credit, and asks how many whole-rolled pipes they need. Comrade Grotewohl responds that they think they would be able to do without pipes for the time being if they get the pipe-rolling complex, which would start producing pipes beginning with the fourth quarter. Comrade Semyonov responds to comrade Stalin's question [illegible] and that currently negotiations are underway between the GDR, Czechoslovakia and Hungary about the possibility of those countries accepting GDR orders for rolling 19 thousand tons of pipes from half-finished products in storage in the GDR. Comrade Grotewohl says that if they receive the pipe-rolling complex, in 1952, Germany would still have a deficit of pipes of approximately 14 thousand tons. Comrade Stalin asks Comrade [Anastas] Mikoyan, can we give them this amount? Comrade Mikoyan says that it would be difficult. Comrade Stalin says that we will give as much as possible. We will give you the 2.5 million-dollar credit any time. Tomorrow if you want. Comrade Malenkov asks where is the rolling complex now, in West Germany? Comrade Grotewohl responds that the rolling complex was made in West Germany, but it has already left it, and should be transported to the GDR via England and Switzerland. Comrade Grotewohl asks for a shortening of the deadlines for deliveries of thick sheet iron, which is needed for shipbuilding, in particular, to deliver 32 thousand tons of thick sheet
107 108

Steinhoff was dismissed from this position later that year. No paragraph "b" in original.

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iron from 72 thousand tons purchased from the USSR by the end of April, and 40 thousand tons by the end of the third quarter of this year. Comrade Mikoyan says that it would be difficult, and that the GDR industry would still need thick sheet iron in the fourth quarter as well. He proposes that 21 thousand tons be delivered by the end of April, 30 thousand tons in the third quarter, and 21 thousand in the fourth quarter. Comrade Grotewohl says that we would like to do it differently. Comrade Stalin notes that it should be worked out during the present trade negotiations. Comrade Ulbricht says that they talked for weeks in those trade negotiations, but were unable to achieve anything. Comrade Stalin inquires, with whom did you negotiate? Comrade Ulbricht says they negotiated with the USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade. Comrade Stalin says [illegible] we could give, but we cannot say now. If the German trade delegation is in Moscow now, they should raise this issue here. Comrade Grotewohl says that it is the most difficult position. Serious mistakes were made in distribution of the metal received from the USSR—authorized officials of the GDR signed an agreement with the USIG109 about transferring 70% of the metal to the Soviet enterprises in Germany. We did not recognize that agreement, and demanded a precise inspection of its use. We know that the Soviet enterprises in the GDR have more raw materials in their warehouses than they need. Comrade Ulbricht says that on this issue, the cooperation between the Soviet and people's enterprises in the GDR is not fully worked out. The Soviet shipyard Neptune has enough thick sheet iron for the entire year, and the new deliveries of iron are being sent to the warehouse. The people's shipyard in Stralsund is working below capacity, even though it also works for reparations. Comrade Stalin asks, why did you not speak about it before? With whom did you speak? Comrade Ulbricht says that they talked about it with the leadership of the USIG, and in Karlshorst. Comrade Semyonov noted that this issue was raised before the leadership of the ACC on 19 March for the first time, and that they created a commission to inspect the situation. Comrade Stalin asks Ulbricht whether they could write a letter to Moscow. Comrade Ulbricht says that they, as usual, tried to resolve this issue locally. Comrade Stalin points out to them that when you are dissatisfied, you should contact the CC CPSU. And this request should be satisfied using the reserves of the Soviet enterprises in Germany. The issue should be resolved here, not in Berlin, and the request should be satisfied. Comrade Grotewohl asks [for the USSR] to sell 7 thousand tons of lead to the GDR. Comrade Stalin asks, how much do they give you? Comrade Grotewohl says that up until now, they have given us nothing at all.
109

Upravlenie sovetskogo imushchestva v Germanii, Administration for Soviet Property in Germany.
31

you should not do this.Comrade Mikoyan refers to the fact that the USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade has not yet given the government any information regarding the results of trade negotiations with the delegation of the GDR. The Chinese took a lot. the East Complex is experiencing serious problems in starting its work. we would give you twice as much if only we could. Comrade Stalin asks Grotewohl if 5 thousand tons of lead would be enough. but very slowly. Comrade Molotov asks. and told the Americans: —No. Then we understood that they wanted to obliterate the German As part of the 1950-54 Five-Year Plan. Comrade Stalin asks whether there were any reserves of iron ore discovered in the GDR. there are troops here. we will provide it. All metallurgy specialists are now sitting in the West. And we will sell the Neptune shipyard to you with all its reserves of metal. Comrade Stalin notes. the demilitarization was carried out so thoroughly that they have nothing left now.110 Comrade Stalin says that we always learned to build [our] metallurgical industry from the Germans. But the Americans kept asking for permission to bomb. Comrade Grotewohl thanks him. Comrade Grotewohl asks for 7 thousand tons. to the plant that repairs tanks and other enterprises. Comrade Stalin says that is good—now you can at last create your own technical intelligentsia. At first we did not understand the meaning of that. and that as a result of that. Comrade Stalin responds that it would be very difficult. the GDR launched the construction of a major industrial complex near Eisenhtittenstadt aimed at achieving economic autarchy from Western Germany. but we will do it. did you make tanks in Germany? Comrade Ulbricht says that all tank plants were leveled. How come you do not know how to build blast furnaces? Comrade Ulbricht cited the lack of specialists. Comrade Grotewohl says that you cannot arm yourself without copper. and that the question has not been decided yet. Comrade Stalin says. Comrade Grotewohl asks for deliveries of 10 thousand tons of copper. 110 32 . Comrade Ulbricht says that they are building blast furnaces. for example. the Americans asked the Soviet command to allow them to bomb German territory 10 kilometers to the west of the line of Soviet troops. They came before you. Comrade Stalin says that when the Soviet troops approached Berlin. Comrade Stalin asks about blast furnaces in the GDR. we will give it to you. and took it. Comrade Ulbricht responds that the bulk of metal in the GDR is produced from the local reservoirs of poor ore. Comrade Stalin says. Comrade Ulbricht asks for Soviet technological assistance to the GDR enterprises by sending necessary experts to the GDR.

cranes. Therefore. where everything takes more time. because you make use of it very fast. Now we will build plants. and only then they left. and introduce appropriate military training. Comrade Ulbricht asks for permission for leaders of the SED to study Stalin's work on the issues of political economy.plants. Comrade Stalin says that it cannot go on like this any longer. a lot of stupid things were done in the GDR. Comrade Ulbricht returns to the issue. We responded that we could not allow the bombing. Comrade Stalin says that they could speak about West Germany. coal combines and other machines for the coal industry. Comrade Stalin asks if the GDR has any border defenses. Nonetheless. we shot down several American bombers. Comrade Stalin agrees. 33 . the destruction of the plants already began during the war. Those are specifically Russian issues. Comrade Stalin says that only those who don't work don't make mistakes. by sending Soviet specialists in the fields of philosophy and science. Comrade Ulbricht asks for scientific assistance to the GDR. for teaching lecture courses at universities and party schools. and the "comments" give some answers to those issues. and we sent Soviet destroyers to meet them. that they should strengthen and subordinate them to military organs. of holding open trials of the saboteurs—agents of Western intelligence services who committed arson. Comrade Ulbricht notes that nonetheless. they sent in the bombers. Comrade Stalin promises to provide the necessary assistance. cement-mixing machines. which was initially raised by Comrade Pieck. Comrade Molotov speaks about the need to introduce a system of passes for visits of West Berlin residents to the territory of East Berlin. which raised certain questions. and the police cannot even shoot at the criminals because they do not have any bullets. Comrade Ulbricht responds that their border defenses are very weak. and assassination attempts on party leaders of the GDR. Comrade Stalin agrees. but emphasizes that this work was intended for publication. unlike they do in China. its future prospects and [illegible] during their second meeting. Comrade Molotov says that this is simply impossible. Comrade Pieck agrees. acts of sabotage. We had a discussion of some economic issues. How can you tolerate free movement of Western agents in your republic? Comrade Ulbricht says that the contraband from the GDR to West Berlin proceeds practically in the open. This cannot be tolerated. Comrade Stalin agrees and proposes to talk about it in detail. Comrade Ulbricht asks for a short-term credit on agricultural combines. Comrade Stalin says that they should hold some open trials and increase the fighting spirit within the working class. Comrade Stalin says that we would be glad to provide technological assistance. Comrade Ulbricht asks for permission to talk with some leading figures of the CPSU CC about the methods of work of the Central Committee and the state apparatus.

You should change their instructions. but it is more interesting to have an army. an independent state is being created in Germany. Malenkov. Stalin 1 April 1952'" Attended by: Comrades Molotov. To think that we would be able to achieve a compromise or that the Americans would accept the draft peace treaty would be a mistake.Comrade Stalin says that it can be done. Grotewohl with J. Comrade Ulbricht says that in this respect things are much worse. and that the policemen themselves were angry about the present conditions. and will not leave West Germany anyway. Comrade Ulbricht answers affirmatively. so that they would be able to have all of Europe in their hands. and O. The Americans need an army in West Germany. They will create West German troops. Comrade Stalin emphasizes that the police that they have in the GDR now is not sufficient any longer. improve their equipment and training.m. Recorded by V. and Semyonov (ACC) Comrade Stalin says that in their last conversation W. Comrade Stalin believes that regardless of what proposals we make on the German issue. Semyonov [handwritten] Record of Conversation of Leaders of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany W. Adenauer is in the Americans' pocket. We have nothing to hide from you. the mission of their army there is to control Europe. Comrade Ulbricht says that he attended some of the police party conferences. 34 . All the former fascists and generals are there as well. but you simply have somewhat different circumstances. Comrade Pieck thanks Comrade Stalin for sending a Soviet delegation for Beethoven's anniversary. the session lasted from 10:05 p. Comrade Stalin asks if workers are promoted to leadership positions in the GDR. Comrade Stalin laughs and says that all this is good. Pieck. W. Comrade Stalin inquires about peasant promotions. Bulganin. Ulbricht. The Americans will pull West Germany into the Atlantic pact. And you too need to organize an independent 111 According to Pieck's notes of the meeting. They are saying that they keep the army there against us. V. Pieck raised the issue of the prospects for German development in connection with the Soviet proposals on peace treaty and the policy of the Americans and the British in Germany. to 11:20 p. In reality however. You should have combat police. the Western powers will not agree with them. In reality. Comrade Stalin says that this is correct. Comrade Ulbricht says that they would be able to decide how to apply the Soviet experience to the GDR's conditions. The performances by the Soviet artists made a lasting impression.m.

Comrade Stalin asks whether these proposals are acceptable. p. so that he could sit down and read a book undisturbed.11. and assigns 3 to 4 thousand military men for this task. Maybe it was correct then. We agree with that. decent furniture. op. Comrade Stalin says that we have examined the issue of arming the German police. The demarcation line between East and West Germany should be considered a border—and not just any border. It is impossible to work and grow without it. continues Comrade Stalin." i. we want to revive the offices of military commandants. but it is absolutely incorrect now. 112 35 . pap. not only will your old engineers leave. an engineer gets two to three times more than a worker and in some areas even four times more. 18. We need to strengthen the defense of this border. Therefore. He asked that it be given tanks and artillery. and we will put Russian troops on the second line. you will be stronger yourself. You should either revive the production of bullets. but even the young ones will run away.7. Therefore. we need strong border defenses. This has to be taken into account. In addition. Then. And you need it too. 256. 7-9. Comrade Pieck says that it is very important and necessary to do. but a dangerous one. for which they do not have any German bullets. It will doom your entire industry. The engineer is engaged in intellectual work. See Memorandum from Gribanov to Vyshinskii. In our country. But would all kinds of weapons be sold? Beginning from the revolver. If you do not do it. Comrade Chuikov says that in addition to the regular police. or beginning with the machine gun? Comrade Stalin says that all kinds of weapons [would be sold]. our troops should also have good protection. what kind of police is that? You have the right to have armed police. AVP RF f. most of them had been liquidated even before the establishment of the GDR in October 1949. He has to have a library. and came to the conclusion that it should have Russian-made weapons. They can decide to use some extreme measures and kill you or Comrade [Vasilii] Chuikov. Agents of western countries are moving around the German Democratic Republic all too freely. Comrade Pieck says that it is very important. 1787-670 ss). cited in Scherstjanoi. 88. That is absolutely incorrect. Comrade Chuikov wants to reopen military commandants' offices. If your police are not armed. 082. He must have an apartment. the GDR also has the "Barracked Police. 18 April 1952. Comrade Ulbricht expresses his agreement. Das SKK-Statut. Currently the German police are armed with old German weapons. Comrade Ulbricht says that he agrees with that. The Germans will guard the first line of defense. Academicians get 12 thousand rubles monthly. Comrade Stalin says that he has two questions.e. On 14 April 1952. Maybe you started from the assumption of what Marx and Engels said in the period of the Commune—that an engineer should not be paid more than a well-qualified worker. d. the troops. Think about it.state. Comrade Stalin responds that he does not know that. or write something. or we should sell you our weapons. he should not be chasing a piece of bread. the ratio of workers' salary to the salary of engineering and technical personnel was 1:1. the USSR Council of Ministers decided to create 140 new commandaturas in the Soviet Zone (USSR Council of Minister's Order No. you should discard your old views on Several hundred (507 in 1946) military commandants had been installed during the occupation period. He asks whether military commandants' offices would be reopened everywhere. 40. He should enjoy a standard of living appropriate for a person who is engaged in intellectual work.'l: This is another good move against possible subversion. comfort. Last time it was found that in the GDR.

but the machine army. Therefore. some people were saying that such an approach was a proletarian. we need people in the army who know machines. both categories lost. trying not to harm the movement for a united Germany. leave them alone. poor peasants will ruin 36 . Today we should discard this old militia-based army. In our first years. Comrade Ulbricht confirms that and adds that they even prohibited the organization of collective farms where the peasants wanted it. he will try to raise his skills. write—there can be no engineer without it.this issue. and the machine-rental stations serve only private peasant farms. Today the army is not the manufacture army. Comrade Stalin says that we went through the same experience in the first years of the Soviet government. Life has taught us that that was incorrect. The same applies to the army. understands that the GDR has no collective farms at all. must study a lot to master this technology. why are you complaining about the kulaks. Communes were organized on the plants. Let your kulaks sit tight. It is a simple peasant leveling of all. As a result. do not have enough seed. You will not need to do it this way. you have poor peasants in your villages. What kind of tactic is that—to complain? The kulaks should be encircled. Comrade Stalin says that he heard that in the GDR well-qualified workers get only slightly more than the manual workers. He. But there is nothing socialist or proletarian about it. and even high-level workers. 10 or 15—that does not matter. and became good specialists. read books. Comrade Stalin says that he has a second question. But in addition to the kulaks. Marx and Engels believed that we needed a militia-based army. The peasant-leveling of all should be buried. they plan to introduce pay rate charts. A militia-based army is good only in the situation where war is decided with the rifle. An engineer must have an opportunity to constantly grow. In our country. White-collar workers did not have any incentive to raise their qualifications. is that they will be organized. Today. Comrade Ulbricht says that they do get more. The technology has become so complex compared to the times of the Commune. but the difference is not sufficient. that engineers. and an engineer—much more than a skilled worker. Comrade Pieck says that is correct. Comrade Stalin asks if the German leaders agree with this and adds that it is the genuine Marxist approach. Stalin. socialist one. In such a situation. we also thought that only a militia-based army was needed. In the old time. Therefore. Any proletarian will tell you that if he gets more money. organization of collective farms was going on simultaneously with expropriation of the kulaks. and do not have necessary knowledge and experience in the economy. we need a modern army with various specialists. It was stupid. that live right next to the kulaks. who pulled all their money together and then divided it equally. in order to defend the country. Currently poor peasants do not have any machines. and you should create collective farms around them. It should be done regardless of how much it costs. Skilled workers have their prospects—many of them took exams to become engineers. That is why their harvest is so poor. We did it 25 years ago in our country. A skilled worker should be paid more than an unskilled worker. otherwise he will not. How many peasant farms join a production cooperative—5. What matters. while blue-collar workers did not have any incentive to grow to the level of white-collar workers. They should be pulled into production cooperatives. and that is the only reason why it works so well. Comrade Stalin says. which brought together engineers and manual workers.

help them with seed and advice. Now we do not experience it any more. Of course. good. Comrade Stalin says. you should present your own counter-propaganda and not just sit silently. that you do not value peasants in your policy. The peasants had a very strong prejudice against collective farms. because peasants settled on the land. It used to be that every year between 23 to 25 million hungry peasants would come from villages to Russian cities and undermine the wages of the labor force. Comrade Stalin says that they need to create production cooperatives in the villages. saying that we wanted to create collective farms. In Hungary it worked very well. If they do not. what can be bad about it? You will see for yourself that peasants will visit those collective farms and watch how life will unfold in a new way. Comrade Stalin says that in the Soviet Union. Comrade Stalin notes that they should provide privileges for cooperatives. if the bloc of parties objects to it. However. Today we do not have unemployment in the USSR. we will give them to you. You should give production cooperatives some privileges. You could send good people from the city unemployed to organize such cooperatives in the village. sell them machines cheaper and help them with seeds for the first two years. and if you help your peasants to do it.themselves and will join the ranks of the unemployed. You can say that poor peasants want to join production cooperatives and that the government is helping them to do it. if they want to. Do not force anybody to join. This is an old social-democratic prejudice toward peasants. If that is true. This is what the principle of cooperation is all about. that would be a different case. Now we have peasant unions of mutual assistance and trade cooperation. Comrade Stalin asks the German comrades whether they need peasants. and gave machines to their collective farms. because the peasants are interested in working in the villages. we were able to get rid of unemployment for two reasons. But the bloc will not object if the peasants want to organize production cooperation. You should sell them machines cheaper. We mobilize young peasants and send them to work in the industry. said Comrade Stalin. They were trying to improve the collective farms' harvest. If they need peasants. secondly. And you could have done it long ago. This is how we defeated unemployment from 37 . because we expanded the production and. Whether they give them food products. left their kulaks alone. Peasants will join production cooperatives voluntarily. Is it possible? Comrade Ulbricht says that it is possible. if you organize small collective farms and show them how to manage their farms. That would be only positive. It would be wrong to think that the Hungarians are more capable than Germans. Therefore. the enemies were engaged in propaganda. as it used to be in our country some time ago. then it is necessary to have a base for union with the peasants. and to call them as such. you should put an end to this situation. I noticed. You would receive firm support among the peasants. Comrade Pieck says that when the GDR implemented the land reform. Against any propaganda. and our problem is that we do not have enough workers. first of all. That would improve our situation in the village. If you need instructors for organization of collective farms. and then they will become stronger. It is possible that it would now be expedient to raise this issue on a more extensive basis. where they organized good collective farms. then peasants would start thinking: what is better—to join collective farms or to live separately? Good experience was accumulated in Hungary. do not force them. of course. you will have your own base in the village. Comrade Pieck says that that would be good. we were afraid to raise the issue of collective farms. You should do the same.

you should not scare the middle class away. Comrade Stalin says that this was correct. on the one hand. Comrade Ulbricht says that so far we have never spoken about it. But at the same time. We disguised the social relations that emerged in the GDR to some extent. all the peasants will see the benefits and the strength of cooperatives. However. and after that peasants will turn to the workers. But production cooperatives represent little pieces of socialism. you should not offend the workers of the West. You should not call these farms collective farms. When production cooperatives function well. One can say that the GDR has a public nationalized industry. Enterprises owned by people also mean socialism. Comrade Ulbricht says that that would also have its consequences. Comrade Stalin notes that the deed comes before the word. Comrade Ulbricht asks whether we should continue this tactic after the deep split of Germany? Comrade Stalin says that even now they should not shout about socialism. You should not make noise about it. Right now you do not have any material for such discussion. It would be important for the German workers to know that by doing so we increased the scope of nationalized industry. you should know for yourself that this is socialist production. Comrade Pieck says that the issue of production cooperation should be seriously discussed and clarified for the party. Comrade Stalin says that this mask helped you not to scare the middle class of West Germany. you should not shout about socialism at this point. You need help on the part of the peasants. You have to maneuver here. The workers would be glad if they found out that you nationalized the industry. Although two states are being currently created in Germany. Otherwise. We are selling you our joint-stock enterprises. If you say that you have state industry. and did not point out that people's enterprises were socialist. it means that enterprises are in the hands of all the people and not in the hands of robber barons-capitalists. it will pay back later. So far in the GDR we were saying that we stand for democratic Germany. then maybe you would have been able to pull the lowest strata of the population to your side. they would say that you have the same government as the one in Bonn. We also have never said that we were moving toward socialism. Workers would be very glad to hear that. and it is difficult for workers to stand alone without peasants.both ends. you should begin to do it. and did not carry out a number of measures that we would need to implement in the process of developing in the direction of socialism. to begin with. whereas separatist capitalists—millionaires who own the industries—represent West Germany. Production cooperatives in the village are also little pieces of socialism. Laughing. you need to maneuver and to disguise it in your relations with the middle class. what experience did the countries of people's democracy have? Would it be more expedient to start creating production cooperatives after the harvesting is completed? 38 . In my opinion. you should not shout about it. Then gradually you will have a union of workers and peasants. But for now. Comrade Stalin says. Do not economize on assistance to collective farms. Comrade Ulbricht asks. if you did not have that mask. you should build several collective farms and then discuss it in the party. However. but call them production cooperatives. because the collective farms are not in your pocket yet. Of course.

as a mle. in the Soviet Union. You should show that you are closer to the workers than Adenauer's government. Comrade Malenkov notes that they would carry more authority for German peasants than the Soviet people. Comrade Stalin asks whether they work well. although. but you should not engage in expropriation simultaneously with collectivization.Comrade Stalin says that usually peasants build during the winter. Comrade Stalin says that you should say to your workers: We have just entered socialism. what organ is higher in your country—the Secretariat or the Politburo? Comrade Pieck responds that they did not have much clarity on this issue in the SED. Unidentified CPSU CC official. and Mikhailov on 4 April at 8:00 p. p. In Poland. but the workers remained unsatisfied. a little piece of socialism. we avoided answering this question. according to the Charter of the SED. and a road to socialism. we talked with Kuznetsov. the SED leaders met with Kuznetsov. Comrade Stalin asks. what is bad about that? You will take their land. Romanov. because you have a lot of private capitalists. This is not full socialism yet. part of the kulaks sold their lands and now engage in carrier's trade. 114 113 39 . because when the production cooperatives are starting to organize. In our country. people's farms are. See Loth and Badstubner. But this is the beginning of socialism. You can leave your kulaks alone for the time being. Comrade Stalin says that some people's farms could be transferred to peasants if they do not work well. Comrade Pieck says that workers ask us.m. the Politburo is above the Secretariat. Romanov. however. Comrade Stalin asks whether the GDR has any state farms? Comrade Ulbricht responds affirmatively and adds that state farms cover approximately 5% of all cultivated land in the GDR. Then we transferred part of state farms to the peasants. You could talk with peasants about creating production cooperatives after the harvest is over."4 Comrade Stalin says that you probably would need instructors for building collective farms. and made it very clear. 382. what is the social regime of the GDR? Is this socialism? Up to this point. Comrade Stalin asks. In addition. You could request instructors from Hungary or Poland. and Mikhailov on the issue of military education in preparation of young people for the draft. unprofitable and receive subsidies from the state. According to the Pieck notes. Comrade Stalin says that we will give you one or two instructors. we initially experienced difficulties in setting up the work of state farms. Comrade Ulbricht says that they do not work very well. Comrade Semyonov gives a reference that the productivity of people's farms in the GDR is considerably better than the productivity of peasants' fields. We had a conversation with comrade Pegov113 from the CPSU CC. a part of kulaks will immediately escape to the West. and he explained their methods of work to us very well. Wilhelm Pieck—Aufzeichnungen. Comrade Ulbricht responds that we do not need to touch them at the present time.

and you should always hold it in your hands.and the farms became profitable. Comrade Stalin answers negatively. but so far they cannot say anything definite about the purchase of the mill. Comrade Stalin asks whether they found iron-ore in the new locations in the GDR. He. Comrade Grotewohl says that they completely agree with Comrade Stalin's opinion in his evaluation of the situation in West Germany. Before the war. Comrade Stalin notes that in the Soviet Union they make such mills and all necessary equipment for them. Comrade Ulbricht says that they built special low mines for such poor ore. Recently we discovered good ore in Siberia that contains 60% of iron. It has a great importance for the education of the people in Western Germany. But that layer is located very far from railroads. You should continue propaganda for German unity in the future. The Poles take our ore from Kryvoi Rog"5 and mix 50% of it with their own poor ore. the Germans did not refuse even the ore containing only 5% of iron. however. Comrade Ulbricht responds that the GDR only has poor ore. Comrade Ulbricht says that they have one more request. and proposes talking about it with Comrade Malenkov. Comrade Stalin gives his approval. and they began to work better and settled on the land permanently. We are asking if Comrade Stalin and the Politburo of the CPSU CC could look at our draft and help us in developing that program. We should also continue to make proposals regarding German unity in order to expose the Americans. and the policy of the United States. Now it is a weapon in your hands. which contains only 20% of iron. Comrade Grotewohl asks Comrade Stalin about additional sales of 8. 115 A city in western Ukraine. We will try to speed up the development of this program and to publish it before the KPD is prohibited. In order to provide for workers of the state farms. The Germans took our ore even under Hitler. Comrade Stalin gives his approval.000 tons of long-fiber cotton to the GDR. 40 . Comrade Stalin says that such ore should be mixed with good ore. We have already informed you that we would like to develop a program of the Communist Party of West Germany. Comrade Stalin asks whether they hope to receive the mill? Comrade Grotewohl responds affirmatively and says that they issued the appropriate orders. Comrade Stalin asks whether the German comrades received the rolling mill? Comrade Grotewohl responds that the money to buy the mill was transferred. Grotewohl. we decided to give them plots of land. the plants are overloaded with orders. Comrade Stalin says that it should be mixed with good ore. would like to ask whether Comrade Stalin believes that at the present time we should introduce changes in our arguments to the official position of the GDR government on the issue of the revival of German unity.

) 179. Tanks—artillery will be supplied also [a] rifle division Hoffmann—24 units—5800 Not militia. Everything without clamor. In the beginning the action. fond (f.) 303. —way to socialism—state production] is socialistic Better pay for engineers 1 : 1. East German Notes by Wilhelm Pieck. create examples—concessions Seed-corn. immediately Russian arms with rounds [of ammunition] Military training for Inffantry]. list (1. Moscow (AP RF). behind [it] Soviet soldiers We must consider terrorist acts. no. Clever to start in autumn. Dmitri Volkogonov Collection.7 2-3x more than workers apartment 11-12000 Rbl [Rubles] to academics pay qualified workers better than unqualified 41 . Submarines. but persistent. delo (d. See Cold War International History Project Bulletin. Aviation.000 Armaments must be furnished. according to Mikhail Narinsky (Moscow).Source: Library of Congress. Marine. machines.) 1. in order to isolate large-scale farmers. Create facts. 4 (Fall 1994).m. Defense: Reinstate the liquidated Soviet garrisons 3. Villages: Also establishment of production cooperatives in villages. but rather [a] well-trained army. 48. Instructors at their disposal.) 45. a copy can be found in Arkhiv Prezidenta Rossiisskoi Federatsii. opis' (op. p. in Moscow" Stfalinj: up to now all proposals rejected Situation: no compromises Creation of a European Army—not against the SU [Soviet Union] but rather about power in Europe Atlantic Treaty—independent state in the West Demarcation line dangerous borders 1st line Germans (Stasi). 7 April 1952 "FinalDiscussion on 7April 1952—11:20p. force no one [Do] not shout about Kolchosen [Soviet collective farms]—socialism.

1945-1953 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag.propositions not dealt with Party not dealt with Party conference KPD Economic conference "Unity. 396-97. Translated by Stephen Connors and Ruud van Dijk.. pp. eds. 42 . Wilhelm Pieck—Aufzeichnungen zur Deutschlandpolitik. peace treaty—agitate further" Source: Rolf BadstUbner and Wilfried Loth. 1994).

Translated by Daniel Rozas. Pursuant to Stalin's earlier "advice" (Document No. On the establishment of the SCC. Apparently little concerned about heightening tensions with the West. 116 Sowjetische Kontrollkommission—Soviet Control Commission. . almost impenetrable border in May 1952. SED leader Walter Ulbricht requested Soviet permission to deploy guards along the sector border. more than 232. Moscow approved. Eager to close the only gateway to the West that remained open—the sector border in Berlin—and to put pressure on the Western Allied position in Berlin. see Elke Scherstjanoi. The build-up of national armed forces (announced in May) and the harsh policy of constructing socialism (announced in July) increased the refugee flow. Das SKK-Statut. fleeing across the relatively open inner-German demarcation line and the sector border in Berlin. 2: CPSU CC Resolution Approving the Deployment of Border Guards along the Eastern Border of the GDR. Source: Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation (AVP RF). 2 January 1953 By 1951–52.000 GDR residents went West. 41. the GDR 's inhabitants were leaving by the thousands.) 92. To Incoming 02/3so 2/1-53 TOP SECRET Draft CPSU CC Resolution On the proposals of the governments of GDR and the SCC116 in Germany regarding the deployment of guards along the border of the eastern sector of Berlin Instruct the SCC in Germany (Cdes.DOCUMENT No. 1). During 1952 alone. the East Berlin regime sought to seal off the population from its Western brethren and turned the East-West German demarcation line into a guarded. pp. 7-15. fond 0742. portfel (port. op. Semichastnov and Semyonov) to inform Ulbricht that there are no objections to the measures planned by the SED CC Politburo to deploy guards from the forces of the GDR national police along the border between East and West Berlin and to end uncontrolled access to East Berlin from Western sectors.

the Director of Central Intelligence. 128 S. 728. Bureau of the Budget. Mr. Atomic Energy Commission (for Item 1 only).Wilson.Dulles.DOCUMENT No. 122 Joseph Morrell Dodge. 125 Robert Cutler.128 There follows a general account of the main positions taken and the chief points made at this meeting. p. Dulles noted its striking similarity to the close-knit organization for defense set up by Stalin during the second World War.] 2. Joint Chiefs of Staff. 129 On NSC Action No. which he delivered on 16 April under the title. John Foster Dulles. Eisenhower decided to make a major speech.119 and the Director for Mutual Security.123 General [J.127 and the Deputy Executive Secretary.120 Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury. or some sort of committee control. presiding. 124 Allen W. VI11 (Washington. 1988). D. Lawton] Collins for the Chairman. 11 March 1953 Stalin's death and his successors' "peace offensive " came as a surprise to the new administration of President Dwight Eisenhower. Strauss. 127 Paul T. the Executive Secretary. vol.Nixon. 121 George M.122 the Chairman. 1094. [Here follows discussion of agenda item 1. 728. "A Chance for Peace. NSC.Carroll. 120 Harold E. Everett Gleason. Even though the dictator's demise had been anticipated for years.: Government Printing Office. no concrete plans or assessments of the consequences had been made. The Effect of Stalin's Death (NSC Action No. 3: Memorandum of Discussion at the 136th Meeting of the National Security Council. see FRUS1952-1954. 118 117 44 . the Vice President of the United States.Jackson. In commenting on the governmental changes in Russia which would follow upon Stalin's death. 123 Lewis L. The great question confronting intelligence officers was to determine whether this new set-up in Russia constituted personal dictatorship by Malenkov."7 the Secretary of State.Stassen. Mr.C.125 the Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Operations. " TOP SECRET EYES ONLY Present at the 136th meeting of the Council were the President of the United States. D. Humphrey. 126 C.118 the Secretary of Defense.126 the Military Liaison Officer.121 the Director. Eventually. Dulles Richard M. and how to retake the initiative on Germany and European security. NSC. "The Development of Practical Nuclear Power". guaranteed sharp debates within the administration.124 the Administrative Assistant to the President for National Security Matters. The question of how to respond to his passing.™ SE-394) The Director of Central Intelligence led off discussion of this item with an oral summary of the special estimate (SE-39) on the subject prepared in response to the Council's request at the previous meeting. 119 Charles E.

Dulles then discussed first the effect of Stalin's death on the Communist Parties outside the USSR. However. 662. p. might now be more vulnerable.13° It was likewise based on the assumption that the United States Government would exploit Stalin's death to the limit of psychological usefulness. he believed. The use of such terms either constituted a serious boner by the new Russian regime.thought the latter the more likely. Notably. Dulles summarized the reactions of the foreign offices of the free world toward Stalin's death. at the end of the war. all the other facets of American power and influence. Mr. Contrary to the views of many of our intelligence agencies. was very significant. though Moscow would have to deal with Mao with the utmost care and tact. Mr. to be prepared by himself with the assistance of the Psychological Strategy Board and its staff. that Stalin had never actually been undisputed ruler of the Soviet Union.: Government Printing Office. he said. vol. 1976). it had the President call for a Foreign Ministers Conference of the Big Four. It contained no mere pious platitudes. he hoped. and he anticipated no significant change in the hostility of Yugoslavia toward the Kremlin. It seemed to Mr. Dulles' estimate. From the moment of delivery of that speech all the arms of the United States Government. no immediate change was to be anticipated in Russia's relations with Communist China. but a real bite. D. It may not be more adventurous than the Stalin regime. At the conclusion of Mr. the President's address. Furthermore.C. said Mr. than the first of next week. It was unlikely that Kremlin control of the satellites would be seriously threatened. in the course of which the United States would set forth its desire to negotiate all the major outstanding issues between the free world and the Soviet bloc." "panic. Mr. part 2 (Washington. Russia would have sought more peaceful and normal relations with the rest of the world. been able to do what he wanted with his colleagues in the Kremlin." in Malenkov's recent speeches. Thereafter. everything in the plan was to flow from the initial move. he went on to say. The plan which had been drawn up. on the assumption that Stalin's death had provided the United States Government with its first significant and normal opportunity to seize the initiative. was based firmly on approved NSC policy recommendations beginning with NSC 20/4. in some degree at least. Mr. the President persisted in believing that the Government of the Soviet Union had always been something of a committee government. including the unification of Germany and disarmament. 45 . or else it indicated genuine concern over the peaceful transition to the new authority. but the hard core membership would be but slightly affected. and finally." and "lack of unity. Jackson that the use of the words "disarray. the new regime in the Soviet Union was less sure of itself than its predecessor. Similarly. 1. The draft of such a Presidential address had been prepared. Jackson. all the Embassies and missions abroad. The point of departure in the plan was an address by the President to be made as early as possible and not later. on the assumption that the United States required a unified plan to accomplish its objectives. The fringe membership of these Parties. but it may also prove less successful in handling itself and the outside world. noting that in most instances these countries favored a policy of proceeding with great caution. Jackson undertook to explain to the Council the manner in which he had carried out its directive of last week regarding the plan for psychological exploitation of Stalin's death. From personal experience the President believed that had Stalin. Jackson stated that the draft plan was to be considered both as a dramatic psychological move and also as a serious policy proposal not to be dismissed as merely a propaganda effort. Thereupon. the President reiterated a belief which he had stated earlier to the Council. Certainly. Stalin had had to come to terms with other members of the Kremlin ruling circle. 130 See FRUS 1948. The fact that the Soviet Union instead chose cold war seemed to the President an indication that.

This was a moment in history when the people of the United States and of the free world generally feel that some great new effort should be made to stake out a new course. said Secretary Dulles. There was nothing in it new and strange and nothing which. by a process in which the normal urges of nationalism in the satellite states had been channeled and transformed into virtual worship of Stalin as a demi-god. Jackson readily agreed. as well as the views during the same period enunciated by Secretary Dulles. In our attempt to destroy the unity of the Soviet orbit we must not jeopardize the unity of our own coalition. sure. As a result of this process. Jackson then noted that of course objections to his plan had been raised in the course of putting it together. We have had plenty of experience ourselves as to the difficulties of keeping a coalition together. All this was possible while Stalin lived. The Soviet was now involved in a family funeral. If we moved precipitately we might very well enhance Soviet family loyalty and disrupt the free world's. This terrible concentration of power had largely been created. but whatever we do decide to do must be done carefully and with equal consideration as to its 46 . Jackson proposed to discuss these objections. Mr. continued the Secretary. but the Communist leaders in the satellites would experience far greater difficulty today in subordinating the impulse of nationalism in their respective countries to the relatively unknown individual who had taken Stalin's place. We certainly cannot be totally negative in our reactions to what had occurred in Russia. Jackson's plan which had been raised in the State Department. would not fit into the framework of this Administration's thinking on psychological strategy. and that that initiative ought to be seized even if this Government had to proceed unilaterally. as he put it. It may be that the Soviets will soon experience similar or worse difficulties in their own coalition. Mr. He was convinced that this was the greatest opportunity presented to the United States in many years to seize the initiative. Secretary Dulles began his statement by observing that he personally did not endorse all the objections to Mr. what we must do. Mr. that Stalin's death did afford the United States an opportunity to effect changes in the Communist world which might well reduce the threat which the Soviet world presented to the free world. the present menace of the USSR consisted in the complete control of a vast area by a handful of men who could use their power with impunity. said Mr. and it might be best to wait until the corpse was buried and the mourners gone off to their homes to read the will. Furthermore. As he saw it.were to be linked closely together in the pursuit of the objective. before we begin our campaign to create discord in the family. Thus nationalism is the great theme to be developed as the means of breaking down the Stalinist structure. We too have a coalition to manage. He agreed. ready to shoot. Therefore. it seemed to him. the Communist leaders in the satellite countries had been able to hand over to Stalin control of their countries without conscious loss of the national prestige. according to Secretary Dulles. The follow-up would have to be swift. but said he did wish to point out that we are. but Secretary Dulles interposed to say that perhaps this task had best be done by him. was to play up this nationalism and discontent for all it was worth. We mustn't let this opportunity pass or let our people down. The plan which he drafted. We must draw together and not fall apart at this moment in history. But Secretary Dulles warned that we have a problem of our own. and coordinated. was in line with the views that President Eisenhower had set forth in the course of his campaign. Jackson. for example. Most of the objections centered in the Department of State. to seize every opportunity by this device to break down the monolithic Soviet control over the satellite states. and it seemed especially doubtful to the Secretary of State as to whether this was the appropriate moment to carry the offensive direct to the Soviet Union. Secretary Dulles stated his belief that another consideration should be uppermost in our minds at this time.

Mr. German and Italian Governments. the President asked him in what form he would present his ideas to the world. would resort to all their devices for delay and obstruction. Accordingly. In addition to this. and all the rest to the provision of food. on the one hand. They would believe our leadership erratic. to get any such message through to the peoples of the Soviet Union. would take new heart. and possibly even rendering Mr. and concentrate instead on our determination to raise the general standard of living throughout the world. to suggest. Such an approach seemed to the Secretary of State better than to begin from the European end. venturous. Nothing positive would be achieved. Discussion of German unity in such a forum at this time would ruin every prospect of ratification of the European Defense Community by the parliamentarians of the several states. The President noted that the peoples of the Soviet Union had for years now been 47 . the President's message would certainly get through to the officials of the Soviet Government and would be widely heard in the satellite states. that no more than 10% of the resources of the different countries of the world should be devoted to armaments. But in any case enough should be done now to satisfy American opinion that no attempt to cause the Soviet to change its spots had been let unexplored. a suggestion for a speech from Mr. the path would be open to further negotiations on other matters. he suggested that the President's speech should substitute. Secretary Dulles said he felt especially concerned at the proposal in Mr. for the proposal of a Foreign Ministers Conference. Thus he felt compelled to advise against this part of Mr. Jackson's plan. The President inquired how it would be possible. to something positive and constructive. in view of the jamming. Jackson's plan. Eden's position in the British Government untenable. It would undermine the positions of Chancellor [Konrad] Adenauer and of Prime Ministers [Rene] Mayer and [Italian Prime Minister Alcide] de Gasped who had actually staked their futures on the ratification of the EDC treaties. Jackson's specific proposal of a meeting of the Foreign Ministers. to the peoples of the United States and the free world. if we call the new Soviet regime to take part in a Foreign Ministers Conference. whatever we did. Secretary Dulles said. and all those who were hostile to a more united Europe. and in Korea and Indo-China specifically. we should give up any more appeals with regard to specific issues. to place discussion of German unity on the agenda for such a Foreign Ministers meeting. the address to be directed. a call for the end of hostilities in Asia generally. and consumers goods. Lubell had written the President of his belief that in our efforts to influence the Soviets as well as the people of the free world. on the other. Jackson added that this could be done over television.effect on the USSR and on the free world. Secretary Dulles replied that he agreed that the opening gun should be a speech by the President. The President then informed the Council that he had received some days ago. history proved that the Soviets would simply dig up all their old plans for Foreign Ministers meetings. to the peoples of the Soviet Union and. for whose opinions the President had considerable respect. Mr. but he was sure that the proposal to discuss German unity with the Soviets in a Foreign Ministers Conference was tantamount to inviting the fall of the French. Sam Lubell. and prior to the death of Stalin. such as Korea. for instance. with regard to Mr. Jackson replied that while there might indeed be jamming of any broadcast to the peoples of the Soviet Union. and meanwhile the neutralists. Secretary Dulles said that he was in no position to guarantee that the great EDC plan would materialize. shelter. If the new Soviet regime could be persuaded to agree to something like this. under appropriate safeguards. Turning now. and arbitrary. Secretary Dulles could not but feel that such a meeting would have quite disastrous effects on our ties with our allies unless we obtained their prior consent to the agenda for such a meeting. When the Secretary of State had concluded his opening remarks.

Jackson was convinced there would be no further worries about the overthrow of the present regimes in Western Europe. nothing would be more effective in building them up. that their own personal needs and aspirations would be considered by their government. seemed to him to be the great opportunity presented to a great Secretary of State. the President replied. then certainly the EDC would be finished. Mr. said Mr. Jackson interrupted to say that there seemed to him another side to the position that Secretary Dulles had taken. The governments were all in favor of it. in the President's own experience. Mr. Such an appeal as this might really work. In addition to emphasizing the standard of living as the goal sought by the President. The President again said that emphasis in the current psychological plan. what we should now do is propose that the standard of living throughout the world be raised at once. should be on the common man's yearning for food. therefore. Jackson that one of the main reasons for the cool attitude of many Europeans to our goal for unity in Europe stemmed from real doubts about the long-range commitment of the United States to support European unity and defense. not at some indefinite time in the future. after the completion of each successive Five-Year Plan. the President said. but the President might say that he would be ready and willing to meet with anyone anywhere from the Soviet Union provided the basis for the meeting was honest and practical. he thought. If the full weight and majesty of American statesmanship and diplomacy could be rallied behind the objective of getting the EDC treaties signed. This. Mr. and that every effort should be made to project the President's leadership and personality throughout the rest of the world. and a decent standard of living. It certainly seemed conceivable to Mr.promised. saying that we had stressed our moral values consistently in the past. We all know that the Soviets would stall indefinitely on the agenda for such a meeting. Jackson assumed that such pressure has not already been brought to bear by our diplomats. The focus. some hope. A four-power conference would not do it. of a better future. the President said. To this statement Secretary Dulles added again his view that if an attempt were made to create German unity by some other vehicle than the EDC. might even result in a settlement in Korea. This. Certainly. They had been disappointed in each case. The real difficulty and the real explanation of the instability of these Western European governments came from the fact that they were afraid of their own peoples. must be on the simple theme of a higher living standard for all the world. that the emphasis be placed on raising material standards for the common people throughout the world. and notably in his speech. the economic incentive would have terrific attraction in Russia if it could be got over to the ordinary people. and said that it seemed to him to be supported by the enormous difficulty experienced by the Soviet Union in keeping their satellites from participation in the Marshall Plan. The President replied with a question as to whether Mr. and he suggested that Mr. Thus European unity had become a political issue. but they were afraid of their peoples. Jackson and his colleagues take a look at this and all the other ideas which had been advanced. Stassen stated that plainly the country's greatest asset at this juncture was the leadership of President Eisenhower. This was a universal desire and we should respond to it. The President seemed somewhat skeptical of this latter point. and come up with a new plan for the steps that we should take. Accordingly. 48 . Mr. Indeed. Jackson. It most certainly had been. shelter. On the other hand. he could not but share Secretary Dulles' anxiety about the wisdom of a four-power meeting. We do need something dramatic to rally the peoples of the world around some idea. Secretary Dulles expressed great interest in this idea of the President's. He preferred. Jackson's plan should also stress the moral values represented in the President.

1988). Everett Gleason Source: FRUS. peace. No firm conclusions were reached on any of these points. although the President stated his own belief that the question of when and how his speech was to be delivered was almost as important as its content. (2) That the Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Operations should immediately draft an address by the President in the light of the discussion at the meeting. and we should quickly find ourselves very vulnerable to attack." presented orally by the Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Operations. both at home and abroad. based on a special estimate (SE-39) circulated at the meeting. Noted an intelligence estimate on the subject presented orally by the Director of Central Intelligence.C. 1117-1125. and in what forum.] S. c. Stassen then inquired what might be the effect if the President in his speech were to propose an immediate and complete cease-fire in Korea.: Government Printing Office.Mr. VIII. The National Security Council'. and the Secretary's reactions to the proposed psychological plan. vol. Agreed: (1) That Stalin's death presents an opportunity for the assertion of world leadership by President Eisenhower in the interests of security. Note: The action in d-(2) above subsequently referred to the Special Assistant to the President for Cold War Operations for implementation. Noted the views of the Secretary of State on the policy implications of Stalin's death. The President commented that the Russians had already made such a proposal. the President should make his address. Noted and discussed "A Proposed Plan for a Psychological Warfare Offensive. (Washington. for early delivery at a time and place to be determined. The action in d-(3) above subsequently referred to the Psychological Strategy Board for implementation. a. The Communists would thus be able to pile up supplies. and a higher standard of living for all peoples. based on a written report prepared with the assistance of the Psychological Strategy Board and its staff. United States objectives with respect to Latin America. Secretary [of Defense] Wilson expressed complete agreement with General Collins. d. (3) That there should be a coordinated and sustained emphasis and follow-up on this address by all appropriate departments and agencies. concerning developments in Iran. pp. Secretary Dulles pointed out the implication represented by the prisoner-of-war problem. D. b. [Here follows discussion of agenda items 3-5. and the NSC status of projects. Thereafter the Council discussed for some time the question of how and when. and General Collins added to this by warning that if we called for a cease-fire we would have to stop the bombing of Communist communications and military targets. 1952-1954. 49 .

England and France. Stalin's successors sought to relax tensions with the Western powers. they put a halt to Ulbricht sand the SCC's notion of sealing off the sector border in Berlin. and would seriously damage our political successes. and even more would negatively affect the interests of the population not only of West but also of East Berlin. You must meet with Grotewohl and Ulbricht and tactfully explain to them the following: a) Carrying out such measures in Berlin with a population of several million people would certainly lead to a violation of the established order of city life. b) Carrying out such measures with regard to West Berlin would place in doubt the sincerity of the policy of the Soviet government and the GDR government. TOP SECRET Draft Instructions To Cdes. relations of the Soviet Union with the USA. Chuikov. a development which we can and must avoid. 4: Draft Instructions for General Vasilii Chuikov and Vladimir Semyonov Regarding GDR Control of Borders. to the clear disadvantage of the countries of the camp of peace and democracy. we in general do not deny the necessity of carrying out a series of additional measures for safeguarding the interests of 131 Not printed. Semyonov Regarding nos. unacceptable and grossly simplistic. which have been achieved in West Germany as a result of the implementation of that just policy which answers the fundamental national interests of the German people. appear.DOCUMENT No. according to political considerations.131 The proposals of the GDR leadership. Reflecting their need for a breathing spell to consolidate Soviet positions. c) The deployment of border guards on the sector border of East Berlin would only complicate. 50 . Engrossed in afierce power struggle. 18 March 1953 This document provides one of the earliest indications that soon after Stalin s death on 5 March 1953 the Kremlin began to reconsider the hard-line sovietization program for the GDR. which would be used by the three Western powers against the interests of the GDR and the USSR. including the regulation of transport. 8/1517 and 8/1543. however. would evoke bitterness and dissatisfaction from Berliners with regard to the government of the GDR and the Soviet forces in Germany. on the implementation of border protection/border guards on the sector border of East Berlin with West Berlin and on measures connected with the carrying out of such protection. the basic problem of stabilizing the situation in the GDR remained unresolved. Recognizing the unacceptable ideas of your proposals. which are actively and consistently supporting the unification of Germany and the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. But as thousands of refugees continued to stream out of the Berlin escape hatch every week. supported by you. would cause the disorganization of the city's economy. which had caused widespread popular resentment and undercut the Soviet claims to champion German unification.

We hope that you will look into this matter more attentively in the next two-three weeks and give us your thoughts on this question. having in mind with this the strengthening of countermeasures against the hostile forces which have their support in West Berlin. port. From this. 12. 06. Obtained and translated by Hope Harrison.) 18. op. 51 . since with a simplistic approach to this serious matter we would only hurt ourselves and facilitate possible hostile activity on the part of those elements which are ready to take advantage of our every blunder.the GDR (and also the USSR) in Berlin. Source: AVP RF. f. it follows that you must very seriously rethink this question and those practical measures which it is necessary to undertake in Berlin. papka (pap. 283. It is necessary that these additional measures not be hurried or simplistic.

the West German Social Democrats' attitudes are seen as altogether conspiratorial." For a copy of the 10 March 1952 Soviet Note and documentation on the ensuing exchange of notes between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. France and Bonn on the German question at the time the three Western powers sent diplomatic notes to the Soviet Union on 23 September 1952 The USA government position. see FRUS. pp. put forward by General Eisenhower." Ivan Tugarinov. "On the Western Powers' Policy Regarding the German Question. for example. pt. The positions of the governments of the USA. Based on a combination of covert and overt sources. government tried to obtain agreement from its English and French partners to set forth preconditions for calling a quadripartite conference that would "Corrected to "1. Tugarinov suggests to Moscow policymakers that the West is certain to oppose any Soviet initiatives on the German question.S.S. Moscow also continued to hope for exacerbated tensions within the Western camp that would ultimately cause Western policies to fail." 18 April 1953 This memorandum by the head of the Soviet Foreign Ministry's so-called "Small Committee of Information. 1952–1954 vol. The USSR Government proposal on the question of a peaceful settlement of the German problem. only agreed under the influence of England and France to begin a exchange of diplomatic notes with the USSR regarding the conditions for convening a quadripartite conference. 5: Memorandum by Ivan Itogarinov. provides a succinct Soviet analysis of the Western position on the German question since the 1952 note exchanges. President Eisenhower's and West German Chancellor Adenauer's skeptical attitude toward four-power negotiations rising out of concerns over a possible delay in the Federal Republic's integration with the West.DOCUMENT No. the. the USA government has. the U. since the very beginning.S. England. TOP SECRET On The Western Powers' Policy Regarding the German Question I132. the significance of the Soviet proposals in the following manner: Adoption of the Kremlin's proposals would mean sacrificing the West German divisions that must become the foundation for the creation of the North Atlantic Alliance. 169–327. policy toward Germany—the swiftest transformation of West Germany into a strike force for the aggressive bloc. embarked on a path of preventing quadripartite negotiations on the German question and. according to available information. But the memorandum also reflects ideologically derived misconceptions: Western newspapers. VII. 9 April. 133 132 52 . set forth in the Soviet diplomatic note of 10 March 1952. In discussing the response to each of the Soviet notes (of 10 March. The American newspaper The New York Times on 16 April 1952 evaluated. report captures fairly accurately both U.133 created serious difficulties for the realization of the main goal of U. are perceived as mouthpieces of the administration. 1. from the perspective of the U.S. In view of this. 24 May and 23 August 1952). government's plans.

. commission or another "impartial" commission to carry out a review of the existence of conditions for free all-German elections in both sections of Germany. — recognizing the Potsdam accords135 with regard to the eastern border of Germany only as preliminary and subject to reexamination under the final peace settlement. for example. The position of the Bonn government. would make the organization of negotiations impossible.N. England and France to discuss drafts of the diplomatic replies of the Western powers.S. on the contrary. French and Bonn governments. The Bonn government.. emphasized that: The current tense situation satisfies Adenauer. with unlimited freedom of participation in military alliances and coalitions. 1981). Thus. who. the USA government exerted strong pressure on the English. while the relaxation of this situation. the Americans insisted that it be proposed that the Soviet Union agree on the following: — assigning the illegally established U. headed by [Konrad] Adenauer. pt. Adenauer."136 in order to expedite creation of the aggressive West German armed forces. consequently. in his report to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. insisted on including articles in these drafts intended to break down the talks. he announced in April 1952 that: [Anthony] Eden and [Robert] Schuman tried to introduce a tone of reconciliation into the text of the reply note of the Western powers. would hinder his plans. 135 Reference to the Potsdam Accords which resulted from the 17 July–2 August 1945 conference between the U. at American insistence.. At the same time. vol. The Bonn government is the most irreconcilable enemy of all negotiations between the Western powers and the Soviet Union on the German question. 2 (Washington..: Government Printing Office. completely supported the line of the USA government on the German question. III.be clearly unacceptable to the Soviet Union and. see Department of State.134 — providing the future all-German government. and USSR.C. Adenauer insisted on the inclusion of demands for not recognizing the Oder–Neisse border. Fran9ois-Poncet. was brought in by the governments of the USA. In particular. the USA government continued to put pressure on its partners in the aggressive bloc.K. The French High Commissioner for West Germany.. 136 The European Defense Community or EDC was designed to provide the institutional framework and control for West German rearmament. 134 On the U. ed. 1805-1825. 53 . U. pp. The U. insisting on the rapid ratification of these agreements. FRUS 1951. Within the narrow circle of the Christian-Democratic Union leadership. even prior to the conclusion of a peace treaty. trying to achieve the swiftest conclusion of negotiations on the Bonn separatist agreement and the Paris agreement concerning the "European Defense Community. — resuming negotiations on the Austrian treaty until the start of negotiations on the German question.N. representative and I were able to maintain our perspective. dated 1 July 1952. Commission. in the answer to the Soviet note of 9 April. Following the signing of the Bonn and Paris agreements on 26 and 27 May.. D.S.

and then resolve the question of West German participation in military alliances with the Western powers. London and Paris. the leadership of the Social Democratic Party actually opposed the Soviet proposals and supported examining them only because it had no doubt that they would be rejected by the Western powers. not one of these parties and groups came out in support of the Soviet proposals. declared that: We can support with complete calm any more decisive proposal[s] pertaining to quadripartite negotiations. The camp consisting of opponents of military-political agreements with the Western powers and supporters of adopting. since negotiations with the Western powers have gone so far that the bargain [sdelka] struck by Adenauer would not be ruined by it. Moreover. within senior American diplomatic circles it is believed that. the return of the Saar region to West Germany. he strive more decisively for concessions to West Germany. Free Democratic Party. as well as various military alliances and neo-fascist groups criticized Adenauer's policy and demanded that. The position of the English government. the English government maintained a somewhat different position than the American and Bonn governments. as was evidently shown from the start by diplomats in Washington. During the period of diplomatic correspondence between the Western powers and the USSR regarding the German question. he pushed through the Bundestag draft legislation for the ratification of both agreements in their original text. which. The so-called "neutral" circles of the West German bourgeoisie and intelligentsia. though for different reasons." spoke out for serious examination of the Soviet proposals and against the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. in particular the liberation of German war criminals. Hensler. Openly nationalistic. which was directed toward avoiding quadripartite negotiations and the swiftest enactment of the Bonn and Paris treaties. revanchist circles within the Free Democratic Party. or at least seriously studying. came out against Adenauer's policy. 54 . As early as July 1952. a member of the Social Democratic Party leadership. certain other political parties and groups..At the same time. and the German Party). in the negotiations with the Western powers. after these were signed. and. came out in favor of "serious" examination of the Soviet proposals and against the Bonn and Paris treaties.. having united at the time around the "Extraordinary Commonwealth for Peace in Europe. speaking during a meeting of the Social Democratic faction in the Bundestag on 1 April 1952. However. and the provision of large American loans. for example. As the American newspaper The New York Times emphasized on 13 April 1952. According to unofficial reports. Adenauer's political line met with full support from the Bonn government coalition parties (Christian-Democratic Union. This was to a significant extent aided by the traitorous line of the West German Social Democratic Party leadership. The English spoke out against the unconditional rejection of the Soviet proposals and against the inclusion of certain clearly provocative "preconditions" in the replies of the Western powers. Two small political parties—the Center Party and the Bavarian Party—also believed it necessary to first determine the possibility of reestablishing German unity. Adenauer forced negotiations on the Bonn and Paris agreements. are probably not inclined to reject outright the Russian [diplomatic] note. began to strive for their swiftest ratification by the West German Bundestag. the Soviet proposals for peaceful settlement of the German problem were politically heterogeneous and divided. purely for tactical reasons. Thus.

At the time. We shall not permit [others] to engage us in useless negotiations such as those that were held earlier on Germany or. De Less. The basis of Schuman's foreign policy was the principle of maintaining the division of Germany and including West Germany in the "European Defense Community. but also influential circles in the French bourgeoisie." The newspaper emphasized further that these people are prepared to hold negotiations which could relax international tensions and free France from its burdensome contribution to the rearmament of the West and from its demeaning dependence on the United States. like the English government. 1 have always maintained that an attempt at negotiations by the four. declared during a press conference to a narrow circle of journalists that: . On 1 August 1952. and the "Peasant" Party.. The French government of Pine-Schuman. the MRP. 55 . which is an example of still more pointless negotiations." However. in France. moreover. The head of the Department of the Press and Information of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. fearing a rebirth of German revanchism. for example. The English newspaper The Scotsman pointed out in March 1952 that there are "broad sections of society" in France for whom "the traditional French-Russian alliance with the aim of holding down Germany is a more reasonable foundation for French policy. Eden stated in his speech: We shall not permit [others] to distract us from constructive activity on the unification of Europe. did not strive to convene quadripartite negotiations on the German question or. Thus. establishing German unity.According to unofficial reports. the English government was not interested in holding quadripartite negotiations on the German question. In actuality. The Americans were forced to remove this proposal. publicly stated on 26 August: With respect to the proposal for convening the conference of four. that opposed the American proposal regarding the resumption of negotiations on the Austrian agreement as a precondition for organizing negotiations on the German question. the Labor party voted against ratification and demagogically spoke out for "studying" the Soviet proposals. who was at the time the chairman of the Commission on Foreign Affairs within the National Assembly.. which we have been occupied with in recent years. The position of the French government. Similar statements were also made by a number of prominent activists of the Radical Party. on the Austrian agreement. and limiting European and German armament. it was precisely the English government. for that matter. For tactical reasons. with the aim of insuring free elections. Even on 22 April 1952." Jacques Bardou. there are people who wish to reject the idea of the establishment of a European army and the inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance. with support from the French government. the Churchill administration pushed through the English parliament the ratification of the Bonn agreement. one of the leaders of the party of "Independent Republicans. prominent figures in all the French bourgeois parties supported convening quadripartite negotiations on the German question. toward a peaceful settlement of the German problem on the basis of an agreement with the USSR. is necessary for eliminating the threat of war. do not support this policy. signing a peace treaty. the French government was forced to take into account that not only the working masses of France.

which would include only one question—the composition. a step that carries with it more danger than advantages. while at the same time it could not fail to take into account that to convene quadripartite negotiations on the basis of the broad agenda proposed by the Soviet Union would lead to a significant delay or even the downfall of plans for the establishment of a "European army. the newspaper Le Monde. the French government was calculating that a conference with such an agenda would meet with failure. could ease parliamentary ratification of both agreements to the degree that it would demonstrate to the public that everything had been done to keep the door open for an agreement with Moscow." who are speaking out in favor of organizing quadripartite negotiations. however. considered the Soviet proposal to allow a united Germany to possess national armed forces to be unacceptable. The French bourgeois newspaper Le Figaro wrote on 13 June 1952 that: The Conference of Four . laid out in the diplomatic note of 23 September 1952. The French proposal for holding quadripartite negotiations with a "limited" agenda was supported by the English government. after the conventions of the main bourgeois parties in France. came out even more decisively against the ratification of the Paris and Bonn agreements. at the present time. calculated maneuver designed to guarantee the ratification of the Paris and Bonn agreements by the French parliament. Influential circles in the French bourgeoisie. which reflects the position of French "neutralist" circles. the French ambassador in Washington. . According to available reports. By summer 1952. This thought was expressed by a number of other French bourgeois newspapers. .It should be noted. who in one form or another supported negotiations with the USSR on the German question. openly admitted that the French proposal for convening a quadripartite conference with a "limited" agenda is a forward-looking. including the so-called "neutralists. Thus. the French government set forth a proposal to the Americans on the expediency of holding negotiations with the USSR on the basis of a "limited" agenda. that these circles of the French bourgeoisie." In connection with this. [Henri] Bonnet. Thus. backing down from its own demand that the USSR agrees to establish an "impartial" investigation commission as a precondition for organizing quadripartite negotiations. It could not support the American line for unconditional rejection of the Soviet proposals on the German question. wrote on 20 March 1952: France believes that the rearmament of a united Germany is. as a result of which the government of the USA was forced to accept it. the Pine-Schuman administration was forced to maneuver. it became obvious that the distribution of forces in the National Assembly had become clearly unfavorable for the ratification of these agreements. functions and manner of activity of an "impartial" commission for investigating the existence of conditions in both parts of Germany for carrying out free all-German elections. In this situation. consisted of the following: 56 . at the conference of representatives of the three Western powers to prepare a draft reply to the Soviet Union in June 1952. The position of the three Western powers on the question of negotiations with the USSR with regard to the German problem. for which they could then attempt to shift the responsibility to the Soviet Union.

with conferences of the four powers on the question of all-German elections. but rather in striving for two-phase negotiations: first. Following the completion of all-German elections and the establishment of a government of a united Germany. functions and authorities of the "impartial" investigation commission. the Truman administration on numerous occasions came out with statements regarding the great significance which it attaches to the swiftest implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements. describing the essence of the Western powers' plan in one of his articles. Thus. second. emphasized that the all-German government must have the freedom to decide on the question of joining "defense" alliances even prior to the conclusion of a peace treaty. the representatives of the four powers must discuss its report and map out measures necessary for carrying out free all-German elections and establishing an all-German government. 2. the establishment of the all-German government and the definition of the powers it would possess in the interim period before the peace treaty. Disagreements in the imperialist camp on the German question at the end of 1952 and the beginning of 1953 The increase in American pressure on Western European countries in the matter of ratifying military agreements. for example. The correspondent for the English newspaper. and at the same time preserving the division of Germany and expediting the inclusion of West Germany in the aggressive bloc. the 23 September 1952 note of the four powers. Along with this. the government of the USA increased its pressure on the countries of Western Europe. Following the completion of the work of the commission.1. The Scotsman. 2. with the participation of the new German government. seeking from them the swiftest ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. with the aim of creating the conditions necessary for carrying out free elections. shifting the responsibility for this on the USSR. and that the decisions of the Potsdam conference with regard to the eastern border of Germany must not be regarded as conclusive. as pointed out by Loewenthal. the American press completely stopped writing about the possibility of negotiations with the USSR and even ignored the fact that the Soviet Union was not responding to the three powers' note of 23 57 . During the last months of its term. A conference of representatives of the four powers must be convened in order to discuss the question of the composition. but it must refuse to discuss such conditions for a peace treaty as. 3. noted that: The West's biggest trump card consists not in responding to the Russian proposal for neutralizing Germany with a dogged insistence on the rights of a united Germany to join alliances. as did their previous notes. neutrality or the eastern border. a four-power conference may take place with the participation of representatives of the all-German government in order to discuss the question of a peace treaty with Germany. Richard Loewenthal. This tactic. the West must be prepared to discuss at any time the question of German unity. the position of the Western powers had the goal of obstructing a peaceful settlement of the German problem. During these months. with conferences on the peace treaty itself. will not create any dangers for the Western powers and promises substantial benefit for them. before a united Germany is established. In other words. Following the dispatch of notes by the three powers to the Soviet Union on 23 September 1952.

by the regular session of the North Atlantic Alliance council. This position of the Eisenhower administration on the German question is related. but on the forced incorporation of the German Democratic Republic into a rearmed West Germany. Dulles stated during his radio address: If it so happens that there is no chance for ensuring an effective unity and especially if France. Dulles and Stassen demanded. It is dangerous and possibly even catastrophic to place hopes on German unification through four-power negotiations. Moreover. which emphasized that the creation of the "European Defense Community" is "the chief goal of United States' foreign policy in Europe and the cornerstone of the Atlantic Alliance. during his visit to Europe. Thus. the USA's precept for transforming West Germany into the primary base for its aggressive policy in Europe assumed an even more open character. formulated this thesis in the following manner: West Germany and Europe must. In contrast to the Truman administration.September." With the arrival of the Eisenhower administration. . which has large investments in West German industry.] Stassen talks with the governments of the Western European countries between 31 January–9 February of this year. to the fact that one of the most important elements in Eisenhower's election to the presidency was the support of the so-called German group of monopolies in Wall Street. without paying attention to the Soviet Union. Thus. . on 27 January of this year. these countries would have assured the necessary conditions for the ratification of the Bonn and 58 . the Eisenhower administration openly stated that it would only allow a German unification that would be based not on agreements with the Soviet Union. Germany and England go their separate ways. the Eisenhower administration. continuously emphasized that the implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements "would not hinder" the establishment of German unity. As noted by the American newspaper Chicago Sun-Times. the American reactionary newspapers persistently repeated that it was necessary to insure as soon as possible the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. Italy and the Benelux countries. put forth the thesis that the implementation of these agreements is "a necessary precondition" for German unification. The Kremlin must not have the opportunity to exert influence on the policy of West Germany or control it by playing on proposals for unification. in an even more acute form. as an ultimatum. in order to camouflage its positions. Prior to his departure to Europe. The newly elected president is regarded as the initiator of German rearmament in the post-war period. during talks with the Western European countries. During meetings with the heads of the governments of France. . in particular. people who know Eisenhower's perspective well agree that he considers West Germany to be a more important military asset than France. scheduled for 23 April. According to a report in the newspaper The New York Times. it will be necessary to rethink America's foreign policy toward Western Europe. Dulles. undoubtedly. on 20 October 1952. . West Germany. which. guarantees that. The demand to accelerate the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements was put forth both in Eisenhower's "State of the Union" address to Congress on 2 February of this year. then. insist on the creation of the European Defense Community if they want to achieve German unification. during the [John Foster] Dulles and [Harold E. the American newspapers printed a report from the United Press Agency. as well as.

refused to cooperate with the KPD and the "German Unification Movement for Unity. 138 Dr. Dulles and Stassen demanded concessions to France on the question of guarantees against a rearmed West Germany. Helene Wessel was one ofthe co-founders ofthe new Center Party in 1945. Peace and Freedom. the Bonn government and its supporting political parties significantly increased revanchist propaganda and scared the West German population with the "threat from the East. Trying to achieve a regrouping of forces at the National Assembly in favor of ratifying the agreements. The fact that the Social Democratic Party of West Germany continued to speak demagogically against the Bonn and Paris agreements only made it easier for Adenauer to accomplish his plans. where the newly formed government of [Rene] Mayer introduced on 28 January of this year draft legislation for the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. the Mayer administration undertook a number of foreign policy steps designed to receive from France's partners in the aggressive bloc "security guarantees" for France against German revanchism. with their propaganda. the provision of which would ease the ratification of the Paris agreement by the French National Assembly. Adenauer was able on 3 December 1952 and 19 March 1953 to push through the Bundestag the second and third versions of the draft legislation for the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. Trying to weaken the dissatisfaction of the popular masses and segments of the West German bourgeoisie with the policy of strengthening the division of Germany and including West Germany in the system of the North Atlantic Alliance. the Mayer administration in February of this year put forth the so-called "supplemental protocols" to the Paris agreement. The majority of deputies at the National Assembly opposed ratification. as well as members of RPF139. hesitations and disagreements arose among the bourgeois circles in West Germany. In addition to this. she was active in the founding ofthe GVP. Adenauer blatantly declared that: Sacrificing Germany to Soviet Russia—such an alternative would arise as a result of refusing to ratify the agreements. including many deputies from the governing parties. With these goals in mind." headed by the former Reich Chancellor [Joseph] Wirth. refused to oppose the agreements. the Social Democrats distracted a significant number of West German workers from actively struggling against Adenauer's military policy.Paris agreements. The Bavarian Party. and a founder of the GVP who later became federal president. 1949–1950.138 although it came out against the ratification of the agreements and in favor of German unification. In this situation. 139 Rassemblement du Peuple Francois. From the English government." [GVP] established in November 1952 by [Gustav] Heinemann137 and [Helene] Wessel. The "All-German People's Party. relentlessly strove for the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements by the Bundestag. the Adenauer administration. in complete accordance with American precepts and [the Adenauer administration's] own political plans. who had been speaking out in mid-1952 against the Bonn and Paris agreements. 137 59 . there arose a situation clearly unfavorable for ratification. which provided for changes in various articles of this agreement that would benefit France and. At the National Assembly. Gustav Heinemann was federal minister of the interior. the Gaullist party. A member ofthe Deutscher Bundestag. During the last months of 1952 and the beginning of 1953. since." In his speech in the Bundestag on 2 December 1952. under the influence of its right wing. The increase of disagreements in France. among them such prominent officials as [Eduard] Herriot. The ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements by the West German Bundestag.

According to unofficial reports from circles of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. the Catholic newspaper Croix emphasized that: The only possible path to the actual reduction of international tension is a four-power conference. grant France a privileged position in the "European Defense Community. Finally. Under these conditions. The Churchill government rejected the French proposal." According to evidence available. In January-February 1953. the Mayer administration was unable to receive support from the USA in the dispute between France and West Germany on the Saar question. Eisenhower had come to the conclusion that in the event the Bonn and Paris agreements fail to be ratified. refused to accept concrete obligations. Many newspapers expressed the opinion that the government will be entirely unable to achieve a ratification of these agreements and that the plan for creating the "European army" is doomed to complete failure. in the opinion of the foreign press. In January—February of this year. as well as to continue payments by the Bonn government for the expense of maintaining French forces in the "European army on West German territory. a bilateral military agreement should be concluded between the USA and West Germany. This matter was discussed during English-French negotiations in London on 12 and 13 February of this year. And we refuse to believe that the English government has spoken its final word. which would be unacceptable. and limited itself only to vague promises. but also reflect the actual opinions of American ruling circles. Thus. on 27 December 1952. On 6 March of this year he announced at the National Assembly that: We did not present proposals to England. to maintain portions of the French military industry under the control of the French government. Other foreign policy measures of the Mayer administration include a proposal to the English government to establish close cooperation between England and the "European Defense Community" as a guarantee in the instance of a revanchist action by a rearmed West Germany against France. the Mayer administration insisted on France's right to withdraw. which resulted in the dilution of their essential content. the Mayer administration was forced in March of this year to renounce the majority of these and agree to a fundamental reexamination of the protocols." However. under pressure from the USA. these statements represent not only blackmail directed at France. a number of statements appeared in the American press in favor of direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance in the event of a final collapse in the plan for a "European army. according to its judgment. this idea was expressed by several other French newspapers. in December 1952 the bourgeois press in France had already begun to publish statements in favor of convening negotiations between the Western powers and the Soviet Union on the German question. the resolution of which in France's favor could have prompted certain French bourgeois circles to reexamine their negative attitude toward the Bonn and Paris agreements. In connection with the failure of the foreign policy measures of the Mayer administration.thus. Minister of Foreign Affairs Bidault was forced to accept the unsatisfactory nature of the English response. even more unfavorable by mid-March of this year than in the middle of 1952. its contingents from the "European army" for use in the colonies. the conditions in France for the ratification of the Paris and Bonn agreements were. which supported the negative position of the Bonn government concerning the French supplemental protocols." In particular. Discussion among the ruling circles of the USA of the possibility of direct inclusion of West Germany in the organization of the North Atlantic Alliance. 60 .

with each passing day it is becoming increasingly clear that a more effective manner of protecting Europe and involving the German army in its defense would be to operate through the organization of the North Atlantic Alliance. it is characteristic that the English conservative newspaper The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post emphasized in its editorial on 23 February of this year that: . ." It is not impossible that the ruling circles in England could support a proposal for direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance. by the time of the speeches of Comrades G.M. and Stewart Alsop were prominent American columnists who co-authored the column "Matter of Fact" for the New York Herald Tribune Syndicate from 1945-1958. 3. in the near future. then "independent" West German armed forces must be organized.140 there was a widespread assumption in the USA .According to other unofficial reports. the Assistant American High Commissioner. the famous American commentators." During the course of these discussions. 61 140 . as well as G. Beria. According to these same reports. [Samuel] Reber. whatever success may be achieved toward the establishment of the European army. Reference to PRC. and V. wrote on 9 April in the newspaper The New York Herald Tribune: The next goal for a peace offensive by the Soviets is undoubtedly Germany. that is. even prior to Dulles' trip to Western Europe.and Western European countries that.P. in particular [Heinz] Guderian and [Franz] Haider.: Princeton University Press. Mao's Military Romanticism (Lawrence. See also Shu Guang Zhang. and the USSR on the Korean question. Jr. 239. the foreign press published reports that the USA government had already begun preliminary exchanges of opinions with the English government regarding the creation of "independent" West German armed forces within the parameters of the North Atlantic Alliance. Adenauer and Reber came to the conclusion that if the plan for creating the "European army" falls through. Molotov on 9 March of this year. in late January of this year. In February of this year. the Soviet government would come out with a proposal for convening a quadripartite conference to discuss the German problem. 1995). Malenkov's speech on 15 March. and following the announcements by the governments of the PRC. p. 309.M. Soviet. Malenkov. Thus. pp. the ALSOP141 brothers. 141 Joseph Alsop. The positions of the governments of the Western powers toward negotiations with the Soviet Union on the German question at the present time Following the speeches of Comrades G. p. it was noted that a number of prominent Hitlerite generals. See Department of State Bulletin 28 (6 April 1953). 1995). however.M. and V. and North Korean announcements regarding the return of POWs. that if the Americans raised the question of the direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance it would bring serious objections from the French government and cause a further deterioration in Franco-American relations.J. and Department of State Bulletin 28 (13 April 1953). It is certain. N. 494–5. L.M. had brought this plan to Adenauer's attention. KPDR. In connection with this. Malenkov. Beria. The Korean War (Princeton. . there had been serious disagreements on the German question within the imperialist camp.M.M. Kans. William Steuck. Molotov on 9 March and Comrade G. Thus. which would be directly included in the "Atlantic army.P. 526–529. for example.: University of Kansas Press. prefer this plan over the project for establishing the "European army. L. p. Malenkov's speech at the session of the USSR Supreme Soviet on 15 March of this year.

which it may put on the table in the near future. The famous American journalist [Walter] Lippmann. without raising as a precondition the annulment of the European Defense Community? This is one of the problems that might lie ahead of us in connection with an increased peace offensive... The position of the English government. describing the attitude of the U.S. State Department toward such a possibility.The newspaper of French business circles Information expressed the following conjecture on 11 April: Korea is not the center of the conflict between the East and the West . will be a proposal for convening a quadripartite conference for the reestablishment of German unity. Rumors of an apparently impending proposal from the Soviet Union for convening a quadripartite conference for the discussion of the German question caused serious confusion among the ruling circles in the USA. in which the USA government was finding itself. This could convince the Germans that only the Americans are hindering the establishment of a united Germany... However. The main reason for the alarm among the ruling circles of the USA with regard to the allegedly impending announcement by the Soviet Union of new proposals on the German question clearly lies in the fact that such an announcement could result in the failure of American plans to turn West Germany into the strike force of the aggressive bloc. The Soviet Union is of course holding several trumps in reserve. that could be adopted as a reliable policy. The Alsop brothers. . Revealing these apprehensions of the Eisenhower administration. the Alsop brothers noted on 25 March that "any proposals for Soviet-American negotiations at this time would bury the European army and the new status of Germany. .. The panic is understandable. Thus.." The English newspaper The Times published on 16 April an article by its special correspondent. apparently. . Even seemingly serious Soviet proposals for starting negotiations on the conclusion of an acceptable peace treaty with Germany could cause turmoil in the Western alliance. in even more open terms: There is nothing. the newspaper The Manchester Guardian wrote on 3 April: What would our position be if Russia agrees right now to hold free elections. Some English newspapers raised the question of whether the government should define its position in the instance of such a proposal. 62 .. Among these trumps. writing in The New York Herald Tribune on 16 April.An agreement may be reached only via settlement of the German problem. new Russian proposals could refute even this prophecy. The reports of an alleged Soviet government intention to propose the convening of a quadripartite conference on the German question brought more restrained responses in England than in the USA. if the Soviet Union goes farther and makes serious proposals for a peace treaty with Germany. for example. wrote in the article cited above: The prospect of reinstating negotiations with the Russians on the German question is causing near panic among certain officials. without really believing in it. characterized the situation. which stated: Some are venturing to predict that the National Assembly of France will ratify the Paris agreement with a small majority and with numerous conditions.....

inspired by the government itself) regarding its position toward negotiations with the USSR on Germany. first of all. Thus. this proposal must not be rejected. The reactionary newspaper Le Figaro. a necessary condition of which is preservation of the division of Germany. the government was asked questions at the House of Commons (apparently. however. those who spoke out in favor of negotiations with the USSR were. which had always supported the creation of the "European Defense Community. Therefore. are also speaking out in favor of negotiations with the USSR. in particular the newspaper The Daily Herald. Statements in France in favor of organizing quadripartite negotiations. . these proposals remain in force." The well-known supporter of the "neutralist policy.. the West must respond at least with the same demonstration of aspirations for peace . the newspaper of business circles Information on 9 April expressed the hope that the USA "will not undermine the chances for an actual relaxation of tensions in relations between West and East. On 15 April. which had held a restrained position on this question last year. The French bourgeois circles showed increased interest in reports on the possibility of organizing quadripartite negotiations on the German question." came out on 4 April with the following statement: To a demonstration of aspirations for peace. Beuve-Cheri. . Minister of State Selwyn Lloyd formulated the official position of the government in the following manner: The opinion of Her Majesty's government with regard to convening a four-power conference for the purpose of discussing the question of carrying out free elections throughout all of Germany was brought to the Soviet government's attention in the diplomatic note of 23 September 1952 . Certain bourgeois circles. Jacque Bardout. published in this newspaper an article on 9 April. on 21 March declared his intention to introduce in the Commission on Foreign Affairs a proposal that the French government take upon itself the initiative for holding a four-power conference on the German question. issued a demand that the Churchill government demonstrate initiative and come up with a proposal to convene a quadripartite conference on the German question. . but which would remain tied with such a system of guarantees that would. in the form in which they are being proposed. with the creation of the European army. foreign forces would be withdrawn.The Labor press. in which he noted: Could it be a real goal of the new German policy to form a united Germany. the English government apparently intends to take a wait-and-see attitude in the near future and not set forth any new conditions for the organization of quadripartite negotiations. from which. signify legal or actual neutralization[?] A prominent figure in the "Independent Republican" party. No reply has been received from the Soviet government. opponents of the plan to establish the "European Defense Community." chief editor of the newspaper Le Monde." This same newspaper emphasized on 11 April that if the Soviet Union puts forth a proposal on quadripartite negotiations on the German question. perhaps. There is no need to renounce any negotiations.. As in 1952. In response. 63 . .

the widening of the circle of those who support negotiations with the Soviet Union on the German question is obviously related to the fact that the plan for creating the "European army" is presently at a clear standstill. In any case. On 25 March. However. [instead. the reports of the Soviet Union's alleged preparation of a proposal for quadripartite negotiations raised serious concern. . The central issue in Adenauer's talks with Eisenhower and members of his administration. which would postpone. and perhaps even completely bury. of course. Mayer and Bidault demonstrated extreme caution on the question of quadripartite negotiations and clearly sought not to reveal their position in the event that the question of such negotiations becomes realistic. this thought is a real nightmare. in the communique on the results of the Franco-American talks there is no indication of the desirability or the possibility of talks with the USSR. . His fear of the possibility of such an event probably increased in connection with the current attempts by the Russians at reconciliation with the West. which are designed to arm Germany. For Adenauer. The 64 . In a number of statements following their return from the USA. and that is precisely the possibility of disturbing West Germany's recently improved status by way of the conclusion of some kind of new agreement at the expense of Germany by West and East—50 percent along the lines of Potsdam. was the development of a common line of action for the Bonn government and the government of the USA in the event that the Soviet Union puts forth new proposals for a peaceful settlement of the German problem. France is. the USA government apparently did not give the French ministers any specific assurances of their readiness to agree to convene a four-power conference. it] contains rude attacks on the Soviet Union and its foreign policy. As the American newspaper The New York Herald Tribune reported on 7 April: people who are well acquainted with Adenauer and who had heard him in the German Bundestag believe that he is worried by only one thing. counting on being represented at any high-level conference of powers. which took place in Washington on 7-9 April of this year. The American newspaper New York World Telegram and Sun wrote during the talks between Mayer and Bidault and members of the Eisenhower administration that: Bidault is carefully preparing the ground for convening a conference of the four great powers.In the French bourgeois camp. It is possible that this could also reflect on the French government position on the question of quadripartite negotiations concerning Germany. plans for the European army. and that the intention of the Americans to raise the matter of the direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance seriously worried even the more reactionary circles of the French bourgeoisie. Among the ruling circles of the Bonn government. The question of organizing negotiations with the USSR was raised by French ministers during their visit to the USA in late March of this year. The Eisenhower administration's collusion with Adenauer. Prime Minister Mayer made the following statement at a press conference in New York: I would be happy to find out something about the negotiations with the USSR.

65 ." whom the Bonn government regards as the most important source of human resources for the future West Germany army.. 271 (20 April 1953). eds. during the time of the talks. there were discussions of such secret questions. allegedly still detained in the USSR. and to allocate special status for the "assistance" of so-called "refugees. and Adenauer on the other. independent of the implementation of the agreement on the "European Defense Community." 9 April 1953 in Department of State. did not appear in these notes of the Western powers and were obviously introduced at this time by the United States with the direct intention of cutting off avenues toward the organization of quadripartite negotiations on the German question. Such a position is equivalent to playing dangerously with fire. government's intention to accelerate the establishment of this army.communique142 published at the end of the talks states that. The clearly provocative demands for the release of "hundreds of thousands" of prisoners of war. during the course of talks between Eisenhower and members of his administration on the one side.S. above all. It is significant that this time the government of the USA went beyond those demands. which declared that: 142 "Communique Issued at the Conclusion of Talks Between President Eisenhower and Chancellor Adenauer. to Adenauer's statement during a press conference in Washington that.'s preconditions for organizing negotiations between the Western powers and the USSR on the German question. also testify to the U. this stipulation is clearly intended only to legalize the United States' preparations already underway for equipping the West German forces with American arms and the resumption of military production in West German factories. D. all of whom are allegedly still in the USSR. 1985). 397–400. pp. pp. as proof of its "good will" toward "the establishment of peace and cooperation between all countries. government's obligations to expedite the review of cases by German war criminals sentenced in American courts. Documents on Germany 1944-1985 (Washington. of which "even members of the American cabinet" were not informed." In this regard. no. The famous Labour [Party] activist [Richard] Grossman wrote an article on 17 April in the daily New Statesman and Nation. see also Department of State Bulletin 28. However.: Government Printing Office.S. . which were put forth in the diplomatic notes of the three Western powers on 10 July and 23 September 1952. specific steps were mentioned. attention should be paid. Finally." the Soviet government must allow "actual free elections" in Germany and free "the hundreds of thousands" of German prisoners of war and relocated civilians. . The communique on the results of the talks states that the government of the USA expressed its readiness to supply arms and equipment to the future armed forces of West Germany. Aside from this. It is characteristic that the reaction in France and England to the results of the Washington talks with Adenauer was highly negative. that were directed at expediting the establishment of West German armed forces. The foreign press regards these demands as the U. 565-569. Paris radio reported on 9 April that: The French press is severely condemning Chancellor Adenauer's statements and position (regarding the undesirability of quadripartite negotiations prior to the implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements—note of the KI) . It is true that in both cases the stipulation was made that these measures would be carried out only following the implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements.C.S. the communique's establishment of the U. as well as to begin allocating American military requisitions to West Germany.

but also as "a cessation of direct and indirect infringements on the security of Indo-China and Malaya. 18. As demonstrated by the above reports. 41. Eisenhower emphasized that "a free and united Germany. Finally." the Eisenhower administration is obviously trying to block the organization of quadripartite negotiations on the German question. The Germans are completely in favor of a cold war . They are convinced that once the Federal Republic rearms they will be able. 082. this position of the USA government will inevitably lead to a further escalation of disagreements between the USA and Western European countries. he repeated Dulles' previously formulated thesis that West German participation in the "European Defense Community" "is the only safe path toward complete and irrevocable unity" for Germany. At the same time." he defined [this] as not only a cessation of military actions in Korea. By surrounding the organization of such negotiations with clearly provocative "preconditions. with a government established on the basis of free elections with secret balloting. pap.It is significant that Adenauer believes himself to be sufficiently strong to act in this manner—hindering a relaxation of tensions. with help from Dulles. 66 . f. Further." must be included in the "European Community. Tugarinov 18 April 1953 Witness: [signature] Attachment to #732/m Source: AVP RF. government will agree to such unification of Germany which would provide for united Germany's participation in the military-political bloc of the Western powers. . 3–29. . Eisenhower counted the German question among those "serious and specific disputed questions between the free world and the Soviet Union. even if England and France desire i t . In this aggressive speech.S.11. to compel the weak-nerved French and English to accept a real liberation policy. d. . Eisenhower let it be known that the U. 271. . op. the current position of the government of the USA toward quadripartite negotiations on the German question differs significantly from the position put forth in the note of the three powers on 23 September 1952. Thus. The German question in Eisenhower's speech on 16 April. Translated by Daniel Rozas." the possibility of settling which can only be examined after "the conclusion of an honored armistice in Korea. /. a characteristic peculiarity of Eisenhower's presentation of the German question was the complete absence of even a mention in his speech of a peace treaty with Germany. Eisenhower's speech at the American Society of Newspaper Editors on 16 April once more confirmed that the USA government does not want and will try not to allow negotiations with the Soviet Union on the German question." In another portion of his speech." Even this one definition of the question already demonstrates that the Eisenhower administration intends to reject all proposals for convening a quadripartite conference on the German question.

England and France affirmed their previous position that negotiations of the Four Powers can be commenced only on the matter of organizing free elections. TOP SECRET Copy #4 To Comrade V. In the reply notes of 23 September. and authorities. Ibid. the memorandum proposed. " creating a provisional all-German government while preserving both the West and East German governments for the time being. 6: Memorandum on the German Question. The position of the three powers on the German question can be summarized as follows: "Until elections are held. and the establishment of an all-German government. 324-326. Our latest note of 23 August143 proposed to convene in the immediate future a conference of representatives of the four powers. England and France regarding a peace treaty with Germany. 67 . Discussion of the conditions of the peace treaty with Germany is impossible without the establishment of an all-German government.. 1. Molotov Memorandum on the German Question The state of the German question at the present time. from Georgii Pushkin and Mikhail Gribanov to Vyacheslav Molotov. functions. the governments of the USA. 1952–1954 vol. b) Establishing an all-German government. with the participation of representatives of the GDR and West Germany and with the following agenda: a) Drafting a peace treaty with Germany. M. Significantly. 292-297. as well as this commission's composition. German unification.DOCUMENT No.52). The Soviet government also proposed to discuss the matter of the withdrawal of occupation forces in Germany during this conference. there can be no establishment of an all-German government and no unification of Germany. which had been stalled since the fruitless exchange of notes between March and September 1952. the proposals reflected the key role to be played by the GDR government in the unification process and therefore called for measures to bolster the SED regime. pp.144 The governments of the three powers also insisted that prior to elections an "impartial commission" must carry out investigations in Germany and verify the existence of conditions 143 144 See FRUS. pt. 18 April 1953 This internal memorandum by key Soviet Foreign Ministry specialists on Germany is one of the first documents during this period outlining concrete ideas on how to activate Soviet Deutschlandpolitik and East-West discussions on German unification. c) Carrying out free all-German elections and [establishing] a commission to ascertain the existence of conditions in Germany for carrying out such elections. Moving beyond established positions. Over the course of 1952 there was an exchange of diplomatic notes between the Soviet government and the governments of the USA. pp. as "new active steps. VII." (From the USA government note of 23.IX. including approving the first-ever official state visit of a GDR government delegation to Moscow.

Bulgaria. The arrival of a GDR government delegation in Moscow could be used to express our current position on the German question. while GDR government delegations have visited Poland. we could propose the urgent formation of a provisional all-German government composed of representatives appointed by the parliaments of the GDR and West Germany. 1953 (Washington. in case the question of negotiations between the four powers on the German question arises. Noting the negative attitude of the three powers toward the people's democratic order in the GDR.C. Since September 1952. Since the establishment of the GDR (October 1949). The provisional government could be assigned the functions of examining and preparing recommendations for ways of 145 For the complete text of the President's address. pp. We have not yet made any statements regarding the ratification of these treaties by the Bonn parliament. the exchange of notes on the German question has ceased. they are trying in advance to set forth conditions obviously unacceptable to us.necessary for free elections. Certainly. 16 April 1953. D. Hungary and Romania. On the activization of our policy on the German question. there has been no official visit by a GDR government delegation to Moscow.145 One should also bear in mind the fact that on 19 March of this year. It would be useful to link the economic measures planned by the Soviet government with respect to the GDR with the arrival of this delegation. the following could be carried out: Regarding political questions a) Publish a declaration which could state the unity of the positions of the governments of the USSR and the GDR on the importance of an urgent conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany and the formation of an all-German government. 179–188. the Bundestag ratified the Bonn and Paris military treaties. If the commission finds that such conditions do not exist. then it will recommend to the governments of the four powers steps that must be taken in order to create such conditions. Therefore.: Government Printing Office. the governments of the USA. the arrival of the delegation would increase the authority of the German Democratic Republic. To invite to Moscow an official government delegation from the GDR. Eisenhower. As a new step in the German question directed toward the unification of Germany. and provide a short evaluation of the ratification of the Bonn and Paris treaties by the Bundestag. 68 . while preserving the existing governments of the GDR and West Germany. This is clear both from the communique on American-German negotiations of 10 April and from Eisenhower's speech on [16 April] at the American Society of Newspaper Editors. and at the end of April these treaties will be presented for ratification in the House of State Representatives of the Bonn parliament [Bundesrat]. judging from reports in the press and the speeches of official representatives of the three powers. "The Chance for Peace. this demand essentially means that the three powers are using the condition of carrying out all-German elections as a way to move toward altering the people's democratic order in the GDR. 1960). see Public Papers of the President of the United States: Dwight D. Czechoslovakia. headed by Otto Grotewohl. At the present time. England and France are fearful of new active steps that may be taken by the Soviet government on the German question. it seems expedient to discuss the following proposals: 1." delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors. As a result of the talks with the GDR delegation. In our opinion.

with reduced staff and limited functions. as well as bearing in mind that the mutual relations between the Soviet Union and the GDR are imbued with a spirit of mutual trust. the broadening of postal-telegraph communications. b) Announce in the joint declaration with the GDR government that both governments. and Rainer Karlsch and Harm Schroter (eds. At the same time. 238-250. Rainer Karlsch. based on the election laws of the GDR and West Germany.uniting Germany. the exchange of specialists. to reorganize their diplomatic missions in Moscow and Berlin into embassies. 146 The Wismut uranium-mining complex in southern East Germany was established in 1947 as a Soviet stock company under exclusive Soviet control. Der Uranbergbau der Wismut AG in Sachsen und Thuringen. with available [GDR] marks with a payment plan for deferrals. 14-22. The decisions of the provisional all-German government would be binding for the governments of the GDR and West Germany.13% of the total global uranium production (to 1990). Wismut was transferred into a "Joint Soviet-German Stock Company. cultural and technical cooperation. railroad links. Wismut produced about 215. Katharinen: Scripta Mercaturae 1996). in particular. German citizenship. postal and telegraph communications. as well as the election law of the Weimar Republic from 6 March 1924. as well as examining questions pertaining to interests shared by the GDR and West Germany. The draft of this law must be ratified by the People's Deputies of the GDR and the West German Bundestag. railroad and water links. who had been sentenced for crimes against the Soviet people and the Soviet government. 69 . without any foreign interference. guided by the desire to act in the spirit of cooperation and friendship. d) Announce the decision of the Soviet government to fulfill the request of the GDR government to set free a significant number of German prisoners of war remaining in the USSR. has determined that it is possible to reorganize the Soviet Control Commission into the Soviet [High] Commission on German Affairs. agree to broaden and strengthen economic and cultural ties between the Soviet Union and the GDR. training of German students at leading educational institutions in the USSR. the representation of Germany at international conferences. The Russians in Germany. See Naimark. in the fields of scientific-technical cooperation. to assign to the provisional government the [task of] preparing the draft of an all-German election law for carrying out free democratic elections throughout all of Germany. scientific.). Regarding economic questions a) Transfer to the GDR government the remaining 33 Chief Soviet Foreign Property [Glavsovzagranimushchestvd] enterprises (with the exception of "Wismut"146) on condition of payment for their value with shipments of goods and." Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte B 49–50 (1993). Under certain circumstances there could be a direct plebiscite of the German people regarding the creation of the aforementioned provisional all-German government as the first real step toward the unification of Germany. and other questions of mutual interest to all of the German people.559 tons of uranium between 1945 and 1990. abiding by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the GDR and by its resolve to act in a manner of cooperation and friendship. circulation of currency. pp." which it remained until 1990. "Strahlende Vergangenheit"—Studien ziir Geschichte des Uranbergbaus der Wismut (St. a broad exchange of scientific information. with the goal of further development of friendly relations. pp. b) Announce that the Soviet government and the government of the GDR have agreed. in part. c) Declare that the Soviet government. literature. "Ein Staat im Staate. the exchange of goods between the GDR and West Germany. In 1954.

Molotov 3. c) Announce also the main contents of the Soviet government resolutions on economic questions. after affirming our position on the importance of an urgent conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany and the reinstatement of German unity. At the same time. Cde. 123–135 70 . 30 April 1953. See Harrison. and laying out our opinion on the ratification of the Bonn and Paris military agreements.scientific delegations. Gribanov #0101/GP 18. send Soviet government diplomatic notes to the governments of the USA. medicine. figures in culture and art." SAPMO-BArch.IV. Pushkin Cde. 74–76. BI. while preserving the existing governments of the GDR and West Germany. 41. f. would set forth a proposal for the immediate establishment of a provisional all-German government with the aforementioned functions.4—to file. the Soviet government adopted a decision to grant economic aid to the GDR. NY 4090/473. "The Bargaining Power of Weaker Allies.53 1. See also Chuikov's note to the SED CC on 13 April 1953. Witness: [signature] Source: AVP RF. which. as well as delegations of workers in agriculture. England and France. 147 On 18 April. proceeding from the aforementioned Soviet-German declaration. For a more detailed listing of the reductions in deliveries. see "Protokoll uber die Waren Spezifikation 1953. 271. d." p. pap. 082.147 2. op. The decision involved a cut in reparation deliveries by 580 million marks and a postponement of the remaining obligations. education and youth. Translated by Daniel Rozas. 3. 37. already adopted in April of this year.11. Bl. SAPMO-BArch NY 4090/473. Within 2-3 weeks following the talks with the GDR government delegation and the publication of the aforementioned documents. 13–19. 19.2—to Cde. it would be expedient to activate a GDR government struggle for German unity and for a peace treaty.

" 28 April 1953 This top secret memorandum farther develops the USSR's new initiative on Germany. and [increase of] fascism in. The memorandum also elaborates on suggestions for strengthening the GDR. we should have a plan for further measures concerning Germany. and United States). an investigation of current conditions for carrying out democratic all-German elections. which must begin without further delay. while preserving the existing governments of the GDR and Western Germany with the aim of reunifying Germany on a democratic and peaceful basis. trade between the GDR and West Germany. The provisional government will organize. 71 . postal and telegraph communications. taking into account the electoral law of the Weimar Republic. England. To advance a proposal for the formation of a [unified] German provisional government. "Regarding Further Measures of the Soviet Government on the German Question. this version adds to earlier drafts the suggestion of a mutual troop withdrawal immediately following the establishment of the provisional government as a means to counter likely Western insistence on internationally supervised elections. Western Germany. These measures should contribute to an increase of the Soviet Union's authority among the German people and contribute to further development of the movement of German democratic forces for the unification of Germany. Furthermore. Reflecting the Foreign Ministry planners' efforts to develop a credible proposal on Germany. and it will adopt the measures necessary to create the requisite conditions for conducting such elections. TOP SECRET Copy #1 Regarding Further Soviet Government Measures on the German Question Considering that lately a number of important events have taken place concerning Germany (the Bundestag's ratification of the Bonn and Paris "agreements. These are specifically: German representation in international organizations. The proposal for a provisional all-German government now took center stage. and also proceeding from the need for the USSR to retain the initiative on the German question. against the Bonn and Paris "agreements. Adenauer's trip to France. The provisional government will work out a draft of an all-German electoral law on the basis of the electoral laws of the GDR and Western Germany. the provisional government should be entrusted with discussing and resolving questions touching upon common German interests. the question of German citizenship. The provisional government will represent Germany in quadripartite negotiations on the question of concluding a peace treaty with Germany. railway and water 148 See footnote 102. if it deems necessary. 7: Soviet Foreign Ministry Memorandum. For these purposes it is necessary: 1." and against the militarization of. by the parliaments of both the German Democratic Republic and Western Germany. The chief task of the all-German provisional government should be the preparation and carrying out of free all-German elections without foreign interference."148 the intensification of militarization and fascism in Western Germany.DOCUMENT No.

Also prohibited should be the use of human and material resources in any form. and among certain parts of the German bourgeoisie. 72 . elected by the people. all foreign military bases located on German territory should be liquidated and the armed forces of any foreign power or group of great powers should be prohibited on German soil. would meet with warm approval from the German people. which will evoke a broad. it is advisable to carry out the following measures: a) Lift the control exercised by Soviet occupation authorities over the activities of GDR government organs and accordingly liquidate the Soviet Control Commission in Germany and its central and local agencies. The three great powers will have difficulty objecting to the formation of an all-German provisional government.communications [transportation links]. This proposal will help expose the position of the [other] three great powers on the German issue. our side should propose to conduct a referendum amongst the entire population of Germany on this issue. For the purpose of further strengthening the German Democratic Republic. will ratify the German Constitution and will form the permanent government of a united and independent Germany. and other issues of an all-German character. With this in mind. England and France object to the proposal on the formation of an all-German provisional government by the parliaments of both the GDR and Western Germany. At the same time. the united democratic Germany will be allowed to field its own national armed forces necessary for national defense. following the formation of an all-German provisional government. including Western Germany. which is directed at preventing German unification on a democratic and peaceful basis. the National Assembly of Germany. 3. since the existing governments of Western Germany and the GDR will be retained. After carrying out all-German democratic elections. scientific and technical collaboration. In addition. positive response among the German people. The proposal on the formation of an all-German provisional government will represent a new concrete step by the Soviet government directed at the national reunification of Germany. The great powers are very likely to decline the proposal to withdraw troops. and the provisional government will be responsible for preparing and carrying out all-German elections as its main task. In order to create conditions that guarantee the realization of truly equal and democratic elections without foreign interference on the entire territory of Germany. the Soviet government proposal for simultaneous withdrawal of occupation troops from Germany. and [the use of] German territory or any of its parts for purposes of war by one or another of the great powers or a coalition of great powers. The proposal for simultaneous withdrawal of all occupation troops from Germany in order to provide freedom for the all-German democratic elections will thoroughly undermine the slogan advanced in the first order by the three great powers—to carry out free all-German elections under international control. If the United States. as well as for the purpose of strengthening the USSR's influence on the German people and equally emphasizing the peaceful and friendly character of mutual relations between the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic. Accepting this offer would mean the withdrawal of American troops back across the ocean and the effective collapse of the aggressive plans of the North Atlantic bloc in Europe. raising its own all-German and international prestige. [we should] advance a proposal for the simultaneous withdrawal of all armed forces of the occupying Powers immediately after forming the all-German provisional government. 2. but this would place them in a difficult situation before the German people.

adheres to a policy that takes into account the fundamental national interests of the German people. Provided by Vladislav M. Zubok. f. op. on favorable terms and for appropriate compensation. 259. with the exception of those who have committed particularly grave crimes. Discuss with this delegation the aforementioned questions. and look into questions of an economic character. 45–6. c) Declare an amnesty and return to their homeland [German] prisoners of war who were held in the USSR and convicted for crimes against the Soviet people and state. In the near future.11. and raising the well-being of the working people. as well as questions of broadening scientific-technical collaboration and exchanges of specialists between the USSR and GDR. d. 16. entrusting it with functions of an allGerman nature.b) Instead of the current Soviet diplomatic mission in Berlin. as well as carry out other consular functions. 6. See footnote 146. stemming from the quadripartite agreements on Germany as a whole. Lifting control over the activity of governmental bodies of the GDR would contribute to the normalization of our relations with the GDR as a people's democracy and strengthen the position of the Soviet government on all-German questions described above in articles 1 and 2." d) Establish an official exchange rate for the German mark of the GDR relative to the Soviet ruble. The German population would see that in its relations with Germany the Soviet Union. Translated by Daniel Rozas. building the foundations of socialism. b) Transfer to the government of the GDR. including the proposal for forming an all-German provisional government. it is advisable to carry out the following measures: a) Reduce by half the remaining sum of reparations payments from the GDR. 73 . c) Enter into negotiations with the GDR government on establishing ajoint Soviet-German joint-stock company "Wismut. Malik Semyonov Pushkin Gribanov Source: AVP RF. 149 150 The USSR State Directorate for Soviet Property Abroad. 4. 5. establish an Embassy of the Soviet Union in the German Democratic Republic. of the education of German students in higher educational establishments of the USSR. invite a government delegation from the GDR for an official visit to Moscow. not only in its diplomatic speeches but also in practice. all enterprises of GUSIMZ149 located on GDR territory. pap. For the purpose[s] of rendering assistance to the German Democratic Republic for further development of its peaceful economy. presented in article 4. 12. etc."150 on the basis of the already existing enterprise "Wismut. In large cities of the GDR form 7-8 Soviet consulates to serve the needs of Soviet citizens and troops.

This does not mean that the Soviets are in fact In light of the new evidence from the now-accessible Russian and East Bloc archives.DOCUMENT No. of eliminating some past causes of friction in Germany between themselves and the Western Allies.S. WASHINGTON Ref: See Footnotes Subject: Review of SED Policy Developments Since Stalin's Death and Possible Significance Summary This dispatch analyzes developments within the Soviet Zone of Germany during the transition period following Stalin's death. this cable underlines how difficult Western analysts found it to understand the internal dynamics within Communist-bloc leaderships. 151 74 . the cable argued that the SED had simply been tasked to implement a long-term socialization program on a more flexible basis than before. See the Introduction in Part One. perhaps less dramatically than in the past. beyond mere speculation. and possibly have the intention.152 While there have been no apparent basic changes in substance there has been possibly a modification of tempo and specific programmatic areas of emphasis. With regard to local Soviet actions during the period from March 5 to the present. these suggest the possibility that what the Soviets may be striving for is the creation of an atmosphere of decreased zonal tension under which the Soviets hope to foster the impression. with the task of implementing the program of socialization proclaimed at the SED Second Party Conference of 1952. Lacking a firm sense of what was going on behind the scenes. 8: Cable from N. In the realm of Soviet-SED strategy and tactics. Department of State Reviewing Developments in the GDR since Stalin's Death. No April 30. Whatever confusion and indecision may have existed initially within the SED hierarchy as a result of Stalin's death. Unconvinced that a radical change of course was imminent. it is concluded that internally the SED has been ordered to proceed. observers opted for a cautious and skeptical assessment of Soviet policy. it is now quite clear that Ulbricht is currently directing SED policy in conformity with Kremlin directives. Spencer Barnes to U. 30 April 1953 This dispatch from HICOG 's Eastern Affairs Division provides a sample of how Western diplomatic observers sought to draw conclusions on the power struggle in Moscow and its effects on Soviet policy on Germany largely from public policy announcements (or the lack thereof) by SED leader Walter Ulbricht. 151 FOREIGN SERVICE DISPATCH 920 Disp. 152 The Second Party Conference took place from 9-12 July 1952. 1953 Date FROM: HICOG BERLIN TO: THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE. This policy is not at variance but in harmony with the Kremlin's current efforts to convince the Western Powers that it desires to reduce international tensions.S. U.

with respect to the Soviet objective of accentuating and deepening differences and frictions between the Allies and between the latter and the Germans. Following Stalin's funeral and Ulbricht's return from Moscow. [Footnote in original. including any significant shift in Soviet policy growing out of this struggle for succession to Stalin's position of leadership and the consolidation of power in the hands of one particular group of men.] 157 EAD's D–819 and D-821 March 31.] 158 See Berlin EAD Pouch Telegram April 22. not printed here. Accordingly. not printed here.159 7. and (d) "protective" security measures to combat terrorist and subversive activities emanating from West Berlin. The inconspicuous manner in which Neues Deutschland155 of April 5. [Footnote in original. 2. buried in the second page under a meaningless headline the Moscow announcement regarding the release of famous Russian doctors. in order to obtain breathing room. 1953. April 14.154 3.156 4. 1953. April 8 (BN–2465). Ulbricht's lengthy policy statement of April 15th and 16th which. not printed here. according to which April propaganda directives for Taegliche Rundschau contained the admonition to avoid sharp attacks against the Western Powers. (c) strengthening of State power.] Neues Deutschland was the daily organ of the SED. the Central Committee of the SED and prominent SED spokesmen of such important SED policies as (a) National Armed Forces. D–860 April 14. This directive has in fact been reflected in the SED and Soviet controlled radio and press media. not printed here. [Footnote in original. the noticeable shift in the public treatment by Ulbricht. final para. Ulbricht's arrestingly prompt and vigorous restatement of SED policy in an article published March 8th—that is.157 5. an effort has been made to observe and report upon such straws in the wind as: 1. 156 EAD's WEEK A D–862. not printed here. EAD's Pouch Telegram April 1 (BN–2416). Taegliche Rundeschau's153 article of March 25 on Lenin's strategy of retreat. The diminution of the more violent and vicious anti-American propaganda on the part of East German press and radio media.changing from a dynamic to a static policy in Germany. following the death but preceding the funeral of Stalin.158 This same directive called instead for a centering of propaganda attackf[s] against Chancellor Adenauer as the evil force and isolated opponent to a peaceful solution of the German problem. (b) production cooperatives. observed and reported also by our British colleagues and subsequently confirmed semi-officially in a B–2 documentary intelligence report. [Footnote in original. amounted to orders to the Party to continue implementation in a less 153 155 Taegliche Rundschau was a daily newspaper published by the Soviet Control Commission. they have shifted from a policy of more or less open harassment to one of limited concessions and apparent conciliation in the hope that this approach will be more successful in generating friction in the West. Neues Deutschland's editorial of April 5 containing implications regarding the new Soviet Korean policy and Soviet tactics with respect to Germany. 1952. Introduction and Background Chronology of Developments It has been recognized that developments within the Soviet Zone of Germany may shed some light upon the power struggle going on within the Kremlin. page 1. 6.] 154 75 .] 159 EAD's Pouch Telegram. 1953 (BN–2560). [Footnote in original. Continuation of the present tactic would appear to mean that. as stated in our immediate analysis.

[Footnote in original. Some of these are based at least partially on the developments within the GDR and Ulbricht's (supposed) personal relationship to various top Kremlin leaders such as Malenkov and Beria. A second theory rests more on the belief that events in Moscow to date indicate Malenkov and Beria are currently working together in support of the "diminishing tension" policy. which in turn was closely associated with Beria. according to EAD's analysis of GDR developments.160 With the publication of this policy statement the period of noticeable inactivity and indecision on the part of Ulbricht and the SED from March 8 to April 16 came to an end. that Ulbricht knows. including [Wilhelm] Pieck. most of them Jewish. One theory holds that Ulbricht is and always has been a Beria protege. Some supporters of this theory interpret developments within the Kremlin as indicating that Malenkov is the leader of a group which believes in the advocacy of a policy leading to diminished international tension. that there are signs (reversal of the "doctors plot. with a so-called vigorous "cold war" Stalin faction building up around Ulbricht.] In January 1953 a number of Kremlin doctors. that Beria leads a faction believing in an intensified "cold war" policy. that Stalin's death left Ulbricht in an exposed and precarious position. Beria will win out in the end and pursue a vigorous "cold war. were arrested for planning an anti-Soviet plot. There are some who go so far as to maintain that the SED is in a state of near paralysis. with Molotov as a potential figurehead. in favor of the intensified "cold war" policy. [Wilhelm] Zaisser. that he had no secure ties to either Malenkov or Beria. and a socalled Malenkov faction headed by Fred Oelssner and including such men as [Otto] Grotewohl. and [Werner] Eggerath. major aspects of which will be analyzed in more detail subsequently. [Fritz] Selbmann. [Willi] Stoph. Within this school of thought there are those who believe Ulbricht was strictly a Stalin man. is that there has been a change in emphasis in both SED policy and in the line taken by its media.) indicating Beria is gradually getting the upper hand over Malenkov. etc. and that developments in the GDR since his return from Stalin's funeral reflect uncertainty and improvisation on his part. that this explains why there has been no basic change in the internal SED program for the GDR or in the aggressive propaganda line of SED media.dramatic and modified form. of the basic SED program of July 1952. While recognizing that knowledge of what is going on within the Kremlin in the assumed struggle for leadership among the various contenders may provide a key to solving crucial For analysis see EAD's Pouch Telegram of April 20 (BN–2543). The evidence on which this belief is founded is deduced from the fact that Ulbricht once held a responsible position in the Comintern. there have been various theories put forward locally as to what has been developing in the Kremlin since Stalin's death. with Beria's approval. 162 A basic weakness in this theory. Beria and Malenkov During the course of the developments in the GDR briefly set forth in chronological order above. This plot was a figment of Stalin's paranoia. that he may now be faced with a struggle for his personal survival. or believes. [Rudolf] Herrnstadt and [Edith] Baumann. [Franz] Dahlem." possibly turning to "hot war" policy. and was used to set off another round of purges. [Footnote.162 and that Ulbricht.] 161 l60 76 . Recalculation Regarding Power Relationships Between Ulbricht. is adhering to a policy which is at variance with that desired by Malenkov. with emphasis. opposed possibly by an unidentified group. in original."161 Malenkov giving up or being shorn of his position in the Party Secretariat. [Herbert] Warnke.

policy questions. The summary in the opening chronology may assist in piecing together what appears to be a gradually crystalizing. no effort is made here to evaluate in any detail the validity of one of the previously described theories over the other. but as yet imperfect. 77 . and creation of more and more production cooperatives. It is an unresolved and still open question as to whether this period of silence and outward inactivity on the part of Ulbricht was due to (a) lack of instructions from the new Kremlin leaders and therefore uncertainty and need for cautious improvisation. or (c) a normal lapse of time required by Ulbricht to revamp the SED program in conformity with explicit Kremlin instructions. both internal and external. one day prior to Stalin's funeral and Premier Malenkov's first policy statement. (b) conflict of ideas. What can. and Ulbricht was at pains to attribute these policies directly to Stalin.]163 and a gradual diminution of the previous vitriolic and vicious anti- 163 Lenin instituted the New Economic Policy in 1921 to provide a hiatus from the rigors of a centrally planned economy and allow limited. During this same period we have noted the cautious SED handling of the reversal in the famous doctors' case. however. were suddenly soft-pedaled. the publication of which had preceded Malenkov's first policy statement delivered at Stalin's funeral. be pointed out with certainty is that in looking back over the period from Stalin's death to the present. on instructions from Malenkov. There have only been those variations and hints of possible changes reported separately in the referenced communications. Whether Ulbricht has been acting partially on his own. including creation of National Armed Forces. The period of sustained public silence on these subjects was striking—the more so in light of Ulbricht's policy article of March 8th. 1953. strengthening the State power. Summary Analysis of Major SED Policy Developments The Period of Inactivity and Apparent Indecision: On March 8. picture of the future pattern of coordinated Soviet-SED policy. all of which prior to Stalin's death had been so actively propagated in the SED press and by Ulbricht personally. Beria. This article reasserted in the most vigorous terms determination to proceed with the previous quite dramatic and accelerated implementation of all of the basic SED programs. it is believed not to be within the competence or ability of HAD to go beyond submitting such spot evidence as it detects in the GDR for the Department and others to fit into the larger picture. upon Ulbricht's return from the funeral ceremonies in Moscow. Taegliche Rundschau's treatment of Lenin's policy of retreat to gain a breathing spell[. from the time of Stalin's funeral until April 16. we cannot detect as yet the sign of any fundamental changes in Soviet strategy and tactics regarding Germany. Molotov. However. Such SED programs as National Armed Forces. It remained in effect until 1928/29. during which Ulbricht and his lieutenants were adjusting themselves and the SED's policy. including a possible change in the Kremlin's German policy. there began a noticeable period of silence and apparent indecision. Neues Deutschland and Taegliche Rundschau published an article by Ulbricht. through an unusually sustained and vigorous schedule of speeches. small-scale free market activity. there existed a status of hiatus. protective security measures in and around Berlin. Consequently. Either one or a synthesis of some aspects of both may be close to the truth. or any of several possible combinations of these three.

and conclusion of a peace treaty by the Four Powers on the basis of previous Soviet proposals. "There is a Force Capable of Solving the German Problem. but as yet only through prominent SED press coverage of West German statements to this effect. The implication was that if the Four Powers could get together over a peaceful solution of the Korean policy. pp. it should be possible to reach agreement on the German problem. and sharply critical attacks against President Eisenhower and General Ridgeway have ceased. it amounted to orders to the Party to continue implementation. it does not appear that the soft-pedaling of the anti-American line has gone quite as far in the GDR as it has in the Soviet Union itself. Due to the position of the GDR and its importance to the Kremlin in connection with the latter's goals in Germany. This is not surprising." Cold War International History Project Bulletin. campaigns against the Americans on charges of carrying out bacteriological warfare. makes no mention of the necessity of building National Armed Forces or implementing additional drastic security measures in and around Berlin. of the basic SED program of July 1952. It plays down the subject of strengthening the power of the state. 11 (Winter 1998). Ulbricht has nothing new to offer. Thus. Resumption of Coordinated Soviet-SED Activity: On April 5th. The purpose of the editorial appeared to be to prepare the SED for an Armistice in Korea and to make sure the Party members interpreted such an eventuality to mean strength and righteousness on the part of the Soviet Union in its "fight for peace" as against the weakness and unjustness of the "war policies" on the part of the Western capitalist and imperialist forces.] For recent archival discoveries regarding North Korean allegations of the use of bacteriological warfare during the Korean War. had been reestablished between the Kremlin leaders and the SED. in a less dramatic and modified form. 78 . no.American output of GDR media. no. it underlines again the voluntary char164 Based on such evidence that is available.. Neither the Kremlin nor the SED has changed the basic line regarding German unity and opposition to the Contractual and EDC agreements. militarism. which is more important." Cold War International History Project Bulletin. and a war of aggression and revenge being launched from the Federal Republic by Adenauer with the support of his Imperialist American Wall Street bankers. to be implemented through efforts of the Deutsche Sammlung. Neues Deutschland published a major editorial analyzing the shift in the Kremlin's Korean policy. relying on reference[s] to the long-range KPD reunification program. if in fact temporarily disrupted. Internal Policies: With regard to internal policies. Without interpreting the significance thereof. Pyongyang. the Kremlin can afford to change completely the previous SED line. etc. However. Beijing. On April 15 and 16 the silence of Walter Ulbricht with regard to internal SED policies was broken through the publication in Neues Deutschland and Taegliche Rundschau of an article in two parts entitled.164 It was inevitable that these developments should lead to a mixture of both sober and wild speculation as involving a shake-up in the SED hierarchy. 11 (Winter 1998). the foregoing editorial tied in rather loosely to the new Kremlin-Korean policy the letter of General [Vasilii] Chuikov to ex-Chancellor [Joseph] Wirth of the Deutsche Sammlung and his invitation to the Western Allies for four-power discussions on the air corridors. [Footnote in original. pp. The significant fact is that there has been some diminution." As stated in our analysis of this policy statement. it is believed that neither the SED nor. This constituted the first outward sign that at least in the field of external affairs coordination. This implication has since been given more substance—not in SED editorials or statements by GDR leaders. Unity Campaign: On the all-German Unity issue. 176–85. see: Kathryn Weathersby's "Deceiving the Deceivers: Moscow. and the Allegations of Bacteriological Weapons Use in Korea. Ulbricht's new pronouncement. in contrast to his March 8th statement. it has been necessary to retain some of their basic themes of local importance such as the danger of German imperialism. and Milton Leitenberg's "New Russian Evidence on the Korean War Biological Warfare Allegations: Background and Analysis. Instead of stressing the necessity of creating more production cooperatives. 185-99.

Rather. it would seem that the anti-Communist bias of East German youth. not printed here. (e) program [illegible] increasing the technical knowledge and qualification of workers. the SED went into action by having the Volkskammer forward a communication to the British House of Commons calling for the latter's support of a Four Power conference. and he attempted to lessen the fears of these elements by promising them aid and calling for a revision of what Ulbricht describes now as incorrect sentences against some farmers. (c) socialist industry through raising of labor productivity and introduction of a "dispatcher service. It has also led some observers to conclude that there are differences between SED boss Ulbricht and the new Kremlin leaders. that energetic measures are required. Reactivation of Party and Government Policy Apparatus: Following implication of the foregoing statement.acter of this process. Anti-Church Campaign: Throughout the whole period we have been witnessing a decidedly sharpened and sustained attack against the institutions of the Church (including individual pastors who have been arrested) directly concerned with Protestant and Catholic youth activities. and (f) internal Party organization [illegible] discipline. that they have decided. or agreed with Ulbricht. rooted in and nourished by youth's ties to various church institutions is a force which the Kremlin's leaders themselves feel impelled to break. they probably realize from experience will be so looked upon by the West. the Politburo and the GDR Council of Ministers have again swung into action passing and publishing resolutions and directives aimed at sparking implementation of the new internal goals.] 79 . intelligentsia and scientists. the SED Central Committee. but equally essential. and that Ulbricht is acting independently and in defiance of the latter. and that an effort must be made to break the power of the Church as a resistance force in East Germany. (b) General Chuikov's invitation to the British and later the French and Americans to join in 165 For analysis of this development see EAD's D–832 April 7 and D–889 April 22. He blamed the flight of the middle and small class farmers on improper actions by local party and court officials. economic contents of the SED's socialization program. irrespective of whether the final Kremlin decision is to hold on to East Germany or eventually to risk relinquishing its present direct control over it in a compromise formula for the reunification of Germany. Ulbricht has begun again to visit key spots throughout the GDR delivering personal follow-up pep-speeches to insure that new enthusiasm is built up for implementation of the less dramatic. that the Kremlin's actions in Korea and elsewhere are considered sufficient to divert and hold the attention of the Western powers. Aside from this section. Local Soviet Action: Local Soviet actions during this same period have consisted of: (a) General Chuikov's letter to the Deutsche Sammlung in support of a Four Power conference. On the positive side. Careful consideration of all relevant factors leaves doubt as to the validity of this conclusion. (b) the existing LPG's (Farm Production Cooperatives)." (d) the savings or economy drive (Sparsamkeif). [Footnote in original document. Ulbricht's new policy directive calls for renewed effort and concentration by all elements of the GDR population to strengthen: (a) the MTS (Tractor Stations). On the unity issue. especially with respect to development of better and stronger cadres. the SED has acted primarily upon prominent press play of statements issuing from Deutsche Sammlung leaders in support of Four Power talks. whereas prior to Stalin's death he was berating these same officials for having been too lenient in their punishment of farm elements. despite the campaign against the Church in East Germany which.165 On the surface the SED anti-Church campaign appears to be in direct contradiction to the new Kremlin policy of diminishing international tension through concrete peace overtures. if not representing inconsistency to them.

suggest that the current Soviet tactic. irrespective of German reaction. it may be a fairly good indication that the Kremlin is not thinking of making any basic or important tactical changes in their German policy. of course. too. The SED-GDR policy and administration apparatus is functioning again in the familiar form. Conclusions In retrospect. that a shift in policy will take place without any change in Ulbricht's position.discussions regarding safety of flights in the air corridor which are currently taking place. As such. and (d) more accommodating treatment of Warenbegleitschein submissions. to proceed with ratification. the full significance of which time alone will bring out. A key to the riddle may be offered to us. With respect to the enumerated local Soviet actions during the period under review. developments within the GDR with respect to SED actions indicate that. under Soviet orders. There have been some slight signs that Walter Ulbricht may have had his wings clipped somewhat by Moscow. It is conceivable. upon the Western Allies to negotiate with the Soviets for unification prior to final action on EDC. The objectives of this tactic could be several. with some slight outward modifications. If Ulbricht's position is weakened. If Ulbricht's position in the Party and Government remains the same or is strengthened in any reorganization. time alone will bring the answer. while there was a transitional period where the Party and Government apparatus approached a near stand-still and apparent state of indecision. this is no longer the case. under which the Soviets give the impression of desiring to eliminate some of the past causes of friction in Germany between themselves and the Western Allies. has been fully reestablished. It could serve the limited tactical objective of encouraging the Germans to believe the Allies were quietly agreeing with the Soviets to live and let live on the basis of the status quo of a divided Germany and thus increase German pressure. Ulbricht is a thoroughly loyal and disciplined Moscow Communist. It could serve the objective of a genuine feeler by the Soviets to see if the Western Allies would accept such an interim unwritten de facto agreement. [Pavel] Yudin. on the one hand. possibly involving readiness to make some minor concessions elimiSee in particular EAD's D–807 of March 30 analyzing a series of Neues Deulschland articles on the Contractual and EDC Agreements. he is a capable and reliable instrument who could administer a changed policy and adjust himself readily to it. it may indicate that a shift in strategy and/or tactics is receiving Kremlin consideration. not printed here. the foregoing and other recent actions166 by the Soviets and the SED. [Footnote in original document. on the other hand. and encourage French reluctance. However. actively endeavoring to achieve acceptance and implementation of what amounts to basically the same internal SED program as before. It is possible that eventual Kremlin policy shifts—conceivably to be implemented by the new Soviet political advisor.] 166 80 . It appears that coordination between Pankow and Moscow. they suggest the possibility—also supported by Ulbricht's shift of emphasis with respect to some SED policies—that what the Soviets may be striving for is the creation of an atmosphere of decreased tension. if ever interrupted. Here. the latter possibility is considered less likely due to Ulbricht's identification with the previous policy. who recently replaced Semeonov [Semyonov]—may call for more drastic curtailment of Ulbricht's dominating position of control. There is every indication that Moscow is now exercising complete control of SED policy and actions. if and when the SED Party Congress takes place—rumored to be sometime this summer. Whatever the short and the long term objectives may be. (c) opening of Rothensee canal locks.

81 . Heidelberg. Warsaw. with respect to their objective of accentuating and deepening differences and frictions between the Allies and between the latter and Germany. possibly achieving in the end more solid results under the revised SED program.nating areas of friction regarding Allied lines of communication with Berlin. While this tactic is being explored. London. Prague. does not mean the Soviets have in fact changed from a dynamic to a static policy in Germany. l67 This dispatch was distributed to Bonn. 762B. which on the whole has tended more to unite than to split the Allies and the Germans. to one of limited concessions and apparent conciliation in the hope that this approach will be more successful in generating frictions. Following a tactic which at one level gives the appearance of desiring or being satisfied with a permanently divided Germany. and Moscow. Paris. the process of "socialization" in the GDR goes on apace. Department of State. Continuation of the present tactic means that. RG 59. there are no indications that the Soviets have abandoned their ultimate objective of gaining control or dominant influence over the whole of Germany. in which it appears the tempo and specific programmatic areas of emphasis rather than the basic substance has been modified. is aimed at pointing up the division of Germany. In any event.00/4–3053. they have shifted from a policy of more or less open harassment. Spencer Barnes Chief Eastern Affairs Division167 Source: NARA. however distant the achievement of this goal may now appear to them. For the Director: [Signed] N. Frankfurt.

as well as in order to address the question of expediting the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. and the USA." 82 . the entire post-war policy of the Soviet government regarding the German question has been built on defending demands for German reunification on a peaceful and democratic basis. The USA. The most significant recent events pertaining to questions of German unity have been the struggle that unfolded from September 1951 to March 1952 for the so-called all-German conference. for the first time since 1945. The campaign was carried out under a popular German slogan—"Germans at one table. 2 May 1953 In this internal memorandum to the Soviet foreign minister. as new head of the Foreign Ministry's Third European Department responsible for Central Europe. directed to the West German Bundestag. this campaign. A struggle between the Soviet Union and the GDR on one side. and later also on demands for a swift conclusion of a peace treaty. Semyonov's comment that the SED had "grown and strengthened [sufficiently] to govern the country independently " raises doubts about the perceptiveness of the Soviet Foreign Ministry's top German expert. England. with the aim of establishing a single. TOP SECRET Copy #1 To Comrade V. 9: Memorandum from Vladimir Semyonov to Vyacheslav Molotov Evaluating the Prospects for a Successful Resolution of the German Question. England and France. opposed convening the all-German 168 Corrected from "1. strengthening in the German national consciousness a sense of urgency in resolving the question of the national reunification of Germany by their own means. peaceful and democratic Germany.M. Semyonov. Molotov Memorandum on the German Question I 168 The crux of the German question during the post-war period has been the matter of the national reunification of Germany. France and the Bonn government on the other has occurred concerning this [matter]." Supported by the Soviet government.DOCUMENT No. to be followed by the withdrawal of all occupation forces from Germany. In light of the growing crisis in the GDR and the events surrounding 17 June. This position of the Soviet government has contributed to uniting the democratic and patriotic forces in Germany and strengthening the influence of the German working class parties among the people. as well as the Adenauer government. as well as the Soviet government's presentation on 10 March 1952 of the draft Outline for a Peace Treaty with Germany. argues strongly in favor of raising the GDR's profile by downsizing overt Soviet control mechanisms. Since 1945. The People's Chamber [Volkskammer] of the GDR came out in September 1952 with a proposal. exerted a serious influence on the population of West Germany. calling for an all-German conference of representatives of East and West Germany to discuss the question of carrying out free all-German elections to the National Assembly.

the three powers surrounded the proposal to carry out such elections with a number of preconditions." advancing the remilitarization of West Germany. The Soviet government put forth a draft statute for a peace treaty with Germany. but only on condition that united Germany be similar to the Bonn republic. England and France organized in March of this year the Bundestag ratification of the enslaving [kabalnykh] Bonn and Paris "treaties. By avoiding a decision on the German question on a quadripartite basis in the spirit of the Potsdam treaty. into the Atlantic bloc. They advanced the thesis that working out a peace treaty is possible only with the participation of an all-German government. the 83 . The Bonn and Paris "treaties" foresee the extension of the occupation regime in West Germany for 50 years.conference. necessary for the defense of the country. this position of the three powers helped to unmask the anti-German character of their policy. and [that] united Germany be included in the so-called European Defense Community. in the meantime. commission verified that the conditions in all of Germany were suitable for carrying out free elections. Moreover. where. the three powers have preserved their exclusive right on questions concerning the national reunification of Germany and made German unification conditional upon [the Germans'] entry into the so-called European Defense Community. as evidenced by a number of reports from West Germany. The three powers were calculating on dragging out the resolution of the issue of elections in this manner and. One of the main provisions of the Bonn and Paris "treaties" is the establishment of West German armed forces within the so-called "European Army. and locking [West Germany] in the North Atlantic bloc. through it. They declared that they were prepared [to agree to] all-German elections if these were held under international supervision and only after a U. the popular movement against these treaties and in defense of German unification on peaceful and democratic foundations is becoming weaker in West Germany. and. They were the ideological-political basis for the civil struggle that has unfolded in West Germany against the Bonn and Paris militaristic "agreements. and for changing the social order in the GDR.N. the central idea of which was the demand to reestablish the unity and independence of the German government with a guarantee of its democratic and peaceful nature." The three Western powers were compelled to come out openly against expediting the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. and take upon themselves full governmental authority. human rights are being violated. giving the military authorities of the three powers the right to interfere in West German internal affairs. most importantly—demands for international verification that the conditions in all of Germany are suitable for carrying out free elections. the governments of the USA. and this lent an objectively anti-imperialist character to the movement for convening the all-German conference. However. In addition. allegedly. However. the speeches of official representatives of the USA and England emphasized that they agree to the unification of Germany." With these treaties. There was a large positive response throughout all of Germany for the proposal included in the draft for the withdrawal of all occupation forces from Germany and permission for it to maintain its own national armed forces. The Soviet proposals in the Outline for a Peace Treaty helped strengthen our influence not only in East Germany. but also in West Germany. Moreover. Of even greater influence on the West German inhabitants has been the March 1952 Soviet government presentation of a proposal to speed up the conclusion of the German peace treaty. on completing the preparation of the Bonn and Paris "agreements. which must be established by carrying out free all-German elections. the Bonn and Paris "treaties" envisage a number of West German economic obligations to the three powers." Since the negative consequences of the Bonn and Paris "treaties" for the inhabitants of West Germany so far have not appeared. proclaim martial law.

with the goal of the national reunification of Germany by way of free all-German elections without foreign interference. since it is impossible to establish an all-German provisional government without such an agreement. will in all likelihood reject these new Soviet proposals as well. Such a proposal would once again raise the question—though on a slightly different footing—of the importance of an agreement between the Germans of East and West Germany. since the proposal for the withdrawal of troops will be coming from us and since Soviet forces will remain in Germany only as a result of the refusal of the three powers to withdraw their forces from West Germany. as well as adopt other measures to prevent the possibility of Germany being utilized for the aggressive goals of any particular power or group of powers. their decision will be accompanied by significant political damage. as well as the Adenauer government. shortly after the formation of the all-German provisional government. and to prevent the rise of chauvinistic sentiments in West Germany.old slogans regarding the question of German unification currently do not fully correspond to the changed circumstances. the aim of which must be to focus the attention of the entire German people once more on the question of the country's unification on democratic and peaceful foundations. Such a proposal would help better expose the demagogic character of the proposal put forth by the three powers to carry out free all-German elections. Under these circumstances. England. of a number of serious further steps with regard to the German question. the following is deemed expedient: a) To put forth a proposal for the formation of the all-German provisional government by the parliaments of the GDR and West Germany. to propose the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Germany. if the three powers and the Adenauer government reject our proposal. b) In order to insure that the elections are indeed free in all of Germany. and their mobilizing role has somewhat weakened. a number of measures should be taken to further 84 . however. which under current international conditions is a very remote prospect for the Germans. In order that the German people do not form the impression that the Soviet Government is limiting itself on this occasion only to diplomatic posturing in defense of the national requirements of the German people. It should be noted that until now the Soviet government proposed to withdraw the occupation forces in Germany only during the year following the conclusion of the peace treaty. to counter the plundering. imperialist policy of the three powers toward Germany with the democratic and peaceful policy of the Soviet Union. answers the desires of all segments of the German population. Our position on this question will remain advantageous. The new Soviet proposal will put this question before the Germans as a real possibility even for the present time if: a) an agreement is reached between East and West Germany on the formation of the all-German provisional government and if b) the three powers agree to accept this Soviet proposal. this proposal for the withdrawal of troops would undermine the position of the occupation forces of the three powers in West Germany. In addition. Nevertheless. II. on our part. and France. which. These conditions demand the adoption. Such a gesture by the Soviet government would also be of great international importance. one should bear in mind that the USA. which have been left there for an extended period by the provisions of the Bonn "agreement. Specifically." The three powers will probably come out against this Soviet proposal.

strengthen friendly relations between the USSR and the GDR and increase the all-German and international prestige of the GDR. First and foremost, it is necessary to examine the question of the expediency of the Soviet military authorities continuing to maintain control over the democratic organs and organizations of the GDR. Since 1945, our mutual relations with the people of East Germany can be divided into two phases: a) the phase of military administration (SVAG169)—from May 1945 to the formation of the GDR in October 1949; b) the phase of Soviet military organs' control over the German government organs of power—from October 1949 to the present. However, in recent times the work of the SCC in Germany has essentially consisted of giving aid and consultation to the German organs, through the SED CC, on practical questions of state, administrative, and cultural development. The Socialist Unity Party and the democratic forces in the GDR have by now grown and strengthened [sufficiently] to govern the country independently. Necessary Soviet assistance in the future may be rendered through Soviet advisors and specialists, as is done in other countries of people's democracy. Moreover, the presence of Soviet forces on GDR territory is a sufficient guarantee of the stability of the people's democratic order in the Republic. In addition, continuing preservation of Soviet control over GDR affairs has a number of serious negative facets. Because of its form (the SCC), it highlights a sharp inequality in the relationship between the USSR and the GDR, even though eight years have already passed since the end of the war, a people's democratic order has been established in the Republic, and friendly relations have been established between the Soviet Union and the GDR. The democratic forces in the GDR may perceive the continuing existence of Soviet control over the GDR as an expression of a certain political mistrust on the part of the Soviet government. In addition, with the presence of the SCC, the leadership of the GDR does not feel full responsibility for the country, which retards the advancement of SED cadres. The removal of Soviet military control over the GDR government organs and the liquidation of the SCC will show to the entire German people that the Soviet government consistently and determinedly pursues the path of providing the German people with sovereign rights, which will further emphasize the enslaving nature of the Bonn and Paris "agreements" that have been forced upon West Germany. The liquidation of the SCC would also be clear, practical proof of the sincerity of the Soviet government's proposals on all-German questions. In addition, it appears expedient to adopt a number of further measures that would lighten the economic burdens of the GDR and create more favorable conditions for socialist development in the GDR.170 For the purpose of discussing the aforementioned questions with our German friends, a GDR government delegation should be invited to Moscow for an official visit. [signature] ( V. Semyonov)
2 May 1953

Source: AVP RF, f. 06, op. 12, d. 16, p. 261,11. 8-15; copy in AVP RF, f. 082, op. 41, pap. 271, d. 18,11. 52-59. Translated by Daniel Rozas.
Sovetskaia voennaia administrateiya v Germanii—Soviet Military Administration in Germany. Semyonov provides a detailed account of East German payments on reparations, occupation costs, and Soviet-owned enterprises in a top-secret 5 May 1953 memorandum ("On the German Question," AVP RF, f. 082, op. 41, pap. 271, d. 19,11. 31-38.)
170 169

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DOCUMENT No. 10: Report on 4 May Disturbances at the Tobacco Depot in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 7 May 1953
Stalinist policies resulted in economic grievances and unrest surfacing not only in East Germany, but throughout Eastern Europe in spring 1953. One of thefirst, though largely forgotten, major labor protests to take place was staged by tobacco workers in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in early May. Like their East German comrades, Bulgarian society had been subjected to oppressive industrialization and collectivization policies under hard-line Communist Party leader Vulko Chervenko. On 3 May 1953, hundreds of tobacco workers in Plovdiv and Khasskovo went on strike. This first-hand party report offers a revealing picture of some of the hardships being faced by ordinary workers which led to the unrest. Information on the growing discord filtered back to Moscow through diplomatic and intelligence channels prompting the Kremlin to be increasingly concerned about conditions in East Germany and the rest of the Soviet empire.

Information
From Stephan Kiradzhiev Depot at BDT Monopol—Plovdiv branch The question of the distribution of workers upset everyone—men and women. The situation with the men was already decided—all the istifchias171 were going to be kept at work. Comrade Komna from the Main Headquarters of the Party was assigned to our enterprise to help us. A few days before the end of the tobacco processing we received an order to select comrades for the other two enterprises that were starting tobacco processing in May. Right after that there was a Party meeting and Comrade Komna was there. During the meeting, a detailed explanation was given about the selection of the workers who would continue to work. The Comrade explained that the decision had to be taken at group meetings of the labor union and the members of the labor union themselves had to decide whom, among the comrades, was to be chosen. After the Party meeting, hall meetings were arranged and the same clarifications were presented there. Labor union meetings were set for the next day. Every labor union group had assigned to it a comrade from the Party, a technical leadership group and the leaders from the halls. After the group of [female] comrades was determined, we raised a question in front of the labor union members asking them to confirm that they have chosen the people in greatest need. Everyone agreed to the chosen list of comrades but everyone shared the opinion that the other workers should be given work too—even if it is not at the depot. The nursing mothers and the medal-holders protested. We explained that we can legally provide work for the nursing mothers, until their children reach eight months. As to the medal-holders, we explained to the [female] comrades that it was we who appointed them in the first place, so there should be no special attitude taken towards them. The meetings at all three halls ended with common agreement. The names of the comrades who were going to start work at the depot were announced. A list was prepared and sent to the different locations. Between 10 and 15 April, few [female] comrades (pregnant women, nursing mothers, and heads of families) came back; during the final days of the tobacco processing they had taken their days off and the labor union groups did not count them. We wrote down the names of these comrades. During one of the meetings of the leadership those comrades
171

Istifchia (Turkish)—worker who produces or carries tobacco bales.

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were mentioned and there was an agreement that their names should be presented on a separate list. From 20 April, other [female] comrades started coming in, insisting that they be included in the list. One of them was Cde. Vera Dimitrova who has a family of three; her husband works as an istifchia in one of the enterprises. The other one was Comrade Boriana Doumbalakova who has a family of four and her husband works as an istifchia at Ivan Karadzhov Depot. We told them that there were no openings and that they should be glad to have one piece of bread in their families because those who were on the list did not even have money for bread. The two women started protesting, saying that, no matter what, they would go to work. There were also other [female] comrades who came to the depot, but after we explained the situation to them, they left—some of them right away, others after long, angry tirades. I asked some of those women why they were not protesting against the chosen comrades earlier (at the meetings), but only now. One of them told me: "we are not protesting against them, we want to be put on the list too." Another woman started crying, and said: "Come and see, my child is very sick and there is no food; my husband is working but there is not even enough for bread." Others were saying that everyone should process the tobacco. Many [female] comrades went to the secretariat of Monopol to see the factory labor union, but they were sent back to us. So, people were left with the impression that we, or even I personally, did not want to put them on the list, even though they knew what the procedure was. I even told the comrades from the factory labor union, as well as Comrade Kaltzov, not to send those who had no chance to be included in the lists to us. I wanted to mention all those problems at the conference held at the Secretariat of Monopol; Cde. Shaitanov, Cde. Ribarov and Cde. P. Anguelova were present. The comment of Cde. Ribarov that we would not and should not let any confusion settle in, accomplishing this through further explanations, made me rethink my desire to make a speech, and I completely abandoned my intention after Cde. Penka Anguelova told Cde. Vaska Alexandrova that she was exaggerating when she said that many workers had come and threatened to break her neck, etc. And after all, we had to state why there had been such threats in all the enterprises. The greatest confusion came when we had to distribute permits. On 29 and 30 April, women workers who were not on the lists started coming and asking to be added to the list. We explained to them that it was impossible to give permits to everyone and that only workers on the lists could receive such permits. In such cases they would approach the Secretariat of the factory labor union, where they would be sent back to us, and then we would face all the angiy comments. There were five women workers who dropped from the list and we replaced them right away, as Cde. Zarev had told us to do. There was only one comrade from the list who started protesting—Comrade Fanka Dizova. [She] came to us after the list had been completed and asked us to put her on it because she was in a very difficult situation. I told her that we could not do that because people would protest. We talked to her for a while and she did not say anything. After a couple of days, she went to Cde. Kaltzov, told him everything, and he sent her back to us. Before she came back to us though, she went to the District Committee of the Party where she obtained a note and then came back here. At that moment I was at the Secretariat of Monopol where Cde. Durev and I were printing some lists. When she came to us, someone from the Municipal Committee of the Party called for her and it was only then that we included her on the list. Two days later, Cde. K. Danchev called (he was very furious) and asked why we had put Comrade Fanka Dizova in. I explained to him how she got to be on the list. He told me to cross her name off on his authority. We removed her name from the list and that was the end of the question. We did not even send a note to that same comrade, but then she did not show up on the day of the opening of the depot.
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On 4 May, 6:00 in the morning, I was at Ivan Karadzhov Depot, where our workers were assigned to go. The entrance door was closed and there were around 40–50 people on the street. I went in and found Cde. Pronchev. Cde. Kosta Danchev was also there, and I told them that they should open the door and let the workers in because that was the decision. Comrade Pronchev ordered the door to be opened and the workers came in to the yard. Until 6:30 a.m., everything was relatively calm. People were gathering but they stood in groups, away from the doors, so that workers with permits could come in. Comrades Pronchev, Danchev and Bonchev were going from group to group telling them that they should not gather and that they should go home; people did not want to hear that. Around 6:50 a.m., the situation became threatening. There were 400 or 500 people who started pushing at the doors, wanting to come in. Two of the [female] comrades who were making the most noise were from Ivan Karadzhov Depot. Comrade Tzonka knows who those two comrades were. The two women from our enterprise who were behaving very badly were Comrades Vera Dimitrova and Boriana Doumbalakova. Ignoring our instructions, they started pushing at the first door, because Cde. Danchev had locked it, and everyone started booing. After a while they went to the second and the third door. Comrade Ounarev managed to close the second door, but around 150 people entered through the third door. We succeeded in making some of the people leave, but there were others who entered the building and started working. There were two [female] comrades from our enterprise, who were party members—Comrade Velichka Georgieva and Cde. Ganka Eftimova. The two of them do not have any bad [marks on their] records with the party organization, but they are absolutely passive—they do not take part in any of the activities. On the day of the opening they were not among those who were making the most noise in front of the doors and they were not pushing to come in, but the fact [is] that they were outside, when they were not on the lists, and instead of persuading the other comrades to go home, they went by Georgii Ivanov Depot and, along with all the others, went to the Secretariat of Monopol, [and] spoke extremely badly of them. At around 8:00, everyone came out of the yard, went by Georgii Ivanov Depot and went to the Secretariat of Monopol. We started work, but the atmosphere was very tense. Around 11:00, an order was received to continue work until noon and to stop after that. Around 11:45 a.m., I announced this in the hall. Now, the workers inside started protesting. Some of them started crying, asking what they were supposed to do. Others started asking why they had come if they had to stop work now. There was a lot of noise in the hall until 12:00; when the bell rang at noon, everyone left. As to whether the day was appropriate or not for the opening of the depot—I don't think that the choice of the day had anything to do with the scandal. Everyone is unemployed—people gather at the cooperatives waiting in lines for bread [and] milk, and the propaganda is carried out in this way. Whether it was May 4,10, or 20, it does not matter and what happened on the 4th could not be avoided. I even think that people could have prepared better—right now they were distracted by the holidays. The greatest weakness that we allowed and which led to everything that happened was the fact that the labor unions did not want to take part in the arrangement. The biggest mistake of the Party was that it did not allow permits to be distributed in order to work out the settlement of our workers, and it did not hold to its first decision requiring all the enterprises that needed people to give priority to the tobacco workers. Only a small number of our workers was accommodated at the beginning, while the Party required that directors of enterprises take tobacco workers. When the directors found out that no one could make them take only tobacco workers, they started taking people from the outside, not our people. Our workers were finding work, but they could not get hired
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without permits—the permits could not be issued. That discouraged the people completely, because earlier, while the labor union was taking care of them, everyone was calm. Now, after looking for work at different places and not finding anything, people became absolutely desperate and that was what led to their fury on the day of the opening. Plovdiv, 7 May 1953 Ljubka Ivanovo Bouzdreva Source: Bulgarian National Archives—Plovdiv (Party archive), f. 235, op. 1, Arch. Unit 10,11. 50–52. Obtained by Jordan Baev and translated by Nedialka Douptcheva.

DOCUMENT No. 11: USSR Foreign Ministry Draft Memorandum, "On Further Soviet Government Measures Pertaining to the German Question," 8 May 1953
Within the Soviet Foreign Ministry, preparations for an initiative on Germany moved ahead during the late spring of 1953. Probably because of growing concern at the highest levels of the Soviet government about the deteriorating situation in the GDR, the Foreign Ministry's focus shifted toward strengthening East Germany politically and economically as an "ever-stronger foothold for peace in this part of Europe. "

8/V/1953 Draft172
TOP SECRET

On Further Soviet Government Measures Pertaining to the German Question
At the present time the Soviet government is facing two types of questions with regard to Germany: First, questions that pertain to Germany as a whole and concern mutual relations between the USSR and the three Western powers—USA, England and France; Second, questions that pertain directly to bilateral relations between the USSR and the German Democratic Republic. The measures proposed below have been worked out in accordance with the fundamental principles of the primary post-war document on the German question—the Potsdam treaty— and in addition, bearing in mind the important political changes in the political development of Germany and Europe that have taken place over the eight-year period following the war. The Soviet Union has always insisted on adhering to the Potsdam treaty, imparting the utmost importance to this international document, according to which not only the USSR, but the USA, England, and, later, France took the responsibility to join forces as the four powers to insure the reestablishment of a united Germany as a peace-loving and democratic country. Of course, in addition to this we have had to contend with the circumstance that the three Western powers had {always} from the very beginning tried to impose their own bourgeois-imperialist path on the Potsdam treaty, the goal of which was to turn Germany into a bourgeois-imperialist country that would have no interest in strengthening peace and democratic order and would quickly become once again the most dangerous source of aggression in Europe. {In order to reach their goals} This is demonstrated by the fact that the three Western powers {have from the very beginning chosen} are increasingly choosing to violate the Potsdam treaty. We have continually opposed this policy of the three powers and corresponding circles in Germany itself by adopting the Soviet Union's policy to reunite Germany on truly peaceloving and democratic foundations; and since the Western powers did not move to meet the Soviet Union on this issue, we saw our task as being the all-around strengthening of our,
Text that has been stricken in this draft is included in curved brackets, {}; handwritten insertions are indicated in italics.
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Soviet, position in East Germany. In this, we have relied primarily on the work of the SED and democratic German organizations, and also on the strengthening of the democratic forces in West Germany that are carrying on the struggle against the militarization of West Germany and its inclusion into the aggressive North Atlantic bloc. Since, during the post-war period, the USSR's position in Europe, particularly in connection with the transition of a number of countries to the path of people's democratic development, has been increasingly strengthened and since our position grew stronger with each passing year in East Germany as well, the three Western powers have shifted to a policy of rapid reinstatement of a bourgeois-reactionary order in West Germany. With each passing year, the three Western powers have ever more openly moved to wreck the Potsdam treaty and prevent the enactment of the fundamental principles of this treaty in West Germany, which has resulted in the establishment of a West German state based in Bonn and brought about the liquidation of the quadripartite Control Council in Berlin. Because the West German state based in Bonn was formally established in 1949 and the policy of the three Western powers reached its final form in the refusal to carry out the Potsdam treaty, the Soviet Union has adopted the position of aiding in the establishment {in East Germany} of the German Democratic Republic as a friendly and close country to the Soviet Union. Up to the present time, the policy of the three Western powers has taken the form of supporting West Germany as an imperialist ally and vassal, with the gradual inclusion of West Germany into the aggressive North Atlantic bloc and with a further tightening of the yoke of the reactionary-capitalist regime, which has tied its fate to the continuation of foreign occupation. However, the implementation of this policy of the three Western powers has been attended by increasing contradictions within the North Atlantic bloc, as well as increasing contradictions between the various countries of this bloc and West Germany. [These] demonstrate that there are a significant number of weak and unstable points in the implementation of this policy, which is being increasingly imposed by the Anglo-American bloc. Carrying out the Anglo-American bloc policy will necessarily cause a serious exacerbation of the class struggle in West Germany, not to mention the fact that this policy, while playing to the advantage of German revanchists yet taking away the prospect of lasting peace and national unification from the German people, cannot rely on the German people's popular support. In connection with the aforementioned circumstances, the chief task facing the Soviet Union is unyielding implementation of the policy to strengthen the political and economic position of the GDR, which has already embarked on the course of people's democratic development and with each passing year is becoming an ever-stronger bastion of peace in this part of Europe. In addition, it is necessary again and again to implement our resolutions on all-German questions in the spirit and in the interests of strengthening peace in Europe, which is especially important given the move toward open militarization of West Germany by the Anglo-American bloc. In conjunction with this and bearing in mind the political changes during the post-war period, we should most decisively move to face those tasks in resolving the German question as a whole which, both in the eyes of peace-loving nations in Europe and in the eyes of the German people, open up the possibility of restoring a united Germany as a truly peace-loving and democratic country. Thus, our future measures on the German question, rooted above all in the interests of further strengthening the position of the USSR in Europe, must first assist in the steadfast strengthening of the GDR as a peace-loving country and a dependable ally of the USSR, and secondly, in the mutual relations with the three Western powers, must proceed from the expediency of reaching some type of temporary or at least partial agreements on all-German
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questions. [This is] because such agreements, without contradicting our fundamental precepts, will facilitate the popularization of the USSR's policies on the German question among the peace-loving nations of Europe and among the German people themselves, will hold back or at least create obstacles to the realization of the Anglo-American bloc's aggressive plans in Europe, and will at the same time facilitate the maintenance and strengthening of peace.

I.173

The German question and mutual relations between the USSR and the three Western powers
1. In accordance with the Potsdam treaty, the central tenet of the USSR policy toward Germany should be, as before, the question of preventing the rebirth of German militarism and achieving the national reunification of Germany on peace-loving and democratic foundations. Since the matter depends on the concerted actions of the four powers, the resolution of this problem is irrevocably tied to the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. The restoration of German unity on peace-loving and democratic foundations can be realized only with the conclusion of a peace treaty that provides for the establishment of a German state that will unite the German people on democratic principles, establish solid peaceful relations with its neighbors, and not become in the future a source of new aggression in Europe. 2. {It should be noted also that} The chief aim of the policy of the three powers on the German question is based on completely different tenets that have nothing in common with a peaceful resolution of the German question and the establishment of a peace-loving and democratic German state. As is clear from the official proposals and corresponding political speeches over the course of the past few years, the policy of the three Western powers on the German question proceeds not from the problems presented by the restoration of German unity and the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany, but from the fundamental political principles that are expressed in the numerous and ever-stronger measures to include West Germany into the so-called "European Defense Community" (the Paris treaty) and, consequently, the North Atlantic aggressive bloc. This policy of the three powers is leading to the enslavement of West Germany and its transformation into a weapon of Anglo-American aggressive plans in Europe with the subordination of the political and economic life of West Germany to the dictates of the Anglo-American bloc (the Bonn treaty) {and, in addition, to the unavoidable exacerbation of contradictions among the nations of the North Atlantic bloc}. The political meaning of including West Germany in the "European Defense Community" and tying it to the "Bonn treaty" consists in the reinstatement of militaristic and revanchist forces in West Germany, as well as, by incorporating West Germany into the aggressive North Atlantic bloc, in making it thus impossible to restore German unity and conclude a peace treaty with Germany, because the inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic grouping of powers precludes the possibility of an agreement on the German question between the USA, England and France on the one side and the USSR on the other side, and because, instead of creating conditions for the unification of East and West Germany into a single peace-loving German state, such a policy leads to the irreconcilable opposition of one part of Germany against the other part of Germany.
173

Corrected from"l."

92

Our task is to demonstrate that a real resolution of the German question in the interests of strengthening peace in Europe consists of conducting practical measures directed toward the rapid reinstatement of German unity and the urgent conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany, as well as in the active exposure of the aggressive intent of the policies of the three powers that will thus rely on revanchist circles in West Germany. [This intention] will create conditions of redoubled oppression in West Germany through the imposition of a long-term foreign occupation. 3. In order to hide the currently aggressive and oppressive nature of their policy toward the German people, the three Western powers are doing everything to distract the German people's attention from the problems of reinstating German unity and concluding a peace treaty. These purposes are served by the three Western powers' proposal for so-called "free" all-German elections, to which the three powers are attaching several preconditions: the creation of a U.N. commission to determine the existence of conditions for free all-German elections, etc. In practice this means that, by putting forth all sorts of preconditions, the resolution of the question of reinstating German unity and carrying out free all-German elections, as well as the question of concluding a peace treaty with Germany, will be postponed for an indeterminate time, while the unlawful attempts to include the U.N. in the resolution of the German question also follow intentions that have nothing in common with attempting {to reach} an agreement between the four powers on the German question. In order to counter and expose the false and demagogic nature of the three powers' proposals regarding the so-called "free" all-German elections, it is necessary to put forth a plan for holding free all-German elections on a truly democratic basis, without allowing any kind of pressure from foreign powers on these elections. In addition, it should be pointed out that truly free elections in Germany cannot be held in the presence of foreign occupation forces, and therefore the USSR stands for holding free all-German elections as soon as possible following the withdrawal of the occupation forces of all powers within German borders. 4. From all of the above it follows that, placing priority on the tasks of struggling against the resurgence of German militarism, and restoration of German unity on peace-loving and democratic principles, as well as for concluding a peace treaty with Germany, it is essential to consolidate the democratic forces of the German people and of other European peoples {in the struggle for a peaceful settlement of the German question,} in the struggle against the Bonn and Paris treaties, and in the opposition of their adoption and ratification {in West Germany as well as in France, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.} In this regard it is also necessary to increase {in a suitable form} the work of exposing the policies of the three powers, directed toward {transforming West Germany into a source of new aggression in Europe and}, the final eradication of all types of steps to reinstate German unity {on peace-loving and democratic grounds} and to conclude a peace treaty. {As is well known, this policy of theirs is being disguised, among other things, by the proposal for so-called free all-German elections, which in turn are being delayed for an indeterminate time with artificial proposals for all sorts of preconditions, as though these were necessary for the preparation and realization of such elections.} {With these aims, it is necessary to direct greatest attention in the political platform of the German question to resolving the following fundamental questions: a) not permitting the reestablishment of German militarism in West Germany and exposing the aggressive plans of West German revanchists;}
93

and other large democratic organizations. the withdrawal of occupation forces within German borders by all foreign powers. 6. the following fundamental tasks should be put forth as the first order of the agenda in the mutual relations of the USSR and the three Western powers: a) the restoration of German national unity on peace-loving and democratic grounds. The significance of the proposal to create a peace-loving and democratic Provisional All-German Government. France and USSR. It is possible that such an All-German Government would possess only limited functions during the first stage. free labor unions. In order not to delay the implementation of measures directed toward German unification and to finally take the first step toward restoring the united German state. the practical implementation of which must be blocked with every available means of political struggle and diplomatic activity. b) the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany and convening of a peace conference for that purpose. the more active and conscientious the struggle both in Germany itself and in neighboring countries. but its establishment would be a real step forward on the path of German unification. which must be carried out following the withdrawal of occupation forces by all foreign powers from Germany. all interference in this matter on the part of foreign occupation authorities must certainly be precluded. peace-loving and democratic All-German Provisional Government. The fundamental tasks for the peace-loving and democratic All-German Provisional Government consist in the following: a) preparing for and carrying out free all-German democratic elections. if it deems it necessary. and the greater and more massive the breadth of the struggle for denying the reestablishment of West German militarism and exposing the aggressive plans of West German revanchists—the more will be accomplished in the support and strengthening of peace in Europe. These tasks are inseparably linked with the further development and expansion of criticism of the Bonn and Paris treaties. 5. c) the holding of free all-German elections and. England. to insure this. to the USA. even while preserving the currently existing governments of the GDR and West Germany. This task can be realized through both an agreement between Germans of East and West Germany regarding the procedure by which the two currently existing governments of the GDR and West Germany are replaced by a single. b) working out democratic all-German election laws based on the election laws of the GDR and West Germany. a proposal should be put forth for the creation of a Provisional All-German Government by the parliaments of the GDR and West Germany and with the participation of representatives from democratic parties. consists in the fact that the creation of such an All-German Government can be realized without further delays and that for this purpose it is sufficient to have a corresponding agreement between both parts of Germany. and the formation of an all-German democratic government for that purpose. which must be consummated with the establishment of an all-German government on the basis of truly free all-German elections. as well as in other European countries. established in the aftermath of the war. Moreover.The broader and more organized. while keeping in mind the election laws of the Weimar Republic. the All-German Provisional Government will consider 94 . d) the reduction of all German financial and economic obligations. and an agreement on the preservation of both of these governments until such time as the interested German sides agree that only the all-German government should exist. In addition. And in connection with this.

b) agree with the GDR government on the establishment of a USSR Embassy in Berlin and a GDR Embassy in Moscow. and other questions of an all-German nature. it should be recognized as necessary to limit. Germany must be completely released from the payment of all foreign debts. Since Germany has fulfilled a significant part of the financial and economic obligations placed on it in the aftermath of the war. in particular: German representation in international organizations. In connection with the above. Mutual relations between the Soviet Union and the GDR 9. for the period of 1953-1955. In accordance with this. trade between the GDR and West Germany. Towards the aim of further strengthening friendly relations between the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic and promoting the authority of the GDR as the bases for reestablishing German unity on peace-loving and democratic grounds. postal and telegraph links. in May of this year corresponding notes should be sent from the Soviet government to the governments of the USA. beginning with 1956. Copies of the notes should be sent to the governments of the GDR and West Germany. 8. e) examining and resolving pressing questions pertaining to general German interests. 95 . as well as resolving questions pertaining to adjusting the composition and size of police units. 7. Germany's annual financial and economic obligations to foreign states to those levels that were set for 1953. which were placed on it in the aftermath of the war. England and France and a proposal should be made to convene a conference on the German question with representatives from the four powers. This limit of German financial and economic obligations extends also to occupation expenses. reparations and other financial obligations. it should be recognized as necessary to carry out the following measures: In the political arena: a) abolish the Soviet occupation authorities' control of GDR government organs and. c) implement an amnesty and repatriation of former German prisoners of war held in USSR prisons. questions of German citizenship. with the exception that these latter obligations may expire earlier if a quadripartite agreement is reached for an earlier withdrawal of occupation forces of the foreign powers from within German borders. c) representing German interests during negotiations for the preparation and conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany. liquidate the Soviet Control Commission in Germany and its central and branch organizations.determining the existence of conditions in Germany for carrying out democratic all-German elections and adopting measures for creating the conditions necessary to hold such elections. it is necessary to recognize that. f) examining and resolving questions regarding the reduction or liquidation of inter-zonal restrictions. d) not permitting German inclusion in coalitions or military alliances directed against any power that used its armed forces in the war against Germany. II. except for those persons who had committed particularly heinous crimes. in connection with this. railroad and water connections. so as to make the movement of people and the development of economic and other ties between East and West Germany easier.

f. 10. b) transfer in full all Soviet industrial enterprises within the territory of the GDR to the German Democratic Republic. c) inform the GDR government that. 259. starting with 1956. these could be ceased prior to 1956. Source: AVP RF. a GDR government delegation headed by Comrades Grotewohl and Ulbricht travel to Moscow in order to demonstrate the further strengthening of political and economic ties between the USSR and the GDR. if there is an agreement reached between the four powers to withdraw occupation forces from within German borders prior to this date. op. 39–46. 96 . Translated by Daniel Rozas. 16. 06. the USSR government will hold the German Democratic Republic free from all financial and economic obligations established in the aftermath of the war. 12. d.11. and with regard to occupation payments.In the economic arena: a) limit for the period of 1953-1955 {all} the GDR's the annual financial and economic obligations to the Soviet Union established in the aftermath of the war to those payment levels that were set for 1953. It should be recognized as necessary that in June of this year. pap.

on 28 June 1952. an increase in consumer goods production. Clearly. 13 science workers." 15 May 1953 The dramatic escalation of the refugee crisis in East Germany became the focal point of Soviet concerns about the GDR during spring 1953.732 people relocated to West Germany and West Berlin with the official permission of the GDR authorities. The measures of the GDR government and the SED. the SED and GDR government organs are paying much attention to the question of preventing the defection of GDR inhabitants to West Germany. directed toward improving the material situation and strengthening and increasing political work among the population. In particular. prescribed for the GDR in early June. This memorandum notes that the SED's measures. During just 10 months in 1952 (from 1 January to 1 November) 110. 12: Memorandum from the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs to Vladimir Semyonov. 604 specialists fled from the GDR to Western zones.677 people who moved to the Western zones and on whom there are data on social status and age. had so far failed to curb the exodus. as well as a certain portion of the population. such as a temporary halt to theforced collectivization of farmers into agricultural production cooperatives.DOCUMENT No. youth between 15 and 25 years old—49.138 people (about 50%). On the first order. The SCC in Germany.597 people. the defection of inhabitants from the GDR to West Germany is to a certain extent related to the policy of constructing socialist foundations in the republic. the GDR government adopted a resolution providing for significant wage increases for workers and 174 in the original. and office workers—15. Thus. 24. 5 May 1953174 #096/3so On the Question of Preventing the Defection of Inhabitants from the GDR to West Germany The illegal movement of people from the GDR to Western zones of Germany has become massive.378 people. peasants—2. including 144 engineers. Of the 100.194 people (more than 25%). The measures proposed in this document. during the 3rd quarter of 1952. for example. were implemented with this question in mind as well.333 people from the GDR moved to West Germany and to West Berlin. and an end to mass arrests. largely propagandistic. particularly youth and intelligentsia. In addition. "On the Question of Preventing the Defection of Inhabitants from the GDR to West Germany. those running West are capitalists and all sorts of criminal elements. "May" is crossed out with "June" handwritten above it. there is a large number of specialists. presage some of the measures of the New Course. which has fallen under the influence of hostile propaganda. 97 . and other specialists. 52 teachers. workers make up 26. Among those who illegally moved from the GDR to West Germany.

the GDR government adopted a resolution to increase payments for agricultural products sold by peasants to the state in fulfillment of required deliveries as well as for voluntary sale. Bearing in mind that the reactionary activities of the church in the GDR have notably increased in recent times. On 9 April of this year the GDR government again adopted the decision to implement a number of measures aimed at further improving the workers' standard of living.the intelligentsia. Adopt the necessary measures to increase the output of manufactured consumer goods to meet the needs of the GDR population. one should temporarily refrain from establishing new cooperatives and not pursue quantitative growth in these cooperatives. distributed to SED party organizations. wages for workers were raised from 3% to 97%. 7. the repeal of coupon rationing for almost all textile goods and footwear. Examine the possibility of carrying out an amnesty for those convicted of minor criminal and economic-administrative offenses. In connection with this. 4. and an increase in the variety of bread on the market. Plan for increased construction of individual homes for science workers and other segments of the intelligentsia. did not curb the defections of GDR inhabitants to the Western zones. as well as in capitalist countries. According to this resolution. aim to increase explanatory work among the population and expose hostile propaganda. under no circumstances should the law be broken. The exposure of hostile propaganda must be closely tied to mass education on the continuously deteriorating situation of workers in West Germany and West Berlin. 5. 3. In rural areas it is necessary to reduce instances of confiscation of the entire property of peasants for overdue or incomplete fulfillment of required agricultural deliveries to the state. 6. In addition. Turn serious attention to increasing on-location mass-political explanatory work. On 7 January of this year the SED CC adopted a special decision on measures to prevent the defection of GDR inhabitants to West Germany. and for the intelligentsia—from 18% to 220%. and given the fact that the church has a strong influence on 98 . At the same time. These measures include. The practice of mass arrests and repression of large groups of those brought to account should be abandoned. as well as further improve the supply of food to the population. In order to prevent further departures of GDR inhabitants to West Germany and West Berlin. however. the establishment of a new procedure for distributing food ration coupons in the democratic sector of Berlin. The SED CC directives. 2. the repeal of the rationing system for science and technical workers. especially among the youth. both by the government and by promoting individual construction through the provision of special loans to the intelligentsia on favorable terms. instead replacing this form of punishment with the imposition of a fine. making the entire population aware of the SED and the GDR government policies on questions of the economic and political development of the republic. It is necessary for existing agricultural-industrial cooperatives everywhere to be turned into model establishments. work must be stepped up in exposing hostile propaganda aimed at undermining the construction of socialist foundations in the GDR and sowing panic among the German people. resolutions for improving food at factory cafeterias. In 1952. broaden the variety and raise the quality of these goods. it would be expedient to carry out the following measures: 1. and secure houses and land plots owned by specialists. among others. Focus attention in the agricultural sector on administrative and organizational steps to strengthen agricultural-industrial cooperatives that already exist. The implementation of these and other SED measures.

11. 99 . This date is handwritten at the end of the document and accompanied by four illegible signatures.S. 99–102.inhabitants of the republic. administrative and repressive measures should be used less in the struggle against the hostile activity of the church. d. pap. Semyonov #1451 15. Translated by Daniel Rozas. Instead the focus should be on the organization of all-around anti-religious and scientific-material propaganda.53175 1 copy. f. 271. thus exposing the reactionary activities of church workers. V.V.5. .53 Source: AVP RF. 15.SSh to Cde. 0742. 92. 41. op.

still fails to grasp fully the depth of the crisis.™ In its note to the CPSU CC of 15 March 1953. including the "political underestimation" of the refugee issue.589 By their social composition. In all.372 1952 165. SECRET Copy No.506 24.797 60. while the measures it proposes fall short of a fundamental political and economic course reversal. 18 May 1953 This memorandum by the Soviet Union's top representatives in Germany provides the frankest.763 27. Despite the general economic improvements and political strengthening of the GDR. the Soviet Control Commission in Germany delivered a detailed analysis of the economic and political situation of the German Democratic Republic. number who left the GDR Of these: Left illegally Moved with permission 2. the departure of the population from the GDR to West Germany is growing. the Soviet Control Commission in Germany presents this report on the reasons for the departure of the population from the German Democratic Republic to West Germany.109 422 3.012 4 months of 1953 120. Arrived in the GDR from West Germany 160. 13: Memorandum from General Vasilii Chuikov. Pavel Yudin.065 29.00195 In the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to Comrade G.531 120. Soviet Control Commission in Germany 18 May 1953 pg.560 99. those who have left the GDR fall into the following categories: 176 Underlined by hand in the original. as is confirmed by the data furnished below: 1951 1 .DOCUMENT No.571 136. Malenkov In accordance with instructions from the CPSU CC. and Ivan II'ichev to Georgii Malenkov Critically Assessing the Situation in the GDR. 100 . and also on proposals to end these departures.M. The document. seemingly aimed at a more efficient implementation of Stalinist practices. most critical and detailed assessment to date of the unfolding crisis in the GDR. Noteworthy is their sharp criticism of the SED leadership's policies.

064 70.1951 Workers White-collar workers Peasants Intelligentsia Students Other categories and family members 27. 1. — canceling some tax advantages earlier granted to large private industrial enterprises on the basis of laws enacted before 1945. The most important measures on limiting capitalist elements in the city are: — limiting the supply of raw materials.302 Detailed data on social and age composition are contained in Appendix No. and tariffs on them are raised to the level of actual cost of the service [uroven' sebestoimosti]. The most important measures to limit capitalist elements in the countryside are: — raising the norms on compulsory supplies of meat as compared to 1952 and sharply increasing measures on forcible collections of all arrears.498 814 78. which has led to a significant increase in the tax burden on this group and to their exclusion from membership in the artisan guilds. as well as intensifying the recovery of [tax] arrears.173 12. and goods to private commerce. — kulak farms are the last to be given access to MTS vehicles. 101 . 177 Not reprinted here. rather than the existing [cut-off point of] 10 workers.022 4.022 3. from the category of artisans to the category of industrial enterprises.555 2. and also by the fact that in the practical work of implementing major economic and political measures. going as far as criminal indictments and the confiscation of property. the government of the GDR and the SED CC took a number of important decisions aimed at limiting capitalist elements in industry and trade. electric power.177 Of this number.156 7.250 2. the rest left through Berlin. and fuel to private industrial enterprises.044 1. as well as ending the sale of new industrial equipment. freight vehicles. and certain ministries [and] local party and state organs commit gross errors and excesses in regard to different strata of the population. The increase in the number of persons moving from the GDR to West Germany can be explained by an intensification of the class struggle in the city and the countryside. which is twice what is paid by farms of under 20 hectares. — implementing special measures to combat speculation and [cutting off] links between private entrepreneurs and firms in West Berlin and West Germany. — liquidating the majority of large private wholesale firms by administrative procedure under the pretext that they were violating the laws of the GDR. vessels.062 No data 57. and transport and fishing fleets to private enterprises.300 22.613 4 months in 1953 17. as well as the kulak class in the countryside. 320 persons exited across maritime and zonal borders during the [first] four months of 1953. After the Second Conference of the SED [in 1952]. — transferring the owners of enterprises employing more than five workers. administration often is substituted for political mass work. as well as forcibly closing the branches of West German and West Berlin firms in the democratic sector of Berlin and the GDR.098 1.214 1952 35.784 13.

while leaving 6–7 hectares at their [i. oil crops. which were difficult for the GDR. It should be noted that the measures to limit capitalist elements in the city and the countryside in many cases are implemented without sufficient political and economic preparation. and the weak organization of harvest work led to a significant drop in the harvest of sugar beets. Data about the fulfillment of the plan by industry in the first quarter are shown in Appendix No. the elevated requirements of the population were not wholly satisfied. All of this led a portion of the peasantry. which in practice has led to a sharp reduction in the supply of phosphorous fertilizer to these farms. The under-fulfillment of the production plan for consumer goods in the absence of corresponding reserves and the non-fulfillment of the export-import plan led to an acute shortage of goods in the commercial network. where they had significant economic and political influence. including 393. This resolution. Besides this. II. 442. while commodity circulation in the first quarter of 1953 compared with the fourth quarter of 1952 shrank and consisted of 6. a disjunction between the growth of the populace's money income and the growth of commodity circulation developed toward the beginning of 1953.3% of the entire arable agricultural area of all peasant farms. potatoes and vegetables. The fund of wages paid out in the first quarter of 1953 was 17. chiefly large [peasants]. the farmers'] disposal. announced by Ulbricht at a congress of peasants at the beginning of February this year.8 thousand ha.030 million marks against 7. With the general rise in the standard of living of the populace. the compulsory use through MTSs of kulak farms' tractors and agricultural machines on other peasant farms (after they had finished their work in the fields) has deprived large farms of the opportunity to lease their tractors and agricultural machines on terms that are profitable for them. — ending grants of long-term credits to kulaks and limiting grants of short-term credits. 102 . The Politburo of the SED CC passed a resolution on accepting land from kulak farmers who wish to give it to the state. was taken as an indication of increased pressure on the kulak class. — farms having 20 or more acres of land and two or more full-time workers are not accepted as members of agricultural production cooperatives. were abandoned and vacant.0 thousand ha.361 million marks in the fourth quarter of 1952.178 The autumn and winter of 1952-1953. 178 Not reprinted here.. land. the volume of commodity circulation over this period rose by only 10% at comparable prices. In this way. On 1 April 1953. from farms having over 20 ha.— supplying mineral fertilizers to kulak farms only after the needs of agricultural cooperatives and the working peasantry have been met in full.3% greater than that of the first quarter of the previous year. the unsatisfactory fulfillment of the plan for stockpiles and purchases of agricultural goods in 1952 led to difficulties in the supply of food to the populace. if these peasants so desire. or 7.e. Excluding kulaks from the governing board[s] of peasant mutual-aid committees and agriculture trade cooperatives. In 1953. or 26% of the agricultural area of these sorts of farms. as a result of which some party and governmental measures have found insufficient support among a significant portion of the populace. 2. to begin to give up their land.

there is an underestimation of the political significance of the populace's departure from the GDR to West Germany. and also to raise the prices for meat given out through ration cards by 10-15%. interruptions in the supply of coal and electricity to the populace in the republic occurred. and for commercially sold confectioneries by 12-50%. in particular. in 1952. on criminal sanctions for evading state agricultural quotas and taxes. However. to abolish ration cards for private-capitalist elements and persons of free professions (this affected about 500. 5. and socio-cultural [kul 'turno-bytovye] establishments often went unheated.094 proceedings were instituted and 2. In the course of the entire winter period. 3. There are many cases of incorrect arrests.548 persons were arrested. Thus.346 arrests were carried out.180 By the directive adopted by the GEC181 on 23 September 1948.185 persons were arrested. On the basis of this directive. [and] in the second half-year 17. residential buildings. during the implementation of these decisions manifold excesses are being committed. which provided for exorbitant punishments for even relatively minor "crimes" such as black market deals ("economic crimes") or anti-regime statements. 4.348 arrests were carried out. Within the SED CC and in local party organs. and 5. then during just the first quarter of 1953. and on purging certain regions of dubious elements of questionable class." which is currently in effect. "On punishments for violations of economic order. III. the fixed price level [uroven' edinykh tsen] was left close to the previously effective commercial prices. in the directives of the SED CC. the police are given the right broadly to carry out arrests and searches on the grounds of only suspicion of economic crimes.179 These decisions are basically correct. to substitute partially rationed fats and sugar with other goods.141 had not yet had their cases reviewed by the courts. Prices were raised on a significant portion of imported consumer goods. as a result of which many schools. 103 . no political evaluation was made of the issue and no 179 This is a reference to the "Law for the Protection of People's Property. on limiting the activity of private wholesale firms. The law led to an explosion of arrests and prison sentences.482 proceedings were instituted and 4.000 people). up to 13. to abolish some additional ration cards for the intelligentsia. On 1 April 1953. 14. 16. In 1953. in only the first quarter.471. in letters from 6 January and 30 April of this year. unlawful and groundless searches in apartments and offices. 181 German Economic Commission. 180 Not reprinted here. 11.876 persons in the jails of the GDR. As a result of [these actions] the number of arrests of citizens and convicted persons significantly increased: if in the first half-year of 1952. Recently the government of the GDR made a series of decisions on strengthening punitive policies in the struggle against the theft of people's property." enacted in October 1952. This underestimation has manifested itself.This made it necessary to halt commercial sales of fats and sugar in the first quarter of 1953. Detailed data are provided in Appendices No. [and] violations of the established arrest and custody procedure. IV. there were 54. as is expressed in the intensification of different sorts of repressive measures in relation to the populace. With the cancelation of ration cards for footwear and for knitted goods. of these.

Despite this. by giving them work [and] living quarters. In a crude and clumsy manner. The press and radio of the GDR weakly expose the slanderous propaganda emanating from West Germany about the refugees. remain silent about the facts of the migration of residents of West Germany to the GDR. to the free exchange of opinions. There are serious drawbacks in the way ideological work with the intelligentsia is handled. demands are made for the reconstruction of all scientific work on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. insofar as they are not Marxists. and for the most outstanding scientific and technical personnel. Party and governmental organs commit serious distortions in the implementation of the SED's policy with regard to the intelligentsia. Party organs exert almost no influence over the mass democratic organs—labor unions. in the intelligentsia's milieu. over that period. were counted among those who left the GDR during the [first] four months of 1953. 104 182 .000 marks a month were established.182 The absence of the necessary explanatory work on this issue creates favorable conditions for the activity of enemies and the broad dissemination of all sorts of slanders. In CC directives. The intelligentsia is not drawn into active participation in the productive and social life of the enterprise. See Naimark.718 members and candidates of the SED. and do not use their statements for propaganda purposes. From 1 July 1952. and the Women's League—in inducing them to carry out work to prevent the departure of the population from the GDR. as a rule. In addition. the linking and exchange of scientific activity between scientists of the GDR and scientists of the Soviet Union and social democratic countries is still insufficiently developed. The Russians in Germany. A feeling of anxiety for their personal safety is evident among broad circles of the intelligentsia and most of all among the technical intelligentsia. [and] the discussion of different problems in advanced science and practice. Newspapers. and guaranteeing other rights to them.610 members of the Union of Youth [FDJ] left. the pay for engineering-technical and scientific workers was significantly increased. In the second half of 1952. 220–233. pp. Meanwhile. a sectarian relationship to the intelligentsia has still not been overcome. To date. 175 functionaries. the Union of Youth. The instances of groundless accusations of sabotage constitute the reason for this sort of mood. and of these. [and they] rarely organize statements by persons who have returned from West Germany.measures are planned which would help bring about a fundamental change in the situation. the SED CC and the GDR government undertook a series of economic and political measures aimed at drawing the intelligentsia into active participation in cultural and economic construction. weakly publicize the measures taken by the government of the GDR to accommodate refugees who have returned to the Republic. high personal salaries of up to 15. the departure of party members from the GDR is not characterized as a party crime. 2. 2. Little attention is paid by the SED to organizing scientific discussions. scholars of the old school consider that. the role of the intelligentsia in building the Republic and the necessity of involving the old intelligentsia is still underestimated within the party and the country. In a significant portion of enterprises. they have no prospects in the GDR. Some of these anxieties stemmed from the large-scale deportation of German scientists and technicians to the Soviet Union by the NKVD and Soviet army units in the early years of Soviet occupation. Due to this.

making it profitable for the West Berlin population to buy food in the GDR. in sermons and in multiple letters. VI. is displaying an active role in enemy propaganda against the GDR. Die Kirche als Problem der SED."183 It was proposed not to begin to expose the reactionary activity of "Junge Gemeinde" through broad propaganda work among the populace. The SED. the acute shortage of high-quality consumer goods in the GDR and their presence in West Berlin attracts a large mass of the residents of the GDR into the Western sector[s] of Berlin. The West German authorities. In connection with this instruction. see Martin Georg Goerner. and Thomas Raabe. Schoningh 1995). but through the organization of trials. They have worked out a system of measures to entice engineering-technical. and teachers of secondary and higher schools. all-German organization and was regarded by many as the last force of resistance within East Germany. the SED CC made a decision on exposing the anti-democratic activity of the church youth organization "Junge Gemeinde. particularly the dominant Protestant Church. send large quantities of provocative letters. especially of late. 1997). Strukturen kommunistlicher Herrschaftsausubung gegenuber der evangelischen Kirche (Berlin: Akademie. scientific and highly-qualified workers from the enterprises and establishments of the GDR. a rival secular initiation process. The leaders of the Protestant and Catholic churches located in West Germany have taken the path of open struggle against the GDR.V. On the SED's church policy. Providing West Berlin with a high level of supply of every imaginable good and lower prices for goods compared to the rest of West Germany has the aim of creating the impression among the population that a high standard of living in West Germany exists in comparison with the GDR. 105 . which had remained an interzonal. The main target of the SED's brutal Kirchenkampf were the church youth organizations. the organs of the MfS [Stasi] carried out the arrests of some clergymen and members of "Junge Gemeinde" in February and March. engineers and technicians. One of the methods of enemy activity is to dispatch special recruiters to the GDR who entice qualified workers. the trials have not yet been held. however. to the West. West German and Anglo—American authorities are carrying out economic and political diversions aimed at disrupting the five-year plan and at discrediting the policy of the GDR government before the populace. a high exchange rate of the Western mark in relation to the Eastern mark is being artificially maintained. the SED agreed to a "truce" with the churches. however. the SED sought to eliminate the influence of the churches. continued to fight the "Junge Gemeinde" by forcing young people to choose between the Church's "confirmation" ceremony and the so-called "youth consecration" ("Jugendweihe"). The church. SED-Staat und katholische Kirche. the Americans. and French. Then the SED CC gave an order to begin unmasking "Junge Gemeinde" in the youth press. systematically conduct propaganda on the radio in favor of the GDR population's departure for the West. the clergy calls upon the populace to flee to the West. Due to the inadequacy and unconvincing character of the material. Politische Beziehungen 1945–1961 (Paderborn: F. and give provocative telephone warnings of allegedly imminent arrests of GDR citizens. During the implementation of these 183 Following the establishment of the GDR. The SED CC is committing some mistakes in its relations with the church. On the other hand. In West Berlin. especially the Protestant "Junge Gemeinde" [Youth Congregation]. After the Soviet intervention in early June 1953. English. On 27 January 1953.

has led to the fact that in March and April of this year alone. At one of the meetings with the first secretaries of the SED district committees. especially in precision mechanics and optics. To liquidate the lag which took place from the beginning of the year and especially to devote attention to assuring the fulfillment of the plan for machine-building [industry]. In the interest of halting the departure of the population to West Germany. the government of the GDR must take additional measures to import necessary raw materials: cotton—15–20. For this purpose.500 tons.184 As a result of this the campaign to expose the reactionary activity of "Junge Gemeinde" has currently exacerbated relations between the church and the state. VII. using the free [industrial] capacities at hand. in particular to capitalist countries.000 tons. to assign additional output of high-quality production for export. and the development of [the] metallurgy [industry]. and others) and some high-quality manufactured consumer goods. which is decisive for the fulfillment of the five-year plan. 2. To oblige GDR Gosplan [State Planning Commission] to re-examine within a month the 1953 production plans for local industry with a view to expanding them significantly. 250 people from 39 12-grade schools have fled to the West. 4. it is necessary to take governmental measures in support of crafts 184 185 Bund Deutscher Jugend—German Youth League. Ulbricht gave the order that open meetings were to be held in all institutions of higher learning and 12-grade schools of the League of FDJ to expose the "Junge Gemeinde. In noting the underestimation of the role of manufacture in supplying the population with consumer goods. wool—3. it seems expedient to recommend the implementation of the following measures to the leadership of the GDR:185 On economic issues: 1. and in each institution of higher education. It is desirable to render necessary aid to the GDR Ministry of Foreign Trade through the trade representatives of the USSR and the people's democracies in capitalist countries. the introduction of electric power. To oblige local organs of power to improve the leadership of local industry significantly. this in particular. heavy leather—2. Over the course of a month. to work out measures to increase the 1953 consumer goods production plan and the development of commodity circulation. the accusation was made across the board that all of the members of "Junge Gemeinde" were members of the terrorist West German youth organization (BDJ). To take measures toward the unconditional fulfillment of the industrial production plan for 1953. To increase imports of food stuffs (fats. The GDR Ministry of Foreign Trade makes insufficient use of the possibilities of trade with capitalist countries. having found the necessary raw materials locally. 3." in the course of which the expulsion of the leaders and most active members of "Junge Gemeinde" from schools and educational institutions was to be demanded. For this purpose. W. fruits. Underlined by hand in the original.instructions. the number of expelled students ranges from 5 to 20 persons.000 tons. In certain schools the number of those expelled reaches 20–30 persons. 106 .

Considering the populace's great demand for construction materials. saw-timber. supplying goods to merchants. to differentiate between attitudes toward large and small retailers and other small entrepreneurs (proprietors of small restaurants. 2. and also to equip artisans' cooperatives and individual enterprises with industrial equipment. a harvest in the cooperatives that is larger than that of the best individual agricultural farms. hairdressers. 8. to work out measures to offer artisans tax and credit advantages. fats and sugar from the autumn of 1953. and to use private commerce in the capacity of a commodity distribution network to serve the population. 7.production. including large private farms. thereby completing the elimination of the rationing system in the GDR. both in the city and the countryside. even this year. To take measures quickly toward the introduction of strict order and the observance of lawfulness in procedures for arresting and detaining citizens. On administrative issues: 1. In the near future. To work out a three-year plan to develop animal husbandry and to create a fodder base. 6. tiles and machine-manufactured articles. to carry out a broad amnesty both with regard to persons convicted in the first period for Nazi crimes. persons convicted in the most recent period. and equipping it with tractors and agricultural machinery in order to have the possibility of fulfilling the needs for mechanized cultivation of the land not only of agricultural cooperatives. 9. It is expedient. To cancel ration cards for meat. in particular. To work out a production plan for fertilizer in quantities that will meet in full the needs of agriculture. and so on) with regard to taxes. terrorist acts. In carrying out measures on limiting private-capitalist elements. with the exception of persons convicted for espionage. in keeping with the realization of artisans' cooperatives. diversions. to organize supplies of raw materials for them on a contractual basis on the condition that they hand over their completed products to the state commercial network. keeping in mind that the per-capita consumption norms that have been attained furnish the possibility of a transition to free commerce. premeditated murder and for large thefts of the people's property. credits. 13. 107 .000 persons could be freed from prisons by the amnesty. Considering that one of the reasons for the departure of peasants from the GDR to West Germany is the high norms for quotas of agricultural deliveries to the state. issuing food ration cards. to reduce by 5–10% the differentiated norms in effect in 1953 for compulsory supplies of grain crops and meat by peasant farms. bakers. 12. 10. to increase the production of agricultural and gardening equipment. 5. assuming the need for future improvements in supplies to the populace from their own resources. developing the MTS network. but also of individual peasant farms. having ensured a portion of additional funds for cement. To halt the practice of using tractors and agricultural machines from private cultivators through the MTS for work on other farms. [as well as] agricultural and gardening equipment. and. 15–17. and an income for cooperative members [that] exceeds the incomes of individual peasant farms. To work out a three-year plan on mechanizing agriculture. To concentrate the attention of state and party organs on the organizational-economic strengthening of the agricultural production cooperatives which have been created in order to ensure. 11. to organize a broad trade in them.

To view the departure of members of the SED as a betrayal of the party. To re-examine the GDR government's decree of 5 March 1953 on mass criminal indictments for the non-fulfillment of supply quotas [postavki] [to the state] and taxes. On political questions: 1. an exchange of passports for the entire population of the GDR and. 4. organizing it in such ways that the press and radio of the GDR systematically expose the mendacious Western propaganda on the issue of refugees from the GDR. 3. first and foremost. To cancel all criminal-legal orders containing the directives and circulars of separate ministries. and in exceptional cases. to organize through the KPD the systematic collection of information about the refugees' difficult conditions and the poor material and legal conditions of different strata of the West German populace. To oblige party organs and primary party organizations to analyze with care and to study all cases of departure and to take effective measures to ascertain the reasons influencing the population's migration to West Germany. To manufacture and deploy 400–600 "Gebor" radio sets. To investigate according to party procedure each case of departure by members of the SED to the West and to discuss [these cases] at general meetings of the party organizations and regional committees of the SED. To consider it crucial to carry out a reorganization of the communities [obshchiny] in the direction of enlarging and strengthening local authorities. To build 15 medium-wave low-power radio stations with up to 5 kilowatts of power and 10 short wave stations each with up to 2-3 kilowatts of power. To end the political underestimation of the significance of the issue surrounding the departure of GDR citizens to West Germany that currently exists in party and state organs and among party workers. exposing with concrete examples the slanderous fabrications. To commit the party and the mass democratic organizations of the GDR to conduct systematic explanatory work among the GDR populace against leaving for West Germany. In the interests of strengthening counter-propaganda. in 1953. Henceforward. 4.3. 186 Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor—Radio in the American Sector (of Berlin). and Dresden. for the population of the democratic sector of Berlin and its surrounding districts. in a decree by the government of the GDR. In view of the fact that the migration of the population from the GDR to the West is taking place through Berlin. Schwerin. and at people's estates [narodnye imeniia] to examine minor economic and administrative violations. 2. To re-examine the current criminal code to remove those articles of criminal law which permit their application to even the most inconsequential violations. to establish a procedure by which criminal-legal sanctions can be stipulated only in laws of the People's Chamber. [and] the essence and methods of the subversive work which is being carried out by West German agents. 108 . To carry out. To organize expediently social courts [obshchestvennye sudy] in enterprises. to consider it expedient to require GDR citizens to have passes [spravki] and business travel papers [komandirovochnye udostovereniia] from local institutions or organs of power upon entry into Berlin. in institutions. 5. 5. To set aside the necessary resources for this. 7. To take concrete measures to strengthen counter-propaganda. 6."186 to ensure the completion in 1953 of the construction of powerful radio stations in Magdeburg. 9. 8. In the interests of an effective struggle against the reactionary broadcasts of "RIAS.

as well as to supply the GDR intelligentsia with foreign scientific and technical literature. f. 9. V. of religion. To take measures to correct the excesses which have been committed with regard to students expelled from school and from institutions of higher learning for belonging to the "Junge Gemeinde. head of the USSR mission in the GDR. 802. 187 Ivan Ivanovich Il'ichev. For the SED CC to examine in particular the issue of improving work among the intelligentsia and to correct the mistakes that have been committed. Provided by Leonid Reshin (Moscow). 7. op. 109 . To take measures to improve scientific and cultural links between scholars in the GDR and in the Soviet Union and the people's democracies. Chuikov P. to explain in a detailed and systematic way through the press and in oral propaganda that the government of the GDR unswervingly observes freedom of conscience.6. 11. 3." 8. and of religious observance. d. To explain that the actions of the authorities are directed only against those church officials and leaders of "Junge Gemeinde" who conduct hostile subversive work against the democratic tradition of the GDR. 64. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie. In order to expose the reactionary propaganda of the church. Il'ichev187 18 May 1953 Source: AP RF. Yudin I. as provided for in the GDR constitution. 124–144.

To Western observers at the time. Further. Source: Central Intelligence Agency (FOIA release to the editor). however. the brief Yudin period on the SCC was characterized in East Germany by a marked intensification of the communization process and vituperative speeches by [Deputy] Premier Ulbricht in support of this program castigating. "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. among other things. suggests indecision in Soviet policy toward Germany during the period following Stalin's death. Semenov [Semyonov] in the new post of Soviet High Commissioner may foreshadow a new Soviet move on the German question. 14: CIA Report Evaluating Vladimir Semyonov's Appointment as Soviet High Commissioner for Germany. TOP SECRET 29 May 1953 East Germany The dissolution of the Soviet Control Commission (SCC) in Germany and the return to Germany of V.DOCUMENT No. It was announced on 1 May that Semenov had been elevated to the Collegium of the Soviet Foreign Ministry. or a struggle between the Foreign Ministry and the Soviet military for primacy in German policy. On file at the National Security Archive. the Soviet Control Commission was dissolved and Semyonov was appointed the new Soviet high commissioner for Germany. Although the dissolution of the SCC may be designed in part to soften West German public opinion and to popularize the Soviet-supported National Front with a view to the coming election in West Germany. it is still unclear whether the move was tied to a larger policy shift or reflected more personal or parochial interests. which parallels the Allied High Commissioner's. such as Moscow's dissatisfaction with SCC Political Adviser Pavel Yudin. indicates more Soviet attention to diplomatic protocol. S. Semenov's return. The extent of Yudin's actual control of East German policy during late April and May cannot be ascertained. However. The disparity between this uncompromising East German position and recent Soviet conciliatory gestures was manifest. thirty-seven days after his replacement as Political Advisor to the Chairman of the SCC by P. [4 lines excised] Semenov's replacement by Yudin on 21 April left no prominent Soviet Foreign Ministry official in Germany at a time when the USSR was expressing interest in an improved international situation through big-power negotiations. it will probably have very little effect. the historic role of the Socialist Party in Germany. 110 . the wording of the announcement creating the new office in Germany. the announcement of his return to Germany as High Commissioner was made by the Foreign Ministry. 29 May 1953 On 27 May. His return to Germany as the top Soviet representative reveals the present primacy of the Soviet Foreign Ministry in German policy determination. a career Party official and theoretician. the new appointment provided a further indication that a Soviet initiative on Germany was imminent. Yudin.

4. PRIORITY LONDON 220. a long-time USSR expert and the newly appointed U.m. 188 Not printed.188 3. transfer of control in Germany to High Commissioner does not (rpt not) in our mind. By reference to area of four-power contact in matters of "all-German concern" (a transparent inconsistency at this juncture) decree seems to leave door open nevertheless to conclusion of four-power arrangements on modus vivendi basis in such matters perhaps as air corridors. transport. 111 . May 29. Bohlen felt obliged to note that there were no indications of a Soviet plan for the "abandonment" of the GDR. LONDON. PRIORITY PARIS 482 Taken by itself and pending further clarifying developments. 2. Certainly no (rpt no) abandonment of East German Republic is indicated. Secret Security Information Rec'd: May 29. Responding to widespread speculation that Semyonov had been instructed to strike a deal with the West at the GDR's expense. DEPT PASS BONN. To: Secretary of State No: 1653. May 8). provide clear clue to Soviet ultimate intentions in Germany but following interesting features may be noted at this time. Bohlen wrote this cable at the very time that the Soviet leadership was discussing the fate of the GDR. 5. doubted that Semyonov's appointment as Soviet high commissioner implied any basic changes in Soviet Deutschlandpolitik. but on contrary. No (rpt no) mention made controversial issue of Berlin nor status Soviet command in that city. RPTD INFO PRIORITY BONN 343. 29 May 1953 Charles Bohlen. Potsdam is reaffirmed as basis authority occupation powers. 5p. including possible scenarios for unifying the two Germanies.S. thus offering justification for continuation of rigorous economic and reparations policy in Soviet zone. 1953 From: Moscow 1:17 p. 1.DOCUMENT No. This represents follow-up of line taken by Ulbricht and Grotewohl in their May 9 anniversary declarations (EMBTEL 1571. ambassador to the Soviet Union. PARIS. latter's continued existence seems confirmed by reference to representation Soviet interests in Republic and control over its authorities. However.m. SENT DEPT 1653. 15: Cable from Ambassador Charles Bohlen to John Foster Dulles regarding the Transfer of Soviet Control in East Germany to Soviet High Commissioner Vladimir Semyonov. Arrangement equates status of Soviet control in Germany to that of western powers after a delay which to German eyes must seem long overdue and with a lag concerning next step which in case Western Germany is projected in establishment Embassies following EDC ratification. etc.

Respect paid to him by Sokolovsky [Sokolovskii] whom he served as post-war political advisor in Germany. seems to indicate that he has always enjoyed considerable power in German affairs. cynical and tricky. including Soviet police and Army. possibly extending beyond Foreign Office support connections with the highest circles. he is tough. realistic.m. Bohlen BB: KC/11 Note: Passed Bonn.Decree which is published without comment today's press represents significant reversal of appointment a month ago of person of Yudin's past prominence to post political advisor in place of Semenov [Semyonov] who was then assigned to Foreign Ministry. 762.0221/5-2953. capable. Paris 5/29/53 1:25 p. RG 59. London. JP Source: NARA. and by Gromyko at Palais Rose Paris Conference. There has been some speculation here that Yudin was sent to Germany to remove him from Russian scene where he seems to have been involved in intricate machinations under Stalin regime. Reorganization may conceivably have been prompted in part by pressure from East Germany whose leaders have recently shown assertive mood and who are rumored to be seeking consolidate their control by freezing out remnants of liberal and church parties in Soviet zone. 112 . Obtained by the editor. As to Semenov.

on 1 June.DOCUMENT No. Draft Resolution: a) Draft resolution and the report of the Special Commission on the Events in Plzen. We suggest the Plzen matter should be dealt with as a separate item by the Organizational Secretariat. 16: Materials for a Meeting of the Organizational Secretariat of the CPCz CC. Much like the later demonstrations in Berlin. We submit the report of the Special Commission which investigated the events in Plzen of 1 June. the scope and unexpectedness of their action temporarily paralyzing the local communist authorities. Czechoslovakia. The demonstrations raised alarms among the Soviet leadership about a burgeoning crisis in Eastern Europe. Materials for a Meeting of the Organizational Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia TOP SECRET 8564/12 Ad: Report and proposal of the Commission to investigate the events of 1 June. the resolution may possibly be amended. c) That the resolutions on the events of 1 June be dealt with by all District Party Committees within the Plzen region. with Attached Report on Party Activities in Plzen in Connection with the Events of 1 June 1953. Most significantly. and that three members of the bureau of the Regional Committee and two members of the bureau of the City Committee of the CPCz should be invited to take part in the proceedings. b) To cany out an internal Party campaign within the Plzen district to deal with the resolution on the events of 1 June. as well as a preliminary draft of the resolution. 31 July 1953 As the deteriorating situation in the GDR drew greater attention in the Kremlin. in Plzen. d) That the resolution on the events in Plzen should be sent to all Regional (Party) Committees to deal with and for their information. to be dealt with by the Political Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CPCz. news of popular unrest reached Moscow from other quarters of the empire. the workers left their factories and marched to the city center. stopped work and demonstrated against a currency reform being imposed from above. To be carried out by: Comrade Kohler Submitted by: Comrade Kohler 31 July 1953 Number of pages: 28 113 . After the Plzen matter has been dealt with. thousands of workers in the West Bohemian town of Plzen.

STB and LM. An analysis of the overall political situation. The positive acceptance of the measures at the meetings of the village organizations. further embellished in the reports of the District Committees. mass political and organizational work in the Plzen area. as well as ignorance of the political situation in the factories. 3) The political carelessness and feelings of complacency. leads to the conclusion that the events of 1 June 1953 in Plzen were. lulled the Regional Committee. in the city [of Plzen]. which gradually grew into an anti-State demonstration and disturbances. Nonetheless. failure to coordinate the actions against the rioters. a strike by some of the employees of the Lenin Works in Plzen occurred. the result of the following main causes: 1) The bewilderment and helplessness of the Regional and City Party Committees in Plzen. 189 The original uses the abbreviations KV. 4) A lack of trust in the Party membership. reflected in their opportunistic defeatism in the face of the reaction. The demonstrations and disturbances were not liquidated until late in the day. to underestimate the activities of class enemies. whose leading cadres assumed that the measures would meet with approval in the factories as well. the flight of the bureau of the City Party Committee. as well as of some of the leading cadres of the Regional Party Committee. and it followed what concrete conclusions were drawn from the events. and. A reactionary rabble. mass organizations and the National Committees acted in the course of the monetary reform in the region. and in the strength of the Party organization. on the part of some of the leading cadres.Report of the Commission set up by the Central Committee of the CPCz to survey Party activities in Plzen in connection with the events of 1 June 1953 The Commission charged with examining the situation in Plzen focused its attention on the reasons which enabled reactionary elements to carry out their activities. 114 . following the intervention of units of the Peoples' Militia from Prague factories and army units. essentially. as well as of the work of the Party organs and organizations. respectively. 5) Shortcomings in the ideological. brought on by some economic successes achieved by the Lenin Works. Comrade Hlina presented the battle task given to the Regional Organization by the Central Committee of the CPCz correctly and vigorously. with the support of the remnants of the Plzen bourgeoisie and the vacillating elements in the Lenin Works. State Secret Police and Peoples' Militia189 from their duties and responsibilities. 1 June 1953. 2) The total failure of leadership. at the same time. What did the Regional Party Committee in Plzen do to safeguard the currency reform. The guidelines for its implementation were outlined and approved. and how did it act on 1 June 1953? In the session of the Regional Party Committee on 30 May 1953. tendencies to overestimate such achievements. and in the Lenin Works. committed the well-known acts of provocation and hooliganism. It ascertained how the Party organs. On Monday. the events which took place on 1 June represent the total opposite of a correct implementation of those guidelines.

The City Party Committee failed to mobilize the membership to take part in those meetings. as the provocations occurred. including 34 from the Lenin Works. and did not return to the Regional Party Committee until about ten a.. [31] May. The commander. where the demonstrators arrested him in the building of the City National Council. predominantly. only Comrade V was at his post. Overall command was entrusted to Comrade Ba . In a number of areas only about 2-5 per cent of the members showed up. Comrade Vintr. leaving just the initials. 115 . 192 Here the text uses the abbreviation JNV. The Regional Party Committee failed to take these signals into account. even though they had been invited. at his disposal. falsely informed 190 In this. if need be. the fact that the exchange of money in the Lenin Works was not supposed to start until 12:00 noon. on the initiative of the head secretary of the Regional Party Committee. Comrade Ba . Comrade V . From the context.m. Comrade D . as well as in most subsequent instances. He had consulted the chairman of the Lenin Works Party Committee191 about the speech. and he had only 49 older policemen. refused to take part in the meetings. the commander of the People's Militia. On Sunday. he had gone to the Lenin Works. Comrade H[lina]. the deployment of army and police units. The Regional Party Committee also failed to notice a breach of state discipline in the factories where the employees did not receive the payment of their advances on time. The Regional Party Committee failed to draw any conclusions from the fact that the City Party Conference in Plzen had taken place in the absence of 168 chairmen of the Local Party Organizations.192 Comrade D . probably something similar to City Hall. On 1 June. The Sunday meetings of the Street (Party) Organizations. which should have been attended by members of the Factory Organizations living in the area. so that they might be deployed against the rioters. toured the centers where money was being exchanged since morning. It only dealt with secondary issues. using a variety of excuses. and it failed to explain the political significance of the currency reform. then to the square. or of the advances for May. was attacked. and it gave rise to discussions and the forming of clusters in the workplace. the security for which he was responsible. it seems clear that it refers to the City administration. and that Comrade Br[abec] delivered an unprepared speech over the [Lenin Works] public address system. Many Party members who work in factories. This command staff failed to live up to Comrade Hlina's expectations. consisting of the commander of the Regional Administration of the State Secret Police (KS STB). however. or to address the issue of wages.Comrade H 190 and other leading Party officials claimed they could not even dream of the possibility of any provocations. as well as the Peoples' Militia. The speech interfered with Party meetings. and the commander of the Peoples' Militia. The deputy commander of the Regional Administration of the State Secret Police forbade any action against the demonstrators unless one of the centers of money exchange. especially in the Lenin Works. It was not done consistently. the commander of Public Security (VB). or other issues which were not clear to the employees. were minimally attended. The text uses the abbreviation CZV. including a number of women. but its contents had not been approved by anyone. was driving around town since morning. The council was to guard the centers where the money would be changed. the Police Commander. and the latter failed to safeguard the fulfillment of the task. a command staff was established. Comrade B . the names of individuals in the document were excised prior to its release. comrades who are housewives. but even then he did not make any serious attempt to concentrate the Peoples' Militia forces at his disposal. It assigned the task to the committees of the Street Organizations which include. 191 The original term is celozavodni vybor. least of all in the Lenin Works. and to direct.

even as the crowd was being reinforced by members of Plzen bourgeoisie. The defenseless members of the People's Militia were exposed to the crudest forms of abuse.. The incompetence." The ineffective manner in which the mobilization was carried out. especially by Comrade K . such as being spat upon and beaten. and the lack of resolution. chased out the provocateurs from ET Doudlevce193 without mercy and awaited Party orders. either singly. Some City Party Committee cadres phoned a number of factories and established contact with them. The entire action was directed by Comrade H . Especially serious was the deployment.. The employees of the gasworks. such as in the foundry. Even though Comrade did issue an order at 11:00 a. policemen.g. refused to send in their communists. and continued to view the demonstrating anti-state elements simply as workers. headed by the District Commander. it specified. The Regional Party Committee was unaware of the real situation in the factories. mobilizing all Party members in the city. out of whom about 200 were active provocateurs. stood idly by. and the construction workers of the Lenin Works held themselves in readiness. and turned into a major force. that groups should go to the square to talk to the demonstrators. After 9:00 a. This order was not implemented and it had no practical results. The leadership of the Regional Party Committee failed to unite in the decisive moments. rather. shown by those in charge of the Party organs in Plzen in their actions against the demonstrators made many People's Militia members lose their trust in the Regional and City Party Committees. that communists could not be trusted. students of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering). and kept sending Regional and City Party Committee cadres.000 people). to the square to debate with the demonstrators. misemployment of unarmed members of the People's Militia to reason with the rioters. It did not know that in a majority of the factories the measures had been accepted with approval. who had dispersed to some extent during the noon hour. the provocateurs were chased out. as well as the representatives of the City and Regional Party Committee who were there at the time. Comrade H failed to draw the proper conclusions. but he failed to assess the situation properly.. at a point when the crowds in the square consisted of about 500–700 people. for example. He was ignorant of the true state of affairs. were planning another demonstration in the afternoon (attended. or. and did not know that. it failed to take 193 Another Plzen factory. Even though the Regional Party Committee was told that the demonstrators. fearing they would otherwise be unable to keep their own factories "quiet. members of the People's Militia and Young Pioneers were being attacked and beaten. in the square. 116 . He was indecisive and issued confusing directives. or in teams of two—who often did not know each other—to try and talk the demonstrators into abandoning their action. according to some comrades. once again. and the view—espoused by some of the leading cadres. as party officials.Comrade Hlina to the effect that the square was being cleared.m. Comrade H . ready to deal resolutely with the reactionary scum. about 300 propagandists were sent there. These futile attempts were continued. And even in some sections of the Lenin Works. by 12. and that it was better not to call them up since they might join the demonstrators—allowed the demonstrators to riot with impunity.m. and other active communists who put themselves at the disposal of the Regional Party Committee (e. but the directors and the local Party officials. and he lost control over the situation altogether. and asked to be deployed against the demonstrators.

All participants at a special meeting of the leadership of the City Party Committee which took place on 23 June agreed on this assessment. The City Party Committee. attended to a variety of minor tasks. The mayor. They used it to shout: "We Want Free Elections!." "Long live Eisenhower!.000 members could not be trusted. who had been sent to deliver reports to Party meetings in the various factories. Even after four weeks. A number of contributors expressed a lack of confidence in the higher Party organs. and for having called Party meetings. stayed there even after these meetings had concluded. The Party meetings started at a time when lively discussions were already in full swing on the shop floor. etc. The party organization and the events of 1 June in the Lenin Works. The situation failed to mobilize the Factory Party Committee cadres to a higher state of readiness for the upcoming action. because they were concerned that disturbances could occur. The head secretary of the City Party Committee. as groups of workers discussed Comrade Brabec's speech. the leading Party organ in Plzen. he entered the building in order to speak using the city public address system. instead of meetings of all employees (Comrade K ). he agreed to let the leaders of the demonstration enter City Hall and allowed them to take over the public address system. On Comrade 's instructions. but he failed to direct anything. The leadership of the City Party Committee did not meet at all in the course of 1 June. Comrade ." and the like. They are offended and threaten to resign their posts (Comrade N ). he wanted to address the demonstrators from his car in front of the City Hall. failed to do its duty. Members of the leadership of the City Party Committee. What did the City Party Committee do on 1 June? The City Committee had totally underestimated the significance of the currency measures. a whole range of Social Democratic views was expressed. and he made inquiries about the situation in the square." "Death to Communists!. and came to regard the arrival of the People's Militia and other units from Prague as the only solution.measures to stop it. and allowed the gradual assembling of a huge number of people in the square. where he spoke over the factory public address system. Both the City as well as the Factory Party Committee failed to pay attention to signals which emerged in the factory-wide consultation of the chairmen and instructors of the Party cells on Sunday [31 May]. or mobilize the employees (there were at least 100 of them. and it failed to even consider the possibility that the measures could be used by the class enemy. Comrade M . and they included armed members of the Civil Defense Command) because we always speak of how capitalists fired into workers and that he was unable to allow anything of that sort to happen. 117 . Even though he realized he was dealing with a reactionary provocation. The leading comrades resigned themselves to think the Plzen Party Organization with its 28. They refuse to accept any blame for the poor performance of the City Party Committee. played a peculiar role. none of its leading members realize the implications of these events. These officials take umbrage at the Regional Party Committee demands for a more detailed and deeper analysis of the events." "Long live Free Europe!. Comrade M has tried to justify his actions by claiming that he could not close the doors of the City Hall to the demonstrators. In the course of the discussion. He went to the Lenin Works. Since the demonstrators shouted him down. they blame the Central Committee of the Party for having mobilized the Party too late. and it exhibited the worst kind of opportunism and defeatism.

and they continued in fruitless discussions and haggling over details. who seriously injured a number of the defenders. Several courageous comrades. Even though a majority of communists eventually resumed normal work activities. they failed to back the measures adopted by the Party and government with sufficient vigor. They were led by the organizers of the 1951 strike. went out in the streets. in the Machine Building Works No. reached the gate with only about half of its members. informed the chairman of the Party organization. In the meantime.The committee and membership meetings were too long. a large number of the remaining employees. but they were given a free rein. and did not take part in the demonstrations. headed by the Chief Engineer. Instead. Comrade B . and they failed to mobilize communists to struggle for the implementation of the decisions.. Even the detachment of the People's Militia. and a Regional Party Committee official. The communists would not be disturbed.4. that the director. were returning to the factory (to pick up their things. communists debated details of the adopted measures for a long time behind closed doors. who knew exactly what was at stake. which took place during the noon hour. 1. whose seditious activities in the factory were known.000 Party cells. but they decided not to interrupt the meeting. they banged on the doors and shouted that at least some of the (Party) officials should meet with them. and defended the entrances. as some comrades had made themselves scarce along the way. Numerous non-Party employees demanded explanations of some issues. where the pressure was greatest. represents the most disgraceful aspect of these events for the entire collective of the Lenin Works and all 11. Comrade K . 118 . influenced by reactionary elements. in that they stood idly by as the Reaction ran rampant. that everyone is supposed to go to the square because a (cabinet) minister would speak there) to lure a number of politically immature workers. Comrade J . 4. watched this unequal struggle indifferently. and go off the shift as if they had worked. A large proportion of communists in the Lenin Works remained opportunistically passive. Following a long mobilization carried out by the comrades of the Factory Party Committee. and in the Machine Building Works No. and. The struggle for Gate No. the communists failed to take measures to make the employees leave the factory yard and go back to their shops. Even after the meetings had ended. as if it were a theater performance. So. iron rods and even firearms. and failed to use the available communists to prevent the others from leaving the workplace. in some cases. The comrades inside the factory saw through their design. they failed to give support to Party officials and to active and honest Party members who defended the measures and tried to forestall the provocations. Comrade C . about 150 comrades assembled at the gate. The supervisor. i. would give a speech by the main factory gate. Several hundred demonstrators. they nonetheless exhibited a passive attitude. who had taken part in the rioting in the city. especially Gate No. made plans to leave the workplace. armed with cobblestones. who then left their places of work. where a considerable segment of the employees left their workplaces. a lot of time was spent on details which had been fully clarified in the daily newspapers and on the radio. In the Locomotive Works.3 [v oddeleni strojirny 3] ( TSH ) the meeting of the Party members and foremen lasted until 8:00 a.e. Communists inside the factory. in order to allay suspicions that they had taken part in the demonstration). sent to defend the gate. A situation similar to that in the Machine Building Works No. It was similar at ET Doudlevce. for example. Organizers of the demonstration used a variety of pretexts (for example. 3 arose in the Locomotive Works.m. defended the factory against several hundred enraged provocateurs.

Comrade R . He left the factory and spent the entire period in question at home. The chairman of the Factory Committee of the CSM. Its leaders do not even know how many members the organization has in the plant. which. and even the officials of the workshop councils failed to call together their section trustees. and of the utilization of the transmission levers the Party has in the mass organizations. a general conference of the factory council. but he himself did not take part in it. Comrade N . apart from some members of the Factory Council. and their militant drive to realize the implementation of the measures was not safeguarded. to assign specific tasks to them. but neither he. It was addressed by a member of the bureau of the Regional Party Committee. the quality of its work has deteriorated significantly in recent times. The secretary of the CSM was helping the Factory Party Committee in the course of the events. among other things. including members of the CSM195 took part in the provocations and the strike in the Lenin Works. a chance to use the mighty assembly of 500 of the best workers of the entire Lenin Works was wasted. did call a meeting of the Factory Committee. Following the expanded session of the Regional Party Committee. nor the prospective leaders of the youth association are being identified. He acted as liaison. . In the plant. The situation in the Czechoslovak Youth Association group in the Lenin Works. On Monday. did not say anything. a member of the leadership of the City Party Committee (BMV). The group lacks of cadres. on their own initiative. the trade union organization remained inactive.194 who was supposed to address this issue. in which 500 elected delegates participated. They did not. According to a decision made by the District Committee of the Czechoslovak Youth Association. neither the able workers. Both in routine work as well as during special actions. The present condition of the youth organization in the plant is very serious. outlined to the delegates any concrete measures needed to safeguard it. The worst kind of passivity was exhibited by the organization in ET Doudlevce. Nothing was said about what would need to be done in the workplaces on Monday. tasks are assigned. The use of the trade unions and the Youth Association reflects a profound lack of understanding of the leading role of the Party. A number of the members of the Factory Committee of the CSM elected at this year's conference became inactive soon after the election. Despite the presence of several communists on the committee.The activities of the trade unions in connection with the implementation of the currency reform and the events of I June. and assumed that it would proceed quietly. the individual associations of the trade unions did not prepare any significant measures to safeguard the currency reform. to the cadres of the mass organizations who are being used to 194 195 BMV refers to byro mestskeho vyboru (Bureau of the City Committee) Ceskoslovensky svaz mladeze (Czechoslovak Youth Association). was completely absorbed by the dissatisfied employees. Thus. youth meetings were supposed to take place on Monday. Among the huge masses of young people in the Lenin Works. Work with the cadres is not being given sufficient attention. nor any of the other leading comrades. primarily. about the political significance of the currency reform. Comrade K . They underestimated its significance. took place on 31 May. The attitude of the youth on 1 June 1953 represents the culmination of these long-term defects. He spoke. 1 June. Many young people.

The proper time for it would have been between nine and ten a. Communists in the Regional National Committee did not react to the morning events in Plzen in any way. They began to leave the square—and fast. and then they were putting together a resolution. They asked to be persuaded of the correctness of the currency reform. Other mass organizations did not develop any activity during the critical period.m. including the Lenin Works. Communists. however. had the Communists of the Regional and City National Committees gone en masse to help the Regional and City Party Committee officials. In the streets of the city they were gradually joined by a little more than 3. But no one organized that. The performance of the City Hall (JNV) is characterized by the actions of Comrade Mainzer.. used to mobilize the broad membership mass of these organizations. are convinced that the demonstration could have been dispersed and liquidated in time.ensure the operative implementation of various small tasks. The incompetence shown by the leadership of the Regional Party Committee and the City Party Committee during the morning hours was reflected also in the mobilization for the afternoon counter-demonstration. The majority of the leading officials in Plzen. and changing money in centers. The plenum of the Regional Party Committee qualified this fact as an expression of the passivity of the party organizations in Plzen. and the communists of the Regional National Committee failed to show any initiative. they placed a People's Militia guard at the entrance into the building—to keep it under strict control. who were unable to mobilize a 196 KNV ( Krajsky narodni vybor) Regional National Committee. at which point all of the Plzen factories.000 people. organ of state administration. They are not. It was not until 5:00 p. as well as the Party rank-and-file. and allowed the Reaction to rage all over the city for several hours. The activity of the Regional National Committee196 on 1 June 1953. To make sure they would not be disturbed. the whole demonstration could have been dispersed just as it was getting started. that a group of about 800 communists assembled next to the exhibition grounds. the leadership of the Regional and City Party Committees displayed total indecision. The Committee clerks were on their posts—in their offices. possibly together with Peoples' Militia. The mere word of the arrival of a number of cars with People's Militia on the outskirts of Plzen was like a cold shower for the assembled demonstrators. Other employees were in their usual workplaces. and the demonstrators in the square numbered about a thousand.m. who number 300 in the Regional National Committee. 120 employees of the Regional National Committee took part in stock-taking in stores. and to mobilize an even greater demonstration in the afternoon. Comrades confirm that the organized arrival of the Prague People's Militia units made a great impression. According to a number of the cadres. officials of the Party cells. as well as of the incapacity of the party leadership. were meeting until 10 o'clock. and they were not being mobilized to any activity by the Party. were operating normally. On 1 June 1953. Instead of dispatching a large group of communists. 120 . The Party organization in the Regional National Committee represents a typical example of opportunistic passivity in a Party organization.

Under the influence of alarmist and provocative news. On Tuesday. spread throughout the district by Lenin Works employees. the bureau of the Regional Party Committee dealt with. factories and localities of the Plzen region. problems with government ministries. and the end of May 1953. matters within the competence of factory management. On 24 March and on 3 May 1952. The deeper causes of the events in Plzen are rooted in the bad work of the Regional Party Committee. caught trying to flee the square. The Regional Party Committee did not deal with this matter any further. the districts were not mobilized. the situation has shown no improvement. the work of the leadership of the Regional Party Committee and of the Regional Party Committee itself was evaluated. which prefers one-sided solutions of economic matters and fails to integrate them with Party-organizational and Party-political work. Matters submitted by the management of the Lenin Works to the bureau of the Regional Party Committee for their consideration included economic issues. The counter-demonstration did not take place until after the People's Militia and the army had cleared the square and reestablished order. In both cases. Almost in every one of its sessions. was not dealt with even once during the entire period. The fact had been noted by the Regional Party Committee as early as 30 October 1952. etc. a secret police (STB) official forbade the taking down of a picture of Benes from the City Hall—to avoid "antagonizing" the demonstrators unnecessarily. especially in the Party cells. The hopeless conduct of the security organs is illustrated by the following incidents: After the morning demonstration. Other secret policemen twice brought provocateurs. The bureau of the Regional Party Committee only dealt with the situation in these factories on the initiative of the Lenin Works management. and measures to ensure normal operation of factories had not been adopted. as they failed to intervene vigorously at the very beginning. as it dealt with the document on the methods of work employed by the regional Party organization in Hradec Kralove. and tried to hand them over to him. such as improving the social composition of the Party in Plzen.larger demonstration than the anti-state demonstration organized by a handful of provocateurs. to Comrade H . at great length. there was a general tendency to blame the start of the demonstrations on the security organs. important aspects of Party work. The indecisive conduct of the security organs during the morning hours has been the subject of sharp criticism among the workers. 2 June. various provocations and unlawful assemblies in a number of districts. there were strikes. and ways of remedying them pointed out. In the confusion which reigned at the regional level. In the evaluations of the events. the comrades forgot to inform the District Party Committee about the events in Plzen and have them adopt countermeasures. organs of state administration and the like. the comrades admitted self-critically that the Regional Party Committee devoted itself exclusively to economic matters and failed to approach problems from the perspective of Party work. In the 14 months between 1 April 1952. The adopted decision stated that the decision of the Central Committee on Hradec Kralove should be considered by all departments of the Regional Party Committee and the District Party Committee. the bureau of the Regional Party Committee did not deal with the questions of Party work in the Lenin Works once. Even though these shortcomings and their causes had been thoroughly analyzed and revealed. problems connected with cooperation with other enterprises. By contrast. 121 .

Mass political work The most significant defect of mass political work is the weak personal agitation. The teaching staff. The City Party Committee failed to implement the decision of the Political Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CPCz with regard to the point which assigns the tasks needed to develop mass political work. in discussions. professor K ____. predominate. an intensification of the activities of class enemies. Following the dissolution of local organizations in the city. as a rule. or to show people how much they would be paid. and who primarily dealt with the factory management. It did not try to gain insight into the problems of Party work in the Lenin Works. The Party organizations in the factory are hardly concerned with internal Party issues. however. and a proliferation of various opportunistic and reactionary views. was arrested and charged 197 Here the report provides additional statistical material on the party organization in Plzen 122 . propaganda work among the inhabitants almost came to an end.. It failed to assume any responsibility for the activities of the Party organization in the factory. the largest Party organization of the Plzen region lacked the firm guidance of a higher Party organ. economic problems. Thus. they were not utilized at all. and with the fact that the overall plan was being fulfilled. only about 350 attended a seminar. The contact with the Lenin Works was gradually monopolized by the former secretary of the City Party Committee. the City Party Committee lost contact with the factory. The events of 1 June are proof that our agitation has been formalistic and passive. the responsibility for Party work there was transferred to the City Party Committee.300 agitators on its list. to point out the great economic and political significance of the currency reform. agitators and officials in charge of propaganda were unable to give even rough summaries of newspaper accounts. a decrease in the organization's activities. mass political work and the activities of communists in the trade unions or in the Youth Association. Following the transfer of Comrade M_ to an economic position. and other than the May Day campaign. Even though some meetings are prepared with a correct agenda. it seemed to be satisfied with some of the economic successes achieved by the factory. This resulted in a deterioration of Party work. and what they would be able to buy.The City Party Committee in Plzen has worked very much like the Regional Party Committee. criticism of the subcontracting factories and of ministries and their administrations etc. which. Following the abolition of the Lenin Works Party district. who was interested in economic matters to the exclusion of everything else. Comrade M_ . unselfishly and with great vigor. in particular. communists failed to address the workers boldly and openly. Apart from a small segment which fought for the implementation of the Party and government decision with all their hearts. will have to be thoroughly screened. Already on 1 June. Even though the City Party Organization has about 1. an instructor of the courses preparing workers for university studies. and has devoted little attention to the Lenin Works. The situation in schools The situation in the schools in Plzen has been quite unsatisfactory. has so far failed to realize this responsibility. On 1 June.

However. Among the pupils. if relevant. one pupil. as spies and informers.. Its powers were considerable. and that the police (SNB) are brutal. as well as the reasons why these had taken part in the events. the very composition of these commissions fails to guarantee that they will accomplish that task. In this connection. A proposal to expel additional 18 students is being prepared. They claimed our government had fled the country. A number of the pupils greeted the demonstrating provocateurs with enthusiasm. consisting of the chairman of the shop council. Members of the commission were not selected according to how they had proven themselves in the course of the events and how they had defended the policy of the Party and government. stated she was not sorry for the People's Militia member beaten by the mob. or. in which 1. and. or the class origins of the individual participants etc. kadrove odd leni. A case in the fourth grade of a secondary school. denounced four Young Pioneers who had correctly defended the decision of the Party and government. has been identified. that Comrade Zapotocky was not elected by the people. in Plzen. Individual cases are investigated superficially. the chairman of the Party cell. Pupil S . Its function in the factory was highly political. Even before 1 June 1953.400 people from the Lenin Works had taken part. An investigation revealed that the chairperson of the Young Pioneer Organization of class 4B in a secondary school had behaved in a most reactionary manner. Other members of the organization's council had acted in a similar manner. as a result. commissions were set up in the individual departments with the task of identifying the individual participants in the demonstration and the strike. 123 .with anti-state activities. H . essentially. means literally the Cadre Department. 4. [. Some facts are being concealed. 198 The Czech term. representative organs. The worst situation is at the Higher Social and Health School.. the activities of the teacher D are being investigated. At Secondary School No.. that it is cowardly. There are feelings of false solidarity among the workers. a member of the Youth Association committee. serious shortcomings are evident in their work. who tore out those photographs from a number of his classmates' books. the Cadre Department198 had proposed the expulsion of 23 students. The activities of those commissions are not firmly controlled by anyone. where pictures of Comrade Gottwald were being torn out of books. wrecking activities in the Czechoslovak Youth Association. the daughter of a locksmith in the Lenin Works. and a representative of the factory Cadre Department. there are some whose parents had been arrested and convicted of political offenses. The reasons for the expulsions: Western orientation. Reactionary elements were found also among the Young Pioneers. many people claim to know nothing and remember nothing. The work and moral profiles. and it maintained very close relations with the Party and the Secret Police. are not being exposed. They are. The Party organizations in the factory were unable to create an atmosphere in which honest workers would actively expose the individual provocateurs and saboteurs. a representative of the department. The situation in the Faculty of Medicine is also bad. ridiculing the friendship with the USSR. anti-state activities of the parents. a teacher. So far.] Conclusions drawn from the events of 1 June 1953. P . is under investigation. in the Lenin Works. Following the events of 1 June 1953.

Another engineer. the father of six. 124 . were constantly spreading Americanism in their department. in Machine Building Works No. while four cited hunger as their reason. the son of a former District Administrator. and related to their co-workers the details of programs broadcast by Radio Free Europe. or that they weren't sure how the advances would be paid out. The reasons the participants in the strike and the demonstration use most frequently to justify their actions include claims they did not know what would happen with their wages.199 enticed his co-workers to strike.e. The emergence of conciliatory and overly moderate moods is tied to the plenary Party meetings which took place on 4 June. demanding punishment for the culprits. He was one of the instigators of the action. nor any other Party or trade union organ has yet evaluated those activities. Two reactionary draftsmen of the Construction Division. the Party organs in Plzen have failed to make sure that the true faces of the organizers of the demonstrations and disturbances would be exposed to the broad masses of the working people. There is a tendency to reduce the punishments and apologize for the participation in the demonstrations. They kept bringing American magazines. Some commissions have even allowed the demonstrators themselves to determine the extent of their own punishment. Their work has not been either evaluated or supervised by anyone. For example. or the requirement of a certain number of hours of volunteer work. S . The commissions impose penalties mechanically. Most commissions have been very moderate in their approach. and neither the Lenin Works Party Council. As far as the commissions are concerned. The measures carried out by the commission do not concern the trade union. Individual cases the commission dealt with: The workers Frantisek S . The activities of the commission have not been surveyed. In most cases. resolutions had been adopted approving the decisions of the Party and government. Others listed curiosity as their main motive. Even though it is well known that the focal points of the provocations were the TS Hall200 and ET Doudlevce. no distinction is being made between demonstrators and those who had been misguided. an engineer. 1. the father of two. hates the people's democratic regime. S and P . and that they haven't been given a proper sanction by anyone. TS Halla in the original. it must be said that they have not been put together correctly. S . i. The proposed penalties have not yet been approved by the trade union membership. The proposals of the individual commissions indicate that radically different punishments are being imposed for identical infractions. which was one of the focal points of the demonstration. At those meetings. it does not use it to strengthen its authority. and were fawning on Western technology. without examining the cases more deeply. but returned to his workplace himself. and Vaclav P . as his ideal of socialism. P is a right-wing Social Democrat who regards Sweden. took part in the demonstration because they had nothing to eat at home. where the concentration of reactionary elements is the greatest. The trade union organization is not in charge of the operation. resulted in serious mistakes. the punishment involves the loss of a portion of one's vacation. Such cases will have to be reopened. in some cases. In most cases. the commission proposed that four employees be expelled from the trade union and that the vacation time of all the other participants be cut by between one and ten days. that they lost their savings.The inadequate control of the commissions is reflected in their uneven approach which. how many days of their vacation time they would give up. The worker P did not go to work because he was too weak from hunger. and its transition to socialism.. 199 200 The term District Administrator (okresni hejtman) was used in the pre-war period.

a significant incident. the reactionary incident could have been avoided. At that. and that any discussion concerning the details must await the successful achievement of the battle objectives. they could not conceive of the possibility of reactionary provocations in the Lenin Works. 1) The Regional and City Party Committees failed to draw any conclusions from the fact that a City Party Conference had taken place in the absence of 168 chairmen of Party cells. This lack of preparedness and carelessness derived from an entirely reckless underestimation of reactionary activities in Plzen factories. as in their absence the Reaction was able to develop its activities freely. but instead kept meeting until eight or nine o'clock. behaved in a defeatist manner in the face of the Reaction. nothing more has happened. The comrades in Plzen acted in a manner which was exactly opposite to those instructions. In those meetings. together with the Regional Party Committee. that the currency reform represented yet another heavy blow against the capitalist elements. thereby isolating themselves from the rest of the employees. which realized very well. Since then. The City Party Committee was itself insufficiently mobilized. The 125 . and. indeed. A conference of 500 of the best union officials of the Lenin Works was not utilized to ensure the implementation of the decision of the Party and government. including the head secretary Comrade Hlina. and. and had all Party organizations and the Party members in Plzen fulfilled their Party obligations. according to which they were to be in a state of full battle readiness in order to assure the implementation of the decision of the Party and government. according to which. [and] stage provocations and acts of violence.and promising loyalty to the Party and government. occurred in the City of Plzen on 1 June of this year. at the same time. been sufficiently prepared. out of whom 34 were from the Lenin Works. were guilty of a reckless lack of vigilance. even in their wildest dreams. In connection with the implementation of the currency reform. to break its hands off at the first inkling of an attempt to interfere with the measures adopted by the Party and government. to a far greater extent than some members of the Plzen Party organization. the unions have not come up with proposals how individual cases should be solved. however. the Regional and City Committees in Plzen. are a testimony to that. they had to fight. used the unpreparedness of our Party in Plzen to organize demonstrations. The Reaction was only able to resort to demonstrations and rioting because the Regional and City Party Committees had been confused. and. both politically and with regard to their organization. and because some of the Party organizations displayed strongly opportunistic passivity. in the course of the events. The Reaction. Resolution concerning the events of 1 June 1953 in Plzen. The Regional Party Committee itself. had failed to pay sufficient heed to the correct instructions given to them at the expanded session of the Regional Party Committee. Statements made by some of the leading comrades. had the higher Party organs. 2) The Factory Party Cells which failed to hold brief meetings to attend to the appropriate battle assignments. organized by the Reaction. failing to realize that. communists spent a long time mulling over details of the currency reforms and questions of Party policy. it failed completely. since the Reaction is bound to be heavily affected by the currency reform. and be a lesson to the other workers. a major step in the construction of socialism in our country. in a battle. The nature of the punishment offers no guarantee that it would assist in the moral education of the individual delinquents. it failed to ensure the proper instruction of the reporters to the Monday morning membership meetings of the organizations which had not been represented at the Party Conference.

It would have given the Reaction a chance to find out about the action of the Central Committee well before it could be launched. 126 .m. the Party organizations and the revolutionary working class. [This failure] seriously undermined the ability of Party organizations to take action.e. The Party organs and organizations are largely concerned with economic problems and they fail to pay due attention to mass political. and some organizations behaved disgracefully on 1 June—such as the one in the Regional National Committee where the comrades simply kept working instead of coming to the aid of the City Hall which was being attacked by the storm troops of the Reaction. Party officials and other Party members to agitate201 among the rioters instead of concentrating our forces and deploying them to crush and detain the provocateurs and hooligans. They fail to address the broad masses of the working people in order to explain and clarify the burning political issues of the day. Nonetheless. apart from having breached state discipline in the matter of the payment of the wage advances.00 a. The situation in the Lenin Works was exacerbated even further as a result of the fact that. but a portion of the Party membership as well. The Party leadership allowed our forces to dissipate. the more brazen did the Reaction become in misusing the people. organizational and internal Party activities. The major shortcomings of the local organizations must not be overlooked.m. He did so by giving an unprepared speech over the factory public address system at 6:00 a.. it sent small groups of unarmed militiamen. 4) The underlying causes of the failure of the Party in Plzen on 1 June are rooted in the general condition of the leading organs and organizations in Plzen. Some even voiced the opinion that the Central Committee should have informed all Party members about the impending currency reform ahead of time. for the most part. Their attitude thus disoriented not just the organs of state and public security. but also the Party's People's Militia. acted contrary to the decision concerning the measures to be adopted by the Party to ensure the successful implementation of the action.. The more bewildered was the Party leadership. before the Party organizations could prepare for their political and propagandistic activities in their membership meetings. but. then at least at a time which was suitable for it (between 9. the mistakes of the Regional and City Party Committees must not be excused either. it must be said that the overall Party organization in Plzen would have been able to nip the reactionary activities in the bud—had it been properly led. not just the non-Party employees. Comrade Brabec. The failure to concentrate more compact forces in the struggle against the hooligans in time also derived from the lack of confidence in our strength and in our Party membership. the forces of the Party and of the revolutionary working class—if not at the very outset.behavior of those comrades is rooted in their failure to comprehend the principles of democratic centralism and Party discipline. where some communists stood idly by as courageous comrades defended Gate Number Four against reactionary onslaughts. This politically ill-prepared and ill-timed action of the director disoriented. Our Party organization in Plzen has considerable shortcomings. The higher Party organs fail to clarify to the local Party organizations such basic 201 The term used in the original is agitovat. incorrectly regarded the reactionary moves as expressions of popular discontent. and. the director. for a long time.). or in the Lenin Works. 3) The bewilderment and defeatism of the Regional and City Party Committees in the face of the Reaction were manifested in their inability to put an end to their savagery by means of a decisive intervention of the organs of state power. i. This attitude challenges the role of the Central Committee as the leading organ of the Party. Emphasis in the original. The leading comrades who directed the Party activities in implementing the currency reform failed to distinguish in time the class enemy from the mass of the people. by the same token.00–10.

The City Party Committee has failed to lead the local organization in the city properly.. in cadres' conferences. 2) To draw organizational consequences in the cases where the comrades are not willing or able to carry out self-criticism as well as in those where neither criticism. The Lenin Works Factory Party Committee directs the local Party organizations in a largely administrative manner.Party concepts as democratic centralism. and to increase the activity and the fighting power of Party organizations and the Party organs. i. Obtained and translated by Oldfich Tuma. The reactionary action and the failure of the Party on 1 June must serve as a serious warning to all Party organs and organizations in Plzen. f. ar. A large Party organization such as the Plzen city organization must be able to deal with the Reaction and lead the working people in the successful realization of all goals connected with all aspects of the construction of socialism in our country. and are consequently of little use when it comes to pushing fundamental ideological problems through to the membership at large. offering better guarantees of correctly carrying out Party policies. weaknesses and ambiguities in Party life and activities. 02/3. the quality of mass political work. National Committees. the correct implementation of the leading role of the Party etc. not just within the Party itself. rather than inspiring them to vigorous political activity. nor self-criticism helps remedy their mistakes and improves the quality of their Party activities. Source: Archive of the CPCz Central Committee (AUV KSC). in local Party organizations and in the Party groups of factory administrations. in order to consolidate the membership ideologically. . It even fails to ensure the fulfillment of the basic obligations—such as the holding of regular monthly meetings by all local organizations and members' participation in them—which are required by the Party Statutes. This criticism and self-criticism must deal with all activities of Party organs and organizations. in order to forge the membership into a battle formation of like-minded people. suzek 43. Criticism and self-criticism are not used in uncovering and overcoming mistakes. but also in the mass organizations. The campaign must be carried out—in the spirit of our Party's policies and in keeping with the principles of Marxism-Leninism—in all Party committees. This has been true especially in the case of the large Lenin Works organization. The mistakes and shortcomings can only be overcome if they are mercilessly exposed first. 23 28–54. Party discipline. and to develop broadly the organizational political work within the Party. dramatically. Such comrades ought to be replaced by others. The Party educational activities are largely oriented toward bookish methods. 3) To improve. it is necessary: 1) To conduct a campaign of thorough criticism and self-criticism in connection with the failure of the Party in the course of the events of 1 June in Plzen. The Regional Party Committee has failed to ensure that the City Party Committee should fulfill its political role correctly. mass organizations and organs of national security. to implement the Party Statutes in an efficient manner. The Statutes of our Party require that these concepts should be enforced systematically and effectively. In order to overcome and remedy the mistakes and failures of the Party organs and organization in Plzen.

Translation from Czech Item No.S. 17: Radio Free Europe Report on the Strikes in Plzeii during Early June 1953. in the factory of the Skoda Works in Doudlevce. Josef Mainzer is chairman of the National Committee in Plzen. The subsource was an eyewitness and active participant of the described incidents. government-run station with close ties to the CIA. For more information about Mainzer see Item Nos.1953.DOCUMENT No. 19. and Monitorings of 2.6. 8995/53 D 8 Sept I/11170 Czechoslovakia POPULATION Dissatisfaction LABOR Strikes RESISTANCE AND CRITICISM Demonstrations June 1953 Demonstrations in Plzen SOURCE MUNICH: A 31-year-old locksmith from Plzen who personally participated in the Plzen demonstrations. COMMENT: This is a very interesting report describing the Plzen demonstrations in detail. This report to RFE by a participant in the Plzen demonstrations provides a vivid glimpse of the popular unrest in Czechoslovakia. DATE OF OBSERVATION: June 1953 EVAL. The unrest in Plzen started on the first [of] June at eight a. 20.2. left 128 . 8 September 1953 Radio Free Europe was a U. economic grievances quickly escalated into political demands for the resignation of the government and free elections. As later occurred in East Germany.3.1953.m. Translation of the report is recommended. Attention is called to the part dealing with the laxness of police organs in the early stages of the demonstrations. It seems that the police [are] not entirely convinced of the rightness of the present regime.1953.: 5635/51 and 7496/53. At about that time the workers who had stopped work at six a.m. Its purpose was to broadcast a combination of news and commentary to the "captive nations" in East-Central Europe.

Subsource went at about 8:30 a. When he [unrolled] it he saw it was a picture of President Benes. which were hanging in every room. Subsource realized that something was amiss and ran to the main square." Subsource entered the City Hall. At this point subsource lost his interest in the local loudspeaker system and proceeded toward the military guard-rooms situated in the first floor of the City Hall. Subsource ran into the street and asked the crowd to enter the City Hall because the soldier did not want to hand [over] Mainzer. but somebody silenced her by throwing one of the pictures at her. Somebody was saying: "Keep calm. There was a crowd of nearly 2. However. On his way back somebody pressed a rolled sheet into his hands with the request to hang it out of the window.000 from the total staff of 45. At the same time the workers in the main factory of the Skoda Works (V. In the meantime the crowd in the square began shouting: "We want a free election. to Slovanska ul. out of the window. [Street] where a commission was exchanging old currency for new notes in a restaurant. [who] were asking an officer and a private who [were] on duty to hand [over] the chairman of the Local National Committee Mainzer who had taken refuge in the guardroom. comrades. Subsource adds that a number of workers left their places in the factories for the sole reason to avoid work for the day. Lenin) stopped work and were discussing and criticizing the currency reform. The square was at that time full of people who were shouting anti-Communist slogans. Hundreds of people responded. the officials left as soon as the crowd in the square appeared. Inside the building people were wandering from room to room." Then somebody put on the signal which drowned the discussion. Meeting with no resistance the people inside the City Hall began to throw pictures of Stalin. His attention was attracted by fragments of conversation coming from the nearby loudspeaker. Since there was a long queue trying to change the money subsource decided to come later. everything will settle down again. All offices were empty. He fastened the picture outside a window on the second floor. These people [later denounced] the participants in the demonstrations and caused their arrests.m. 129 . some of them overpowered the guards and left the factory. We want a new government. Subsource took part in this action. the policemen tried to close the main gate but were pushed aside by the crowd and subsource saw several people hitting a policeman.I. Subsource was not present and knows about these events from what he was told by his friends. the reason for their presence was to watch the actions of the others.the factory and proceeded in a procession to the main square in Plzen. The soldiers' reply was that Mainzer was not among them.000 people in the square including some workers from the Skoda Works in their overalls. There were already about 15 people in front of that room. Some workers in the crowd were known to be faithful Communists. one elderly Communist woman tried to reprimand the people standing near to her for their behavior. Since it was raining he entered the sky-scraper in Prokopova Street where he intended to [2 Lines Illegible]. The Work's Militia in the meantime closed and locked all workshops to prevent the workers [from] leaving the factory. Gottwald and Zapotocky. the offices of the local loudspeaker system are in the City Hall building. The seven or eight policemen standing in the entrance hall were not taking notice of the people who were coming and going. they were about 1. be quiet. They proceeded in groups toward the main square. Two people from the crowd managed to enter the room but the rest decided to leave. The pictures were trampled on by the people in the square.000 working in the Skoda Works. Subsource was informed of this by his friend who was employed in the said factory.

Two wooden pillars standing near the memorial and bearing red stars were burned. he was told that the victim was Mainzer.000 people. tried to close the gates. to clear the entrance they started 202 MASNA—state-run butcher store chain. The militia-men [were] followed by the Skoda Works' Fire Brigade. One militia-man stayed behind and began firing into the crowd—the demonstrators replied with stones. One man forced his way into the porters' lodge and demolished the telephone. Leaving the memorial the crowd proceeded toward the Skoda Works. however. they joined the demonstrators. brought that person into the street and beat him up. the van was brought by a young man who was accompanied by two girls. defeated and disarmed. was passed by a unit of militiamen.At about that time the police closed two of the streets leading into the square but further crowds were streaming into it from all directions." etc. In that moment a group of people standing near the office entrance tried to photograph the crowd. which counted about 3. The firemen joined the militia and tried to disperse the crowd. On the bridge they met another unit of militiamen. The entrance was closed and guarded. Then the crowd reached the fourth entrance to the Skoda Works. did not make use of their weapons." "Long Live Free Europe. Benes was followed by the demonstrators who were shouting various slogans. "We want free elections. the other a picture of Dr. Subsource went to look for his friends from the Skoda works and found them near a delivery van belonging to the Masna202. several officers were standing in front of the building but did not pay any attention to the demonstration procession. the demonstrators attacked their [truck] and the firemen together with the militia-men left their vehicles and ran for cover.m. however. The policemen avoided the crowd and disappeared [down] a side street. In the meantime one of the girls from the delivery van escorted about 100 workers from the workshops.S. In the Fodermayer Street somebody spat at the demonstrators from a balcony. The delivery van with the flags and the pictures of Dr. Benes. The group was immediately attacked and their cameras destroyed. The posters placed in front of the Masaryk memorial were torn down and destroyed. The young man was carrying the Czechoslovak flag. The delivery van left and the enthusiasm of the crowd was slowly ebbing away. The crowd tore down the red stars from two buses which had been parked [on] a side street and destroyed the flower bed depicting the Soviet star which had replaced the U. The demonstrators were advancing toward the Masaryk memorial. several demonstrators entered the respective house. The militia-man. After this incident the demonstrators left the yard and decided to wait outside for the morning shift to leave the factory. When the crowd reached Fodermayer Street subsource saw a group of people beating a man near a statue in one corner of the square. were. Army Memorial. i. The majority of the crowd was intercepted by a group of militiamen who. The crowd beat up several of them and the whole group disappeared. they were most probably on their way to guard the houses of some Communist officials. further on the procession. entered the yard and destroyed all propaganda posters they could reach. and some 50 policemen. they tried to persuade the demonstrators to leave the yard by speeches." "We want a new government. The group of young people with their delivery van stopped in front of the memorial and people sang the national anthems. They had to pass the Army HQ building. When the demonstrators were leaving the square they were intercepted by group of armed militia-men.e. The militia men [who] remained on the bridge [and] tried to intercept the crowd. one of the girls had the American flag. However. They started for the Skoda works at 10:30 a. The crowd crashed the gate. The crowd replied with blows. supposing that the demonstrators were afraid. They decided to proceed toward the Skoda works to meet the workers and from there to the Plzen broadcasting station in Lochotin. 130 .

The enraged crowd replied with stones and bricks and smashed all office windows. Before two p. This was the end of the riot for subsource and a lot of other people. The workers arriving for the afternoon shift did not enter the factory but joined the crowds. The following information [is an account of] the experiences of subsource's friends who did not take part in the demonstration in the Skoda Works but remained in the main square.000 people were arrested on June 1 and during the immediately following days. 31 . The City Hall windows were being systematically smashed. Those who had taken an active part in the demonstrations were arrested in the factory and sent to the Jachynov mines. In the afternoon the police together with the fire brigade tried to clear the square by playing water on the crowds. Somebody. They loaded them into three buses and left. one of them began to fire into the crowd and wounded one of the workers. The enraged crowd managed to enter the court building. One of the subsource's friends who was arrested heard one of the officers giving the following order: "Let the older ones get away but arrest those young spies." According to rumors. The demonstrators stopped them but their attention was immediately diverted to two buses from Prague. two military lorries appeared bringing officials of the Skoda Works.m. The militia-men alighted and began firing in the air.m. They intended to free the prisoners but could not succeed because the prison building was too strongly guarded. Subsource's friend L. Every demonstrator was called by the Security department of the Skoda Works which has their own police. everybody tried to disappear as quickly as possible and to avoid arrest. When the demonstrators left the square for the Skoda Works. was considered a demonstrator.beating people standing there with rifle-butts and the crowd started throwing stones and bricks at them. Every person who did not clock in or out punctually at two p. each containing about 40 fully equipped militia-men. Further three buses with militia-men arrived. managed to cut through the hoses. especially in the Skoda Works. Severe reprisals followed the demonstrations. Samberg [Samberk] was punished in this way. the militia-men encircled the crowd and started to arrest people at random. A tram car tried to pass through the crowd. further all those who had been denounced as strikers by their Communist fellow workers. about 3. Older workers who took a passive part in the demonstrations were dismissed and could not be employed for at least three months. all files were thrown out of the windows and burned in the square. They found one judge who was beaten up and thrown into the river. Near the railway station he was joined by a friend who told him that a mutual friend had been arrested and would be transported by a further bus. At about five p. but the people disconnected it from the electric net and beat up the driver. The militia-men succeeded to close one half of the gates. or had to work in the brick-yard in Cernice. however.m. the remaining crowd concentrated their attention on the building of the district court and the adjoining prison. the police supported by military units closed the square and began to arrest the young people who were taking part in the riot. some people were using for this purpose old coins of low denominations. They tried to ambush the bus but failed. Those arrested were being taken away by lorries. Subsource managed to run away.

Most active during the riots were the young people. They were guarded by soldiers. Order was restored by soldiers who encircled the cross and arrested several people. most of them militia-men who had been beaten to death. Only 100 workers leaving the morning shift joined the demonstrators. END Source: Radio Free Europe Records. This cross was donated by President Benes to celebrate the memory of American soldiers who were killed during the Liberation of Western Bohemia. On Tuesday the Skoda Works factory in Doudlevce was at a standstill. there is further a number of seriously wounded militia-men in various hospitals.Subsource heard that there were about six casualties during the riots. The statue was destroyed by members of the Youth Movement and some actors from the Municipal Theater. The older generation was more careful. On that evening somebody had placed a wreath to the cross and the population began to gather in the neighborhood. police and militia-men. Young workers and students. He says that the respective article published in the New Yorske Listy on 11 August does not give true information. 132 . On Wednesday evening militia-men clashed with the public near the so-called "Benes Cross" which stands in the park near the broadcasting studio. Several departments of the main works were idle. On Monday evening the Communists used the demonstrations as a pretext for the removal of the Masaryk Memorial. Several people who watched this action and tried to protest were arrested. Open Society Archive. He does not know anything about military intervention during the riots nor has he heard that the soldiers would have fired into the crowds. It came to several incidents with the militia-men. he assumes that the correspondent was present at some place in Plzen but most of his information received from a third person. Budapest. This can be also seen from the incident in the Skoda Works entrance. Subsource states that the demonstrators believed that the time for overthrowing of Communist Government had come.

Among the refugees are about 18. Formulated just three months after Stalin's death. Many refugees are workers.000 workers. 18: USSR Council of Ministers Order "On Measures to Improve the Health of the Political Situation in the GDR. over the course of four months in 1953 alone over 120. No. 7576-rs On Measures to Improve the Health of the Political Situation in the GDR As a result of the incorrect political line being carried out in the German Democratic Republic. ." Did this reflect a renewed Soviet interest in German unity? Cde. Malenkov ATTACHMENT to the order of the Council of Ministers of the USSR from 2 June 1953. including the workers. land-poor [peasants].000 employees and representatives of the working intelligentsia.DOCUMENT No. 447. TOP SECRET Council of Ministers of the USSR Order 2 June 1953. There is serious dissatisfaction with the political and economic measures carried out by the GDR among the broad mass of the population.000 people fled to West Germany.000. Thus. 8. at the center of attention of the broad mass of the German people. 133 . about 17.000 housewives. peasants. this edict from the USSR Council of Ministers to the SED severely criticized the policies party leader Ulbricht had pursued since July 1952 as "mistaken under current conditions. artisans and pensioners. . 7576-rs Moscow. From the corps of barracked police." The order aimed at stabilizing the GDR as well as strengthening the Soviet position "both in Germany itself and on the German issue in the international arena" by putting the "political struggle to reestablish the national unity of Germany . No." 2 June 1953 After intense deliberations over the nature of the growing crisis in East Germany and how to deal with it.610 members of the Free German Youth League.000 people fled to West Germany. Sneshnoi T. K. Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR G.000 middle peasants. there are 2. and over 24. a very unsatisfactory political and economic situation has developed. This finds its clearest expression in the mass flight of the residents of the GDR to West Germany. from January 1951 through April 1953. the Soviet leadership decided to reverse the program of forced socialization underway in the GDR. Kremlin To confirm the proposed draft resolution on measures to improve the health of the political situation in the GDR. and the intelligentsia. about 9. It is remarkable that among those who have fled to West Germany in the course of [the first] four months of 1953.718 members and candidates of the SED and 2.

The underestimation of political work amongst the intelligentsia should also be admitted as a serious mistake. a sharp fall in the mark's exchange rate. In the interests of improving the political situation of the GDR and strengthening our position both in Germany itself and on the German issue in the international arena. the ruin of a large number of small entrepreneurs-artisans. as well as securing and broadening the bases of mass movement for the construction of a single democratic. only the simplest form of productive cooperation by the peasants. peace-loving. In order to correct the situation that has been created. and the revocation of food ration cards from all private entrepreneurs and persons in the free professions. and even hostile relation to the existing order that is evident among a significant part of the intelligentsia. such as cooperation in the joint preparation of the soil without collectivizing the means of production. which also lacked raw materials. Such cooperatives. it is necessary: 1. evident in their underestimation of the influence of the church amongst the broad masses of the population and in their crude administrative methods and repression.It must be recognized that the chief reason for the situation that has been created is that. which have proven not to be justified on a practical basis and which have caused discontent among the peasantry. In particular. recommend to the leadership of the SED the implementation of the following measures: a) To halt the artificial establishment of agricultural production cooperatives. The matter has gone so far that at present more than 500. can be more or less viable. and the thrifty German peasants. usually strongly tied to their plots. given the provision of the necessary help to them. The social-economic measures which have been carried out in connection with this include: the forcible development of heavy industry. To recognize the course of forced construction of socialism in the GDR. as mistaken under current conditions. To check carefully all existing agricultural production cooperatives and to dissolve both those which were created on an involuntary basis as well as those which show themselves to be non-viable. independent Germany. can become an attractive example to the peasantry. In particular. 2.000 hectares of land have been abandoned and neglected. which was decided upon by the SED and approved by the Politburo of the CC of the All-Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in the decision of 8 July 1952. workers in domestic industries. have begun to abandon their land and move to West Germany en masse. the hasty creation of agricultural cooperatives in the absence of the foundations [necessary] for them in the countryside led to: serious difficulties in the area of supplying the population with manufactured goods and food stuffs. a mistaken course was adopted in accelerating the construction of socialism in East Germany without the presence of its real prerequisites. and others. instability. 134 . in keeping with the decision of the Second Conference of the SED [in July 1952] and as approved by the Politburo of the CC All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) [ VKP(b) ]. To keep in mind that under the present conditions in the GDR. the sharp restriction of private initiative. The political and ideological work being carried out by the leadership of the SED is not adequate for the task of strengthening the German Democratic Republic. All of this creates a serious threat to the political stability of the German Democratic Republic. both internally and internationally. It also set a significant stratum of the populace against the existing authorities. To a certain extent this [underestimation] explains the vacillations. which harmed the interests of a broad circle of small proprietors both in the city and in the country. serious errors have been committed with regard to the clergy.

in the political and social life of the GDR. Besides helping cooperatives for jointly working the soil. 135 . with a view to alleviating the pressure of taxation. and electrical energy. At the present and in the near future it is necessary to put the tasks of the political struggle to reestablish the national unity of Germany and to conclude a peace treaty at the center of attention of the broad mass of the German people both in the GDR and in West Germany. as well as fully guaranteeing food for the population in order to liquidate the ration card system of providing foodstuffs in the near future. fuel. To re-examine the existing system of taxing private enterprises. machine-rental stations must also serve individual peasant cultivation on a leasing basis. in agriculture. In distributing material resources. To assign special attention to political work among the intelligentsia in order to secure a turnabout by the core mass of the intelligentsia in the direction of active participation in the implementation of measures to strengthen the existing order. To re-examine the files of repressed citizens with the intent of freeing persons who were put on trial on insufficient grounds.b) to strengthen the existing machine-leasing stations as the main lever of influence on the countryside and as the fundamental means of helping the working peasant in the business of raising agricultural productivity. which has practically eliminated in them the stimulus to participate in economic life. to be incorrect. e) to implement necessary measures for restoring the health of the financial system and curtailing administrative and special expenses. g) to consider the wide development of political work among all the strata of the population to be one of the most important tasks of the SED. At the same time to consider it necessary to elevate significantly the role of the bloc of democratic parties and organizations. d) to re-examine the five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the GDR with a view to curtailing the extraordinarily intense pace of development of heavy industry and sharply increasing the production of mass consumption goods. to eradicate decisively the elements of the cold exercise of power. To restore food ration cards to private entrepreneurs and also to persons of the free professions. In the interests of stimulating the economic life of the Republic. To attain a position whereby the measures taken by the government are understood by the people and meet with support from the population itself. the appropriate changes in the existing criminal code. which is pushing the party organizations of the SED to unacceptably simplified and hasty steps both in the political and in the economic arenas. At the same time it is crucial to correct and strengthen the political and economic situation in the GDR and to strengthen significantly the influence of the SED among the broad masses of workers and in other democratic strata of the city and the country. and also in the area of trade. as well as of the National Front for a democratic Germany. not including in this its large-scale concentration. To introduce. c) to renounce the policy of limiting and squeezing middle and small private capital as a premature measure. from this point of view. f) to take measures to strengthen legality and guarantee the rights of democratic citizens: to abstain from the use of severe punitive measures which are not strictly necessary. to see to the apportionment of raw materials. To consider the propaganda carried out lately about the necessity of the GDR's transition to socialism. to recognize the expediency of the broad attraction of private capital in different branches of small and domestic industry. as well as to the provision of credits to private enterprises. as well as strengthening and raising the exchange rate of the GDR mark.

To oblige the High Commissioner of the USSR in Germany. and cultural establishments. 648-654. to eliminate the present shortcomings in the way the occupation regime is being carried out by Soviet troops. hospitals. To take measures in order [to ensure] that the presence of the Soviet occupation troops infringes upon the immediate interests of the civilian population as little as possible. [and] in particular. Document provided by Leonid Reshin (Moscow). 6. f." moving the emphasis of gravity to political work among them. where possible. 3. a wholly adversarial position in relation to this party should be rejected in the present period. The broad diffusion of scientific and political knowledge among the populace should be recognized as the basic form of anti-religious propaganda. Cde. especially in the area of supplying food. 153–161. 64. 3. speaks out. the SED and KPD. op. and the Supreme Commander of the Soviet occupation troops. Cde. it should be attempted. Semyonov. Source: AP RF. which have been occupied by Soviet troops. should ensure the use of flexible tactics directed at the maximum division of their opponents' forces and the use of any opposition tendencies against Adenauer's venal clique. to free up all of the educational premises. as the standard-bearers of the struggle for the aspirations and interests of the entire German nation. against the Bonn agreements. Taking into account the fact that at present the main task is the struggle for the unification of Germany on a democratic and peace-loving basis. Grechko. d. when specifying a general political line on this or that period and when realizing each concrete measure to strengthen the German Democratic Republic in the future.h) To put a decisive end to [the use of] cold administrative methods in relation to the clergy. 802. Keeping in mind that repressive measures toward the Church and the clergy can only serve to strengthen the religious fanaticism of the regressive strata of the population and their dissatisfaction. to organize joint statements against Adenauer's policy of the division and imperialist enslavement of Germany. Based on the fact that the political and economic condition of the GDR is one of the most crucial factors not only in the resolution of the general issue of Germany but also in the peaceful settlement of fundamental international problems. "Ein Dokument von grosser historischer Bedeutung vom Mai 1953. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie. 136 . albeit with insufficient consistency. 5. Instead. [Stamped by the General Office of the Administration for the Affairs of the Council of Ministers of the USSR]. 11. To end the oppression of rank-and-file participants in the religious youth organization "Junge Gemeinde. both the situation in Germany and the international circumstances as a whole. inasmuch as the Social Democratic Party of West Germany." Beitrage zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung 32:5 (1990). To recognize that the provision of economic aid to the GDR by the Soviet Union is necessary. it is necessary to take strict account of the real conditions inside the GDR. For this reason. and so on. To cancel all measures doing harm to the immediate interests of the church and the clergy. that is: the confiscation of the church's charitable establishments (almshouses and shelters). the confiscation by local authorities of neglected church lands. The German version of this document from the SED archives was originally published by Rolf Stockigt. the removal of state subsidies from the church. which a significant mass of workers continues to follow. to end the harmful practice of crude interference in the affairs of the church. the main means of combating the reactionary influence of the Church and the clergy must be carefully sought through explanatory and cultural-enlightenment work. 4.

" but demanded "frank corrections" of the existing policy. Our document is reversal." The meeting set the stage for the explosive developments over the next two weeks. Mikoyan: Without revision of the five-year plan (heavy industry). Frank corrections. yours is reform. Similar meetings. They also urged speed in implementing the new policies: "If we don't correct now. Beria: Correct fast and vigorously—that document you can take back again with you Kaganovich: [Popular] flight from the republic is bad. Grotewohl's sketchy notes are the only record of the three days of meetings to emerge thus far. summoned on short notice by the new Soviet leaders (listed below). no accusations. the Soviets insisted on a course "reversal" rather than minor modifications. Malenkov Beria Molotov Khrushchev Bulganin Mikoyan Semyonov Grechko Kaganovich Ulbricht Oelssner Gr[otewohl] Concerned about GDR Document on Measures for Improvement Read by Oelssner continuation at 10:00 on 3 June 6/3/53 Continuation the same composition Malenkov: the starting-point for everything has to be a change in conditions in the GDR. Otto Grotewohl and Fred Oelssner arrived in Moscow. a delegation of SED leaders consisting of Walter Ulbricht. therefore correcting it in a way that all of G[ermany] can see it. greatest [degree of] voluntarism. if we don't correct [the situation] now. they indicate that the Soviets admitted that "we all have made mistakes. took place with other Central European communist leaders in the following days. When the East Germans tabled a draft proposal that called for less drastic changes than the Council of Ministers' decree of 2 June. 19: Otto Grotewohl's Notes of Meetings between East German and Soviet Leaders in Moscow." Malenkov argued ominously. Malenkov: Not to worry about prestige.G. "a catastrophe will happen.DOCUMENT No. 137 . Beria: We all have made mistakes. Khrushchev: L. Strikingly.P. 2–4 June 1953 On 2 June. though with less drastic consequences. Molotov: So many mistakes. the reversal is impossible Why iron and steel works since one can buy pig iron. a catastrophe will happen.

Calm work style.000 ha. Ulbricht: no panic within the L. One has to act quickly.Soul Lenin = NEP policy Delayed—lost much time. Obtained and translated by the editor. as contained in the documents given to us yesterday is correct. first small group Document no airplanes no tanks immediately [illegible] measures 6/4/53 [.] We recognize that the assessment of the political and economic situation in the G..R. 1) lowering of the requisition quotas 2) improve equipment of MTS food we want to help Mistake to do everything yourself since you can't.G. fallow—1/10 of the total acreage 2a) food—100.D. wheat 3) Five-year plan—heavy industry—effect on foreign trade and reparations 4) Situation of the working class (Social Insurance) 5) Elimination of the ration system 6) Extraordinary expenses (what and how) Garrisoned [People's Police] 7) Agents and espionage Source: Stiftung "Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der ehemaligen DDR" im Bundesarchiv (SAPMO-BArch).000 t. 1) Intention to submit it to Politburo 2) and to call for a meeting of the CC Plenum Oelssner will read Some questions'. 1) Socialism (Technical norms a[nd] socialist competition) Construction of the foundations of socialism—recently forced construction 2) Dissolution of LPG 500..P. 138 . DY 30 J IV 2/2/286.

139 .DOCUMENT No. Reference to the New Course announcement adopted 9 June and published 11 June.204 3) For the preparation of an organizational reform of Politburo and Secretariat policy toward labor methods.203 2) A comprehensive document self-critical of the Politburo and the Secretariat should be drafted and presented to the Central Committee of the CPSU. 6 June 1953 Upon the GDR delegation's return from its dressing down in Moscow. Minutes No. the SED Politburo. in the presence of Soviet High Commissioner Semyonov. a commission will be appointed. [Erich] Muckenberger Invited to the Session: Semyonov Excused: [Wilhelm] Pieck in convalescence [Hermann] Matern on vacation [Anton] Ackermann on vacation Chair: Grotewohl Secretary [for minutes]: Oelssner Discussed: 1) Debate on the report regarding the trip: Decided: 1) After extensive discussion by all comrades present. comprised of comrades: Ulbricht Zaisser Oelssner 203 204 Reference to the USSR Council of Foreign Ministers' decree. which formed the base of Ulbricht's power. 20: SED CC Politburo Minutes Discussing Moscow's Directives for the New Course. Specifically. a general consensus was announced on the submitted document. [Erich] Honecker. Unusual for Politburo minutes—and indicative of the changed atmosphere at this time—the meeting record admits to "extensive discussion" of the trip report. Oelssner. 33/53 of the Extraordinary Session of the Politburo of the Central Committee on 6 June 1953 Daily Order: Debate on the Report regarding the Trip Members present: Grotewohl. 2 June. Ulbricht. [East Berlin Mayor Friedrich] Ebert. The leadership decided that a document critically reviewing the past actions of the Politburo and Secretariat should be drafted. discussed the new policy that had been laid out by the Kremlin. Rau. [Rudolf] Herrnstadt. a commission would review the work of the two top party entities. [Wilhelm] Zaisser Candidates present: [Elli] Schmidt. [Hans] Jendretzky.

and hoping to increase acceptance of the New Course. Ulbricht and Grotewohl had sent word that all literature on the Second Party Conference was to be purged from East German libraries." See Grotewohl's letter to State Secretary Georgino. sharply attacked Protestant Church leader Otto Dibelius. see Udo Baron. Prime Minister Grotewohl met with "progressive clerics" in Berlin. pp. 206 In the context of the regime's "cold war" against the "Junge Gemeinde. on 5 June. On the ambivalent role of the church during the June uprising. [Otto] Nuschke 7) Comrades Zaisser. 1993). 10) The quarantine camps for returning refugees are to be immediately dissolved. in a communique published the next day. 5) All poster propaganda is to be immediately re-examined. that they would resist "unconstitutional interference and intrusions in economic and political affairs. pp. probably as a result of the Moscow talks and ensuing discussions within the SED Politburo. [Karl] Maron. Mitter. Grotewohl announced a series of measures aimed at relaxing tensions between the church and the regime. A corresponding press communique is to be released." Kowalczuk. Grotewohl's Aid Tschorn's minutes of the 10 June Meeting. Der Weg in die Anpassung (Munich: Oldenbourg. and demanded that the church change their leadership and accommodate the regime's policies. Denying that he had urged a fight against the church. 8) Confiscated properties of an ecclesiastical nature are to be returned to their previous owners. Grotewohl agreed to hold such a meeting on 10 June.Herrnstadt Jendretzky 4) Comrades Ebert and Jendretzky are charged with nominating a Berlin comrade to each of the committees appointed in the Politburo session of 5 June 1953. "Die Funfte Kolonne? Die evangelische Kirche in der DDR und der Aufbau des Sozialismus. On 27 May 1953. The Protestant leadership reacted by requesting.206 In the negotiations the following comrades should participate: Wandel Zaisser Grotschel Mr. SAPMO-BArch NY 4090/456. a meeting with the GDR government. see Gerhard Besier Der SED-Staat und Kirche. 9) Church subsidies are to be paid as planned. 10 June 1953. On the regulation of all outstanding questions in connection with the repatriation of previous refugees. Even before their return on 5 June. guidelines are to be drafted by the following commission: Zaisser Plenikowski Maron [Klaus] Sorgenicht Strampfer a colleague of Scholz 11) The planned summer camp for the physical training of SED members and candidates is to be aborted. assured the government. Further regulation of the affairs of the "Junge Gemeinde" is henceforth to be carried out through the Bureau for Youth Issues and not the Ministry of the Interior. and Wolle. 130–131.205 6) Comrade Grotewohl is authorized to negotiate with the Church leadership. 311–334 140 205 . to be published the next day." the SED had tried to drive a wedge into the ranks of the Protestant Church. While assuring the clerics the "right to freedom of religion. and the District Attorney are instructed not to introduce further measures against the so-called "Junge Gemeinde" and other church institutions in any way. NY 4090/456." Grotewohl characterized the "Junge Gemeinde" as an imperialist organization. for the text of the 10 June communique. in turn. SAPMO-BArch. The church leaders. Der Tag X.

[signed] W. 141 . and decided to dispense with these measures. Grotewohl Source: SAPMO-BArch. Translated by Christiaan Hetzner and the editor. DY 30 2/2/1.The following press release is to be issued: "The Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED has examined the question of the implementation of summer camps for the physical training of Party members and candidates. Ulbricht O. All preparations taken for this purpose are to cease." 12) Comrades Ebert and Jendretzky are instructed to suggest concrete measures with regard to Berlin.

21: Cable from Samuel Reber to U. Churchill's speech. and Vladimir Semyonov's appointment as Soviet high commissioner. as long as possibility exists and SPD can build appeal to voters around it. From: Bonn To: Secretary of State No: 5321. Department of State Outlining U. the Federal Republic's alignment with the West. 5 p. Perspectives on Four-Power Talks. Not (repeat not) at all essential to SPD that conference actually commences. which was privately pessimistic about its election prospects up to two months ago. hopes to find long-sought campaign issue in subject of four-power conferences.S.DOCUMENT No. INCOMING TELEGRAM Department of State ACTION COPY Control: 4780 Rec'd: June 13. and SPD best qualified party represent German interests if conference held. the SED communique provided new impetus to the controversy over the possibility of serious Soviet concessions on the German question. 1953 5:08 p. reports of impending Bermuda conference. Combined with Churchill's call for an East-West summit. plansfor a Western summit in Bermuda.m. 13 June 1953 This declassified cable from the deputy U. June 13. (A) SPD. presenting itself as only party in Federal Republic which is really working for German unity. (B) Divergencies in estimating Soviet readiness at this time to make real concessions on German unity. question of what type of settlement would actually be acceptable to various political groups. Semenov [Semyonov] appointment.S. the uprising that began three days later would be a welcome means to overcome divisions between Adenauer and his opponents and to strengthen his election campaign.S. high commissioner in Germany sheds light on the powerful impact of the New Course announcement on West German politics. As we see it. and (C) as contrasted with election pronouncements on subject. maintaining that only SPD is really in favor conference. As appears from our telegram 142 . indications of truce in Korea and recent events in Soviet Zone have given powerful impetus in Federal Republic to speculation and controversy over four-power talks. subject has three main aspects in Western Germany at present: (A) Potential effect of talks or prospect of talks on general election campaign. To many in Washington. (SECTION 1 of 2) SENT DEPARTMENT 5321 REPEATED INFORMATION LONDON 917 PARIS 1279 MOSCOW UNNUMBERED. only SPD has concrete ideas for conference. and Chancellor Adenauer's political survival as a proponent of Western integration in the forthcoming federal elections.m.

Even Chancellor and CDU209 are shifting to half-hearted public support for talks. and tempt coalition politicians to try to outdo SPD in pushing for unity at any cost. It is true that Chancellor outmaneuvered SPD in 10 June Bundestag foreign policy debate by placing party in position where it could not (repeat not) refuse to vote for Bundestag resolution containing declaration that united Germany must have freedom to ally itself with whatever country it pleases. Moscow. chairman of the Social Democratic Party.reporting Ollenhauer–Conant conference207 (pouched unnumbered Department. through U. support in his aim of delaying talks. from September 1952. even to extent of accepting further reparations for Soviets and principles of Potsdam as framework for talks. SPD apparently prepared go irresponsible extremes in advocating talks. Reber Source: NARA. however. 207 Erich Ollenhauer was a Social Democrat member of the Bundestag and. RG 59. no (repeat no) political party can afford public opposition to principle of four-power meeting which would treat unity problem.S.00/6–1353.N. Given present atmosphere in Federal Republic. create confused emotional atmosphere in Federal Republic. which would not (repeat not) be permitted to make other alliances. 762A. 209 Christian Democratic Union. Chancellor hopes to get U. We do not (repeat not) believe. Difficult at this time predict public impact current party line if SPD decides to push it as explicitly in campaign as it now does in private. While disclaiming neutralism. Given domestic political situation and apparent popular support for talks in France and Britain. London. regardless of what they think of prospects for success. party appears prepared to consider system of guarantees and non-aggression pacts for unified Germany to be underwritten by U. Paris.N. Chancellor and coalition leaders remain categorically opposed to talks prior to Federal Republic elections because they fear that SPD's exploitation of unity issue during talks would greatly reduce popular appreciation for Chancellor's foreign policy achievements. 6 June 1953) and from later Wehner208 interview with press. 208 Herbert Wehner was chairman of the Bundestag Committee on All-German Affairs. 143 . that this limitation on SPD utilization of unity theme would be maintained for long if SPD saw good election reason ignore its own vote. membership for united Germany. Ollenhauer and other SPD leaders have also frequently mentioned international position of Sweden as possibility for united Germany. Privately.

because they do not fulfill their obligations to the State. it seemed necessary to discuss certain questions in a wider range. the selection of cadres.] Cde. on the contrary. The quality of animal husbandry is not improving. 8–10. 211 Matyas Rakosi was the central figure in Hungary's Stalinist dictatorship. It was not proper to collect the entire sunflower and rice harvest. Malenkov: We view Hungary's situation with a critical attitude. They provide few commodities for the population. Kremlin. 2. there is evidence according to which the income of the co-operatives' employees is less than that of individually working farmers. As far as we know. After discussing these questions. and from 1952-1953 served simultaneously as prime minister. .000 cases of transgressions within 9 months. These transcripts. It is true that 75% of the persecutions were stopped. That cannot explain everything. are much fuller than Grotewohl's notes of the GDR leaders' meetings at the Kremlin in early June. certain questions of economic development. [. Persecutions were initiated against 250. and give an invaluable picture of Soviet-East European relations at the highest level. 13 and 16 June 1953 During June and July.000 people in the second half of 1952.DOCUMENT No. the situation is not too good there either. he was the head of the Hungarian communist party. the ways to correct the mistakes must be discussed. the new Kremlin leadership scheduled meetings with the heads of virtually all the East European satellites to impress on them the need to reverse Stalin-era industrialization and socialization campaigns and put an end to the systematic abuses of power. Without a thorough debate of the questions. 210 144 . All these provoked dissatisfaction among the population. they brought sentences in about 540. it is impossible to find proper solutions. 3. There are problems in the area of trade as well. . 13 June 1953210 Cde. certain questions of the state administration (abuses of power). the number is still rather high. To return to the [question of] co-operatives.000 families left the co-operatives last year. We would like the comrades to be critical as well. Malenkov: They had a discussion recently with Comrade Rakosi211 about the Hungarian situation. The facts that we are familiar with indicate that the situation in the field of agriculture is not good. He recommends as the procedure for discussion that the Hungarian comrades unfold their views primarily regarding three questions that relate to fields where not everything is in order in Hungary: 1. and to tell us their opinions about the problems. They say the harvest was bad. only recently discovered in the Hungarian archives. yet. Between 1944 and 1956. Many peasants are sentenced by the courts. Regarding the [agricultural] co-operatives. it is declining. After that conversation. In 1952. 22: Transcript of Conversations between the Soviet Leadership and a Hungarian Workers' Party Delegation in Moscow. There were excessive orders during the compulsory delivery of the [agricultural levy]. It is also a mistake that [only] a small sum is appropriated for investments in the field of This is clearly not a verbatim transcript since it first gives the Soviet statements followed by those of the Hungarian officials. Our impression is that the Hungarian comrades underestimate the problems.

it is not even possible to know exactly what the situation is now. it was brought up that certain questions should be discussed with more comrades.000 inhabitants—persecutions were initiated against 1. [ . Beria: He agrees with what Comrade Molotov said. the State Security Authority. The collective sector in Hungary could work much more effectively if the Central Leadership [KV] and the government paid more attention to agriculture. Several leaders replaced each other at the AVH and the M. Regarding the cadres. There is a large and well-qualified Hungarian emigre population in the West that keeps in touch with the leading foreign imperialist circles. The comrades who lead the KV and the Council of Ministers do not know the countryside well. others will send diversionists to Hungary. he was condemned in a secret trial and executed on 16 June 1958. 145 . established in 1948. This was not correct. after the Soviet-led invasion of Hungary. there would not be 750. The situation wouldn't be such that the peasants do not know how much levy they would have to surrender to the State the following year. When comrade Rakosi was here last time. It is to be expected that certain capitalist countries will try to flatter. A respectful comrade must be placed in the leadership of the Ministry of the Interior. But if the leaders are always studying.000 people? Administrative regulations were applied against 1. 213 Allamvedelmi Hatosag.500. a reform-oriented communist. but just so that they would get to know more comrades. The issue is not that Comrade Rakosi mentioned 30–40. The international and internal conditions will not always be this favorable. ] Cde. Regarding legality and law enforcement. Comrade Imre Nagy212 was excluded from the PB [Political Bureau] because he recommended that the collective movement should be developed more slowly. and they do not want to get to know the countryside.150.000 people within two and a half years. . they are not working. These numbers show that the interior and judiciary organs and the AVH213 work very badly. of the USA. The point is that the situation should become even better.000 arrested. and the Ministry of the Interior and the AVH must merge precisely because of this. and their number is somewhat higher. They have one goal: 212 Imre Nagy. fallow land. Comrade Malenkov is right. The Hungarian industry is not small. it would be possible to develop metallurgy and certain other industrial branches more slowly.500. Comrade Rakosi himself suggested this on several occasions. The large number of major investments contribute to the bad situation in the villages. to the industry that serves the population. The positions of the people's democracy are continuously becoming stronger. In that case.agriculture. This debt constitutes 400 million forints according to our information. It cannot be said that there is no improvement in Hungary. someone who will be able to change the situation that developed there. was Hungarian Prime Minister from 1953-1955 and OctoberNovember 1956. . Comrade Rakosi once again misunderstands us in this question. of Interior. And Hungary will be the object of the attention of many capitalist countries. This is exactly why now the internal situation must be strengthened. Could it be acceptable that in Hungary—a country with 9. The situation wouldn't be such that the peasants are significant debtors to the State. and of England for a long time. The situation wouldn't be such that the peasants leave agriculture and move into industry. Not that they do not trust Comrade Rakosi or that Comrade Rakosi does not represent Hungary. If the Hungarian industry were rectified and broadened a bit. This would allow them to pay more attention to light industry. The leaders are virtually turned into students.000 ha. Let us look at agriculture from this point of view. It is appropriate that many [of them] study. We must be stronger than we are now.

he overestimates himself. but it will not be there forever. Gabor Peter. but also in the Soviet Union. Malenkov: Here we are correcting the mistakes that we made in this area. in this context meaning non-Jewish. Cde. was arrested in 1953 for "trespasses against socialist legality" and sentenced to life in prison (from which he was freed in 1960). he says who should be beaten. It is said that many of them served Horthy. Hungarian. There is another way to improve the situation. There is law. But it will never be possible to know the truth this way. This is how we reach the point that Comrade Rakosi is never wrong. The other method: Comrade Rakosi directly directs the work of the Interior and AVH organs. knows the agricultural sector).to overthrow the existing authorities and to restore the power of the capitalists. Comrade Rakosi should remain at the head of the Party as a comrade rich in experience who is faithful to the cause of the Party. Those comrades who are here and the other comrades at home are not accidental [sic] people either. who should be arrested. confessed that he spied together with Gabor Peter. This intervention is not always appropriate. Comrade Rakosi would be even more likely to make mistakes. Later he withdrew his confession. the President of the Council of Ministers. Cde. we must prepare and become stronger so that nobody can do any harm to us. head of the Hungarian political police from 1945-1953. This way. One person is only one person. Why does he treat this question so extensively? Because it has great significance in the relations of the peoples' democracies. And there are many who are unsatisfied with the policies of the Party. 215 Hungarian. The personal intervention of the President of the Council of Ministers or of the Party's First Secretary in the questions of the Ministry of the Interior. Even Comrade Stalin made a mistake in this question. How investigations should be conducted. When Comrade Rakosi says the people would not understand if he were released from his position as First Secretary. 214 146 . a person arrested by the Soviet State security. This latter method is not correct. Thus. etc. 216 Admiral Miklos Horthy. A person that's beaten will give the kind of confession that the interrogating agents want. Comrade Rakosi tells who is to be arrested. all the other comrades are wrong. This [was] a serious mistake. He directly gave instructions for the questioning of those arrested. It is not right that he does everything. will admit that he is an English or American spy or whatever we want. Comrade Rakosi said that Peter could not be released because he had other sins. If comrade Nagy becomes the President of the Council of Ministers. innocent people might be sentenced. Comrade Nagy would be satisfactory as the President of the Council of Ministers (faithful to the Party. but feared. Comrade Rakosi does that. Therefore. This situation leads to a point where Comrade Rakosi will not be respected. [He] is the Party's [First] Secretary. there are two ways to improve the situation. It would be better if the President of the Council of Ministers were Hungarian. and the director of the AVH in one person. Today the Red Army is still in Hungary. reactionary regent of Hungary from 1920–1944. It is not right that Comrade Rakosi gives directions regarding who must be arrested. Bielkin. they must be supported. One of the methods: a responsible person is placed to the top of the Ministry of the Interior who becomes the supervisor of the area and corrects the mistakes. and everyone has to respect it. etc. Comrade Rakosi appears as a most important person.215 Comrade Stalin told Comrade Rakosi several times that the Hungarians should be promoted more. Two people were beaten at the AVH until they died. Beria: The issue of Peter's214 arrest.216 If they are honest people and now they serve us. It was not even right for Comrade Stalin to be everyone in one person. and how they should be interrogated must be left to the investigating organs. There are many elements in Hungary who could be exploited by the enemy.

This state of affairs is intolerable. There were 370 desertions in 1952. Cde. In 1952 and in the first quarter of 1953. there should be no dubious elements in the army. There were 1. The tendency for bossiness that plagued Comrade Rakosi as well originated in the Soviet Union. This is a children's disease. 147 . All that was said by the comrades authorizes me to observe that a catastrophe will occur if we do not improve the situation. Comrade Molotov: The comrades had a chance to become convinced that even though we are talking about Hungary. our people.460 officers and generals were discharged for political reasons.000 people in a population with 4. Bulganin: We had not discussed anything in advance. There are many facts that I only heard for the first time from Comrade Beria's presentation. But it is not possible to keep purging the army for 8 years. but the comrades have to get used to severe criticism. Of course.500. The speed of industrialization is exaggerated. we have no such habits. The army was not established in 1952. He [Molotov] agrees with Cde. It still has not been set up. They do not take into account the Soviet Union's existence. They punish for everything. the issue is not only Hungary. For instance. There have been many mistakes made in the economic field that must urgently be corrected. This is dangerous and detrimental to Hungary. Comrades. so that afterwards the situation would be like this? Comrade Rakosi's bossiness played a role in this. Is this why we chased the bourgeoisie away. The criticism is severe. The whole situation might be entirely different if the Red Army were not there. the Hungarian Workers' Party. This mistake must be corrected as soon as possible. sees everything and is capable of doing anything. but all the peoples' democracies.000 discipli217 Magyar Dolgozok Partja. it is not entirely correct. it would become clear that some of them are our friends. Continuously purging the army and keeping it in a feverish state means disarming the army morally and counterpoising it with themselves [with the Party]. He also agrees with what has been said about Comrade Rakosi. They want to invest 19 billion [forints] this year.000 violations during this time. They initiated persecution against 1. There is a disease in almost all peoples' democracies that leads them to want to establish autarky. There were 177. What happened in Hungary? The number of people working in industry grew by 500.Comrade Rakosi in his telegram misinterpreted the suggestion that Comrade Gero should be the Minister of the Interior. the population's standard of living has declined. They left the name and price of the material. The necessary conclusions must be drawn. They significantly worsened the quality of milk.5 million adults in three and a half years. The constitution was established in 1949 according to which a Bureau of State Attorney should be set up. It is a fact that the elements of power abuse exist. There is a virtual wave of oppression against the population. but the road to a catastrophe. This resembles fraud. It is intolerable and not allowable that the army is constantly being purged. Why was it necessary to discharge this many people for political reasons? If Comrade Rakosi and the KV looked at these 460 people. but they took the wool out of it.000 people within 3 years. We talk with you. they do not express the interest of the population in many questions. was formed in 1948 with the forced merger of the Social Democratic Party and the Hungarian Communist Party. and punish insignificant acts arbitrarily. The question of the army.500. there was [only] 57% wool in a particular fabric. Malenkov's and Cde. They have lost contact with the population. in a totally frank and honest way. This is not the road to socialism. They resort to all kinds of manipulations to ensure a forced industrial development. Is the MDP's217 political line correct? In my opinion. it is beyond our capabilities. Beria's speeches. Thus they turn honest people into traitors. He knows everything.

Cde. and. etc. he is still responsible for it. They are implementing [agricultural] collectivization without the appropriate economic basis. There are great excesses in the field of major investments. The construction of the metro could have waited 5–6 years. This is a serious mistake. to the people's democracies. soap. Comrade Beria's passionate criticism was aimed at helping to correct the mistakes.000 forints because he fed 1. until success blinded the leaders and they started to make audacious plans. The party newspaper reported [cases of] sentences in which [a] peasant was imprisoned for one year and fined for 3. the forced development of their own metallurgy.000 tons of coke. All this must be imported from abroad. They are building ironworks in Hungary for which nobody had promised the iron ore. Hungary used to be famous for her well-developed agriculture and for being a rich country. The amount of money invested in heavy industry has quadrupled since 1950. They draw up strenuous plans that they cannot fulfill. Mikoyan: Comrade Malenkov and Comrade Beria brought up these questions as openly as they would have [just] between themselves. Hungary has a debt of 360 million Rub. It was generally developing well until 1951. In 1952. The peasantry cannot respect a system like this. I have known Comrade Rakosi for a long time. They [Russians] helped based on the instruction from Comrade Stalin so that the ironworks would not stop. Everything is growing in Hungary. the co-operatives had a lower productivity rate than the individual producers. and in spite of this there were no protests in certain schools or hospitals. Rather thorough steps must be taken urgently to improve the situation. but the amount of goods provided for the population is decreasing. This is a sign of great trust and friendship. Certain comrades think that the Russian comrades did not form an entirely correct opinion when they directed their criticism against Comrade Rakosi. nor its own coke. There are many signals coming in that Comrade Farkas218 likes glamour too much and strives to present himself as a great commander. even the middle peasantry is in uncertainty because of the extremely rapid pace of 218 2l9 Mihaly Farkas. (Examples for decreasing quantity: textiles. a senior official in the Hungarian communist party and at one time Minister of Defense. Cde. The goods available to the populace in Hungary are of bad quality and expensive. There is a certain kind of adventurism in the question of economic planning. because they export those to try somehow to achieve trade balance. Khrushchev: He agrees with the criticism that the comrades developed.) Hungary has all the potential to bloom. Comrade Rakosi has become very full of himself. Comrade Rakosi observed that coal production grew by 25%.5 q sugar canes [to his animals]. It is possible that Comrade Rakosi practiced self-criticism because he saw that things were going badly and this way he could avoid criticism. There are no goods with good quality. 148 . For instance.219 Even though Comrade Rakosi commented on this in the form of self-criticism. This was apparently the case even though there was still no heating in some of these locations. The mistakes must be corrected instantly. when Hungary has problems with food supplies. Nobody has calculated yet how much 1 ton of raw iron and steel costs Hungary. They ask for equipment for the army in the value of a quarter million [?] Rub. There was almost one punishment for each person. as a consequence. The coke is not secured for next year either. The comrades analyzed Comrade Rakosi's mistakes correctly.nary punishments in the army in one year and 3 months. Hungary does not have its own iron ore. Comrade Rakosi is primarily responsible for the mistakes. Now. they had a lack of 700. The situation is not improving but getting worse.

we talked with him in more immediate circles. Last time. and made it necessary to talk with more comrades. this way. Comrade Nagy criticized the leadership. thus. We have to come to the conclusion that the president of the Council of Ministers should be Hungarian. This situation in which one has not finished studying yet. We could meet on Tuesday afternoon. Why should an army be maintained with such a size that it bankrupts the state[?] The point is. therefore. Comrade Rakosi could not name anyone among the Hungarians as his primary deputy. The peasantry needs oxen.5 million cannot produce people that are suitable leaders. and we correct the mistakes too. Comrade Rakosi always immediately had some kind of objection. but the correction of the political line has become necessary. This is how individual farming declines. Comrade Rakosi will find his own important position as the [First] Secretary of the Party. therefore. It must be determined how power can be allocated to the right places and distributed properly. It is one thing to paint things very beautifully in the movies. There are capable people. They would need to stay for another 2-3 days to develop and discuss the main regulations. the other one just started. This was what worried us. but reality is another thing. Comrade Gero should take over the leadership of the Ministry 149 . We admit to the extreme military demands. It is not a coincidence that the question of bossiness came up. We should meet once again. power for the ploughs. In [the] SU they only started to build it in 1932. because there are problems with fundamental questions. Comrade Rakosi's telegram also had this kind of effect. and these regulations must be put into writing. [that] a true collective leadership has not developed. etc. My impression is that there is no real collective leadership.collectivization. A respectful person must be recommended as the Minister of the Interior. The [Hungarian] comrades who spoke said themselves that things were not going very well in Hungary. they excluded him from the Politburo. If the peasantry sees that sooner or later they will have to join the co-operatives. It is not an issue of minor details. there were always immediate objections. must be changed. we admit to that. Is it not possible to produce a collective leadership made up of Hungarians? It is impossible that a people with 9. are all responsible for the state of things in Hungary. thus finally he could not name any Hungarian as his primary deputy. Comrade Rakosi cannot work collectively. If they say that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union advised certain incorrect things. we have to develop regulations together that are suitable to correct the mistakes. They are building the metro in Budapest. Moscow is the capital of a country with 200 million people. but the comrades executed these demands even beyond what was expected. they must be promoted and the relationship [of the party] with the Hungarian people must be improved. No matter what kind of candidate's name came up. And then we saw that we needed to help the comrades and we would have to talk about this question openly. This was an unpleasant surprise for us. when Comrade Rakosi was here. as Communists. and it also has to do with the question of leadership. The Hungarian comrades are mistaken to start with the assumption that since it exists in Moscow. What kind of respect for [critical] opinions is this? Far reaching consequences must be drawn from the criticism toward Comrade Rakosi. it must be quickly built in Budapest as well. there are no leaders with sufficient values. Why do we bring these questions up so harshly? We. Malenkov: Certain questions must have surprised the comrades. Whenever someone's name came up. Cde. The Soviet Union is also responsible for what kind of rule exists in Hungary. We should not even be surprised if all of a sudden they started to do away with the vineyards. In connection with this came the idea that the comrades should be invited and we should discuss certain questions together. they will not develop their farms.

(Beria: Comrade.000 people in the army. Mihaly Farkas and Jozsef Revai—were of Jewish background. Beria: The development of the army was discussed with comrade Stalin. Nothing good could come of it. The issue is that there should not be three Jews in the leadership. Comrade Rakosi in the telegram made it sound like we had given such an advice. Malenkov: We wanted you to develop the army. and then we will discuss the recommendations. There are 600. Everyone will be 220 All four top Hungarian Communist leaders—Matyas Rakosi. We will meet on Tuesday. The peasantry knows that collectivization will happen sooner or later. and answered that he did not really understand it. Cde. Malenkov: One or two things can be explained. we withdrew our requests immediately. 150 . Erno Gero. that's why we criticize you.of the Interior. Beria: The policy toward the middle peasantry must be changed. It is our sacred responsibility to place everyone in the proper position. Comrade Rakosi started to expand in the telegram on something other than what they had talked about and agreed on. Rakosi: Regarding hubris. Cde. Cde. a factor which seriously complicated popular attitudes towards communism in the face of existing traditional anti-Semitism. It must not be prescribed who should be beaten by the AVH. Beria: If the great Stalin made mistakes. We [will] correct this mistake. Cde. These questions must be considered thoroughly. Cde. Cde. what do you think?) It must be said that I never wanted to be the President of the Council of Ministers. just like one cannot smell one's own odor. That is a petit-bourgeois habit. You had told comrade Stalin even before being elected as the President of the Council of Ministers that the power was already in your hands. but he accepted it. Cde. Comrade Stalin reported this. They must not favor for anyone with regards to who should be placed in what field. that's an illness that one cannot detect. The issue of Comrade Rakosi's telegram. It is an impossible state of affair that persons in the Council of Ministers keep silent regarding the question of [agricultural] levy [only] because it had been previously decided on by the Secretariat. (Comrade Rakosi: Including the reserves. Whoever is placed in a responsible position must be respected and full rights must be insured for him. Malenkov: When you asked us to decrease our demands to build barracks. the Secretariat and the Council of Ministers should also take their own place.) Cde Beria: We like you and respect you. Cde. besides all the harm. Comrade Stalin gave incorrect instructions. Rakosi: 26% of the farmland is in the hands of co-operatives. If the comrades say this is the case. Comrade Rakosi can admit that he made mistakes too. We achieved this in 5 years.) So you carried the Soviet Union's wishes to the extreme. I accept it. Cde. (Cde Molotov: But you wanted a President for the Council of Ministers that would have had no say in decisions. but not everything. Recommendations must be made as to who should be placed where. Cde. Rakosi: The comrades said that it was us who wanted a big army and military industry. Rakosi: We tried to execute the instructions. There is no reason for people in responsible positions to work as employees next to the master.220 However. and the recommendations must be prepared. My heart was aching about the fact that we had to maintain such a big army. The Politburo must take its own place.

a member of the Smallholders' Party of Hungary and later the communist party. Regarding mistakes in the economy. Varga in Multunk. The county and village secretary. It is actually fortunate that they did not listen to the military advisers who recommended that the metro should be built such that tanks and military trains could commute on the metro line. serving as Deputy Prime Minister from 1945-1956. It must be admitted that such bossiness happened in my case too. Translated by Monika Borbely and Csaba Bekes. he [Gero] also agrees with the comrades on that. there is bossiness even at the lower levels. He often wanted to raise the question but never got to it. We noticed in a number of questions that there were mistakes. and we did not raise Hungarian cadres. Comrade [Istvan] Hidas is afraid too. Such bossiness undoubtedly exists. 151 . he served as prime minister from 1948–1952 and chief of state as chairman of the Presidential Council from 1952–1957.—Published by Gyorgy T. The leadership is not collective. a picture was published in the Szabad Nep. Source: Hungarian National Archives. He [Malenkov] explicitly asked for Comrade Rakosi's and comrade Dobi's223 opinions. and the KV's staff made sure that it would appear before the people as some extraordinary achievement. In fact. Cde. but also regarding the question of bossiness. bossiness is intertwined with petit-bourgeois phenomena. The Council of Ministers must make the decisions about important questions regarding production.. the issue of the metro. 222 Szabad Nep was the main organ of the Hungarian Communist Party. but he did not protest it either. everyone is a boss in their realm. It is a shame that we could not do this ourselves. For instance. too. We just had parliamentary elections. 224 Here follows a transcript of the Hungarian leaders' speeches. at the smaller organs. 234-269.. [. Comrade Rakosi did not arrange for this himself. the comrades helped us tremendously.f. Provocation can reach everything [sic]. Malenkov: It seems like we all agree on recommending comrade Imre Nagy. The enemy tries to take advantage of these things. 2-3 (1992). the aluminum industry should be developed more. The organs of the Party's Central Leadership must be preoccupied with the education and the question of cadres. 6e.—Typed revision. People must not be beaten. Gero:221 The criticism is justified and correct not just in general. There was great excess in the case of the metro. 102/65. I did not have the courage to bring up the question. Bossiness is also practiced by Comrade Farkas. but I discontinued it during the last few years. By expressing our mistakes this openly. and I am primarily responsible for it second to Comrade Rakosi. This kind of bossiness exists. Comrade Rakosi and Comrade Dobi agreed with the proposal. but we did not bring up these questions so openly. Why is it necessary to invest 1 billion forints in crude oil production? Romania has got enough oil. the president of the co-operative. that's what his speech reflects. 276. Budapest. 223 Istvan Dobi. and it must be uprooted thoroughly. 221 Erno Gero was a senior Hungarian communist party and government official. In our case. The situation really got to the point that whenever Comrade Rakosi gave a speech. pp. After the elections. if the methods are like these. In Hungary.] Cde. the newspapers really exulted it. 222 depicting Comrade Rakosi voting together with his wife.afraid.

m. As a consequence.. I. [.225 [Istvan] Hidas. 152 . It must be stated that the pace of collectivization will be decreased. and the way he interfered was incorrect.000 people were persecuted for violations. Comrade Rakosi could repeat the mistake.. a few things. Beria. that court procedure was initiated against 1. If we do not admit this in the resolution.. what led to these fallow lands. Beria: The document means a step forward.] It must also be discussed in the resolution: that it was incorrect for Comrade Rakosi to interfere with running the AVH and the Ministry of the Interior. The question of lawfulness is mentioned in too vague a form. he could not do a thorough job in either place.16 June 1953. where the moderation of the industrial development is mentioned. It must be expressed what the projections are according to the current plans. The people will understand it better if the numbers are in the document. however. Dobi. The question of the co-operatives' debt must be examined. because it cannot be understood without them. are worded coarsely.. was Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary in 1953. This is insufficient. This is not correct. Molotov: Agrees with Comrade Beria. and Comrades Rakosi. Agriculture must also have its separate section in the resolution. What the document contains regarding economic policy is correct.] Cde. or anyone else could do something similar. But the document must be made more concrete and it must be supplemented. It also must be shown. What Comrade Molotov said regarding the mistakes in the field of ideology also points to this. for the arrest of certain people and for their physical mistreatment. The important issue is that it must be determined correctly who is a kulak. [Rudolf] Foldvari. What happened in the past needs to be stated.] Cde. The problem is not the kulak list.150.200. [.. 225 Andras Hegedus. Kiselev. It must be determined what causes this and how the mistake will have to be corrected. and Boikov. It also must be stated that the practice of unifying the functions of the party secretary and the President of the Council of Ministers in one person was incorrect. and we would never learn the truth.. Nagy. Numbers must be included also in the section that deals with industrialization and the over-intensified investments. it should also be mentioned that this is done so that the quality of life for the population would rise. Comrade Rakosi thought he could do anything. The question of industrialization must be dealt with in a separate section. he gave directions for investigations. and [Bela] Szalai [The] Soviet comrades had received the attached document226 prepared by the delegation in advance. and to what extent we will change those. how the unlawfulness needs to be corrected. Regarding the ideological work: criticism must be further developed. 226 Not reprinted here.000 people in 3 and1/4years. 2–3:30 p. and during the same period 1. It must be expressed honestly that in our country the yield of the land is less in the co-operatives than on the land of individually working middle peasants. and what the reason is for such an abundance of "fallow land." The productivity of the co-operatives must also be discussed. Mikoyan. Bulganin. Gero. In reality. Molotov. Hegedus. Present are: Comrades Malenkov. Numbers must be included here as well. Khrushchev. Criticism—self-criticism—must also be discussed in the document. There is a suggestion to terminate the kulak list. The peasants' flight into the cities—an important question.[. For instance. and Prime Minister from 1955-1956 before emigrating to Moscow from 1956–1958. It must be clarified what "fallow lands" are. Such methods can have rather serious consequences. He has a couple of supplementary comments.

Cde. Cde. Beria. it also must be stated that [it had a negative effect] primarily on that of the working class. but it's not necessarily essential for all the members of the Secretariat to be members of the PB. the above observations should be included in the document. A secretariat with 7 members besides a Politburo with 12 members. which should have 9 members and 2 substitute members.The situation of the village and the population. [. Dispersion of co-operatives should not be feared where they were established by administrative methods. We will inform the comrades about this. we will create a new kind of relationship. This is the weakest part of the document. When we observe that major investments must be reduced [and] certain constructions must be stopped. Mololov: The co-operatives do not have to be dissolved. The working class is not mentioned in the document. this relationship will be entirely different from that of the past. Celebratory meetings and applause constituted the relationship. If there is no objection on the side of the Hungarian comrades. It must be included in the resolution that the flow of products in small business decreased last year. a more responsible and serious relationship. would mean that the secretariat is in majority in the Politburo. Beria: It does not depend on one person only. and in the future great attention must be paid to the improvement of agriculture.. Malenkov: The observations of the comrades who spoke before me were correct.] Cde. 153 . Imre Nagy: The connection with the Central Leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has not been as direct for the last few years as it was 3–4 years ago. Cde. There is no need for a secretariat with 7 members. he will demolish himself. Malenkov. The falsification of the quality of products and the raise in price that accompanied it must be condemned in the resolution as impermissible. for instance.. it also must be added that new opportunities for work must be created for the workers. it is important to have good relations with the working peasants. but it was not the proper kind of relationship. The members of the secretariat could be the members of the PB at the same time. Cde. There should not be a Presidium but a Politburo. With regards to housing construction. Cde. The secretariat could have 3–4 members. Where we discuss in the document that over-intensified industrialization had a negative effect on the standard of living of the population. Malenkov: The comrades will see.. Beria: The connection had existed before and it exists now. In the future. that must not be stopped. Cde. but on the entire leadership. We must not be afraid to show: the standard of living of the working class declined in the last few years in Hungary. Collectivization need not be rushed.] Cde. Though not all the members of the Secretariat must be PB members. Khrushchev: Agrees with Comrade Beria's and Comrade Molotov's comments. Mikoyan: The section regarding the standard of living of the population is not convincing enough. but if they want to disperse at their own initiative. And if Comrade Rakosi does not help to correct the mistakes. It would be better to organize a secretariat with 3 members.. It must be stated that the agricultural sector has been neglected. and this led to negative consequences. [. Cdes. it must be stated that we are primarily building houses for the workers.

Four comrades were sent to Hungary to investigate the case. However.—Typed revision. Comrade Rakosi had convened these comrades for a meeting before his departure for Moscow. [. 234-269. Regarding the future. the Soviet comrades talked for 12 minutes. Of that. those must be revealed. correction of the mistakes does not depend on one person.) The discussions lasted for two hours.Cde. oe. 2-3 (1992). I can assure the comrades that I will do all in order to correct the mistakes. Rakosi: I am very sorry that I had not received this kind of lesson before. because stubbornness leads to even worse mistakes. (Comrade Rakosi: They came. I did not invite them.. 154 . 102/65. The Hungarian comrades will be able to work out the draft resolution and will be strong enough to correct the mistakes. Budapest. Comrade Rakosi talked for 1 [hour] 50 minutes. E.. 276. and I had not been given this kind of a mirror to face myself.—Published by Gyorgy T. but on the entire party leadership. Varga in Multunk.] Cde. Cde. Malenkov: There is no need to certify the resolution. Beria: Stubbornness is evident from the Hungarian comrades' attitude—primarily from that of Comrade Rakosi—regarding the reexamination of the Peter case. pp. Translated by Monika Borbely and Csaba Bekes. Source: Hungarian National Archives. If we had made mistakes. and he lectured them about how they should conduct the investigation. f.

Particularly grave and inexcusable was my behavior towards you. the criticism by Cde. Beria wrote several letters to his former colleagues admitting fault on some issues but largely defending his own behavior. the letters. Of course.S. Covering his political activities back to the 1930s. to my erroneous wish to send along with the decisions of the CC also the information memoranda of the MVD. 1 July 1953 As part of the post-Stalin succession struggle in Moscow. N. one reduced to a certain degree the significance of these very resolutions of the CC and.DOCUMENT No. the decision to blame Beria resulted in the discrediting of any more flexible options for Soviet Deutschlandpolitik. I also strongly and energetically got down to work with the sole idea to do everything possible and not to let all of us flop without Comrade Stalin and to maintain the new leadership of the CC and the government by action.227 both at work and concerning you personally—and some comrades of the CC Presidium—and I subjected myself to the most severe criticism. the MVD proposed to the CC and the government on your advice. Khrushchev. that an inadmissible situation emerged. Beria's rivals also charged him with having advocated the abandonment of socialism in the GDR in favor of German unification. with my last participation. Along with other comrades. a number of worthwhile political and practical initiatives. According to the existing instructions of the CC and the government. as if it corrects Central Committees of Communist [sic] parties of Ukraine. that the MVD. on liquidation of the passport regime. I would frankly admit that my 227 This is a reference to the 19th Plenum of CC CPSU. Khrushchev and Molotov conspired to oust Beriafrom the leadership in mid—1953. one hundred percent. To the CPSU CC Comrade Malenkov Dear Georgii! During the past four days and nights that have been difficult for me. On [sic] the Amnesty. Western Ukraine [sic] and western Belorussia [sic]. while the role of the MVD was limited to implementation of the resolutions of the CC CPSU and the government. building up the leadership of the MVD and its local organs. Khrushchev and the criticism by the other comrades at [the session of] the CC Presidium. I have given considerable thought to everything that took place from my point of view during the last months following the CPSU CC Plenum. N. Lithuania and Belorussia. Capitalizing on the coincidental failure of the New Course in East Germany. 23: Letter from Lavrentii Beria to Georgii Malenkov Reflecting on the Events of Spring 1953. Malenkov. strongly condemning myself. where I am the guilty party. The secret police chief wasformally arrested by Marshal Zhukov at a 26 June CPSU Presidium meeting and charged with various transgressions at an extraordinary CPSU CC Plenum on 4-7 July. 155 .S. rehabilitation of the arrested of the so called Mingrelian Nationalist Center in Georgia and the return of falsely exiled from Georgia. From his prison cell. one of which is excerpted here. Whether true or not. on correction of the deviation of the party line in national policy and in the repressive measures in Lithuanian SSR. but the criticism is completely justified. shed light on the policy-making process inside the Kremlin in the spring of 1953 and the early-to-mid-June talks between Soviet party leaders and their German and Hungarian counterparts. and on some issues on the advice of Cde. such as: on the rehabilitation of the doctors. of October 1952.

insisting on the dispatch of the memoranda was stupidity and political short-sightedness.] Perhaps I should not write all this in my situation. [even] a most insignificant one. you should understand that I am a faithful soldier of our Motherland. Stalin suggested to us to set up again a rotating chairmanship [in the Council of Ministers]. a loyal son of the party of Lenin and Stalin and your loyal friend and comrade. I revised them several times. For me to think otherwise is simply beyond my mind. since you know me better than others. The proposals about Imre Nagy should not have been introduced by me. and dressed down so that I would remember it to the end of my life. Khrushchev and N. Send me wherever you wish. we had always been good friends. [this behavior] went so far as to [constitute] inadmissible rudeness and insolence on my part toward Comrades N. and besides. together with the comrades collaborating with me. and the Presidium of the Council of Ministers. very often incorrect and inadmissible [behavior] that introduced nervousness and excessive harshness. My behavior during the reception of the Hungarian comrades [was] untactful. then I and Cde. in no place. Nikita Sergeevich [Khrushchev]! With exception of the last affair at the CC Presidium when you swore at me strongly and furiously. I tried to introduce initiatives at the Presidium [sic] aimed at the correct solution of issues. so as not to make a mistake and not to let the CC and the government down. I am seeking for your understanding. of course. [. such as the Korean. of course. but I would ask for your pardon. I would like to say a few words concerning [other] comrades. the Turkish. the responses to Eisenhower and Churchill. within the limits of my abilities.M. Cde. But dear comrades. but at that moment I sprung up idiotically. My behavior at the session of the Presidium of the CC. [and] when we managed to talk about it.S. Stalin. I should be given a good rap [vzgret]. I will be able to work ten more years and I will work with all my soul and with complete energy. But I must say in all sincerity that I thoroughly prepared myself and made all my assistants prepare themselves for the sessions of the CC and the government. together with you. particularly since you advised me not to do it. Stalin about you as an excellent comrade and Bolshevik. I should be called strongly to order. Malenkov G. for which. Dear Georgii.M. nothing could justify it. Of course. and I often spoke with Cde.A. it is not true that since I have held a big post I would not be able to 156 . etc. the German. of course. If and when I introduced initiatives. I told it to Cde. I always cherished your friendship. to any kind of work.. after what has happened. how to improve our country. At the same time. When Cde. Malenkov G. kept persuading him that it should not be done. here I am guilty without question and have to be denounced thoroughly. as I have thought well about it and realized. that you are keeping up with your job and we can help you in any situation. Bulganin during the discussion on the German question [sic]. I only lived to think. which I wholeheartedly accept. along with all of you. so that within the limits of my strength and abilities [I tried] to assist in [finding a] correct solution to the issues under discussion. powerful and glorious. directed to my place. I helped you honestly as much as I could.. I would say. and I was always proud that you are such an excellent Bolshevik and marvelous friend. but you should have done it. See me out. Nikolai Alexandrovich [Bulganin]! I never did you any harm. along with correct remarks I made some loose remarks and was overly familiar. I am saying this from the bottom of my heart. the Iranian. and I told you this many times.

99. And you will see that in 2 to 3 years I will improve my behavior strongly and will be still of some use for you. in a Soviet farm. 4 (1994). op. f.perform in a small position. 10 (March 1998). 3. 463. Lavrentii Beria Cdes. Zubok. 4–8.. 1 July 1953 Source: AP RF. p. This can be easily proven in any region or area. Translated by Vladislav M. 157 . on a construction site of our glorious Motherland. p. I am to my last breath faithful to our beloved party and our Soviet government. please excuse me that I write somewhat disjointedly and badly as a result of my indisposition and also because of the lack of light and the absence of my pince-nez [glasses]. Portions of the English translations originally published in the Cold War International History Project Bulletin. 11. no. Published in its entirety in Istochnik. d. 24. in a collective farm. 163-174.

we were late in implementing them. during the discussion of the German question. In light of everything that we now know about Beria.DOCUMENT No. In fact. [..] Malenkov: Or another fact. his opponents sought to legitimize his ouster from the leadership by accusing the former secret police chief of. The First Session—2 July 1953 [. 24: Transcript of the CPSU CC Plenum Meetings Regarding Beria's Views on the German Question in Spring 1953. having plotted to sell out East Germany by abandoning socialism in the GDR.000 have already fled!) quite obviously show that we have here the danger of an internal catastrophe. around 500. We must say that.. an agent of the imperialists. as you know.. Why did we come to this conclusion. Beria proposed not to correct that course to force the building of socialism. This clearly characterizes him as a bourgeois regenerate. and why do we feel that at the present time we should not set a course to force them to build socialism in the GDR? The analysis of the internal political and economic situation in the GDR. which the enemy. 2-3 July 1953 (Excerpts) Following Beria's arrest on 26 June. The political and economic situation in the GDR at the present time is extremely unfavorable.. Recently.000 persons have escaped to West Germany. There was talk of serious trouble in the situation in the GDR. Events in the GDR have shown the correctness of these measures. the mass flight of the population of East Germany to West Germany (around 500." 158 . and to maintain a course for a bourgeois Germany. that we must establish a course to force the building of socialism. for approximately the past 2 years. when he raised the question of rejecting socialist construction in the GDR and making concessions to the West. we must re-evaluate this point of view. This meant handing over 18 million Germans to the rule of the American imperialists. Among the German population there is great dissatisfaction. took advantage of. "We must create a neutral. We were obliged to soberly face the truth and admit that without the presence of Soviet troops the existing regime in the GDR is unstable. This transcript shows the lengths to which several key Soviet leaders. went to demonize Beria as a traitor to socialism and a Western agent.] Khrushchev: Beria most clearly showed himself to be an instigator. The Government has been discussing the German question.. democratic Germany. We thought that the most pressing task was for our German friends to quickly and decisively implement measures to revive the political and economic situation in the GDR. He said.. We all concluded that the wrong policy in the GDR resulted in many mistakes. speaking at the extraordinary CPSU CC Plenum convened to explain the charges to the party. but to reject any course for socialism in the GDR. among other things. Consequently we felt—and we feel—together with our German friends. since the population has begun to flee from East Germany to West Germany. which is particularly obvious. in discussing the German question. We explained to our German friends—and they completely agree—that in today's international situation we cannot lay a course to force them to build socialism in the GDR.

He is smart. Upon examination of the matter it is quite apparent that in the German Democratic Republic a very fast course was taken for industrialization. He has behaved not as a Communist. and that new construction was undertaken which was too great for actual capabilities. When we were discussing this question. The leaders of the GDR have allowed errors. None of us could forget that Germany should be held responsible for unleashing the First World War. It has been established that this movement of the population into West Germany particularly increased in the first months of this year. thinking us naive. These speeches of Beria could not go unnoticed. thinking that this was a necessary evil. Among the refugees were many workers. as well as the powers of West Germany. and yet sometimes were forced to smile (movement in the auditorium). Molotov: A fourth fact which confirmed our fears about Beria. and that traces of Hitler's effects are still far from eliminated in the whole of Germany. perhaps he was getting orders from foreign espionage agents. it became apparent that Beria was for positions completely foreign to our Party. not to mention the necessity to conduct large scale restoration projects after the war. widespread. using their position as occupying powers in Berlin. the impudence of this man was simply impossible to bear. the powers of [the] USA. by the way. Furthermore. Now I think that you will change your mind about this cheeky fellow. Recently we listened to the Germans. But Beria is not naive. Beria screamed at Comrade Ulbricht and at the other German comrades so much that it was embarrassing to hear. God only knows. when East Germany also had to bear significant occupational expenses and pay reparations. while discussing the German question in the Presidium of the Council of Ministers. for the West German bourgeoisie. cunning. A number of facts which we recently learned made it very clear that an unfavorable political and economic situation has been created in the German Democratic Republic. At that time he said there was no reason to be building socialism in East Germany.000 persons moved from the GDR to West Germany. However. and for foreign imperialist circles. but not slighted. they'll be laughing at us. Under these conditions we felt it our obligation to take immediate measures to help our German friends more quickly correct their obviously ultra-left course. in the fact that from January 1951 through April 1953. peace-loving state. that there is serious. they know what an insult they received from Beria. "We'll conclude a treaty. 450. We must also not forget that Germany continues to remain divided in 2 parts. This situation could only be useful for the government of Adenauer. There are ministers here." And what is this treaty worth? We know what treaties are worth. which was taken in the GDR especially beginning in the summer of 1952. and treacherous. dissatisfaction among the population of the GDR. not stupid. For the majority of us Beria's true political face was shown when in May we took up the discussion of [the] German question. For us as Marxists. Comrades. including several thousand members of the SED and the Union of Free German Youth [FDJ]. that all that was necessary was for West and East Germany to [be] united as a bourgeois. If a treaty is not reinforced by might. England and France. but as an instigator. then it is worth nothing. A treaty has force if it is reinforced with cannons. we must not forget that East Germany is in the particularly complicated position wherein. and that bourgeois Germany is responsible for unleashing the Second World War. can take many steps which have a disorganizing effect on the political and economic situation in the GDR. This clearly indicated serious shortcomings in the work of our friends in East Germany. This can be seen. they needed to be corrected. This is what we did. it was clear and is 159 .Can a democratic bourgeois Germany be truly neutral? Is this possible? Beria said. not a fool. All of this was undertaken in conditions.

In the draft resolution I proposed." Everyone agreed with this. To my objection. undertaken in the German Democratic Republic" was incorrect. The question arose that perhaps Beria's words on "a peace-loving" bourgeois Germany are an accidental polemic exaggeration. not only in West Germany but in East Germany. that perhaps this was spoken in the heat of the moment. the German Democratic Republic will become an ever more reliable friend of the Soviet Union. in spite of Beria's initial proposal. Soon. So that's how it was written in the resolution of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers on May 27. The capitulating essence of Beria's proposals regarding the German question is obvious. the enemy of the Soviet Union. Voices: That's right! 160 . under conditions of today's imperialist era. the blood of our people. a person of the bourgeois camp. this trick didn't help him either. as if today's bourgeois Germany could not help but have close ties to other imperialist states. Also. in a difficult struggle against Hitlerism. coming from the perspective that bourgeois Germany can supposedly become a peace-loving or neutral state vis-a-vis the USSR is not only an illusion. introduced by Beria on this question." to say the error of the "course for a rapid building of socialism. In this situation we felt that in Beria we were dealing with someone who had nothing in common with our Party. what we previously saw only vaguely in Beria.still clear that in the existing situation. which would lead to socialism. however. to introduce the corrections: instead of the words about the error of the "course for building socialism. Beria attempted to reply that he was proposing to reject a course for building socialism in the GDR only "at the present time. He insisted that we reject the course to strengthen the people's democratic order in the GDR. This meant rejecting everything that had been won by the blood of our soldiers." but not altogether. a man from the anti-Soviet camp. Under the correct political course. that he openly proposed to reject a course for building socialism in East Germany. since it must be clear to us that the existence of a German Democratic Republic—strengthening the people's democratic order and gradually implementing a course for building socialism—is a serious blow not only to German imperialism but to the whole imperialist system in Europe. He insisted on untying the hands of German imperialism. and as if in the present circumstances there could exist a bourgeois Germany which would not also be aggressive and imperialist. He talked big about how it was sufficient for the Soviet Union if Germany would unite as a single state—on a bourgeois foundation. it became apparent that this was certainly not the case. From what has been said it is apparent that Beria's speeches at previous sessions of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers on the German question were not accidental. that is. The draft resolution of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers. We now clearly saw that here was someone alien to us." Of course we could not accept this. the course for building socialism. proposed to recognize that "in the present circumstances. However. in both cases noted earlier. Therefore it was proposed to "reject a course for building socialism in the GDR at the present time. we now began to see clearly. but also signifies a virtual transition to position[s] which are foreign to Communism. You see how what Beria had previously concealed in his political persona was now exposed. He virtually demanded capitulation before the so-called "Western" bourgeois states. It became quite clear that Beria did not hold Communist positions. and will become a serious obstacle to the realization of imperialist plans in Europe. Even then he had gone so far. and fought in many ways for our agreement that our Party reject its fundamental line vis-a-vis Germany.

From the speeches of Comrade Malenkov and Comrade Molotov you heard that that question was about which road we should take—the road toward strengthening the German Democratic Republic. 161 . he should have mentioned it to the Central Committee.Second Session—Morning. if you're going to continue this line. Beria grossly and rather impudently announced the following. chaired by Beria in whose complement from the members of the Presidium was myself. Bulganin. . that is the road of socialism. . The Beria Affair (New York: Nova Science Publishers. pp. 22–23. which I told Beria at the session of the Presidium." I said that in the Presidium there were Ministers Molotov. according to which Germany was disarmed. Beria knew this fact. The average members of the Party. "The leadership which has formed will have to be changed. or the road of liquidating the German Democratic Republic and creating a bourgeois Germany. This was the nature of our conversation.I Bulganin: 1 want to mention one more fact. The next day there was a session of the Special Committee. Beria took the latter point of view. about which Malenkov spoke here. 1992). If things are going to go like this. As if to say. Beria. which the comrades in the Presidium know. We were discussing the German question. and then what happened? Germany rearmed and attacked the Soviet Union. Members of the Presidium expressed their opinions against Beria. Stickle (ed. These facts speak for themselves. arrest you. 44–45. which we can't not consider.)." Of course. If you add to this the conversation with Stroykach. throw you into the camps. Beria had been rebuffed at the session of the Presidium on this serious question. Source: D. 6–7. 134–35. this was a direct threat. so that they might consider it. Third Session—Evening. This meant handing a population of 18 million and the German Democratic Republic into the paws of bourgeois bosses. from the post of Minister. "This can't go on any longer. not vote for my proposals. M. "We'll expel you. 3 July 1953 Zavenyagin: Regarding the German Democratic Republic. Beria postponed the session for one hour. then we'll simply expel you. The question of Germany could not be resolved in this manner. 25–29. This is completely obvious. who was he talking about? He said. beat you into camp dust. to speak with me about the German question. Besides this. the average workers could not understand how you can promote a unification of West and East Germany. Much uranium is extracted in the GDR. perhaps no less than the Americans have at their disposal. Arriving at the session of the committee. and Mikoyan. For an example I pointed out that there were such facts in history as the Versailles Treaty. there are yet other factors. I gave him examples on the neutrality of Germany in its time and said that nothing would come of this." then there is no need to speak further about with whom we are dealing. 3 July 1953 [. then we'll have to remove certain ministers from the Presidium.

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then move in loose formations towards the FDGB headquarters in the Wallstrasse. restating the necessity of the norm increases. pp. On 12 June for example. 38. 25 June 1953.3 The next morning (16 June). seemed to signal that the government would not back off. instituting work slow-downs or protests. on several construction sites in the Stalinallee/Friedrichshain area. others went in the direction of the SED headquarters on Wilhelm-Pieck-Strasse. Only later that afternoon did the 1 Armin Mitter and Stefan Wolle. Underestimating the explosiveness of the situation. But only Heavy Industry Minister Fritz Selbmann and Professor Robert Havemann. The exact course of events that led up to the demonstrations and riots of 16–17 June remains difficult to reconstruct. Beginning a few days earlier. decided to force a revocation of the norm increase by going on strike.m. BArch-SAPMO. some 300 workers had gone on the move. In front of the GDR House of Ministries. Tribune. 2 Manfred Hagen. On Monday. laborers had confronted union and party officials." An article in the union paper. the protestors apparently decided to proceed to other sites first to increase their ranks.2 At the "Stalinallee Block 40" site.. 163 . By 9 a. Die erste Volkserhebung im Stalinismus (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. Meeting at Strausberger Platz.PART TWO THE UPRISING INTRODUCTION Taking to the Streets With the SED paralyzed and weakened. workers in East Berlin—and soon growing numbers from other segments of East German society—decided to act on their grievances. 1992). ignored the workers' demands. Untergang auf Raten Unbekannte Kapitel der DDR-Geschichte (Munchen: Bertelsmann. workers at the "Hospital Friedrichshain" construction site. the quickly growing crowd demanded to speak to Ulbricht and Grotewohl.m. on the advice of his aides. 1993). emotions ran even higher at the construction sites at "Hospital Friedrichshain" and "Stalinallee Block 40.000 people had joined in. They tried to calm the workers but were shouted down. On the way. they managed to take over two sound trucks which they used to spread their calls for a general strike and a demonstration which was set for the Strausberger Platz at 7 a. the demonstrators soon broadened their demands beyond the social-economic issues that had first sparked the protests to include political changes. NY 4090/437 (Grotewohl Papers). the bulk of the demonstrators moved to the government seat on Leipziger Strasse. ironically.1 During a plant retreat cruise on the Muggel lakes in southeast Berlin the following day. discussing their complaints over beer. party meetings at several Berlin construction sites convened. p. 3 Memorandum by Plaschke and Ambree to Grotewohl. and finally towards the city center. workers decided to send a delegation to Grotewohl himself to deliver a petition calling for a rescission of the higher quotas. to adopt resolutions of thanks to the authorities for raising the norms were instead dominated by protests against the new standards. Via Alexanderplatz and Unter den Linden. 76-77. mustered the courage to appear. six transport company workers had held a demonstration in front of the Brandenburg prison. by the end some 5. Grotewohl. president of the GDR Peace Council. Hoisting banners. the next day. DDR Juni '53. 15 June.

73. Slogans such as. Brown.m. With the call for a strike action in the air. everybody screamed for ambulances and police. crossing the workers' districts of Reinickendorf and Wedding in the French sectors on their way to the capital. some 25. Nieder mit der Regierung! (Down with the government). p. and tens of thousands more were en route via Leipziger Strasse or across Potsdamer Plate. police officials tried—usually without success—to convince the marchers to return to their workplaces and homes. Between 10 a. Within an hour. 1983). DDR.. Juni. they converged on the city center. such as Dresden and Karl-Marx-Stadt. Als die Fesseln fielen. 3rd ed. and Butter statt Kanonen! (Butter. how the crowds of people fell to the ground.00 a. the city tram.000 workers from the steel plant in Hennigsdorf. Along the way. and began marching towards the city center. 25). not Arms) could also be seen. crowds of workers began to gather at Strausberger Plate and other public places. covered with blood. From all East Berlin districts and surrounding suburbs. . Only the sudden appearance of Soviet military vehicles. and 11 a. 164 . Der 17. burned or otherwise defaced4 (Document Nos."6 Developments throughout the GDR mirrored the events in East Berlin. 1955). 5 Quoted in Hagen. Along the way.. 6 Ibid. interrupted only by isolated clashes between the People's Police and groups of demonstrators.crowd disperse and the workers return to their sites. Hildebrandt. One could immediately see several writhing on the ground. Soviet troops had cleared and isolated the area around the government headquarters. made their way by foot. followed by tanks. like the 12. In several cities. Hildebrant. On improvised banners and posters the demonstrators demanded the norm rescission.m. observers had noticed the workers' "explosive mood" 4 See the fascinating first-hand accounts published by Rainer Hildebrandt. seemed to prevent a complete takeover. The Explosion: The Uprising Behind the Iron Curtain (New York: Little. the news of events in East Berlin spread quickly throughout the GDR—by word of mouth as well as by Western radio broadcasts. and Co. a feeling of solidarity permeated the crowds. in cases where police did try to halt or disperse the crowds. some 80 to 100 demonstrators apparently managed to storm the government seat. 27 and 28). initially did not intervene. As they drew in ever-greater numbers. East Berlin sank into an ominous and deceptive calm. price decreases. many using public transportation.m. By 9. and metro to get there. groups of varying sizes continued to arrive downtown.. all morning. While Soviet troops entered the outskirts of the city early in the morning of 17 June. Throughout the night of 16 June and early morning of 17 June.. the release of fellow protestors who had been arrested the day before—even free all-German elections. Along with SED and FDJ functionaries. loudspeaker cars and bicycles provided communications between the different columns of marchers from the outer districts as.000 people were gathered in front of the House of Ministries. Much like the day before. they encountered GDR security forces—regular and Barracked People's Police units (KVP)—who. they quickly wound up on the defensive (Document No. eyewitnesses reported that in some instances the Soviets fired directly into the throngs: "It was awful to see . 27 kilometers southeast of Berlin. But fighting between Soviet forces (and later GDR police) and the demonstrators continued into the afternoon and night. Juni: Zehn Erlebnisgeschichten von Personen in verschiedenen Brennpunkten des Aufstandes (Berlin: Verlag Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. party posters and statues—especially those depicting SED and Soviet leaders—were ransacked. . visibly demonstrating that the 500 members of GDR People's Police and State Security had been overpowered. (Berlin: Arani Verlags-GMBH. 1966). apparently lacking instructions. die Geschichte einer Schicksalsverkettung in dem Aufstand des 17.."5 Historian Manfred Hagen later described the machine-gun salvos around Potsdamer Plate as a "massacre. others.

the Party declared.9 The Politburo's decision. increases in productivity would be voluntary. the workers' dissatisfaction was justified. Nor did they choose to wait for the government's "reception. DY 30 J IV 2/2/290 8 7 165 . mistakes were made"— even "with regard to the development of a personality cult. the entire Politburo. 10. popular unrest was also spreading to the rest of the country. In a demonstration of unity and determination. Leitende Organe der Partei und der Massenorganisationen. to organize a "reception" with workers' delegations for the next day. 9 Sitzungsprotokoll 36/53. only in rare instances had there been public demonstrations. Brandenburg and Gorlitz. the depth of the resentment and the extent of anti-regime actions no doubt came as a surprise: "The signal given on 15 June for intended strikes was not fully appreciated by the party and the union. DY 30 J IV 2/202/15. Under pressure from the demonstrators.6. Rumors about worker unrest in Berlin and impending strike actions had filtered out to the rest of the GDR through long-distance commuters returning home for the weekend. and probably from Soviet adviser Semyonov. the protestors' agenda had expanded well beyond the issue of norm increases.7 The SED's Reaction While the East German leadership was aware of the worsening mood in the country. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Machine Construction. Ulbricht also conceded errors—"Yes. Der Tag X. appeared before the group of nearly 3. the leadership. the resignation of the government and free elections. decided to revoke the "administrative"—that is." Later that night. and other actions had taken place at the workplace." 20 July 1953. by mid-day on 17 June. Strikes and demonstrations were particularly prevalent in the industrial centers of central Germany. RIAS' afternoon broadcast on 16 June confirmed the news about the mass demonstrations in the capital and the demands for a rescission of the norm increase. headed by Grotewohl and Ulbricht. The Politburo also assigned Heinrich Rau. had lost touch with the masses. forced—norm increase. Grotewohl acknowledged that mistakes had been made by the party leadership and criticized the "cold-blooded" administrative and police measures that had been used. however. blaming the popular reaction partly on the manner in which various ministries had implemented the measure and partly on hostile provocateurs who had supposedly sowed confusion in the workers' ranks. "Analyse uber die Vorbereitung." he admitted. Abt. SAPMO-BArch. Mitter. but most of the interruptions. changes—which many understood to imply leadership changes—were necessary. It is still unclear how well. "The avantgarde of the German working class." but then tried to deflect blame Kowalczuk. den Ausbruch und die Niederschlagung des faschistischen Abenteuers vom 16–22. when it gathered for its regular Tuesday meeting.000 people in over 560 East German cities and communities are now estimated to have participated in the first wave of protests between 16 and 21 June. eds. came too late to stop the demonstrations."8 an internal SED analysis later declared.. Stiftung "Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der ehemaligen DDR" im Bundesarchiv [SAPMO-Barch]. More than 500. p. Gera. From then on. strikes.or poorlyinformed the Politburo was about the developments in Berlin on the morning of 16 June.000 people. and Wolle. after hours of deliberations.prior to 16 June. 1953. in the Magdeburg area as well as in Jena. Meanwhile. the Berlin party aktiv (the most reliable SED functionaries) met in the Friedrichstadtpalast. By the time an SED functionary reached the House of Ministries to give the workers the news. the RIAS reports had reached broad segments of the East German population.

concerned about the growing disorder. 166 . The afternoon session was marked by the devastating first-hand impressions members had brought back from the districts. The leadership hastened to declare. we are moving to the mobilization of the entire party. The party boss secretly conferred with State Security chief Wilhelm Zaisser and the head of the nascent East German military forces. By 10:30 a."11 The Politburo did not meet again until 20 June—at party headquarters. From there several Politburo members were later dispatched to other major cities in an effort to observe and maintain political control throughout the GDR. Semyonov at one point confronted them over how badly the situation had deteriorated. To that end they instructed the SED district authorities to "start immediately determining the true attitude of the workers. 83. Zaisser. and then only under supervision of the secret police.onto the threat posed by "provocateurs from West Berlin. Semyonov ordered the leadership to proceed to the Soviet headquarters in Karlshorst. p. What does his wife say . Ulbricht. (In the end. 12 Sitzungsprotokoll 38/53. in the residential areas.. "Well. in the institutions will start to work on time and where people everywhere are watchful: Where are the West Berlin provocateurs?"10 Based on the myth of an external provocation. that "the decision was a prerogative of the responsible Soviet authorities and that superior international interests may necessitate lifting martial law as soon as possible. however. so the Politburo decided to call a Central Committee plenum that same 10 The speech was partially transcribed by Manfred Hagen." Ulbricht asked the party activists to "take to heart correctly and draw the right conclusions from the lesson which we received today." the minutes noted.12 At this point.. According to Rudolf Herrnstadt's recollections.. "In the face of continuing attempts by the fascist provocateurs and the wait-and-see attitude of certain elements of the population the Politburo did not consider it advantageous to terminate martial law." he remarked.. Tomorrow even deeper into the masses! . up to the last member! . DDR. "Herrnstadt.. J IV 2/2/290. DY 30. KVP forces were readied but only haltingly deployed in the wake of Soviet tanks. the "Haus der Einheit" (House of Unity).) At about 10 a. the SED leadership expected that a massive propaganda drive would be enough to cope with the crisis. pp. the party rank-and-file demanded direction. the SED leadership was still groping to understand what had happened in the preceding four days and to get a sense of the mood in the country." Certainly aware of the difficult position that military rule had placed the Soviets in internationally (and perhaps not quite sure to what degree the Soviets shared its views of the revolt's source). the Politburo also resolved to ask Moscow not to immediately abandon "the measures to prevent the intrusion of fascist bandits from West Berlin" once martial law was lifted in East Berlin. it is almost true. The Politburo also decided—as it would repeatedly in the next few days—on economic correctives to increase consumer goods production and the importation of raw materials and foodstuffs. early in the morning of 17 June about the deployment of KVP units.m. the Politburo met at party headquarters. "RIAS is broadcasting that there is no government any more within the GDR. Grotewohl." "What are the workers really thinking at the present moment? What exactly are his [the worker's] main concerns? . 54) At the same time..? Why is the atmosphere still not calm at present?" (Document No.m. and Herrnstadt remained in the Soviet High Commission headquarters.. Heinz Hoffmann. although many GDR/SED officials doubted their reliability and experience. 54–55. SAPMO-BArch. We are now getting to the point where tomorrow morning all party organizations in the plants. Das Herrnsladt-Dokument.... That this fell far short of what was needed must have occurred to Ulbricht within just a few hours.

Old-time communist Karl Barthel echoed the calls of many party members for centrally coordinated instructions. Although this would not be publicized. for a translation. the 14th Plenum was chaired by Grotewohl. have to be organized and mobilized. several members came close to leveling 13 Reprinted in Dokumente der Sozialistischen Einheitspartei Deutschlands.." Furthermore."14 Grotewohl called on the Central Committee to lift the party out of its lethargy and to make an all-out effort to bring about a change in popular attitudes "within a few days. IV. it prompted renewed protests throughout the GDR. 15 SAPMO-BArch. party veteran Otto Buchwitz complained that the party leadership was acting as if it "had shit in its pants. 14 Stenographic Minutes of the 14th Plenum of the SED Central Committee on 21 June 1953 SAPMO-BArch IV 2/1/117. Uprising in East Germany.. 160–173. because it reversed the "rapid increase in the living standard evident up to May 1952. arrogant and administrative manner" in which it had been implemented—had thus been "a local event entirely focused on . DY 30.." an internal report later noted.m." According to the premier. However. from top to bottom." while others." But following its old ways. he continued.." demanded that the party take responsibility for what had happened. 212. pp.. the nature of the demonstration changed . "Although the 14th Plenum oriented the party towards the tasks that required immediate resolution. p. They turned the demand on the norm issue into a demand for the resignation of the government. personal interests.. In his opening speech the premier blamed the situation on the "mistaken policy of our party and the resulting mistaken political and economic measures by the government. between the party. work among the masses should be conducted in a spirit of comradeship—political activities could not be carried out in a heavy-handed way.15 A heated debate ensued. with the hastily assembled Central Committee members kept waiting to convene the plenum..day (14 June) at 10 p." The policy had to be called mistaken. improvements in the availability of food stuffs. see Baring. known for his pre–1947 advocacy of "the German way to socialism. and an end to periodic power outages. like the more liberal-minded Anton Ackermann. often supported by local SED organizations. the government would even be ready to pay strikers up to 90 percent of their wages. pp. Der Tag X. 2/1/246 16 Kowalczuk.13 The declaration had been drafted by Herrnstadt and apparently caused considerable disagreement. vol. IV. to adopt a resolution "On the Present Position and Immediate Tasks of the Party"—the first major party statement since the uprising started. its publication the next day in Neues Deutschland did little to ameliorate the situation for the SED. the Central Committee finally fell into line and adopted the declaration. Ulbricht insisted that the party had to get "out of its defensive position at any price. On the contrary. the government and the people. 167 . increases in pensions and access to housing. through orders and commands. since the Politburo did not pass it until 11:30 that night. Mitter." The demonstrations on 16 June—caused by the norm increase and the "wholly sloppy.. "no broad improvement in the party work was achieved. Finally." "All suitable forces. and Wolle. if they were willing to make up the time lost within a month. it was only when the demonstrators reached the government buildings that they were "suddenly" joined by the "first troops" from the West: "At once. 436–450. following Grotewohl's criticism of past policies. Grotewohl announced a series of new measures to improve living standards: a readjustment of wages to the pre-May norms. centrally-organized "Day X" that could be foiled only by the "intervention of our Soviet friends."16 The Central Committee meeting also demonstrated how fast Ulbricht's power was eroding." This had led to "an ever larger gap . Reflecting Party General Secretary Ulbricht's weakened position." The picture Grotewohl painted was of a carefully planned.

only Free German Youth League chief Erich Honecker20 and Party Control Commission Chairman Hermann Matern supported him. the besieged party leader appeared to be playing for time. 1971). Moscow congratulated him as "one of the best-known organizers and leaders of the SED.U. Kreml ohne Stalin (Koln: Verlag fur Wissenschaft und Politik. the Politburo members declared their opposition to Ulbricht's continued leadership. The notes were taken by Grotewohl. According to surviving notes. Ulbricht's difficulties were compounded by the CPSU's comments on the Central Committee declaration reflecting "the impression that there continues to exist confusion among the leadership of the SED Central Committee as to the recent events. 57). 18 19 17 168 . were "proceeding extremely slowly. Ulbricht "was no more responsible for the wrong course (2nd Party Conference) than we all are. Wolfgang Leonhard. 67). the Politburo noted that honorary citizenship of the city of Leipzig would not bestowed on Ulbricht as planned. 144. With Semyonov in Moscow for consultations. the Politburo demanded a redraft by a new Organization Commission. scheduled for later that month (Document No. the Politburo's Organization Commission had proposed reconstituting the party structure along Soviet lines. therefore. seemingly even resigned. indecision momentarily prevailed—providing Ulbricht with yet another chance to regroup. It was only fitting that. Scherstjanoi. 20 On Honecker's role. Ulbricht was walking a tight rope. he added the leader's attitude had "spoiled the Party. 658–680.19 the debate quickly focused on whether Ulbricht should step down. and regain the trust of the masses in the power of the state" (Document No. Herrnstadt refused to accept the position of first or general secretary. the Soviets noted. On the occasion of his birthday on 30 June." pp. 152-164. decide on the measures for consolidating the influence of the party on the masses.17 By early July." Recovery efforts.21 According to his memoirs." One by one. even to a personality cult. see Heinz Lippmann. Admitting to mistakes. 1959). four days later." Moscow demanded that "you must put an end to any confusion in the leadership without delay." Nevertheless. But on 3 July. pp." and would undermine efforts to implement the New Course: "[To leave] the apparatus in the hands of W.'"Wollen wir den Sozialismus?'. Das SKK-Statut. Scherstjanoi. when a new draft was tabled.personal attacks on the general secretary. According to Zaisser. p. at other times belligerent. In late June. as had been proposed by MfS chief Zaisser. Again temporizing—and perhaps with an inkling that winds in Moscow were beginning to blow in his favor—Ulbricht prevented a decision by promising that he would make a statement at the forthcoming 15th SED CC Plenum. Much of their initial reaction was therefore uncoordinated and improvised. Honecker: Portrat eines Nachfolgers (Dusseldorf: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik. would be catastrophic for the New Course. caused not least by the SCC's recent dissolution. the Soviets were completely surprised by the widespread protests that followed the demonstrations in East Berlin." but conspicuously omitted any references to his position as general secretary and deputy prime minister. Semyonov and the newly appointed commander of Soviet occupation forces. 21 On the SCC see. Sometimes passive. The Soviet Reaction Much like the SED." with "the work of the state apparatus and the party organs weakened in excessive ways. including forming a Central Committee presidium to replace Ulbricht's secretariat. he nevertheless was able to deflect some heavy blows.18 The struggle within the SED Politburo culminated at an 8 July Politburo meeting.

" Faulting both the East Germans and their Soviet colleagues for a major intelligence failure that despite its alleged advance preparation in the West. another high-placed Soviet official. one hour later. In the course of the uprising up to 10. the Soviets (and the MFS) began arresting hundreds of people. See Beier. Semyonov remembers. Soviet Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of Staff Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii arrived in Berlin. Semyonov informed Moscow a few days later. Martial law was also declared in 167 of 217 East German cities and communities. to Berlin. Soviet soldiers at times even displayed a friendly attitude towards the demonstrators. Sokolovskii criticized both Semyonov and Grechko. Overnight. Early the next morning. Semyonov had evacuated the SED Politburo to Karlshorst. Later in the evening of 16 June. Announcements about the executions were to be placed all over town. p. control of East Berlin.000 people were detained and at least 20. A. Von Stalin bis Gorbatschow. 296. 25 Hagen.24 Elsewhere in Berlin and throughout the GDR. 104–123. Few details are known about how the Kremlin leadership perceived the crisis on 16–17 June—or about the impact it had on the power struggle in Moscow. By mid-morning. arguing that "the staff of the Group [of Soviet forces in Germany] and the apparatus of the Soviet High Commission did not take seriously the events starting on 16 June. Semyonov met with the SED leadership and informed "our friends of the decision we had taken to send Soviet troops to the city of Berlin"—supposedly at first encountering some opposition to this idea from the Germans (Document No.28 In one of his first messages. Sokolovskii's dispatch to Berlin—rather than Beria's which apparently had been considered first27—indicated that in the eyes of the Soviet leadership a military crisis of major proportions had developed. In his memoirs. 26 Semjonow. 27 Ibid 28 Jbid 23 22 169 . Beria sent two of his top men. p. 294." But he and Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii supposedly decided to have the troops "fire over the heads" of the demonstrators instead. Molotov and others. 60). 364. Govorov.Colonel-General Andrei Grechko. Amajak Kobulov and Sergei Goglidze. 37). and probably as many as 40. p. had "essentially [been] transferred to the hands of the Soviet organs" (Document No. along with Marshal L. Semjonow. Wir wollen freie Menschen sein. to establish military tribunals and to shoot twelve ring leaders. the Soviet authorities terminated all tram and metro traffic into the Eastern sector and essentially closed the sector borders to West Berlin to prevent more demonstrators from reaching the city center. where Soviet tanks opened fire on "the insurgents. Von Stalin bis Gorbatschow. reports from East Berlin that the British has declared martial law in their sector. At noon."23 Executions (most prominently of West Berlin worker Willi Gottling) and mass arrests followed. and that NATO forces had been put on alert must have confirmed this assumption in Moscow. on 17 June. Sokolovskii's arrival also suggested that some doubts seem to have existed as to whether the local Soviet authorities would be able to handle the situation: "I don't understand how this could happen. were constantly calling on the telephone. he was instructed from Moscow "to open fire on the insurgents.25 With the SED leadership effectively paralyzed at Karlshorst. DDR. Khrushchev. persons were executed including Soviet soldiers who refused to obey orders. the Soviet military seemed to hold back and remain more passive. p. the uprising had been "totally unexpected for the German Democratic Government as well as for our organs" (Document No. 18 Soviet soldiers were executed near Bierderitz by Soviet troops. 60). agreed to deploy troops from their summer training camps back to the garrisons on 15 June.26 Shortly before 9 p.22 Some of the worst violence occurred outside the East Berlin police headquarters. Soviet tanks entered Berlin. Semyonov also urged Ulbricht to warn the regional party apparatus of the impending strikes. Semyonov claims that in the afternoon of 17 June. 24 According to fragmentary evidence." he supposedly wondered aloud upon his arrival.m. they declared martial law in East Berlin.

There are plants where only 5 percent of the workers have resumed work. Sokolovskii confirmed this interpretation. Soviet officials in Germany assessed the demonstrations and riots as a "major planned provocation" by the West in response to the "recently declared measures on normalization of the political situation in the GDR" (Document No.. both diplomatic and military representatives had to acknowledge that strikes and riots—including violent clashes with Soviet troops—were continuing throughout the GDR. Comrades! The situation is similar in other areas. MVD representative Colonel Ivan Fadeikin informed Sokolovskii that the SED and FDGB leadership had known about the workers' threat to strike but "timely preventive measures were not adopted. Sokolovskii. a coup d'etat. IV. organized and directed from the Western sectors of Berlin" (Document No. above all Ulbricht." Unable to fathom the population's widespread resentment of the regime.. and especially Semyonov and Grechko. Semyonov was even more positive: the disorders "had been stopped.From what little we know so far. Late on 17 June. some SED members had even taken "an active part in the delays and strikes" (Document No. however. the goal of a stable GDR remained key to Moscow's perspective on the German question. that "the same tactics ." and that order had been "restored in the majority of the cities of the GDR" (Document No. In the wake of the uprising. had "displayed cowardice and bewilderment" during the uprising. Writing at virtually the same time to Molotov.. The SED leadership came under harsh criticism from their Soviet "friends" for failing to detect signs of unrest in time or to take the necessary precautions. come to the conclusion that the provocation was prepared in advance. In fact. The streets are calm" (Document No."29 According to the GDR security service. DY 30. Yudin and Sokolovskii delivered to the Soviet leadership a 49-page report describing and analyzing the events of 17–19 June." and that "all the disorders took place under the same slogans" (Document No. MfS State Secretary Erich Mielke reported that construction workers were "on strike everywhere. 25). "analyzing the situation. Soviet communications from Berlin to Moscow—such as Semyonov's reports of the stoning of a Stalin monument and other anti-Soviet outbursts after the events of 16 June—must have sounded ominous (Document No. . From the very first moment. A few hours later. failed to pick up on the significance of smaller strike 29 SAPMO-BArch." Certain members of the GDR government and the SED Central Committee. 37). The workers are not coming back to work . hastened to assure Moscow that they had regained control and that the strikes and riots had subsided rapidly after the display of Soviet military force. arguing that the events were "apparently a major planned uprising covering the whole territory of the German Democratic Republic aimed at . Despite being unprepared for the outbreaks. As these reports indicated. the SCC. as the "enemies" "scatter[ed] their agents in small cities and villages" where Soviet troops were not deployed. were used everywhere. as late as 21 June. Late on 17 June. 33). Grechko informed Soviet Defense Minister Nikolai Bulganin that. Semyonov was particularly harsh in his criticism of the SED leadership. On 24 June. Semyonov admitted that earlier in the year. the uprising lasted well beyond 16–17 June. 33). just as the SED had. reported that the "provocative plan of the reactionary and fascist elements has collapsed. I have . but Soviet leaders must have felt ever less certain about the SED's ability to implement the New Course. 2/1/246 170 . In the next few days. Fadeikin continued. not until 24 June had the situation finally calmed down. 47).. Grechko. he. 35). . 36). and in fact spreading... Sokolovskii saw "proof of his conclusion in the observation that "the disorders began simultaneously" in Berlin and major East German cities. representing the Soviet military authorities.

25). They further recommended reorganizing the GDR government by integrating the Ministry for State Security into the Interior Ministry. we should not expect serious disturbances in the city on 17 June" (Document No. Ulbricht came in for particularly harsh criticism. and to reduce the size and responsibilities of what had been Ulbricht's machine (the Central Committee secretariat)." derived from this one-sided and personalized assessment of Ulbricht's responsibility for and handling of the crisis." were "considering the probability of larger disorders" that morning. "our friends stated that they did not consider the events so serious as to warrant such extraordinary measures and that." The envoys' detailed account also revealed the spectrum of options they believed were available: In addition to his longstanding arguments in favor of relieving the GDR of its reparations. Semyonov seemed to misinform Moscow in an effort to incriminate Ulbricht and to shift the blame away from himself: As he and Grechko had reported to Moscow early on 17 June.' as a consequence of which. to liquidate Ulbricht's position as general secretary (which was in line with the trend in Moscow to emphasize collective leadership). When the Soviets urged Ulbricht to take precautions in the GDR districts. Only under great pressure did the SED Politburo finally accept the New Course decree. as late as 14 June. Semyonov (and Yudin and Sokolovskii) continued. Semyonov had written that day. 60).." Here. Yudin's and Sokolovskii's "conclusions. disregarded information on strike plans. 60). They evaluated the situation. This lent a certain credibility to the main drift of his argument—that the deteriorating situation resulted from the badly-handled increase in industrial output norms. Ulbricht and Grotewohl had neglected to say a word about the strikes when they spoke at the Friedrichstadtpalast meeting of the party aktiv (Document No. Ignoring his own eagerness in forcing the quick adoption and publication of the New Course. Semyonov told Moscow. 25). reflected the urgency of Moscow's efforts to "improve the health of the situation in the GDR. occupation and other economic burdens. with broader enlistment of representatives of other parties. As the driving force behind this policy. "our friends did not manage to do anything better than to call the first secretaries of the district [party] committees to Berlin on 17 June 'for instruction. they advocated changes in the FDGB and reconstituting the Free German Youth as a national (as opposed to a party) organization. and bringing in "more popular people . and had asked for troop patrols in areas where disorders had occurred. "extremely optimistically" (Document No. It was necessary. it was the SED leaders who "all believed that the riots of 16 June were just the beginning. Semyonov now seemed to urge upon Moscow what he had hedged on just a few weeks before: a radical enhancement of the GDR's image "in the eyes of the German population" (Document No. and as late as the evening of 16 June. The SED city organization as well as the East Berlin magistrate had failed to respond to the workers' demands to repeal the norm increase on 15 June. It was Semyonov who stipulated that the Soviet troops would only take part in the action "in exceptional circumstances of extreme need" (Document No.occurrences. Semyonov told Moscow. and supposedly failed to alert the party leadership or the Soviet High Commission. at the time of the disturbances of 17 June the districts were left with essentially no top party leaders.. When he informed the SED leadership that evening of the decision to introduce Soviet troops. GDR State Security as well as SED city committee officials. 17! . to separate government and party functions more clearly." Finally. Semyonov's. and in extenuation of the 2 June decree. 60). as on other occasions. Semyonov charged that the SED leadership had "carelessly formulated orders" and publicized them without accompanying propaganda measures. the report's authors now favored rather drastic structural and personnel changes. in their opinion. elevating the role of the Volkskammer. jettisoning disliked ministers. they argued.

State Department German specialist Eleanor Dulles." Memorandum. Jackson Papers. to Allen Dulles. '"Keeping the Pot Simmering:' The United States and the East German Uprising of 1953. After a short announcement of the news at 1:00 p. The information disseminated through this medium was in his opinion a major factor in stimulating the revolt against the Communist leaders.D. DDR. 3 August 1953. Box 74 34 On 9 July. SAPMO-BArch. had put it. our shackles are broken. providing uncensored reports of 30 Hagen. 37 "Information uber die Situation in Leipzig und Espenhain am 17. who had been in Berlin in mid-June. "Analyse uber die Vorbereitung. RG 59. RIAS had reported on the afternoon of 15 June that protest strikes were being staged against the increase in work norms. such as "All stations were lying. 61-89.S. 32 McCloy to Secretary of State. 511." Dulles added that "My conversations with these demonstrators bore out this statement. 18 June 1953. 35 Abt. reports from additional sources confirmed that demonstrations at the Stalinallee site had indeed taken place. Controlled by HICOG but staffed mainly with German personnel.S. Jackson Papers. Major General. Dulles to Riddleberger. p.35 After the announcement of the New Course. RG 59. CIA-Eastern European Division to Allen Dulles. 36 Ibid. blacked-out area.S. see also Christian F. DDEL. RIAS had certainly encouraged labor unrest and passive resistance. intelligence agents estimated that more than 70 percent of East Germans listened on a regular basis."36 A SED report on the situation on 17 June in Leipzig noted that "many RIAS listeners" could be found among the workers. intelligence agencies operating in Berlin to collect information. 31 172 . Lifschultz."33 RIAS had played an important role before the uprising.m. constituted "the spiritual and psychological center of resistance in a Communist-dominated. RIAS gave a lengthy account of the day's events in the Soviet Sector on the 4:30 p. and facilitated the "recruitment of covert sources and agents in the Soviet Zone. Box 74. 9 July 1953. local party officials reported increasing numbers of statements from the local population." German Studies Review 19:1 (February 1996). NARA. news. Burton B. reported that the head of the Berlin Red Cross had told her that "the rise of the workers against the Communists and their revolt against [oppressive] labor conditions was due in large measure to the broadcast by RIAS which had been contrasting labor conditions under Communist and Democratic regimes for some weeks. government agency instigated the demonstrations.62B4/8–2450. SAPMO-BArch. these reports relied on evidence whose tenuousness initially led other radio stations not to air them. which pointed to the widespread and.m.C. Broadcast again in the late evening and in the early morning of 16 June. High Commissioner. John J." and "poison to the Communists.D. SAPMOBArch.–22.S. By noon (16 June). While neither it nor any other U. C.1953. NL 90/437. McCloy. DDEL. C. when reception throughout the zone peaked. G-2. pp.6. 10 July 1953. 33 M. RIAS was extremely popular in the GDR: U.34 The radio station's significance as an "alternative public opinion" within the GDR is reflected in internal SED reports.The Initial Western Reaction Probably the first Western officials to take note of the demonstrations in East Berlin were the employees of the American Radio in Berlin. den Ausbruch und die Niederschlagung des faschistischen Abenteuers vom 16. 962A." 18 June 1953. as the first U. 30.30 Widely regarded as "the only source of objective news available to the [GDR] population. NARA."32 In addition. Leitende Organe der Partei und der Massenorganisationen. 24 August 1950. 2/5/546. E. in fact increasing.40/7–953. RIAS. RIAS cooperated with U. Ostermann. Durchsage der B[ezirks] L[eitung] Leipzig [Report of the District Headquarters].37 Based on information provided by workers from the Stalinallee construction site. we are free people again. NL 90/437. RIAS alone says the truth.6 1953." 20 July 1953.. reception of RIAS broadcasts in the spring of 1953. Partridge."31 RIAS.

D. p. p. RIAS reported that the demonstrators were determined to continue their protest and convinced that "strikes and demonstrations would not be limited to the workers of the Stalinallee site. Arbeiteraufstand in der DDR (Koln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik. 43 Der Aufstand der Arbeiterschaft im Ostsektor von Berlin und in der sowjetischen Besatzungszone. p. DDR. pp. printed in Use Spittmann and Karl Wilhelm Fricke. Juni 1953. having proved by their actions that "they were able to force the government to accept their justified demands. free elections and indemnity for all demonstrators were not fulfilled. Juni 1953 [copy in Bundesarchiv Koblenz." would. RIAS Program Director Eberhard Schutz called the regime's reversal on the norm question "a victory. Juni bis zum 23. RG 59. "Courage in Berlin and Its Reward. In his nightly comment." in 17. 97. 1994).40 Apparently unable to consult effectively with Washington or HICOG Bonn. Moreover." New York Times. 11 (Washington. 1988). 17. 762B. NL 90/437. price cuts."38 Not surprisingly. The Explosion. but that it would factually and fully disseminate information about the demonstrations. 3. RG 59. if the workers had not manifested their opposition in discussions. 46–69. local RIAS officials opted for caution. see also the testimony of Wilhelm Grothaus. ed. "make use of their power at any time" if their demands for lower quotas. 2nd ed.39 RIAS officials recognized that the rebelling workers expected the radio station to be their central coordinating point. RIAS broadcasts came close to open encouragement of the protests. See also Rainer Hildebrandt. The East Berlin workers had not limited their demands to the question of work quotas but had indeed called for the resignation of the Pankow regime and introduction of Western-style liberties. This policy decision was soon confirmed in Washington. 42 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State. Mindful of the warning by HICOG's Eastern Affairs Element Chief Charles Hulick that night-—"I hope you know what you are doing. Diethelm Prowe. Juni 1953. 40 Hagen. 14–17..: Woodrow Wilson Center. no. NARA. SAPMO-BArch. 16 June 1953. it was RIAS to which the East Berlin workers turned on the afternoon of 16 June with requests for assistance in spreading their call for a general strike the next day. 234–237. in "Augenzeugenberichte von streikenden Arbeitern. which our Ostberliners share with the entire working population of the Soviet Zone. NARA. NL 18/314]. One of the worker delegates later recalled that they anticipated RIAS' full support for their strike. You could start a war this way"41—RIAS Political Director Gordon Ewing decided that the station could not directly lend itself as a mouthpiece to the workers. dem 17. "Bericht uber die Geschehnisse am Mittwoch. Weltstadt in Krisen. passive resistance and strikes throughout the zone. Schutz argued. the East German Uprising of 1953. pp. "We would be unworldly and would not deserve 38 Der Aufstand der Arbeiterschaft im Ostsektor von Berlin und in der sowjetischen Besatzungszone. 173 . 136. see also Christian F.00/6–1653. 16 June 1953. Juni 1953.d. 762B.. 39 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State.C.the shift in the demonstrators' demands from rescission of the higher work quotas and price cuts to shouts of: "We want free elections. The 7:30 broadcasts that evening featured the demonstrations. The resolution stated that the strikers. Nachla J. Tatigkeitsbericht der Hauptabteilung Politik des Rundfunks im Amerikanischen Sektor in der Zeit vom 16. 41 The quote is from Stewart Alsop. Ostermann. 1988). 20 July 1953. Berlin 1949–1958 (Berlin: Walter DeGryter." n.00/6–1653. Use Spittman and Karl-Heinz Fricke (Koln: Verlag Wissenchaft und Politik. p. followed by a Western Allied invasion to reestablish order. Cold War International History Project Working Papers Series.42 RIAS reports helped to spread the news quickly throughout the GDR."43 Later that night. and the Limits of Rollback. 5. Kaiser. pp. p. The United States. 113. and reported that a delegation of construction workers had submitted a resolution for publication. then. since only RIAS could effectively establish a link between strikers and the general population. The name and details are given in an interview by Ewing. 1973)." The regime would have never reacted as fast as it did.

17 June 1953. 47 See also HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State.S."44 Following Federal Minister for All-German Questions Jacob Kaiser's admonition in a late night broadcast to his East German compatriots to shy away from provocations. "would be happy to be able to report more such victories in the next days. director of CIA's East European Division. news broadcast. DDEL (Mandatory Review release to editor). According to Grose. different from fueling bloodshed already in progress. p. West Berliners and Soviet Zone residents. "It is your task today to show the Soviet and German rulers that we do not accept 'mistakes' anymore as mistakes. 1994). Battleground Berlin. Bross remembered that he "had no hesitation in over-riding his field-agents' zeal. NARA. Kondrashev.45 In the early morning hours. 48 Ibid. They are fighting not only for the social rights of labor but for the human rights of everyone in the East Zone. The episode. The Explosion. they decided. was confirmed by John Bross.m. 8. Evidence remains scanty about a 17 June CIA cable from Berlin that suggested supplying arms to the rioters. as discussions in the NSC the next day would show supplying arms to the rioters was discussed (and rejected) even at the highest levels. that we and you expect a change of mind which is not limited to a rescission of the 10 percent increase in work norms but which creates conditions for free decisions which go way beyond the so-called 'voluntary norm increases'. pp. RIAS was later credited within the Eisenhower administration for the swiftness with which the disorders spread from East Berlin throughout the Zone. 170–171. 17 June 1953..the confidence of our listeners if we could not acknowledge the justification of the demands .. 46 Ibid. the Western Berlin Commandants agreed that their primary duty was "to maintain law and order in their sectors"47 (Document No. 174 . RIAS. See Peter Grose." Supplying arms for long-term resistance networks was. beginning with its 11:00 p.. calling specifically for all East Berliners to participate in a demonstration at 7:00 the following morning at the centrally-located Strausberger Platz. Reportedly. first reported in Thomas Powers' 1979 book The Man Who Kept the Secrets. pp. possibly signaling to the Soviets the defensive posture of the West. U. Jackson to Operations Coordinating Board. p. 6. The Commandants' cautious response notwithstanding. 66: HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State. Meeting at 11 a.m. Based on other interviews. Gentleman Spy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin." Schutz concluded. RG 59. Bross and CIA Deputy Director for Plans Frank Wisner agreed. former Berlin Station Chief David Murphy argued more recently that such an exchange did not occur Nevertheless. repeated the workers' demand to continue the strike the next day. on 17 June."48 Apparently Western Allied authorities were also concerned that "many demonstrators in 44 45 Der Aufslandder Arbeiterschaft im Ostsektor von Berlin und in der sowjetischen Besatzungszone. RIAS' cautious but increasingly supportive stance during the early hours of the uprising mirrored the response of local Western officials. and from then on in hourly intermissions. What the population of East Berlin and the Soviet Zone demands today and what it views as feasible is nothing less than the end to the totalitarian rule of the Kremlin's German satellites." Schutz encouraged his listeners to support the demonstrators. NARA.. and Bailey. 32). 356–357: and Murphy. even before the Soviet declaration of martial law. officials and German anti-Communist groups based in West Berlin may have been eager to react more forcefully. some U. Hildebrandt. 762A 0221/6–1753. West Berlin labor leader Ernst Scharnowski reassured the gathering demonstrators that West German unions stood behind their colleagues and called upon the population for support: "Don't leave them alone." Emphasizing that "everyone had to know himself how far he could go. of East Berlin tram and rail employees! Every town has its Strausberger Platz!"46 Through broadcasts such as this. See C. RG 59. "should if possible be dissuaded from mixing in East Berlin demonstrations where serious possibility of bloodshed existed.OO/6–1753.S. 762B. forces were removed from the East-West German borderline. 3 November 1953. thus pushing the riots beyond a local crisis.D." "We. p. Join the movement of East Berlin construction workers. Ibid. to historian Peter Grose in 1994.

Telegram. 00/6–2353."56 For the time being. pp. Strauss to Phillips. Moreover. The Secretary of State was intent on emphasizing the spontaneity of the demonstrations and avoiding identification of the United States with the unfolding events. 52 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State.. p. 116. According to his own testimony. officials were equally eager to avoid escalating the crisis at first. 39). fear of incident. an act which he later ascribed to "passivity. 51 HICOG Berlin/Berlin to Secretary of State. or lack of responsibility. Speaking before the Bundestag in Bonn later that day. 54 On Adenauer's reaction see Hans Peter Schwarz. Lyon to HICOG Bonn and Department of State. 662. Dibrova.border areas have been under the influence of alcohol" and pondered closing liquor stores and cafes in the border areas. NARA.57 The administration's initial response also stemmed from the failure of U. even though they acknowledged that the Soviet military's brutal suppression of the uprising afforded an "excellent propaganda opportunity"55 (Document No.S. He therefore advised the president to steer clear of questions "about our stimulating this. Telegram. Wondering how to respond to press inquiries about the "Berlin incident.D. DDEL. NARA. 762A. RG 59. arguing that the letter had described the events in the Soviet sector "in a distorted way." Eisenhower conferred with John Foster Dulles in the morning of 17 June. 1962)." and "decisively" rejecting the Western protest. Telephone Conversations. 762A. 762B. 17June 1953. NARA. 50 49 175 . Jackson Records. Adenauer. 17 June 1953. Weltstadt in Krisen. 10:10 a. 56 "Telephone Conversation Between Dulles and Eisenhower. the Commandants ordered a change in site and reminded Acting West Berlin Mayor Conrad50 and the head of the West Berlin police Johannes Stumm "that the status of Berlin is Allied responsibility. "from publishing inflammatory editorials. 34). 18 June 1953. 23 June 1953.49 Convinced that a SPD-sponsored solidarity demonstration scheduled for the evening of 17 June near the sector border would appear provocative. 0221/6–1853.0221/6–1753. C. 53 Soviet military commander of Berlin." warning of the "grave consequences" of circumventing Allied authority51 (Document No. RG 59.m. was at an international meeting of mayors in Vienna on 17 June. RG 59. Der Staatsmann 1952–1967 (Stuttgart: DVA." See Prowe. 17 June 1953.S. the administration made no official high-level statements at all on the crisis. Maj. one of the most widely respected West German politicians in the Soviet Zone and an activist by reputation. Later that evening the Commandants also issued a press release advising Berliners to adopt "a completely calm attitude" in the face of the riots in the East. "Memorandum."DDEL John F. 1991). 84.53 But Allied concerns about militant speeches and possibly provocative actions on the part of the West Germans in support of their compatriots soon ebbed. Box 3.S. for a different account see Wolfgang Pauls. RG 59. U. Dulles Papers. 226–227. 21 June 1953 (FOIA release to the editor). 55 State Department to HICOG Bonn. the U. Kampfum Berlin (Munchen. p. Lyon to HICOG Bonn.-Gen. replied to the commandants' letter on 20 June." Eisenhower agreed and indicated he would say "just that we have always discouraged outbreaks unless there was a chance of their being beneficial or something along that line. 32). Berlin's charismatic Lord Mayor Ernst Reuter.OO/6–1753. the Allies delayed his return to Berlin for 48 hours. 22 June 1953 (FOIA release to editor). intelligence to provide precise and timely information on the uprising. 17 June 1953. Adenauer professed sympathy with the demonstrators but warned of a further escalation of irresponsible violence and rioting. NARA. Allied officials in fact at first HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State. a line echoed in the following hours and days by many West German public representatives54 (see also Document No."52 Not until 18 June did the Western Commandants issue a formal letter to Soviet Major-General Sergei Dengin protesting Soviet military actions in East Berlin. editor of the popular Berlin daily Tagesspiegel. Commandant took the unprecedented step of "dissuading" Ernst Reger. The Western Commandants rejected Dibrova's "allegations that the disturbances of 17 June were the result of action by groups sent from [the] Western sectors of Berlin" in a reply to Dibrova on 22 June.

but the scarcity of intelligence made it "impossible [to] evaluate [the] extent" of the disturbances (Document No. the Western Berlin Commandants apparently had "no precise information on hand" on the status of the strikes in East Berlin. Jackson put it during the NSC meeting. pt.. pp.m. Despite the administration's interest in extricating the United States from the Korean conflict. the CIA's Office of Current Intelligence by 26 June was still passing on unsubstantiated information to the effect that the demonstrations had "reportedly been the subject of elaborate prior planning. p. Eisenhower: Turning the World Towards Peace (St. Reflecting the continued difficulties in assessing the uprising. 6 p. 44). "this could be the bell pealing the disintegration of the Soviet 58 Working Paper Prepared in the Eastern Affairs Division. according to the now fully declassified NSC transcript. 59 "Comment on East Berlin Rioting. "not only that. 45).C. A four-power conference was one option. 61 "German Socialists Report Unrest Prior to 16–17June. Romania. Paul: Merril/Magnus Publishing Corp. RG 59. p. but it was now quite possible that some of the satellite regimes were now prepared to follow the road Tito had taken. 2 (Washington.58 In an interesting case of intelligence misperception." Jackson replied. D. French government officials were apparently particularly convinced that the uprising had started as an event staged by the Soviets. Discussions in the NSC on 18 June were marked by a realization that while the unrest was a "sign of real promise. 46). Anxious not to lend any semblance of moral approval to bloody Soviet suppression.000 North Korean prisoners of war in a bid to torpedo armistice negotiations with Pyongyang. "Von der Arbeiterrevolte zur spontanen politischen Volkserhebung: Der 17. and Albania (Document No. the President declared that "he had supposed he had made it crystal clear that if there were to be a four-power conference he himself would not be present." as presidential adviser C. "inquired whether Mr. 12 (CIA FOIA release to the editor). 18 June 1953. 1952–1954.. Juni 1953 in der DDR im Urteil westlicher Diplomatie und Politik. FRUS. Jackson meant that we should intervene to prevent the slaughter by the Soviet forces. South Korean President Syngman Rhee had freed some 25." it also "posed a very tough problem for the United States to know how to handle" (Document No. but Eisenhower sharply disagreed. 176 . the State Department was giving the idea a great deal of thought.62 This was particularly true since the uprising coincided with unforeseen troubles in Korea." Militargeschichtliche Mitteilungen 54:2 (1995). D. the uprising "certainly had provided us with the strongest possible argument to give to Mr." Indeed." CIA Current Intelligence Digest. 18 June 1953. 1990). Eisenhower. How far Washington was prepared to go "if this thing really gets cracking" was the "64-dollar question. 175-177." If anything."59 As late as 18 June.0221/6–1853." CIA Current Intelligence Digest. the NSC resolved to keep up the pressure on the Soviet Union by continuing the armistice talks. 1595.: Government Printing Office. Churchill against a four-power meeting" (Document No."61 CIA did feel certain that the popular unrest and anti-regime activity was not limited to East Germany but evident in neighboring countries such as Czechoslovakia.60 Later that day HICOG Berlin did pass on "unconfirmed reports [of] unrest and strikes" in major GDR cities. See Michael Gehler. 60 HICOG Berlin to Secretary of State. p. 9 (CIA FOIA release to editor). Only hours before. he added. 62 On the one-hour long debate in the NSC on the food program see the memoirs of the Director of the Mutual Security Agency. According to John Foster Dulles. VII. 363–416. 46). Harold Stassen (and Marshall Houts).wondered whether the Soviets had deliberately instigated the rebellion in order to create a convenient pretext to remove Ulbricht or to move military forces into East Berlin in preparation for capturing the entire city. What Eisenhower called the "terrible situation" in Korea deepened the uncertainty about what to do about East Germany. NARA. 25 June 1953. 26 June 1953. Following a report by CIA director Allen Dulles. 762A. pp. HICOG. Berlin Element. which had "flared up into near revolt. CIA reports also speculated about the possibility of a "controlled demonstration" by the regime. 1986).

there was a real chance of success. 32). searched for options for a more active response to the uprising. Eisenhower's reactions show a remarkable degree of exaggeration in his assessment of the East German protests—and suggest what it would have taken for him to risk direct U. Adenauer. they would find it tough to deal with trouble both in Europe and in the Far East." Deutschland Archiv 17:12 (1984). involvement. Young (Leichester: Leichester University Press. on the contrary. or even possibly to the USSR itself? If this should happen. 177 . 24 June 1953.65 The British prime minister reacted violently to the Commandants' 18 June statement. the President asked the Psychological Strategy Board to devise a short-term plan on how to exploit the East German situation (Document No. While the Commandants expressed "grave concern" and denounced the Soviets' "irresponsible recourse to military force. As the administration. as the occupying Power. fearing the uprising would quash his hopes for a four-power summit.Joseph Foschepoth. CS 1016/85. England [henceforth PRO]. pp. Uncertain what could be done. noting at one point that he had barely "succeeded in defeating the American desire to insert in the statement words which would have implied that the Allies approved of the riots"63 (see also Document No. Steven Fish." As to whether "we should ship arms to the East Berliners. der kalte Krieg und die deutsche Frage im Jahre 1953. 63 Ward to Foreign Office [henceforth FO]. Would the riots spread to China. pp. FO/371/103840. 46). 55-80. Juni 1953. This divergence among Cold War allies emerged as early as 17 June when the three Western Berlin Commandants drafted a joint communique in order to counter Communist allegations that the Western Allies were provoking the disorders. Eisenhower concluded that "the time to 'roll them out for keeps'" had not "quite" arrived. die USA und der 17. you certainly didn't supply the arms. To him. the British and French remained more phlegmatic. Juni 1953 aus der Sicht des Foreign Office. 64 Dillon/Paris to Secretary of State. wanted to return to businessas-usual in Berlin as quickly as possible. "depended on how widespread the uprising became. 'Churchill. "Cold War and Detente With Moscow. Young.S. 333-355." For the moment.Empire. 1953. 762A. pp. "After Stalin's Death: The Anglo—American Debate Over a New Cold War. he said. RG 59. "Neutralisierung oder Westintegration. because while the USSR would have no great difficulty in crushing uprisings in Europe alone. 22–31. pp. 1286–1301. Our problem was to weigh the prospects of success.6.S. "it was very important that the unrest spread to China. Michael Gehler." Jackson pressed on. "that if to do so was just inviting a slaughter of these people. While the French government favored a "policy of watchful waiting. 1988). 20. Kew Gardens. unabhangiges Deutschland? Winston Churchill."64 Churchill. John W. we would probably never have a better chance to act. pp. prodded by Jackson. The decision to intervene." the British Commandant clearly preferred a softer approach than his U." Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 25 (1993). 568-583. M. Churchill. for example to supply arms. the President added. 65 On British policy during the uprising see Klaus Larres. pp. Adenauer und die Neutralisierung Deutschlands." Diplomatic History 10:4 (1986). 1951–55. Do we stand idly by. asking whether U.S. Citing diplomatic reports on the relatively restrained Soviet behavior. and we would be well-advised. or do we help the disintegration? And how much responsibility are we willing to take for the results of helping?" With the question of intervening explicitly raised by Jackson. stating that "if the Soviet Government." MilMrgeschichtliche Mitteilungen 36 (1984). ed." DeutschlandArchiv 45:6 (1993). If. he harshly reprimanded the British representative. Public Record Office. the revolts have to be more serious and widespread than at this moment before they promised real success and indicated the desirability of our intervening. Rolf Steininger.0221/6–2453. In his opinion. you might well do so. Eisenhower reasoned. actions could "help [to] make this movement more serious and more widespread?" But Eisenhower thought such ideas premature. NARA. "Der 17. John W." in The Foreign Policy of Churchill's Peacetime Government. 105–144." as Jackson seemed to advocate. "Ein vereinigtes. counterpart.

On 18 June. They were sent to Berlin not for the purpose of straightening things out. Personal cable from Prime Minister to Coleman. PRO. the report noted that "Beriya [Beria] supposedly remarked to Goglidze and Kobulov that Socialism in Germany was a joke and that the attempt to instill it there should be discontinued. late 1953)." Goglidze was eventually shot.70 Though Beria' arrest would not be announced until 10 July. British and French insisted that any such broadening is responsibility of HICOMERS.. Pushkin and Gribanov—in addition to Semyonov. CS 1016/90. The commission's task was to draft a proposal for the Council of Ministers. CS1016/85. [CIA Information Report (undated. According to a CIA report based on at least one MVD account. 1953. Goglidze and Kobulov. simultaneously. "where the propagandists do not always seem to be under control. FO/371/103840. FO Minute. to interpret the situation behind the Iron Curtain as already very shaky and therefore to advocate new although unspecified measures to encourage and even promote an early liberation of the satellite countries. Battleground Berlin.] 67 66 178 . PRO.. 1953. By then. who were then in Berlin. Lyon stated that "the U. copy on file at the National Security Archive. and Bailey. Ward to FO. not without reason: on 4 July. 'with marked restraint and moderation' this is no reason for making statements [as contained in the Commandants' message]. "probably under Bulganin's orders." p. FO/371/103841. they came before a commission headed by former Foreign Minister Andrei Vyshinskii and composed of representatives of relevant ministries. Kobulov and Goglidze were seized on 27 June. Commandant strongly urged the inclusion of [a] sentence connecting Berlin incidents with incidents throughout zone. unrest erupted in Polish coal mines (Document No. 22."66 The Anglo—American strains resurfaced when the Commandants decided to issue another statement on 24 June. a week later. with the United States again inclined "no doubt to make it considerably stiffer" than the British wished. Idea therefore had to be dropped. the Polish Minister for State Security ordered a special alert to counter the impact on Polish workers of the "recent provocative events" in the GDR. dramatic changes had occurred in Moscow. and placed aboard the Moscow-bound plane. "brought to the airport under guard. Roberts to Strang."68 Acting Foreign Minister Lord Salisbury soon warned of the "new and more dangerous American tendency . on 2 July. Lavrentii Beria had been arrested. FO/371/103840. Semyonov and Sokolovskii had received orders to detain Beria's aides. "After Stalin's Death. by late June. preparations were already underway for an extraordinary CPSU Plenum at which the intelligence chief would be accused of a variety of nefarious acts. including a readiness to abandon the GDR. 176. 23. PRO.were faced as you have described with widespread movements of violent disorders they surely have the right to declare martial law in order to prevent anarchy and if they acted in your words . CS 1016/116. including Moscow's preeminent Germany specialists—Yudin..6.. 69 Fish. 564. trussed up. Kondrashev. Lyon to HICOG Bonn. but rather to create even more confusion in the German situation. 22. as they were arrested by Soviet army personnel rather than by the MVD. Moreover. See also Telegram."69 The Struggle for Power: Beria's Fall and Ulbricht's Survival Semyonov's. 343.1953." Sokolovskii had overseen the arrest.6. the report said.S.67 London's envoy also showed concern about the American sector. We shall not find our way out of our many difficulties by making for purposes of local propaganda statements which are not in accordance with the facts. On 26 June." 68 Tel." Reflecting the Kremlin's line on Beria's alleged misdeeds regarding Germany. p.6. Moscow was receiving reports that East Germany's neighbors were growing increasingly concerned about the spillover effects from the upheaval. 70 Murphy. Yudin's and Sokolovskii's proposals for drastic changes in the GDR reached Moscow on 25 June. which apparently was not trusted to perform the job. 22 June 1953 (FOIA release to the editor).

more likely. not with a defensive. Observing the opposition press in Western Germany. 65) reflected the indecisiveness and hesitation that seems to have prevailed among Soviet officials.. Orlov. With the news of Beria's arrest and the renewed emphasis on "collective leadership" that Grotewohi brought back from his trip to Moscow. and improvements in Soviet troop stationing. albeit Stalinist and unpopular ruler. while most of the proposals on political restructuring had been "canceled" as "untimely. preoccupied with the Beria affair and its internal (and empire-wide) ramifications. in particular an improvement in food supplies. The situation in East Germany had stabilized as a result of the economic measures which Moscow and East Berlin had hurriedly undertaken. It is uncertain whether the SED presence in the Soviet capital had any influence on the decision-making process in Moscow. Press and broadcasts should not limit themselves to the GDR. After all. 71 179 . the commission's 2 July proceedings on the Semyonov—Yudin—Sokolovskii proposals (Document No. 419–446. Regarding the economic and financial support and relief measures being considered. the Soviets seemed more interested (once again) in assuring stability than in admitting mistakes: "One has to prevent the dissemination of information which put the Party and the Government in a bad light. Large-scale strikes were even taking place in Soviet labor camps. On 18 July. Pushkin briefed Vyshinskii on the results of the commission's discussions." Cahiers du Monde russe et sovietique 33:4 (October-December 1992)." a high-ranking Soviet High Commission official. he ousted Zaisser as security chief. the commission effectively shelved the report's far-reaching and politically sensitive proposals. the terror and persecutions in West Germany have to be consistently exposed. Ulbricht had gone on the offensive by mid-July. pp. the Soviet Trade Ministry was working on the relevant economic issues.71 Rumors of renewed unrest in the GDR which resurfaced in early July (strikes indeed occurred in mid-July) probably only reinforced any disinclination in Moscow towards sweeping changes on the ground. the commission demanded further "assessments" and refinement..L. Pushkin could inform Vyshinskii. focusing instead on the less provocative issues involving occupation costs. grew ever more inclined to maintain the status quo. Hermstadt and Ackermann were expelled from the Politburo. Uncertain of the fall-out from the shifts taking place in the Soviet leadership.50).. the Soviet leadership. Meanwhile. Five days later Zaisser. In other words." Increasingly certain of his continued support in Moscow. "The Great Strikes of 1953 in Soviet Labor Camps in the Accounts of their Participants: A Review. one day after Grotewohl's and Ulbricht's visit to Moscow. the commission asked Semyonov and Yudin to further discuss proposals for changes in the SED party structure within the CPSU CC. exchange rates. the prospect of any major political changes in the GDR had dropped off the agenda. Ulbricht must have sensed the opportunity to turn the tables on his foes. "Enemy propaganda must be exposed systematically and on a daily basis." those ideas regarding a move towards collective leadership within the SED would be discussed during the forthcoming visit of a SED CC delegation to Moscow (Document No. but an offensive tone . to hold on to power in East Germany by means of reinforcing an experienced. Given the dramatically shifting equilibrium in the Kremlin. 69). On 9 July. A. At the 15th SED Plenum in late July. and it decided that those proposals calling for a reorganization of the GDR government would be removed from the agenda for the USSR Council of Ministers altogether. observed on 9 July. reliable. By the time the East German delegation arrived in the Soviet capital in late August. Ulbricht charged Herrnstadt and Zaisser with inner-party conspiracy and linked Andrea Graziosi.

.72 In early August. DDEL DDE Papers. 17 August 1953. the West. At the same time."74 With Nikita Khrushchev's ascendance among the Soviet leaders. Unfailing in his belief in the survival of socialism in Germany. see "1953 fing alles an. 381-395. It was this commitment to the GDR's survival on Khrushchev's part—and Ulbricht's ability to turn weakness into strength—that would underpin Khrushchev's 1958 Berlin ultimatum and the building of the Berlin Wall three years later. "Bargaining Power of Weaker Allies. 74 Ibid. Michael Lemke. National Security Archive. Ann Whitman File. the Kremlin committed itself to supporting the weakened but unreconstructed Ulbricht regime as the "bulwark of the struggle of the German people for a united. see Gary Bruce. 846–855. the 1955 Geneva summit. through almost unlimited economic and international political support. and the June 17 Uprising" (paper presented at the conference "The Crisis Year 1953 and the Cold War in Europe. Moscow's commitment to the GDR would harden. for an interesting personal view by a former GDR security officer. Zubok "Khrushchev and Divided Germany. the "last believer" in the Kremlin sought to strengthen the GDR further in succeeding years. a sharp reduction in occupation expenses and an end to reparations payments by year's end. peaceloving and democratic Germany. 180 . its focus was on strengthening "the further development of the national economy" of the GDR in the aftermath of the disastrous uprising. Potsdam. pp. and other GDR leaders. 1993).75 72 See Victor Baras.them to Beria's alleged "criminal machinations. the Soviets promised much of what had been discussed internally for months: the transfer of Soviet joint-stock companies. all in all. Moscow's moves were seen in Washington as a "serious effort to bolster the shaky GDR regime. Grotewohl." Vladislav M. "The MfS. Even in the wake of the first top-level superpower meeting since 1945. 1953-1964" (unpublished manuscript. Box 14. the formation of an all-German provisional government and an easing of Germany's financial—economic burdens. Die Berlinkrise 1958 bis 1963 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag. as well as substantial economic and financial aid—notwithstanding the lateness of the act."73 The Kremlin leadership also agreed to free additional prisoners of war and raise the status of its mission in Berlin to that of an embassy." Soviet Studies 27:3 (July 1975). November 1996)." including his supposed readiness to sell-out the GDR. might "have considerable appeal to [the Western] public. "Beria's Fall and Ulbricht's Survival.. including the declaration of GDR sovereignty in March 1954. pp. Moscow sent diplomatic notes to the Western powers proposing the convocation of a peace conference. At their 20–22 August meetings with Ulbricht. if not necessarily Ulbricht. Khrushchev underlined his commitment to the GDR by visiting the East German capital. 1995). 73 State to HICOG Bonn." which. and again in mid-month." Deutschland Archiv 26:7 (1993). 75 Harrison. which a State Department cable characterized as "a literal example of locking [the] barn door after [the] horse [has been] stolen by [the] Soviets. on the impact of the uprising on the GDR security apparatus. espousing on the occasion the "two-Germanies" doctrine. International Series." However much all-German appeal Moscow hoped such proposals would have in the West.

The special edition of Der Abend. breaking shop windows. It is clear from the reports of West German 181 . were throwing stones at the I. Pointing to the influx of West Germans and a spate of newspaper reports in West Berlin. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. About 500 bandits tried to burst into the gas plant and block its operations. Molotov To Comrade N.V. 7:26 a. Moscow Time (5:26 a. there was a demonstration by construction workers on strike downtown in the Soviet sector of Berlin during the first half of 16 June. 17 June 1953. went on strike during the evening of 16 June. as well as the night shift of 120 people at one of the Berlin plants. The organizers of the disturbances announced that there would be a meeting at Strausberger Platz in central Berlin at 6:00 a. Separate groups gathered at the Berlin City Railway Office. on 17 June. As reported before. turning over cars. Semyonov and Grechko report that their GDR colleagues believe that "even larger disorders" are likely the next morning. directed against raising output quotas in the Berlin construction industry. The situation in the city became more complex towards the evening of 16 June.m. Some hooligans tried breaking into the residential flats of SED activists at Berzarin Platz. Bulganin We are reporting on the situation in Berlin towards the close of 16 June. Four hundred [East] German policemen who were dispatched there dispersed this band. The majority of construction workers started breaking up after it was announced that SED CC had canceled the rise in output quotas. called for a general strike in East Berlin on 17 June. Significantly. While SED activists were meeting in Friedrichstadtpalast. At the same time.m. The participation of persons sent from West Berlin kept increasing in subsequent gatherings. published in West Berlin on the evening of 16 June. Some people from West Berlin took part in the rally.m. Stalin monument at Stalinallee at 9:30 p. a band of up to 2. blocking streets. OPERATIONS DIVISION.M.m. moving towards the above-mentioned building. At the same time. GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET To Comrade V. The workers at "Fortschritt 1" and "Fortschritt 2" clothing factories. from the beginning Semyonov and Grechko emphasize the alleged role of West Berliners. holding up tram traffic. the two high-level Soviet officials declare that they are dealing with a "rather major planned provocation." Contrary to later claims that the SED leadership did not warn them. 25 people were arrested. destroying a shop on the way. 25: Situation Report from Vladimir Semyonov and Andrei Grechko to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin. large groups of West Berliners were attempting to promote chaos. sent to the Eastern sector to spread the protests and turn them to violence. there was strong agitation for a general strike in East Berlin. according to incomplete information.A. All those groups were dispersed by [East] German police. and [then] moved towards the Friedrichstadtpalast. as well as near the SED CC building.000 people. CET) This cyphergram is one of the first reports on the demonstrations and riots in East Berlin sent by Soviet High Commissioner Vladimir Semyonov and Soviet troop commander Marshal Andrei Grechko to Moscow. 17 June. In addition. big crowds started arriving from West [Berlin] into East Berlin. mainly West Berliners.DOCUMENT No.

At the recommendation of the SED Berlin City Committee (Gorkom). as well as to strengthen the protection of the most important objects in the city with the forces of the German People's Police. 155. op. 1–3. Moscow time. Khrushchev. Moreover. Copies of the cable were sent to: Malenkov. has been made responsible for maintaining order in the city. 78 The "VCh-phone" is a high-frequency telephone system used for secret communications with Moscow. 77 The "Barracked" or "Garrisoned" Police (KVP) evolved out of the para-military "Barracked Alert Groups" established by the Soviet occupation authorities in the Eastern Zone in 1946–47.100 men are being called from Oranienburg and Potsdam to reinforce the Berlin city police forces. pp. They made the decision to introduce police patrols on the streets where the disturbances took place.m.26 a. They formed the basis for the covert rearmament of the GDR. Molotov. measures have been taken to rally the party and youth activists to carry out explanatory work among inhabitants and to assist the authorities with maintaining order in the city. 16. From reports.. Moscow. one mechanized division. 79 This cable was originally reported by Kovalev (Assistant to Semyonov) and received by the Chief of Main Operations Department of the General Staff. 86–87. by the morning of 17 June troops from two mechanized regiments.79 Source: Archives of the Russian General Staff (AGSh). 182 . Grotewohl. 11. Beria. We will report on further events. it is also clear that this is a matter of a rather major planned provocation.press and radio that the above-mentioned hostile actions were organized from West Berlin as a response to the recently declared measures on the normalization of the political situation in the GDR. Minister of State Security and Politburo member. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. Colonel-General Comrade Grechko has taken over the overall supervision of Soviet troops in Berlin. and a battalion of the 105th regiment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be concentrated in the Karlshorst district (East Berlin). it became one of the key repressive mechanisms of the East German State. We have agreed with the "friends" that the German People's Police carry out the duties of maintaining order in the city and that Soviet troops will take active part in keeping order only in exceptional circumstances of extreme need. 17 June 1953.A. no.] Govorov is also in Berlin. f. At the request of the German friends. 76 The German People's Police was created by the Soviet occupation authorities in 1945–46. They all believed that the riots of 16 June were just the beginning of actions. The [East German] friends are counting on the probability of even larger disorders on the morning of 17 June. d. Voroshilov. Kaganovich. Operating in coordination with state security forces. Units of the Barracked Police77 totaling 1. We talked with the GDR leaders Ulbricht. Marshal [L. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. 10 (March 1998).76 Zaisser. and Zaisser. Lieutenant-General Pavlovskii. which have been organized from West Berlin. and Mikoyan. we are introducing troop patrols of 450 men [total] in cars in areas where disorders have occurred and also near the important installations in East Berlin. 3139. Semyonov Grechko Reported by "VCh-phone"78 at 7.

The first columns of the eastern demonstrators came to the building occupied by the GDR government at 8:30 a. 26: Situation Report from Vladimir Semyonov and Andrei Grechko to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin. THE MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION THE GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY To Comrade V.000 to 20. with a workforce of up to 25. The speeches of the demonstrators are running under the same slogans as they were put forward yesterday. After 1949.DOCUMENT No.m. were on strike. calling on the demonstrators to go to West Berlin was noticed. An American vehicle with two uniformed American officers in it. the Soviet military took control of the streets. Two companies of armored personnel carriers are patrolling near the building that houses the SED CC and the government.000 people in the streets. which was arranged by the organizers of the disorders to be the place of the meeting. they started throwing stones at the police.m. Bulganin Today." 183 . including the large plants of the Soviet State-Stock Company80 and the national enterprises. Gathering in the ruins of houses. Soviet military patrols run throughout the city. The workers on strike at the cable factory demanded from the guards of the plant to hand over their arms. 17 June 1953. In theface of the People's Policefailure to disperse the crowds. securing all strategic points. The striking workers went to Strausberger Platz. Much like their Western counterparts.M.A. The organization of a solidarity demonstration was announced in West Berlin.000 people. some 30 enterprises. There are about 15. The workers of the construction companies have also not come to work. 80 Under the occupation regime 1945–1949. The measures undertaken by the German police failed to disperse the demonstrators.. 11:15 a.m. The demand to decrease the prices by 20 percent in retail shops is strongly emphasized. the Soviet representatives worried that an SPD-inspiredsympathy demonstration near the sector border would spill over to the Eastern Sector. By 8 a. There is a possibility that those demonstrators will attempt to penetrate East Berlin from West Berlin. some plants are on strike in East Berlin. THE OPERATIONS DIVISION. CET Semyonov's and Grechko's report provides a Soviet perspective on the expanding unrest on the morning of 17 June. The workers of that plant demand a withdrawal of the German police and the Soviet forces from East Berlin. The demonstrators were pushed back by the German police. these SAG's were turned into co-owned "Soviet-German Stock Companies. which may increase the disturbances. the Soviet government took over heavy industrial enterprises in Eastern Germany as Soviet-owned "State-Stock Companies" (SAG). Molotov To Comrade N. the morning of 17 June.

Beria. We will report on further events. The workers of those plants usually leave work and go out to join the demonstration. no. d. 87.m.. drawing in new.11. Kaganovich. Khrushchev. op. 10 (March 1998). large enterprises. 16. This cable was also sent to Malenkov.The strike is expanding. 6–7. 17 June 195381 Source: Archive of the General Staff (AGSh). and Mikoyan. f. 81 Reported by Colonel-General Grechko and received by Lieutenant-General Pavlovskii. Voroshilov. a. Semyonov Grechko 11:15. p. 155. 3139. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. Molotov. 184 . Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. There have been instances where demonstrators have provoked the Soviet patrols at Stalinallee.

"Russian and Eastern European Documents Database (READD)" Collection. "Down with German-Soviet friendship. We want butter. 185 . "The Democratic Sector Begins Here. Leipziger Strasse. . Flash! Sent by: Berlin Received: [6/17/53] at 1:45 PM Referred: [6/17/53] at 4: 00 PM Zi Assigned: SO/I Comrade Minister David. Western radio is constantly broadcasting the course of the demonstrations and is partially organizing their expansion by broadcasting false reports. On the way they burned down several wooden buildings as well as SED agitation centers." "We want a new government. The main crowd of demonstrators is around the House of Ministries building." "Down with the government . . . Stalinallee.DOCUMENT No. . all roads to which have been closed by the People's Police. and shouts were heard that they should take their shirts off.. not armed police. others are marching towards the House of Ministries. Long live Western freedom. CET This Czechoslovak account captures the drama of the events of 17 June and offers frank reporting on the strike slogans evident among the demonstrators. 17 June 1953. Part of the march went along Unter den Linden through the Brandenburger Tor into West Berlin. Provided by Andreij Edemsky (Moscow). received 1:45 p. Some workers are discussing events in the factories. It accurately reflects the SED's initial." Also a number of windowpanes in the houses." "We want free elections in Berlin. 82 Vaclav David was foreign minister of Czechoslovakia from 1953 until 1968. They are trying to give the demonstrations the character of an uprising.82 Work has ceased at most factories in Berlin." etc. Source: National Security Archive/CWIHP. The demonstrations have three centers—the streets Unter den Linden. translated by Caroline Kovtun. efforts to win over the demonstrators with "explanatory work. from whence they wished [to get] to the House of Ministries building.. 27: Cable from the Czechoslovak Mission in Berlin to Foreign Minister Vaclav David. They destroyed a photograph board with outstanding workers as well as a board inscribed with. Receiving number: 6563/53 Re: information Attention: I." Like their Soviet counterparts. The demonstrators are shouting slogans like. hut ultimately futile. The SED has sent all its functionaries among the demonstrators to try and win them over.m. Soviet tanks and armored vehicles driving amongst the demonstrators through Berlin were accompanied by cries of "Shame!" FDJ members in blue shirts were threatened. and that they had outlived their time. and turned at Potsdamer Platz. Many West Berlin agents in their hastily bought bricklayers' caps are spreading the unrest.." "Long live the general strike . the Czechoslovak diplomats assert that the riots were directed by Western agents and radio broadcasts.

CET After previously conveying images of a widening military confrontation. The situation in the GDR is gradually becoming normal once again. the prison. Telephonogram by VCh From Berlin To Comrade V. grounded in his apparent misjudgment of the SED regime's strength. In the districts of Alexanderplatz and Pankow.m. Distributed in 14 copies to: Malenkov. The provocateurs organized a pogrom of the bookstore "The International Book. Semyonov also grossly underestimates the extent of the unrest throughout the GDR. Confronted with the GDR authorities' failure to stop the demonstrations. who in general did not hold them off. 28: Radio Telegram from Vladimir Semyonov Providing Situation Report to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin. 186 83 . The German police and our troops opened fire on the demonstrators at the Police Presidium building. Saburov. has been liberated after the arrival of tanks.. windows were smashed. We do not have information on dead and wounded." In some government buildings and shops. Semyonov's telegram to Bulganin in the early afternoon of 17 June seeks to assure Moscow that after the termination of inter-sector tram traffic. Khrushchev. M. A reinforced armor battalion with tanks was deployed to Gorlitz." But Semyonov has to admit that his strategic decision to put the GDR police in charge of restoring order. and the buildings of the security service and district committee. Mikoyan. Classification: Secret.. the situation in Berlin began to normalize. Vyshinskii. the demonstrators succeeded in overcoming resistance by the German People's Police and the Garrisoned People's Police. U-Bahn and S-Bahn traffic stopped as per our instruction in order to impede the arrival of provocateurs from West Berlin.m. Voroshilov. as of 2:00 p. Molotov To Comrade N. and the intervention of Soviet troops the situation is "becoming normal. Beria. With the start of active intervention by our troops. At 1:00 p. Berlin time. the Soviets are forced to deploy their own troops. 17 June 1953. Pushkin. Bulganin 17 June 1953 We report on the situation in Berlin and the GDR at 2 p.m. Demonstrators dispersed after the appearance of Soviet tanks. the declaration of martial law. Various worker groups have left the demonstrations and gone back to work or home. In the past hours one can see in Berlin a certain decline in disturbances. A. Bulganin.83 The office building of the GDR government [House of Ministries]. Molotov. The most serious situation is in the city of Gorlitz on the German-Polish border where a mob of 30. At 12:00 p. proved mistaken. Grigoryan.DOCUMENT No.m.000 destroyed SED offices. Pervukhin. Until our troops took active measures to settle the unrest. The demonstrators were also repulsed from the SED Central Committee building and the Police Presidium building. Gromyko. which was attacked by demonstrators. demonstrators built barriers and roadblocks. Kaganovich. martial law was declared in Berlin.

pap. In Berlin some 70 people were arrested. 12a. Some 1. Source: AVP RF. 51. provocateurs set the SED Municipal Committee building and the prison on fire and had a shoot-out with GDR State Security troops. Soviet troops operating in the GDR and troops of the People's Police and Garrisoned Police detachments were given the order to use their weapons if necessary to arrest and punish the instigators of the unrest. 06. We will report on further developments. Soviet troops were deployed to the city.000 workers from the Leuna and Buna factories. 187 . 300. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie. overwhelmed the police protection in the factories. most of whom were intoxicated. f. Disturbances reached a significant scale in Halle.In Magdeburg. op. d.

Individual workers speaking from the podium are repeating the growing demand[:] a general strike for the creation of a new government and the holding of free elections. Demonstrators burned a kiosk on Unter den Linden next to the Soviet Embassy. A radio car was brought to 188 . 17 June 1953 This cable from the Czechoslovak mission in Berlin provides another vivid snapshot of events as they unfolded on 17 June from the perspective of a Soviet-bloc diplomatic observer. though no one from the government has spoken yet today. and other East European observers of German nationalism and "militarism." An inability to keep abreast of the rapidly developing situation permeates this cable. The mood among the strikers is at times militant. and there is relative order here. as the demonstrators are not fighting the Soviets. In front of our Mission they broke the Interior Ministry billboard on the corner and shouted. tanks. and within the city nothing is moving. Receiving number: 6569/53 Re: information Attention: I.500 workers) and the power station in Klingenberg are not on strike. We do not have accurate reports from the individual large factories. The People's Police are nowhere to be seen around Marx—Engels–Platz." The SED CC had its windows broken. where more and more are gathering. underground and high-speed rail are all partially at a standstill. The masses from Potsdamer Platz and the streets around the House of Ministries building began to move through the pouring rain towards Marx-Engels-Platz. however. it is possible to conclude that everywhere else is. and SED members speaking with the demonstrators have been very sharply attacked and driven off. "but your turn will come too.DOCUMENT No. Public city transport. These were not. Soviet and Western allied observers alike during the crisis. From GDR radio reports to the effect that the railway workshops in Revalerstrasse (2. Flash! Sent by: Berlin Received: [6/17/53] at 4:30 PM Referred: [6/17/53] at 5:30 PM Zi Assigned: GO/I Comrade Minister of Foreign Affairs David Situation at 12:00 [noon]. and armored cars are constantly cruising the city. Polish. repeated. 29: Situation Report from the Czechoslovak Mission in Berlin to Foreign Minister Vaclav David. demonstrators burned 4 police cars and one government vehicle. electrical. at least partially. but have heard that [factories in] Brandenburg and the large factories of Berlin and north of Berlin have gone on strike. Near Alexanderplatz. Everywhere one can hear the demand for Ulbricht or any other responsible functionary to speak. In the streets there are many cases of demonstrators overturning cars and breaking shop windows and Interior Ministry propaganda billboards. Soviet detachments. The reference to "Prussian military songs" is indicative of the continuing suspicion on the part of Czechoslovak. and are saying that attacks on the Soviet occupying forces must not occur anywhere. Soviet soldiers have now come to the entrance and occupied the streets around the CC to protect it. Clashes took place between demonstrators and groups of the People's Police and the FDJ only around the House of Ministries. They announce that the metal workers from Hennigsdorf along with workers from other factories are marching to the square. reflecting a general problem faced by East German. The demonstrators have entirely left Unter den Linden.

189 .m.00 p. Berlin radio announced the declaration of a state of emergency. and Social Democrat [Ernst] Scharnowski spoke. At 1:30 p. A demonstration has been called for 6. Translated by Oldrich Tuma (Prague).00 p. A Soviet tank near our Commercial Mission fired a shot into the air.the sector borders.m.m. In the streets the demonstrators are singing Prussian military songs. Provided by Andreij Edemsky (Moscow). All news up to 2. READD Collection. in West Berlin. Hlavac 1165 Source: National Security Archive/CWIHP.

Herrnstadt. Semyonov had evacuated the SED Politburo to the Soviet headquarters earlier in the day. local time. tanks. intelligence and diplomatic channels. are secured and guarded by our forces. GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET Copy #6 To Comrade Bulganin. The GDR government officially recognized the Oder—Neisse line as Poland's western border in 1950. At the end of World War II.85 as well as other anti-Soviet slogans. 83.84 This report also provides critical new information on the deployment of Soviet troops which were intended to crush the uprising. The primary districts of the Soviet sector of Berlin are under the control of our forces. and artillery. According to SED Politburo member Rudolf Herrnstadt's recollections. such as [the ones occupied by] the Council of Ministers. received 6:30 p. N. and the return of the territories of Germany that were given to Poland.m. the abolition of the [East] German armed forces and the People's Police.m. 17 June 1953. on 17 June. 85 84 190 . shows. Martial law was introduced in the Soviet sector of Berlin at 1:00 p. Certainly the SED leadership had lost control of the situation. Signifying the East German communists' total dependence on Soviet backing. Some three thousand demonstrators are gathering at Friedrichstrasse in the American sector of Berlin. on 17 June. and a decrease in prices by 40 percent.m. Demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. The principal government and civil service buildings. was brought into Berlin and given the task of restoring complete order in the city by 9:00 p. the SED Central Committee. and the Police headquarters. Moscow Time (4:30 p. demanded the immediate resignation of the present government of the German Democratic Republic. All the roads on the way to these buildings are blocked by our troops. events in Berlin and the GDR were escalating quickly on 17 June. consisting of the 1st and the 14th mechanized divisions and the 12th tank division. The tanks and armored personnel carriers are finishing dispersing the demonstrators. The situation in Berlin is improving. CET) Moscow was constantly informed of the developments in the GDR through military. German territories east of the Oder—Neisse line were put under Polish administration. Some demonstrators are leaving the columns and hiding along the side streets. p. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. Yet as this report. The situation at the buildings occupied by the SED Central Committee and the government is peaceful.A. Semyonov at one point told his German comrades that RIAS was broadcasting that there was no longer a government in the GDR. 30: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. To restore order.m. and may have only allowed officials to inform Moscow of developments after the fact. Das Herrnstadt-Dokument. thefirst in a series by Soviet military commandants recently found in the Archive of the General Staff. According to preliminary data. the defense of the strikers. the 2nd Mechanized [Soviet] Army. OPERATIONS DIVISION.DOCUMENT No. forty-six active instigators were arrested.

m. 8–9. The members of the GDR government have been evacuated from the dangerous areas and are with comrade Semyonov. op. 3139. and Mikoyan. 87-88. Molotov. 155. Kaganovich. and Brandenburg. Grechko Tarasov Received on telephone by Lieutenant-Colonel N.00 p.m. Dresden.00-6. 191 . pp. Today. 10 (March 1998). a declaration was issued by the government of the German Democratic Republic to the German people which explained the nature of the events that have taken place and called for the unity and opposition to the fascist and reactionary elements. Published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. With the intention to restore public order and terminate the anti-government demonstrations which have occurred. Beria. 16. ' Sent to: Malenkov. martial law has been declared in Magdeburg. 6.30p. 11.. no.The units of the above divisions will be reaching the outskirts of the city by 4.00 p. Leipzig. Pavlovsky 17 June 1953. d. local time. Voroshilov.m. Halle. Gorlitz. f. at 2. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev.86 (Signature) Source: AGSh. Khrushchev.

DOCUMENT No. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. a decrease in the output quotas." Deutschland Archiv 24:6 (1991).000 in Sommerda. 17 June 1953. 3. 31: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. as of 5:30 p. There are still some disorders in some parts of the Soviet sector of Berlin. Realizing that the unrest was not limited to East Berlin. 2. The following numbers of the population took part in the demonstrations: up to 15.500 in Brandenburg. a decrease in prices of consumer goods and food. a mechanized infantry regiment of the 11th tank division in Dresden. 1. OPERATIONS DIVISION. though the numbers given reflect the continued lack of firm intelligence on the scope of the strikes and demonstrations outside Berlin. pp.m. In the belief that they were confronted with a major military crisis. and Sommerda by 6. The forces of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany] continue to restore order in Berlin and other cities and towns of the German Democratic Republic. as well as some attempts to capture public and government establishments. Aus den Akten des PDS-Archivs Leipzig. Vasilii Sokolovskii to the GDR capital to assume control of Soviet military operations. 192 . MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. Besides Berlin. I am reporting on the situation in the city of Berlin and the territory of the German Democratic Republic as of 5:30 p. According to incomplete information. up to 1. Juni 1953 im damaligen Bezirk Leipzig.A. the Soviet leaders dispatched Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of Staff Gen.000 in Magdeburg. Gera.000 in Dresden. demonstrations and disorders have also taken place in some other cities and towns of the German Democratic Republic. There are still some demonstrations and street disorders in Berlin and a number of cities and towns in the German Democratic Republic. the Soviet military commandants could report farther information on the unrest throughout the GDR.m.000 to 40. up to 1. more than 30 plants and other enterprises have been on strike in the Soviet sector of Berlin.000 in Gera. The following mechanized and tank units of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany] have been dispatched for the restoration of order: some units of the 19th mechanized division in Magdeburg. and the restoration of a united Germany within pre-war borders. up to 1.000 in Jena. 573-580.000 in Leipzig.000 people participated in the demonstrations in Leipzig on 17 June alone.00 p. up to 2.87 20. a mechanized regiment and a motorbike battalion of the 8th mechanized division in Leipzig. the elimination of the sector borders. CET By late afternoon. There has been some ransacking of public buildings and commercial shops. GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET Copy #6 To Comrade Bulganin. up to 1.000 in Oranienburg and Werder. Order was restored in Jena. "Der 17. historians now estimate that some 30.000 in Gorlitz. See Heidi Roth.m. The demonstrators demand the resignation of the government of the German Democratic Republic. 87 Based on access to local SED archives. on 17 June (local time).. N. up to 10. the Soviet Command scrambled to deploy troops to other cities. 1.

Khrushchev.11. 50 people were killed or wounded in Magdeburg during the restoration of order. "Der 17. and Mikoyan. Moscow time. d.89 [Moscow Time] Source: AGSh. Moscow time. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. Comrade [Vasilii] Sokolovskii arrived in Berlin at 8:43 p. Juni 1953 im damaligen Bezirk Leipzig. General of the Army SHTEMENKO 17 June 1953.10–11. Molotov. by 9.. Kaganovich.00 p.m. 9:30 p.m. 155. 94 instigators and provocateurs were arrested by 5. Grechko Tarasov "Correct".m.The 1st and the 14th mechanized divisions are operating in Berlin. Three Germans were killed and 17 wounded in Leipzig.00 p. 4.88 There have been no losses on our side. 5. According to [our] data.." three persons were killed and 54 wounded during the riots.m. According to incomplete information. 16. 3139. Beria. f. The 12th tank division has approached the northeastern suburbs of Berlin. 193 . Voroshilov. 88 According to Roth. op. 89 Sent to: Malenkov.

1953 2:37 p.m. Commandants then called in Acting Mayor [Walter] Conrad and Police President [Johannes] Stumm and French chairman informed them as follows: 1. Commandants also agreed situs near sector border of West Berlin sympathy demonstration scheduled for this afternoon appeared undesirable.DOCUMENT No. Commandants agreed that as their mission Berlin was to maintain law and order West Berliners and Soviet Zone residents transiting the West sectors should if possible be dissuaded from mixing in East Berlin demonstrations where serious possibility of bloodshed existed. the commandants seem to opt for caution. but their hearts not (repeat not) obviously in work. warned demonstrators against proceeding into Soviet sector. having noted that sector border was guarded by VOPOS and Soviet soldiers carrying automatic weapons. CET These American minutes of the first meeting of the Western military commandants in Berlin capture their initial reaction to the demonstrations in East Berlin. INCOMING TELEGRAM Department of State ACTION COPY Control: 6114 Rec'd: June 17. West Berlin and West German officials generally reacted dispassionately to the events in the East. 6p.m. 32: Cable from Cecil Lyon to U. Sent Bonn 1795.90 French chairman Commandant called meeting this morning at 11 to consider situation arising from disturbances in East Berlin. Commandants will not (repeat not) oppose orderly meeting or demonstrations of sympathy. they feel it their duty to warn West Berliners of grave consequences 90 Routing information on the original cable included: "Priority. June 17. 6:00 p. However. Almost instinctively.m. 17 June 1953.S. Department of State Relaying Minutes of the First Meeting of the Western Military Commandants in Berlin. 2. They appreciate sympathy of West Berliners for their fellow citizens in the East. From: BERLIN To: Secretary of State No: 1670. West Berlin police had been asked to assist in this matter. their concern about a sympathy demonstration being organized by the SPD—and their dire reminders that the status of Berlin is an Allied responsibility—reflect fears among some Western observers that the uprising would set off uncontrollable displays of national exuberance among both East and West Germans. agreeing that their "primary duty" is to "maintain law and order in their sectors in Berlin. While the sympathy demonstration eventually took place despite the commandants' warnings. Repeated information Priority Department 1670. Paris. London Unnumbered (Bonn pass USAEUR Heidelberg as Berlin's 167)." While claiming to appreciate the sentiments of West Berliners. Commandants consider their primary duty to maintain law and order in their sectors in Berlin. French officers." 194 . French Commandant reported that some thousand Germans have entered French sector from East Zone with intent [to] cross into East sector of Berlin to demonstrate. Moscow.

He confirmed there had been no (repeat no) demonstrations hostile to West Berlin. but feel that place chosen is too close to sector border and consequently might result in serious consequences. with the leaders of which he had just met and by his colleagues in the Senat. He also said HO92 Building Potsdamer Platz had been stoned. Conrad also suggested that if there was much bloodshed in East. Conrad speaking in name of Senat said the Senat had no (repeat no) objection to Commandants' proposals. 6/17/53 CWO-JRL. 93 Governing Mayor Ernst Reuter was attending an international labor conference in Vienna.m. S-bahn. Commandants have no (repeat no) objection to such a meeting taking place. Commandants consider visiting Soviet officials and urging restraint. Handelsorganisation—Trade Organization. Conrad also requested Allied assistance in air passage for Reuter to return to Vienna tomorrow. Crowds had been dispersed there with hoses. request that another meeting place be selected more removed from sector borders.0221/6–1755. Lyon XX: HMR/14 Note: Advance copy to GER 5:25 p. also that East sector was controlled by Soviet tanks and that very few VOPOS were in evidence. He pointed out that both yesterday and today he had been purposefully reticent so as not to give Soviets or GDR excuse to say that Western authorities behind movement.93 Conrad asked that House Representatives Council of Elders be permitted to decide where this afternoon's meeting of sympathy be held. buses. emphasizing that city officials' views re danger of meeting to close to sector borders coincided with those of Commandants. Obtained by editor. Situations here calm and police were fully alerted. most of latter reportedly deployed to sector zonal borders to prevent influx of masses from East Zone into East Berlin. 92 . 3. therefore. In this they are expecting the usual full cooperation of West Berlin police. and U-bahn in East ceased functioning. Commandants scarcely feel it necessary to remind [West Berlin] Senat91 that status of Berlin is Allied responsibility and expect Senat to take no (repeat no) initiative to change it without consulting Allied Kommandatura. Dr. Conrad then indicated he had emphasized when questioned by foreign journalists today and yesterday that situation in the East was in his opinion entirely spontaneous and not (repeat not) as had been suggested (a) inspired by American instigators (b) inspired by Soviet military in attempt to rid themselves of SED leaders. 91 West Berlin city government. Commandants understand that West Berlin meeting is scheduled to take place at six this evening at Oranien Platz (SPD-sponsored sympathy rally). or state retailing store. He said reports indicated that large crowd had assembled in Leipzigerstrasse near GDR Government headquarters. They. 4. He indicated that they understood that West Berliners could not (repeat not) adopt callous attitude but that they must be very careful in every act they take and particularly in expressions which might be made at meeting planned for this afternoon. Conrad said his point of view was shared by the three parties.which might result were West Berliners to participate in manifestations in East sector. Source: NARA. which was cordoned off and protected by Soviet troops. Conrad indicated that deputation from East Zone was at this moment awaiting him at the Rathaus. He reported that the street cars. Austria. 762A. Police President Stumm confirmed reports on transportation situation. RG 59.

The provocative plan of the reactionary and fascist elements has collapsed.00 p. which are being dispersed and arrested by our troops. GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET Copy #6 To Comrade Bulganin. organized and directed from Western sectors of Berlin.m. N. As the result of measures undertaken in the Western sectors of Berlin. 17 June 1953 (Moscow time). and over 100 instigators and provocateurs have been arrested during the restoration of order.00 p.m. and the 12th tank division (altogether 600 tanks). More firmly than before. the 14th mechanized infantry division. The simultaneous actions in the majority of the major cities of the GDR. Order was restored by measures undertaken in Magdeburg. [We] can surmise that a special organization based in West Berlin has directed the strikes in East Berlin." As "proof. The border with the Western sectors of Berlin was closed by our troops. have for the most part restored order in the Soviet sector of Berlin. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin." The true extent of anti-government and anti-Soviet resentment among the East German population was apparently unimaginable to the Soviet military leaders. There have been only minor groups around the Alexanderplatz and Stalinallee area downtown in the evening.m. as of 11:00 p. there were large gatherings of German residents at the borders between the Soviet sector and the British and American ones by 8. I am reporting on the situation in the GDR and Berlin as of 11 p. A normal state of affairs and activity of state institutions were restored toward the end of the day. Grechko also provides detailed new information on the massive contingent of Soviet troops sent in to quell the uprising. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. and railroads. gas plants. Fifty Germans were killed and wounded. Order was restored in the majority of the cities of GDR.. are proof for this conclusion.DOCUMENT No. About 300 organizers and provocateurs were arrested in Berlin by 8. There were no clashes at power stations. CET) By the end of the day. Analyzing the situation. Soviet officials in Berlin were groping to understand what had just happened. organized and directed from [the] Western sectors of Berlin. The Soviet forces. the same demands of the rebels everywhere as well as the same anti-state and anti-Soviet slogans. OPERATIONS DIVISION. 1.m.A. Grechko informs Moscow that the unrest was "prepared in advance. water supply. I have also come to the conclusion that the provocation was prepared in advance. 33: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A." he cites the "simultaneous actions in the majority of the large cities of the GDR. 196 . Moscow Time (9:00 p. 2. namely the 1st mechanized infantry division.m. 17 June 1953.

The patrols at the border with the Soviet sector have been reinforced. Wittenberg. 197 . the forces of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany] were dispatched from the field camps into the following major. Eberswalde. 10 (March 1998). 5. Grimma (the minor forces). the 207th infantry division into Gardelegen. the 13th mechanized division into Parchim. Oschatz. the 8th Guards mechanized division into Leipzig (the main forces) and Borna. Khrushchev. Grechko Tarasov "Correctly": COLONEL-GENERAL MALININ 17 June 195394 Source: AGSh. With the purpose of preventing possible further riots. 155. f. and Mikoyan. Troops in the American and French sectors of Berlin are in barracks. Our exact losses are being determined. the 7th Guards mechanized division into Fiirstenwalde. op. 12–14. Molotov. Zeitz. Jena. tank & self-propelled gun regiment into Burg. The 8th Guards Army—the 20th Guards mechanized division into Weimar. 16. The 1st Guards Army—the 11th tank division into Dresden (the main forces) and Meissen. Ludwigslust. Cottbus.11. The motorbike battalion and the howitzer battalion of the 10th tank division into Brandenburg. The 3rd Guards Mechanized Army—the 6th Guards tank division into Dessau. Soldiers are not allowed to leave the barracks. Spremberg. 4. the 21st Guards mechanized division into Halle.3. the losses of the strikers in the whole territory of the GDR have been: 84 people killed and wounded. Zeithavn. Beria. 3139. Pirleberg. Stendal. Bad Freienwalde. Weissenfels and its one infantry regiment into Eisenach. Frankfurt an der Oder. no. Martial law was declared in the British sector of Berlin. Kaganovich. 89. Merseburg. According to preliminary information. important population centers by the morning of 18 June: The 3rd Army—the 19th mechanized division into Magdeburg. d. Konigsbruk (the minor forces). the 9th mechanized division into Lubben. p. 700 men arrested. The 4th Guards Mechanized Army—the 6th Guards mechanized division into Bernau. the 57th Guards infantry division into Naumburg. the 25th tank division (a tank regiment and a mechanized infantry regiment) into Oranienburg. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. the 9th tank division into Piesa. the 136th artillery-technical. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. Voroshilov. Sent to: Malenkov.

Since such allegation may give rise to serious misunderstandings as to the origin of such demonstrations. Together they considered all aspects of the present situation.DOCUMENT No. Timberman was U." 96 Major General Thomas B. June 17. British and US CDTs stressed clearly that. either directly or indirectly.m.m. French and US CDTs met with the Berlin municipal authorities this morning. Moscow unnumbered USAREUR 170. S. "They noted certain information according to which demonstrations in the Soviet Sector ware alleged to have been incited by West Berlin agents. since Berlin authorities reported that it was too late to change locale thereof. Commandant for Berlin from January 1953 until July 1954." (2) Again discussed West Berlin sympathy rally. French and British generals felt that CDTs should order police to prohibit holding of meetings at Oranien Platz.m. 1953 6:37 p. From: BERLIN To: Secretary of State No: 1676. the French. Following action was taken: (1) Press release issued. 9. Send Priority Bonn 1801. CET The minutes of the Western commandants' afternoon meeting on 17 June reflect how popular action on the ground forced the hands of the authorities—in both East and West Berlin—and how powerless the authorities were to prevent activities such as the SPD-sponsored sympathy rally at Oranien Platz from occurring.00 p. Repeated information Priority Department 1676. The CDTs and the Berlin authorities fully agreed on the need of maintaining public order in the Western Sectors and on the advisability of adopting a completely calm attitude. neither the Allied authorities nor the West Berlin authorities have. incited or fostered such demonstrations. 9:00 p. INCOMING TELEGRAM Department of State ACTION COPY Control: 6205 Rec'd: June 17. 34: Cable from Cecil Lyon to the State Department Reporting on Afternoon Meeting of the Western Commandants. London. Suhr. Otto Suhr was president of the Berlin House of Representatives. in any manner whatsoever. 97 Dr. 198 . Finally it was decided to send word to Dr.95 CDT's reconvened again this afternoon to discuss Berlin developments.97 who was addressing 95 Routing information on the original cable included: "Priority. Paris. as follows: "The British. 17 June 1953. General Timberman96 argued that even if order given it would probably be impossible for Police to execute order as crowds already gathering.

0221/6-1753. 199 98 .] though all three prepared meet any time during night if situation requires. Most surprising feature of speeches was statement by Lipschitz to effect entire disturbances manipulated by Soviets in order get rid of SED Government. Lyon MGG: MEJ/1 Note: Advance copy to Mr. Source: NARA. Obtained by the editor. Both speakers demanded free elections with Scharnowski emphasizing need for free unions in Soviet Zone and Lipschitz stressing necessity Allied action to solve German question. Joachim Lipschitz. which was in neighborhood of 35.m.] after intermittent shootings and several buildings on East side set fire. served as Berlin-Neukolln district magistrate for finances since 1951. was quiet and speeches given by [West Berlin union leader Ernst] Scharnowski and [Joachim] Lipschitz98 were not (repeat not) inflammatory. Large restive crowd which had gathered both sides Potsdamer Platz disbursed about 8:15 [p. 9:45 p. RG 59. In 1955. EH. Montenegro 6/17/53. that he should do his best to move crowd away from sector border to place more removed from Sector borders in order to avoid spilling German blood.000. Crowd.meeting. 662A. if situation was so pressing then any one of CDTs would make his own decision re using his troops in his own Sector.m. (5) CDTs decided refrain from using Allied military personnel in disturbance unless disorders became widespread in all Western Sectors or extremely serious in any one or more Sector.m. CDTs plan meet again in morning at 09:30 [a. (6) Instructed communication officers to ascertain facts on S-Bahn situation since considerable number of S-Bahn trains are at present idle in West Sectors. (3) Considered question of having chairman CDT call on Dengin with view to urging restraint on part of Soviets. French CDT indicated that French High Commissioner with whom he had discussed possibility of some such action urged that initiative by Allies on this matter be delayed. a SPD politician. (4) British CDT stated he had received information from British High Commissioner that latter had communicated with Vienna and requested that all possible be done to assist and expedite Reuter's return to Berlin. However. he became West Berlin senator for interior affairs. In case of such emergency if time permitted CDTs would meet and discuss question before issuing orders. Latest reports indicate SPD meeting at Oranien Platz took place without disturbance in originally announced location.

The streets are calm. the authors seem forced to rely on West Berlin radio for factual information. In connection with the implementation of martial law from 9 p.m. these gangs started a shootout with the German police. to 5 a. Soviet troops have brought the situation in East Berlin and the rest of the GDR under control. 35: Telephonogram from Vladimir Semyonov and Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin Reporting on the Situation in East Berlin. As yet. such as the numbers of dead and injured. The disorders in Berlin have been stopped. Interestingly. 700 instigators of the disorders have been arrested in the Republic. According to incomplete data. as of 11:00 p. Semyonov and Sokolovskii acknowledge RIAS's efforts to discourage violent clashes with Soviet troops. 17 June 1953. 79 German policemen were injured and 2 policemen are missing as a result of the disturbances in the Soviet sector. CET In this late night report to Moscow. the American radio station RIAS is calling upon the rebels to submit to the orders of the Soviet authorities and avoid clashes with the Soviet troops. Bulganin We report on the situation in Berlin and the GDR at 11 p. by the end of the day. 200 . 300 of whom were in Berlin.m.m.. Contrary to later claims that RIAS was among the instigators of the uprising. SECRET Copy #14 TELEPHONOGRAM BY VCH From Berlin 17 June 1953 To comrade V.. There are reports of continuing disorders only in the two small cities of Apolda and Muhlhausen.M. A small number of people were arrested for breaking this order.m.A. According to preliminary information. Semyonov and Sokolovskii seek to reassure Molotov and Bulganin that. West Berlin radio is reporting that 7 demonstrators were killed and 66 people were injured. Molotov To comrade N.DOCUMENT No. In the majority of cities in the GDR. there are no complete reports on the number of casualties. Our troops and the German police are in control of all key streets and important installations in the Soviet sector of the city. The most attention has been paid to the defense of the sector border between East and West Berlin. which resulted in casualties. 17 June. across which a number of large groups of provocateurs and hooligans from West Berlin had broken through into the Soviet sector in the evening. In its broadcasts. the movement of transportation and walking on the streets were halted in the Soviet sector of the city. order has been fully restored. On the streets Brunnenstrasse and Bernauer Strasse.

Translated by Daniel Rozas. Beria. f. op. with the following notation "#364/M. and Pervukhin.VI.VI. 18 copies printed. Molotov. The GDR government has called upon the people to swiftly reestablish social order and normal operation of enterprises. 3–4. Voroshilov. port. pap. 99 Distributed to: Malenkov. Vyshinskii. 11. Mikoyan.18.Measures are being taken to reestablish normal operation of all enterprises in the Republic. 45 min." 201 .1953 2 hours. Mch. Grigoryan. Sokolovskii Semyonov Sent by Blatov Received by Roshchina 18. Khrushchev. #205.99 Source: AVP RF. Gromyko. Saburov. Pushkin. 41. Kaganovich. 280. 082. as well as measures to prevent interruptions in the food supply to the inhabitants of Berlin.53. 93. Bulganin.

On the scaffolding one could see three to four workers who had stopped working. might be interesting to you and other colleagues. and later filed with the CPSU Central Committee. In a window on the first floor.000 people. On Marx–Engels-Platz we saw the first construction workers (they wore white work apparel). one could recognize blue cloth poster with the writing "We demand the reduction of norms!" According to our rough estimates. Later a small table was brought out of the House into the middle of the throng. "Report on the Events in Berlin on 16 and 17 June 1953. Naumov faults the SED for failing to recognize early signs of the impending crisis. During the events in Berlin on 16 and 17 June. Communist Youth edition of Pravda. the nucleus of the crowd was comprised of some 2. and further towards the city center." Like his colleagues. who were returning. 36: Pravda Correspondent P. From this man we heard the demands of the strikers for the very first time: annulment of the increased 100 101 Komsomolskaya Pravda—Komsomol Pravda. Again and again he tried to speak. comprising solely my own impressions. The latter stood on the window ledge and attempted to speak. there were even more such construction workers. His announcement that the government decreed to repeal the enforced norm increase could clearly be heard on the entire square. The roar of the crowd drowned out his words.101 As we drove down Stalinallee. On the boulevard Unter den Linden. Most of them were officials of the ministries who had come out onto the street out of curiosity or with the intention of talking with the workers. established in 1925. I drove to the city center together with reporters from Komsomolskaya Pravda100 and TASS. the official Soviet news agency. whistling. The people roared. His very first words were booed. He said that he had been sent to a concentration camp by Hitler as a fighter for the rights of workers. Naumov also comes to the conclusion that the demonstrators' slogans were planned in advance and their actions directed by an outside "center. I was almost always on the streets and observed the unrest in all detail. Deputy Prime Minister Heinrich Rau and Minister [Fritz] Selbmann appeared. Groups of this kind. They stood in front of the House. screaming and yelling: "[We want to see] Ulbricht or Grotewohl!" At the center. Groups of people were gathering on the sidewalks along the entire avenue. On 16 June at noon. we saw that work had ceased at all construction sites. Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union. I heard that the construction workers at Stalinallee had stopped work and began moving in columns towards the government quarters. through which the columns of strikers marched." 22 June 1953 According to a cover note. An elderly man in construction worker attire raised himself up onto the table.DOCUMENT No. Many of them were surrounded by people to whom they were telling something. Selbmann climbed on top of it. Nevertheless. this unusually candid account by a Pravda correspondent of the events in Berlin on 16–17 June was passed by Pravda Editor-in-Chief Shepilov to Nikita Khrushchev on 24 June. As many as that were standing around. We reached the column of striking workers at the square in front of the House of Ministries of the GDR on Leipziger Strasse. Its vivid descriptions contrast with the often terse and euphemistic accounts of Soviet diplomatic and military representatives in Germany. Selbmann could no longer speak. and now he saw his duty to defend these rights once again. 202 . talking about the event. The people applauded him. Naumov to Dimitrii Shepilov. stood everywhere on Alexanderplatz. Perhaps my account.

They applauded with roaring approval. to the end of the demonstration and wrote down all slogans which the strikers repeated. but then one worker or other called for order. The next speaker—a professor from the University of Berlin—said only two words and was forced to leave the rostrum. they don't matter to you. You have no idea how the workers live. 102 The girl was Elba Sarre. We got close to these groups. We went together with the reporter from Komsomolskaya Pravda. Until the end of the demonstration.m. 165. The demonstrators marched along the streets and called out in chorus for Berliners to join in a general strike at 7:00 a. The next one was Professor Robert Havemann—chairman of the Committee for the Defense of Peace in Berlin. holding of free elections in Germany—during this speech Selbmann came down.. Wir Wollen. so there is no point in talking to you. abandonment of the formation of the People's Army in the Republic. but after some hours the American radio in West Berlin. He wasn't allowed to speak for long. Without getting to see Ulbricht or Grotewohl. We in the FDJ were sent here to spy on you. You do not care one bit about the workers.m. "You are employed by the authorities and earn a good living. It is absolutely clear that the slogans were created in advance. See Gerhard Beier. general increase in living standards for workers. at 2:00 p. RIAS." At the edge of the crowd some officials or party functionaries tried to convince the workers that their actions were mistaken. the demonstrators cried in unison: "Where is Wilhelm Pieck?" (Later we heard that a rumor was going around in the population that Pieck had been arrested in the Soviet Union.work norms. and the girl began to speak. "This man is a fascist!" The men leaped upon him and gave him a good beating with their fists.. One of them repeated once again the demands. and the people supported him with hand signals.) [. reported that she cautioned the workers to be careful. he cried across the entire square. When the next speaker proclaimed pure Bonn slogans. We could not understand what she was speaking about. on 17 June. Near me stood an elderly intellectual (presumably an official or party functionary).] 1. The throng of people supported her. The conversation usually ended with the worker replying to the agitator. dressed in a FDJ blouse. not the People's Army!" "Down with the People's Army!" "The HO hits us with a knockout punch!" "We demand a 40 percent drop in prices in the HO!" As the columns marched by the Central Committee building. not slaves!" "We want to be free men!" "We demand free elections!" "We want butter. the crowd marched further down the street. They announced the next slogan and determined the pace of its repetition.m. at first she was whistled at. only the striking workers were allowed to speak. The procession lasted until about 6:00 p. We always heard "[We want to see] Ulbricht or Grotewohl. Then a girl102 stepped up. decrease in prices in the state-owned retail stores (HO). Comrade Beresinski. They follow here: "We demand a raise in living standards!" "We demand a reduction of norms!" "We are workers. There were some centers where organizers entered and exited. 203 ." The first beatings occurred here. p.

or the Soviet Union. On Unter den Linden. shattered the windshields and loudspeaker.m. Even the traffic controllers left their posts when the marchers approached. The discussions lasted until deep into the night. and others. There were no Soviet troops in Berlin on this day. 17 June. When the construction workers returned to Stalinallee. The content of their speeches: Workers in East Berlin. Even on the scaffolding of the SED Central Committee building. working on construction sites).. Behind the marchers. 204 . the atmosphere heightened in tension. where the facade was being repaired. did they manifest themselves. The strike in East Berlin was the only topic. you have chosen the right time for the uprising. With the procession of the column. This car drove alongside the ranks of the strikers to the very end. he is thrown in jail. The strikers grossly insulted the members of the People's Police. How can one let the crimes of the SED go unpunished? Workers. however. On 16 June there was just this one column of marchers and one single strike in the democratic [East] sector of Berlin. When the columns ran into workers (involved in clearing away ruins. [Ernst] Scharnowski. The regime of the SED has gone bankrupt. The high point of the commotion was reached in front of police headquarters building. Only on the next day. On 16 June no slogans appeared that were directed against the government of the GDR. but crimes. many of whom I know personally. your task is to take advantage of the SED's bankruptcy to achieve the "maximum": the ouster of the regime. I listened to the broadcasts by the American radio station. All inhabitants along the streets where the strikers marched down. The SED calls its failures "mistakes. a car equipped with a loudspeaker came out from one of the side streets. If a youth appeared wearing a FDJ shirt. But on this day it did not result in riots.2. Not far from Rosenthaler Platz. Here and there beatings occurred. It is difficult to tell how many of them then joined the demonstrators. followed the strikers) were covered in detail. most of them young men. and tried to tip over the car. The demonstrators fell immediately upon the car. Now. hung out of their windows. All workers immediately stopped working. But the instigators and apparently a paid mob (youth for the most part. the workers collected their tools and came down below. repairing streets and tram tracks. as we later found out. and Stalinallee such groups could be seen everywhere.). The striking workers. The speaker was merely announcing the government's decision to annul the norm increase. the SED. On Rosenthaler Platz. one heard the call to a general strike from the loudspeaker. ending at a restaurant. and beat up FDJ members they happened to come across. It happened that they greeted the strikers enthusiastically. The ruffians yelled the same slogans. between 17 and 22 years old) continued further down the Stalinallee. Among the ranks of the strikers. those hesitating were beaten and driven away. dragged the driver and speaker out and took their place. another car outfitted with a loudspeaker appeared. they called on them to join the ranks of the strikers. called for a general strike. they chose to return home or remain on the streets to discuss further [what to do].] When I returned to the correspondents' point (after 6 p. RIAS. The common folk did not understand it. jumped onto the car. Not even so much as one People's Police officer appeared the entire way of the march. groups of people formed on the streets. Alexanderplatz. [. he was beaten as well. Then commentators spoke. who discussed the event.. The demonstration in front of the House of Ministries and the course of the marchers (the entire group of Western correspondents. the head of the trade unions in West Berlin." but they are not mistakes. who were leaning out from their windows. but this was relatively seldom. A worker makes a mistake.

The demonstrations bore a purely political character from the beginning. Who makes slaves of us?—The communists. They were adequately represented in every column of marchers and formed the nucleus of the riots heroes and shouters. the first large column (some 30. we saw already the first column of demonstrators. a group of youths (likely sent from the Western sector) tried once again to march through the streets to call for a general strike. whistle. American. provides them with good living conditions. but with our wages we can't even have a decent meal. Alexanderplatz and the adjacent streets. RIAS intermittently broadcast uninterrupted the pronouncement that the general strike in East Berlin was planned for the 17 June at 7:00 a. and at 9 a. where the police presidium building is located. During these hours two more large columns of marchers proceeded down this street.m. good organization was noticeable. They constantly urge us to work harder. When the first processions of demonstrators marched past the USSR diplomatic mission to the GDR. so that they have to be redone. high prices. happened because the SED demanded the completion of construction by 1 May. and he quickly disappeared. He could not answer concrete questions whatsoever (perhaps he did not know the situation). Momentarily men 205 .000 people. I followed one and confirmed my finding. The people laughed at him. "Down with the SED regime!" The demonstrators continually cried out in unison. They were dispelled by the People's Police at Unter den Linden. Under the capitalists. British). but there hasn't been any improvement in the life of the East German worker. The content of the discussions: eight years have now passed since the end of the war. some 7. sputtered trite phrases. not to mention clothing. etc. a member of the SED. Only in one group did I see an argument between a Western agitator and.m. All speakers quite frankly supported the striking workers and promised aid and support. so that they betray their comrades. RIAS broadcast the special session of the West Berlin city legislature. But the main topics were wages. The SED member. The people were dressed completely differently from the day before. The SED corrupts individual workers. Workers in East Berlin. Later the demonstrators concentrated on three main squares: Potsdamer Platz.. and utter insults. In the pursuit of higher productivity.000) reached Unter den Linden. workers live much better (referring to West Germany). One must say that with every stride and pace. probably. Among all groups. It was a deplorable sight.One could also hear such statements proclamations as: The USSR has for a long time speculated on the idea of German reunification. etc. Sometime around 10:00 p. passing from one group to another. The columns united somewhere. The SED always feeds us with promises. demand free elections in Germany and help to unmask the mistaken policies of the USSR. as if he agreed with his enemy. housing issues. As we drove down Stalinallee at 7:30 a. many people tried to shout.m.000 to 10. That. etc. Leipziger Strasse near the House of Ministries. The provocateurs from West Berlin were easily recognizable by their appearance and behavior.m. Then he fell silent. stammering. Western propaganda prevailed. After 10:00 p. On the Stalinallee several roofs already have leaks. On Stalinallee I heard such discussions in about ten groups (every group comprised of 20 to 40 people). new ones appeared: "Down with the Grotewohl government!".m.. where three sectors intersect (Soviet. No work attire could be seen. For the most part specially prepared agitators spoke. the SED clearly committed crimes. In some groups the following conversations take place: Who divided Germany?—The communists.. Alongside the slogans from the previous day. In the evening we drove to the city center to listen in on the discussions among the people. lower pensions.

they pushed them back in. Two hours after this. three columns of marchers comprised each of 20. Then the crowd of people rushed to the "Kolumbushaus.000 people actively took part in the demonstrations on 17 June. They all participated in the protests. The demonstrators did not stop them. A rally was being held. we came to Potsdamer Platz." were smashed.(obviously specially selected and instructed) jumped forward. When they saw the Soviet license plate. some youths came towards us and shouted. One of the People's Police officers who had been guarding the store was pushed to the side. but also from the residents who were afraid to join the columns. and the putschists." Strike sentries were posted on the comer of the streets. which drove around the areas where the riots took place. In front of this very building. There. On the first floor of police headquarters. "Das Internationale Buch. "Russians. there was another loudspeaker from West Berlin behind the Brandenburg Gate. The People's Police did not shoot. the windows in the Soviet shop. "so as not to provoke the Russians.000 to 30. cars were tipped over and set on fire. but sometimes greeted them enthusiastically. I heard several times "Russian swine" and "ape. They brought a microphone and loudspeaker from the British sector. some 100. the other one the bandits stripped. Once our car got into the middle of the crowd of people (it was still morning. Through it commands were continually given. when suddenly Soviet tanks arrived and deterred the mob.. Rowdies did. get out!" We got out of our car and mingled with the people. throwing his clothes down from the first floor. and when someone or other wanted to leave the crowd of people. Around the same time. At first they were greeted by the demonstrators with whistling and roaring. The kiosks and billboards were likewise set on fire. The Soviet troops appeared on the streets of Berlin in the early morning. Besides Potsdamer Platz." Comrade Pronin." where there used to be a department store of the HO. Soon afterwards the building was set on fire. who were guarding the GDR House of Ministries on Leipziger Strasse. In the course of one to one and a half hours. in particular at Alexanderplatz and near police headquarters. I myself saw several cars with West Berlin license plates. even upon tanks. destroy the windows on the first floor. a fight broke out between a cordon of People's Police officers. forming large crowds of people." Such insults could not only be heard from the ranks of the demonstrators. Moreover. Sometimes they threw stones at the soldiers.] 1. The police were using their truncheons. the demonstrators began slowly to drawback. [. At the height of the events.000 people proceeded down Unter den Linden. A stage stood in the middle. 206 . They were almost overwhelmed. but the message was the same as in the RIAS broadcasts. Many riots ensued. When martial law was declared in the Soviet sector. According to my careful estimates. It was impossible to recognize who spoke. however. three police cruisers were incinerated. their passions had not been inflamed yet). bandits at Alexanderplatz tipped over the car of the representative from the "Sovexportfilm. the insults began. and as the atmosphere grew more tense. calling on them not to make any noise.. with him in it. First they drove around without impeding the movement of the columns. It was said that in a few cases the demonstrators fell upon the cars of Soviet soldiers. with American and other foreign plates. not one window remained intact. many people who were afraid of joining the ranks followed behind the procession of demonstrators. threatening. They did nothing to the car.

Not only backwards workers participated actively in the strikes and demonstrations..2. per. They threatened to beat her because she worked "for the Russians. 163-168. [. On 16 June. an inability to speak to the people. pap. spoke with the party secretary of Block 40. on the 15 June. Translated by Christiaan Hetzner. The SED displayed complete ignorance of the mood of the masses." Everyone in the store was against her. Even more: the work at the construction site had already stopped at 11 a. on 16 June we came across one "activist" from the Stalinallee construction project and a SED member known to us. 3. Several minor but characteristic facts: On the morning of 17 June. WirwollenfreieMenschensein (Koln:Bund. 4546. op. 11. among the ranks of the strikers in front of the House of Ministries. including members of the SED. even the vendor. the reporter from Soviet radio in Berlin. where the strike began. 4. Source: TsKhSD (Moscow). For example. 30. In the course of the demonstrations. 207 . She was forced to leave the shop quickly. lack of connection with the classes. This man admitted that he had already known about the preparations for the strike four days before. One must admit that in the mass of people. No doubt that this operation was carefully and well planned in advance and was led from a center. this hatred revealed itself quite clearly.m. but also a number of activists and new workers. Scherpinski. 72–86. the hatred of the Soviet people remained latent and now once again became inflamed. The behavior of the party members during the unrest cannot be described as anything but cowardly. Comrade Smirnov.. 5. The neighbors even threatened our cleaning lady. Published in German in Gerhard Beier. one German woman who worked with us in radio as a telegrapher was exposed to gross insults in a shop by some 50 Hausfrauen from her neighborhood. pp. 1993).] 5. at the beginning of the strikes on Stalinallee.

Despite the fact that this uprising had been prepared beforehand and took place under the leadership of the West. b. as well as by the fact that the Staff of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in 208 . Secondly. It should be noted that the People's Police has been active.m. etc. Gorlitz. To pay salaries in accordance with the previous output quotas.e. Bitterfeld. 3. public transport facilities and institutions. d. stoppages at plants. the same tactics of actions were used everywhere. attempts to capture the same kind of the installations. 1. i. i. it came totally unexpected for the German Democratic Government as well as for our [Soviet control] organs. Thirdly. 18 June 1953. It is confirmed by the following: Firstly. To oust the current government by means of free and secret elections. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. Cottbus. all the disorders took place under the same slogans: a. are apparently a major planned uprising covering the entire territory of the German Democratic Republic aimed at a coup d'etat and simultaneous replacement of the government in the German Democratic Republic. and prisons. To immediately decrease food prices. too. Gera. 37: Situation Report from Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii and Marshal Leonid Govorov to Nikolai Bulganin. The events that have taken place in Berlin and the other large cities of the Soviet Zone of Germany today. factories. Riesa. Halle. the report's authors squarely accuse the top Soviet military and diplomatic representatives on the scene—Grechko and Semyonov—of failing to take the initial demonstrations seriously. Jena.A. GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET (Declassified) Copy #6 To the Comrade Bulganin. Brandenburg.DOCUMENT No. such as the district committees of the SED. OPERATIONS DIVISION. Trying to explain why it took so long to suppress the rebellion. Moscow Time (12:05 a. 17 June. Sokolovskii and Govorov's report to Bulganin forcefully argues that the uprising in the GDR was an attempt at a coup d'etat. To release political prisoners and abolish the state security bodies. 2. c. the branches of the state security forces. the disorders began simultaneously in Berlin and the following big cities: Magdeburg. 4. Dresden.e. CET) Confirming Grechko's earlier message. The timely implementation of measures to restore order by our troops was made difficult by the fact that all the troops happened to be located far from the big cities.m. 2:05 a. but poorly armed. They. in the field camps. Leipzig. cannot comprehend how the unrest could otherwise have erupted simultaneously across East Germany. proceeding along such similar lines and evoking almost identical slogans. N.

on 18 June 1953 by General Gryzlov. These factors have unavoidably led to delays in actions aimed at the liquidation of the disorders. Khrushchev. 209 .. Voroshilov. pp. Beria. and Mikoyan. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. 10 (March 1998). 103 Sent to: Malenkov. f. Kaganovich. Sokolovskii Govorov 17 June 1953 Reported by "VCh-phone" at 2. d. op. 16. Molotov. 11.05 a.103 Source: AGSh.m. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. 3139. 89-90.4–5. no. 155.Germany] and the apparatus of the [Soviet] High Commissioner [in Germany] did not take seriously the events starting on 16 June.

Such resistance need not be violent—in fact it should preferably be passive—but the possibility that seething unrest might break out into open violence at any time would put the Soviets on the alert and make it necessary for them to make a show of armed strength throughout the Zone. also this morning. of course. For your guidance. 17 June 1953 News of the uprising in East Germany set off intense deliberations in Washington about how the United States should react. The State Department (GER) has prepared a briefing paper for Mr. Lyon in Berlin in a phone conversation this morning as well as by Mr. over night the workers took the initiative themselves and carried on with a spontaneous uprising far beyond the Soviets plan. It is understood. more active measures. overt media.B. " or "martyrizing" the victims of the crackdown. Riddleberger. Reber in his talk with Mr. 38: Psychological Strategy Board Memorandum from John M.S. The press reports. Several additional ideas were suggested during my conversation with the GER officers who drafted the attached briefing paper. especially by the AP and CBS.105 covers the most significant items of information about what is going on in Berlin and describes in the 4th paragraph the guidance which had been issued to U. Within the ranks of the Psychological Strategy Board.DOCUMENT No. I should like to set them forth here: a. 210 . Mallory Browne104 Subject: East Berlin Riots It is accepted by both State and CIA that today's riots in East Berlin were a spontaneous result of a planned demonstration yesterday. overt media.S.A. Morgan. to make possible trouble covertly." 105 Not printed. attached. However. to report fully but factually on the unrest. It would be important to suggest the possibility of more resistance to the Soviet regime within the Zone. have been verified by Mr. It is important to note the caution included in this guidance in the last paragraph. A State Department guidance instructed U. that the Soviets staged yesterday's demonstration against increased productivity quotas in order to react to them by cutting back those quotas. This paper. at today's luncheon when the subject will probably be brought up. This has obvious psychological implications with respect to the "workers paradise" and the insincerity of what the Soviets mean by "peaceful unity. Anspacher to George A. M." 104 Handwritten note at the bottom of the page reads: "George: I concur. but were not included largely because of the caution with which State is approaching this situation. exploiting the defection of People's Police officers "to undermine the whole VOPO structure. although not definitely known. Psychological Strategy Board 17 June 1953 Memorandum for: Mr. such as R1AS. Morgan Through: Mr. and already three casualties have occurred. other. but want to emphasize that this seems to me to the moment to hit hard through C. We know from press reports and from a conversation with Berlin this morning that the Soviets have moved tanks and machine gunners into East Berlin. Smith to be used at today's luncheon. George A. such as encouraging resistance throughout the zone. however.I. are put forward.

A high level statement by the President would be useful to reiterate our position in West Berlin and to put the Soviets on notice that this kind of tactic is going to avail them nothing in so far as Berlin unity. the more we will put them on the defensive. etc. h. Further I would emphasize most strongly that large scale efforts be made to mobilize 106 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for atomic espionage against the United States on 19 June 1953.106 From the long-range point of view. c. In other words. Although it is perfectly valid to avoid any outbreak of East–West violence by encouraging sympathy demonstrations in the West sectors. now they have their riots. There have been three casualties already today in East Berlin—workers who have been shot seriously by the Soviet soldiers. d. or to sudden reversals of communist policy which would find them out on a limb. e. The Soviets will try to use these demonstrations as an excuse for sealing off their section of the city from the Soviet Zone. German unity. the Easterners should neither get themselves shot in their enthusiasm nor take measures on which they cannot follow through and would leave them at the mercy of the communist authorities at some future date. There has been an increase in the defection of Volks Polizei in the last 24 hours. but not the way they expected them. g. Four-Power negotiations. it might be helpful if the East Germans could. If any one of these casualties becomes a fatality. The first is that these minor relaxations are not to be construed as real deeds in the sense that the President used these words on April 16. They have been urging such riots for the past six months. The obvious possibility exists in this connection to undermine the whole Vopo structure. Along with the defection earlier this morning of Otto Nuschke. Reports of the executions were used by the Soviet bloc press to divert attention from the crackdown in East Germany. we are encouraged by their spirit and feel gratified that they have taken the initiative in expressing their dissatisfaction with communist tyranny. The more we can commit the communist either to give in to the Germans and/or to reverse themselves and take more repressive measures. against exposing themselves to armed force which would achieve nothing. The President should also make it clear that although we do not want to see East Berliners leave themselves open to armed violence at the hands of the Soviet military. it would be important immediately to "martyrize" this individual throughout the world.b. the second is that peace and unity in Germany will not be created at pistol point. [one line sanitized] be persuaded to "blur" the border between the Soviet Zone and East Berlin. It will be extremely important to use discreet German outlets to warn the East Berliners and the East Germans for that matter. Obviously we should exploit the fluidity of the East–West travel situation wherever possible to increase our defection operations [one line sanitized]. The "boomerang" effect of the Soviet campaign to incite East Germans to demonstrate against the Adenauer Government should not be ignored. i. With the reservation that we should not tend to create chaos in West Berlin. Dependent upon the time factor his death might also be used in the Rosenberg framework—while shouting for the lives of the Rosenbergs the communists would have taken the life of one of their own citizens. are concerned. any leverage we have to forestall such a move could be profitably employed at this juncture. 211 . some advantage might be derived from the presence in the West Zone of Soviet guards at Rundfunkhaus and at the Soviet memorials in the Western sectors. I would certainly suggest that all possible emphasis be placed on two aspects of the current development in Berlin. f. this is significant particularly in the light of the Vopos' participation in the military maneuvers to quell today's riots. for much less reason to put it mildly.

this is not the way to get it. Anspacher Encl. On file at the National Security Archive. This is not the road to Four-Power negotiations. if this is what the Soviets want. John M.Social Democrat opinion throughout Western Europe. Eisenhower Library (FOIA release to the editor). Phillips from GER/P—Richard Straus Source: Dwight D. especially in the Low Countries and Scandinavia against the Soviet/communist unity campaign on the basis of this kind of demonstration. It is suggested that PBS immediately study the possible Soviet exploitation of this situation so as to provide the means of forestalling whatever advantage the Soviets hope to gain from it psychologically. 6/17/53 Memo to Mr. 212 . "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection.

EST (18 June 1953. Kellermann [Initialed] Source: NARA." SECRET SECURITY INFORMATION OUTGOING TELEGRAM Department of State 06018 1953 JUN 17 PM 7:02 DC/T Sent to: HICOG BONN PRIORITY 5536 RPTD Info: HICOG BERLIN PRIORITY 564 Would appreciate full report [of] your implementation of Infoguide Bulletins concerning East Berlin demonstrations. who adopted a "wait-and-see attitude. Though limited for the time being to public statements and factual reporting by U. Washington's approach differed markedly from the British. and from the French. 7:02 p. RG 59. who were eager to bring the situation in Berlin rapidly back to normal. We believe this presents excellent propaganda opportunity and singular chance to work cooperatively with West German Government and SPD. 17 June 1953.DOCUMENT No." the State Department moved quickly to exploit the propaganda value of what it believed to be a local crisis.m. 39: Cable from John Foster Dulles to HICOG Bonn on the Propaganda Value of the East Berlin Demonstrations. [Signed. "DULLES"] Drafted by: Telegraphic transmission and classification approved by: GER/P: RStraus: bpc 6/17/53 Henry J. 213 . "Dulles (yu)"] [Stamped. 1:02 a.Obtained by the editor. 762B. In addition to steps already taken (instruction to information media and Conant statement) we are hoping to be able have President announce new grants to West Berlin economic programs (UR TOMUS 747)107 with appropriate statement regarding situation in East Berlin. CET) Probably unaware that the unrest had moved beyond "East Berlin demonstrations.OO/6–1753.m. Therefore suggest you do not make release this item until after Presidential statement. S. 7 Not printed. -controlled media.

the 45th tank regiment in Meissen. They also have continued to perform their duties along the zonal borders. Zeithavn. Plauen. Weissenfels. details on the deployment of Soviet troops throughout the GDR as well as updated casualty figures. 2.DOCUMENT No. Pirleberg. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET (Declassified) Copy #6 To the Comrade Bulganin. There have been no disturbances observed on the territory of the German Democratic Republic and in the city of Berlin during the night of 18 June. the 207th infantry division in Gardelegen and Stendal. as well as patrol in the cities and towns of the German Democratic Republic. the 18th mechanized division in Parchim. Ludwigslust. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. 18 June 1953. The 1st Guards Mechanized Army: the llth Guards tank division. Zeitz. on 18 June 1953. previously unknown. The units of the Group of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany during the night of 18 June have moved from their field camps to the [assigned] areas in accordance with the decision made on 17 June. (Moscow time) 1. the 44th tank regiment and a tank-training battalion in Konigsbruck. Oschatz. and the 20th mechanized regiment and the 21st mechanized regiment of the 8th Guards mechanized division in the vicinity of Meissen. Some groups of Germans started gathering in Gorlitz. Jena. except the 44th tank regiment and the 45th tank regiment and a tank-training battalion. the 57th Guards infantry division in Naumburg. Moscow Time (6:00 a. The 2nd Guards Mechanized Army: the 12th Guards tank division in the north–east area of Berlin. a tank-training battalion of the 20th Guards mechanized division has been sent to Weida. the 21st Guards mechanized division in Halle and Merseburg. where they were dispersed by the [Soviet] troops.A. as of 8:00 a.m. the 136th artillery-technical and tank & selfpropelled gun regiment in the field camp Born [at Burg].m. and Eisenach. the 19th mechanized regiment and the 1st tank regiment of the 8th Guards mechanized division in Glatzhau and Schonau. I am reporting on the situation in the territory of the German Democratic Republic and in the city of Berlin by 8. Research now indicates that at least 125 people were killed during the course of the uprising. The 3rd Army: the 19th Guards mechanized division in Magdeburg. N. 214 . the 1st Guards mechanized division in the west and south-west areas of the city.00 a. CET) Grechko and Tarasov's report provides further.m.00 a. 40: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. In connection with this. The 8th Guards Army: the 20th Guards mechanized division in Weimar. the 9th tank division in Piesa. OPERATIONS DIVISION.m. the 39th Guards infantry division in Ordruff. By 6. and Saalfeld. the forces have been concentrated in the following areas. There is the information that the rebels might try to turn the funeral of a German killed there into an anti-government rally in Weida. on 18 June. in Dresden. which is 12 km to the south of Gera.

except the 23rd mechanized infantry regiment. a. the 7th Guards mechanized division in Furstenwalde and Frankfurt a. Kremen. 215 . 209 people were killed and wounded. and Mikoyan. Wittenberg. 108 Sent to: Malenkov. 10 (March 1998).351 people were detained on the territory of the German Democratic Republic. pp. and Spremberg. 11:00. the 25th tank division. Molotov. its 20th mechanized infantry regiment and the 111th tank regiment in Oranienburg. 3. 16. Originally published in the Cold War International History Project Bulletin. Brandenburg. 90 people were wounded and 2.108 Source: AGSh. the 7th Guards tank division. op. General of the Army Shtemenko 18 June 1953. and 3.414 were detained in Berlin. Of these. 15–16. in the field camp Magdeburg. Felten. Kaganovich. the 172nd separate light artillery brigade in the camp Schepek. 11. The 3rd Guards Mechanized Army: the 9th mechanized division in Lubben. f.the 14th Guards mechanized division in the central and south-east areas of the city. Khrushchev. in the field camp Templin.3139. Alteslager. no. Voroshilov. d. except the 20th mechanized infantry regiment and the 111th tank regiment. Cottbus. the 9th Guards tank division in Neustrelitz. Altogether. The 4th Guards Mechanized Army: the 10th tank division in Kolbitz. and Birkenwerder. 155.m. Grechko Tarasov "Correct". There have been no losses to the units of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany]. Beria. 90-91. the 6th Guards mechanized division in Eberswalde and Bad Freienwalde. d. Dessau. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. the 31st anti-aircraft artillery division in Schonwalde. Oder. and Krampnitz. its 23rd mechanized infantry regiment and the 41st tank-training battalion in Roslau. the 6th Guards tank division in Oschnitz.

109 Sent to: Malenkov. 10 (March 1998). in case riots occur in any place. Moscow Time (11:00 a. 7th Army and the 12th Air Force Army were put on alert in the U. The alert state for the 7th Army was canceled and its units were ordered to return to the places of their permanent location at 8:30 a. Grechko Tarasov "Correctly": General of the Army Shtemenko 18 June 1953. N. The units of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany] have been concentrated in the assigned locations.S. 3.m. f. this report reflects similar Soviet concerns with respect to the West and contains a rare reference to efforts by Soviet military intelligence to detect Western military actions. Only further declassification of U. There have been some attempts to organize riots and demonstrations in Svineutso [sic]. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. Furstenwalde (up to 400 people). 41: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A.m. d.m. op. Beria. Besides maintaining order in the area of its location. every garrison has the task to make a reconnaissance up to 50 km around the location and. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. Halle. CET) Grechko's and Tarasov's situation report reflects the challenges posed by the continued unrest in East Germany after 17 June.DOCUMENT No. 18 June 1953.A.m. All attempts at riots and demonstrations are being curbed by the units of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany]. The main headquarters of the NATO armed forces in Louveciennes (20 km to the west of Paris) were also put on alert. as of 1:00 p. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev. Nordhausen. 4. 2:30 p. The French military police has dispersed West Berlin residents gathering at the sector border. (Moscow time). 19–20. 1. Kaganovich. and Mikoyan. Khrushchev.109 Source: AGSh. Gorlitz. GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET To Comrade Bulganin.m. No movement of troops was observed in the British and French sectors of Berlin. I am reporting the situation in the GDR and Berlin as of 18 June 1953. Starkau. deploy sufficient forces there. Mirroring initial Western fears that the uprising had been staged by the Soviets as a pretext for a military clash over Berlin. According to military intelligence information. Berlin is calm. 216 . Zone at 5:30 a. Apolda and Ettelstadt. 155. 2. and Russian documents will show how close the events came to escalating into a major military crisis. no. OPERATIONS DIVISION. Eisleben. 11.S. Bernau. 16.m. Zeitz. Ettelstadt. No gatherings of demonstrators were observed in the British sector of Berlin. Molotov. Voroshilov. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. on 18 June. the U. p. 1 p. Oranienburg (up to one third of the workers there are on strike).3139.S. Warnemunde. 91.

although individual enterprises continue partial strikes. the workers themselves detained five provocateurs and strike ringleaders and handed them over to the police. this secret cable illuminates Semyonov's and Sokolovskii's efforts to make sense of the previous day's events.00 a. In today's issue of [SED party newspaper] NeuesDeutschland." Kressmann said. At a cable factory in Kopenick. Capacity at electric power stations grew from 30 percent in the [early] morning hours to 70 percent by 11. A series of the municipal enterprises worked at reduced capacity in the morning as a result of continued ferment among workers.DOCUMENT No. who in part.00 p. at the chemical factory in Grunau (Kopenick region). Many well-known representatives of the intelligentsia spoke out publicly stating their trust in the government and condemning the West Berlin provocateurs. an engineer who had been urging workers to strike was arrested. (Berlin time) 18 June. Toward mid-day. who called upon the residents of East Berlin not to approach the border between East and West Berlin since the Soviet Army had received orders to use their weapons.m. [Willy] Kressmann. Thus. The People's Police made several shots in return.m. 18 VI 53. The letter contained the following impermissible phrase: "Today the enterprises 110 Stamped "MID USSR. At a high-frequency apparatus factory in Kopenick. West Berlin radio broadcast the speech by the Burgermeister of the Kreuzberg district (American sector).110 Today efforts to restore order in Berlin began actively to include German organizations and SED party organizations. engineers and technicians obstructed the cessation of work by strikers and convinced workers not to participate in the disorders.m. the situation in Berlin's enterprises improved. acting in concert with the German police. At 9:30 a. "We do not want to bear responsibility for your death. Classes in schools and in institutions of higher learning [and] rehearsals in the theaters of Berlin continued in a normal fashion yesterday and today. as a result of which one West Berlin policeman was killed. First "assessments" of the role of various social groups during the uprising are presented next to "established" findings of "the appearance of organized groups of provocateurs. a letter from the Stalinallee construction brigade was published. Representatives of the intelligentsia took almost no part in the strikes and disturbances. We are reporting about the situation in Berlin and the GDR as of 2." 217 . 18 June 1953. as of 2:00 p. CET Written the day after the first wave of demonstrations. in connection with which small numbers of Soviet troops were sent to individual enterprises. Declassified. when they arrived at the enterprises. 42: Telephonogram from Vladimir Semyonov and Vasilii Sokolovskii to Vyacheslav Molotov Reporting on the Situation in East Berlin. members of the GDR People's Police were fired upon from the direction of West Berlin. workers resumed work after the arrest of two strike organizers. In a number of cases it was possible to expose and arrest the ringleaders of the strikes at enterprises. The appearance of organized groups of provocateurs at some enterprises was established.m. calling on workers to resume work and to end the disturbances. which are devoting their main attention to the development of political work at enterprises. At selected enterprises. at the Brandenburg gate." Semyonov and Sokolovskii emphasize the need for continued Soviet direction of the SED 's efforts to regain control in the country. gathered into groups and began discussions.

Jena [and] G6rlitz. In the GDR. 91-92. In Halle. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie. pap. The strikers conveyed the following demands to the Soviet commandant through his representatives: Cancel martial law and withdraw troops from Halle. Magdeburg. f. lower prices. change the government. no. 11. the situation continues to improve. 280. the military commanders announced that death sentences had been carried out against the organizers of the disturbances (seven persons in all). op. Only isolated cases of disturbances are taking place. 82. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. The last two days at Stalinallee are evidence that we have not yet achieved that at all enterprises. Workers at the Stralsund shipyard (900 persons) went on strike. 10 (March 1998). pp. At some points." We drew Ulbricht's attention to the impermissibility of such publications. and so on. port. 41.belong to us and it depends on us to force our leading colleagues to do what we need. 93. Source: AVP RF. efforts to initiate demonstrations were made. strikes are continuing at some factories. 13-15. In Berlin. 218 .

The units of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany] have continued to perform their duties along the sector borders in the city of Berlin and patrol the other cities and towns of the German Democratic Republic. 3. 43: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A.m. rallies are scheduled for 6:00-7:00 p. 6.200 workers on strike). Leipzig. The following number of the active provocateurs were caught and executed: one in Berlin.A. Grechko and Tarasov wereforced to report continued strike activities as late as the evening of 18 June. as of 6:00 p.000 people on strike). Molotov. 4. p. f. OPERATIONS DIVISION.400 strikers). 1. Erfurt (1. There is no change in the disposition of the units of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany]. to the Kremlin.500 strikers).m. Semyonov and Sokolovskii. namely in Templin (above 1. According to the information received from the [German] population. 219 . Grechko Tarasov "Correct". GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET Copy #6 To Comrade Bulganin. I am reporting on the situation on the territory of the GDR and in the city of Berlin as of 18 June. 111 Sent to: Malenkov. Khrushchev.00 p. 8:30. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. in Glauchau. Voroshilov. Kaganovich. demonstrations. 3139. Beria. one in Jena. and Halle. There have been some measures undertaken to prevent them. 155. op. Eberswalde (about 2. CET) Contrary to expectations of a quick suppression of the strikes. Dresden. (Moscow time). Berlin is calm. Similar admissions were being made by their colleagues. which is to the northeast of Cottbus. d. Some 2.m. and riots. Moscow Time (4:00 p.111 Source: AGSh. Hennigsdorf and Birkenwerder (1. two in Gorlitz. N. There are still some strikes in the German Democratic Republic. The population was told of the execution of the sentences. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev.m. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. 2.000 people have left their workplaces in the area of Drewitz.m. 18 June 1953.DOCUMENT No. two in Magdeburg. General of the Army Shtemenko 18 June 1953. and Mikoyan. 16.

Nuschke's car had apparently been recognized by demonstrators near the sector border and pushed across to the U. Nuschke was released by U. repeated information Department 1694.m. 1999). CET U. 113 Routing information on the original cable included the following: "Priority: Sent Bonn 1819. had worked for major Western intelligence agencies. Einer Agentur der Kirchen im Staatsapparat? (Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Army Counter Intelligence Corps. Indirectly.S. all operating in Berlin.m. Lyon makes no reference to that agency. From: Berlin To: Secretary of State No: 1694.S.S. 1l2 CONFIDENTIAL SECURITY INFORMATION INCOMING TELEGRAM Department of State ACTION COPY Control: 6595 Rec'd: June l8." 114 Thirty-seven year old West Berliner Willi Gottling. who had been arrested by the Eastern authorities on 17 June and executed by the Soviet military as an American agent. June 18. During the 17 June unrest. While West Berlin police were apparently trying to prolong his detention. delay in formulating a response. German National. 112 On Nuschke's role. 115 U. 44: Telegram from Cecil Lyon to U. (However.S. involvement during the unrest. West Berlin. p.DOCUMENT No. The lack of any firm data on the full scope of the uprising may help explain the U. this cable sheds some light on the controversial issue of U. and HICOG. missing since June 16 as reported to West Berlin police. CIC115 and DAD116 have no (repeat no) knowledge of him. 7p. HICOG. 7:00 p.) Lyon also provides further evidence on the murky episode of the detention ofGDR Deputy Premier Otto Nuschke by U. uncertain about CIA operations in Berlin. such as CIC. last residence Reinickendorf. 91. authorities on 19 June. DDR. 220 . 113 We have following information on Fritz Willi Karl Goettling [Gottling]:114 Born 14 April 1918. where he was arrested by West Berlin police and then handed to West German intelligence and CIC for interrogation.S. Deputy Commandant and top HICOG Berlin official Cecil Lyon admits as late as the evening of 18 June that U. was arrested by Soviet troops and became the first person to be executed during the crisis.m. 116 Deutscher Aufklarungsdienst. Department of State Reporting on Developments in Berlin. See Hagen. denying that West Berlin resident Willi Gottling. authorities. who had been crossing the Soviet sector in Berlin on his way from one part of the Western sectors to another.S. see Andreas Schluck. 1953 4:20 p. DAD. sector.S. officials in Berlin know very little of what was going on in East Germany outside the Soviet sector of Berlin. the West German intelligence service.S. 18 June 1953.S.

Obtained by the editor. Traffic at standstill. Soviet CDT allegedly gave orders no (repeat no) one may leave or enter Soviet sector. Police say they have good case against Nuschke re disappearance his former secretary except for lone link. Torgau. which emphasizes quiet in Berlin. Erfurt. Soviet tanks and armored cars stationed at crucial points in East Berlin. Lyon Source: NARA. Magdeburg. all quiet. He still wished return before he was turned over to West Berlin police this afternoon. RG 59. Halle. 762B.[Otto] Nuschke has been interrogated by CIC and DAD. Leipzig. This appears probable.00/6–1853. unrest outside Berlin likely. VOPO machine guns emplaced some traffic points especially crossovers to West Berlin. Zwickau and Bitterfeld. but [it is] impossible [to] evaluate extent. Unconfirmed reports state strikes. Inner city completely controlled by troops and police. Judging by East German radio. but have unconfirmed reports [of] unrest and strikes in Dresden. No (repeat no) clear picture developments in zone at large. Brandenburg. Chemnitz. No (repeat no) action reported. Details unknown. 221 . work slow downs continue at Hennigsdorf Steel Plant and some other points in zone around Berlin.

the analysts fail to recognize the potential for the strikes and demonstrations to move beyond the East German capital. In admitting and adjusting "previous mistakes. as would be expected. TOP SECRET 18 June 1953 U." 18 June 1953 In one of the first known U.DOCUMENT No. 07808 Copy No. By calling off the campaign against the youth organizations of the Evangelical Church. The Kremlin seems to expect that by a show of moderation in East Germany it will eliminate a serious obstacle to Soviet political objectives in Western Europe generally and West Germany in particular. By promising to restore ration cards to persons heretofore discriminated against and to give short-term credits to businessmen. the CIA's Office of Current Intelligence provides a cautious evaluation of the introduction of the New Course." the East German Communists are evidently aiming at several objectives. OFFICIALS ONLY SC No. they hold out hope of improving living conditions which have recently caused widespread discontent. 83 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE REVIEW [Excised Section] Office of Current Intelligence CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY [Excised Section] THE COMMUNIST "NEW LOOK" IN EAST GERMANY The far-reaching measures announced by the East German government since 9 June leave little doubt that the regime has been directed by Moscow to amend important aspects of a policy in effect since the Bonn and Paris treaties were signed in May 1952. While viewing the 16 June events in East Berlin against the backdrop of increased unrest throughout Eastern Europe. 45: CIA Current Intelligence Review Analyzing the "Communist 'New Look"' and "Recent Unrest in Eastern Europe.S. by agreeing to reinstate the pupils and teachers dismissed in the course of this campaign and to 222 . the report states that the USSR "may in fact be prepared to go very far in 'adjusting' East Germany as an alternative to more difficult concessions" such as free elections. By promising restitution to refugees. Significantly. they apparently hope to stem the flow of malcontents to the West which has seriously embarrassed the government and deprived it of skilled labor.S. assessments of the recent changes in East Germany. Emphasizing the fluidity of the situation—but apparently unaware of the heightening struggle within the SED leadership—this review considers it likely that adherents of both the "communization line" and the "unification line" would continue to co-exist.

the cabinet has called for early changes in the Five-Year Plan. 223 . However. the advocates of a tough policy have evidently been permitted freedom to impress their views on government and party. in a speech on 12 June. the past week's developments emphasize the political fluidity which the USSR has permitted in East Germany to a degree unmatched in the Satellites. moreover. With respect to agriculture. but by no means unrestrained freedom. or revision of the Oder–Neisse line. With the present reversal. since Western skepticism may necessitate still more far-reaching changes than those thus far announced. To further its "peace offensive" both in West Germany and beyond the Rhine. For example. for amending the heavy industry plan to "improve the living standards of all segments of the population. free elections in East Germany. but promise that passes will be granted to all who have not committed political or criminal offenses. an official rebroadcast of a speech by a local chairman of a farm collective quoted him to the effect that present policy calls for concentration on the improvement of existing cooperatives rather than on the formation of new ones.restore to the church various confiscated properties. recommended the suspension of a proposed reorganization of the East German school system on the grounds that it would create serious obstacles to the later transfer of students to West German universities. Most of the new measures. the continued coexistence of adherents of both the "communization line" and the "unification line" seems probable so long as Soviet policy toward the German question has not crystallized. implying perhaps some cutbacks in capital investments or even military items in favor of greater production of consumers' goods. and by promising a review of ordinances oppressive to the churches. To what extent basic aspects of that program will be affected will depend on the manner in which the regime carries out other and vaguer promises which have not yet fully emerged in specific decisions. Grotewohl. It is therefore evident that the regime is making a serious effort to attenuate the atmosphere of political and economic tension created by the progressive constriction of private enterprise. the subordination of individual well being to the production of investment and military items. and to moderate the policy of isolating East Germans from Western contacts. and the utilization of police power to support these goals. the Soviet Union may in fact be prepared to go very far in "adjusting" East Germany as an alternative to more difficult concessions such as the return of prisoners of war." to adjust the agricultural program. Measures have already been hinted at however. there is inevitable speculation that a "reverse purge" may now ensue. Since last July. New regulations with respect to inter-zonal transit passes have already been announced. Finally. In the meantime. the Communists are eliminating a major cause of near-defiance of the regime at home and suspicion abroad. These appear to envisage only limited inter-zonal travel in the next three months. are obvious moderations of the accelerated "class warfare" initiated in East Germany under the "rapid Socialization program" announced last July—all mention of which is now reportedly banned." there is no evidence that these guarantees have been tied to specific commitments. While the government is clearly counting on future support for its policies in return for "guarantees of church autonomy under the constitution. the process of "putting a new face" on East Germany may mean incidental as well as intentional benefits for the East Germans.

self-contained bands. the low morale of the para-military units. makes elaborate efforts to conceal worker opposition and the actual number of such organized protests may well exceed the number reliably reported. and the government's reported plans for a retardation of collectivization are all indicative of the negative response the Communists' programs has evoked. 224 . In Czechoslovakia. None of these actions are believed inspired by organized indigenous resistance movements which no longer are known to exist in Eastern Europe. [ P a g e Excised] Source: Central Intelligence Agency (FOIA release to the editor). Popular unrest is taking such varied forms as physical attacks on Communist officials. such ostensible sources of opposition as the non-Communist parties having been almost completely intimidated. but without a specific point of focus (see map. 117 Not printed here. the unsuccessful experiment of the voluntary youth labor corps. the 16 June outbreaks of violence in East Berlin provide the most dramatic expression of the steadily mounting popular discontent and suggest that the government's more conciliatory attitude has so far been unsuccessful in mitigating antipathy to the regime. has been carried out in some cases by small. non-cooperation by peasants and workers. Government harassment of the churches. but of considerable importance. in addition to spontaneous personal acts. but is again rising. The heavy flow of refugees to the West. Since coming into power the Satellite governments have eliminated all organized resistance. Less organized. dissemination of anti-communist leaflets. The Protestant churches and the ranks of labor have long been regarded as the most potent centers of discontent. P. In East Germany.RECENT UNREST IN EASTERN EUROPE Popular unrest has increased significantly during recent months in Czechoslovakia. and escape to the West. occasionally even manifested by strikes. Difficulties encountered by the regime in recruiting for the military forces. and East Germany. has been the general discontent among youth and agricultural groups. In any case. There have been frequent reports of labor unrest. isolated. provoked a strong stand from the clergy which had the sympathy of the population at large. like the recently alleviated campaign against the Protestant youth organizations. the frequent report of purges within Communist youth organizations. In the remainder of Eastern Europe unrest and dissatisfaction are continuous and widespread. "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. of course. it is quite clear that the present policy shifts are in part motivated by a desire to reduce popular antipathy to the communization of East Germany. Rumania. On the other hand. dropped sharply after the government's new measures were announced on 9 June. Rumania and Albania anti-regime activity. Poland. violent opposition in Bulgaria and Hungary consists almost entirely of individual acts. On file at the National Security Archive. resistance by church leaders. The government. 12117). an accurate barometer of popular sentiment.

NSC:125 and the Deputy Executive Secretary. Secretary of the Treasury.121 Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury. the Director of Central Intelligence. 123 Joseph Morrell Dodge. the Vice President of the United States. which was exploring the possibility of a four-power meeting. Jackson. 120 Charles E.119 the Secretary of Defense. It is unclear whether Eisenhower seriously believed that the unrest might spill over to China. with regard to the contents of a message Richard M. /. June 18. and that of C. Wilson. Agenda for 150th NSC Meeting The opening of the Council meeting was delayed three-quarters of an hour while the President conferred with the Secretaries of State and Defense. l24 Robert Cutler. the Chief of Naval Operations and Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Nash. The portions containing the president's ruminations about the possibility of the uprising spreading beyond Germany. 124 Allen W. 1953–1954. Bureau of the Budget. Executive Secretary of the NSC. and of the United States intervening militarily on behalf of the rioters were excised when this document was first published by the State Department in 1986. 122 George M. the Military Liaison Officer. 46: Minutes of Discussion at the 150th Meeting of the National Security Council on 18 June 1953. Eisenhower's view that "it was not quite the time yet" to intervene actively fell somewhere between the more cautious position of the State Department. 1950–1959. TOP SECRET SECURITY INFORMATION EYES ONLY June 19. Special Assistant to the President.122 the Director. 125 Paul T. 1953-1954. 119 118 225 .118 the Secretary of State. Carroll. the Executive Secretary. Humphrey. C.Everett Gleason. Director. presiding. As a result of the meeting. Strauss. Vice President 1953-1961. 1957-1957.D. Secretary of Defense. Bureau of the Budget. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jackson.123 Admiral Fechteler for the Chairman. Thursday. Dulles. D. Deputy Executive Secretary of the NSC.126 There follows a summary of the discussion at the meeting and the chief points taken. Harold E. John Foster Dulles. 1953-1957. NSC. Special Assistant to the President. 19 June 1953 The minutes of this meeting of the National Security Council offer a glimpse of the Eisenhower Administration's decision-making process at the height of the uprising. 126 S. Nixon. 1953 Subject: Discussion at the 150th Meeting of the National Security Council. but it shows what it would have taken for him to approve coming to the aid of the protestors. who advocated encouraging further unrest.120 and the Director for Mutual Security. even to China. 1953 Present at the 150th meeting of the Council were the following: The President of the United States. Lewis L. the Psychological Strategy Board was charged with developing a policy directive.DOCUMENT No. Special Assistant to the President. Stassen.

and cracks in the Soviet edifice were beginning to be visible. the President might wish to postpone Council consideration of the regular agenda. The Communists. . was really beginning to hurt. Together. We ought not ease this pressure. Communist propaganda would shout that either the United States had no influence on the Republic of Korea. or else that the United States was really responsible for what President Rhee had done. It could be interpreted to mean that we could not even control the ROK. YugoslaHere follows a discussion of possible U. The Communists themselves must be very agitated by the grave difficulties that they were confronting in East Germany and among the European satellites.S. He then listed the specific actions of the Soviet Government with regard to Germany. therefore. and noted that the objective of all these actions was to support the Soviet policy for the unification of Germany in the interest of the Soviet Union. or else it must strongly repudiate that action. Mr. in view of the development in Korea and East Germany action on the items scheduled for consideration at this meeting should be deferred.000 North Korean prisoners of war.N. contrary to the U.] 3. agreeing with Mr. in view of the recent developments in Korea. too. While agreeing with this point of view. Mr. Stassen. for what had happened in Korea was certainly no victory. it might be better to send a message of congratulation to President Rhee. Command and Rhee's own promise. . added Mr. Jackson said that it was important to tie in what had happened in South Korea with the uprisings in East Germany and Czechoslovakia. Jackson. Cutler suggested that. Stassen. facetiously. reaction to President Rhee's release of some 25.from the President to [ROK President] Syngman Rhee. since the agenda was largely concerned with items on the Far East which could not be considered until there was a clarification of the situation in South Korea. When the President entered the Cabinet Room at 10:45. said that it seemed to him vital to keep on stepping up pressure on the Communists. all these events provided a real chance to assay Communist strength and weakness. He then went on to describe the similar softening processes with regard to Austria. that if we were to play the game that Mr. President Rhee's Release of Prisoners of War Mr. 226 127 . [. The Riots in East Germany and Czechoslovakia The Director of Central Intelligence stated that he wished in his briefing to relate the recent events in East Berlin and Czechoslovakia to the series of developments which had resulted in what was called Molotov's "soft" policy. Of course. 2. the President nevertheless pointed out that the United States must either assume responsibility for President Rhee's action in releasing these prisoners. The President replied. which had begun to be applied by the President and Secretary Dulles five months ago. would be quick to exploit our weaknesses. While we should certainly be stern with Rhee. Jackson suggested. our allies would regard it as tantamount to abandoning the coalition. by any withdrawal from Korea which would provide a victory. If we accept what has happened without protest. it would be wrong not to push ahead for the armistice rather than to make any suggestion of withdrawal. The National Security Council: Agreed that. we will have problems to contend with as regards our allies. This pressure. but we must not relax this pressure.

All these taken together. Dulles. for example. and added that it posed a very tough problem for the United States to know how to handle. but if we did so we could be sure that heads would roll. Jackson meant that we should intervene to prevent slaughter by the Soviet forces. Do we stand idly by. the Soviet relaxation program had likewise backfired. Jackson resumed. to supply arms. for the first time since their enslavement. and was moving close to insurrection. Dulles then noted the not less significant evidences of a relaxation of harshness within the Soviet Union itself. D. Dulles said that the United States had nothing whatsoever to do with inciting these riots. in broadcasts which were not attributable. It was perfectly possible to fan the flames of discontent. Greece. obviously felt bolder now that Stalin's hand was no longer there. Iran. 227 . Jackson observed that while the riots revealed discontent. We had carefully refrained from urging the Czechs to open revolt. Dulles thereafter described in as much detail as possible the uprising in Berlin and East Germany. he pointed out. Mr. C. not only that.128 In summary. or do we help the disintegration? And how much responsibility are we willing to take for the results of helping? The President's first response was to say that this decision depended on how widespread the uprising became. Jackson to suggest the possibilities open to the United States in exploiting the difficulties which the Soviets had encountered. or even possibly to the USSR itself? If this should happen.via. he added. Germany. and that our reaction thus far had been to confine ourselves. who evidently were interpreting the soft policy as offering real possibilities of action against the Soviet Union without the terrible risks which would have been included under Stalin. with an admixture of references to the great traditions of 1848. Dulles then turned to the riots in Czechoslovakia. they were more important in showing. Mr. Mr. The thing had developed past the riot stage. culminating with a comment on the over-all Soviet objective of encouraging trade with the free world to the point of hinting their willingness to provide the free world with strategic materials in return for consumers goods. Mr. Mr. and Israel. Our problem was whether or not to abet the development. where. to expressions of sympathy and admiration. Mr. and explained their origin and development so far as this was known. Apropos of Mr. Mr. and we would be well advised. and the Austrian Empire. Mr. obviously had not escaped the notice of the satellite peoples. and to add that the heads would be those of our friends. that the slaves of the Soviet Union felt that they could do something. Jackson replied. a series of revolts against European monarchies shook the ancient regimes of France. and pointed out that the "64-dollar question" was precisely how far the United States was prepared to go "if this thing really gets cracking." The President inquired whether Mr. Cutler then invited Mr. Dulles also pointed out that our propaganda reaction to these events had been to play it very cautiously. Mr. Dulles' conclusion. Mr. Would the riots spread to China. this could be the bell pealing the disintegration of the Soviet empire. Indeed. Italy. but it was quite possible that some of the satellite regimes were now prepared to follow the road that Tito had taken. continued Mr. The President interposed to agree. of whom the Czechs were certainly the most phlegmatic and the least likely to rise in revolt. The conclusion one could draw from the riots in Pilsen [Plzen] was that the people of the satellites. we would probably never have a better chance to act. 128 In 1848. while encouraging them to passive resistance and to prepare for future possibilities. Dulles described what had happened as evidence of the boundless discontent and dissension behind the Iron Curtain.

See also Gregory Mitrovich. FRUS 1952-1954. Mr. because while the USSR would have no great difficulty in crushing uprisings in Europe alone. 134–149.C. "The Eisenhower Administration and the Volunteer Freedom Corps. Mr.129 and also whether we should not go ahead to carry out the Volunteer Freedom Corps130 program which had been temporarily put on the shelf. Would the President authorize this? The President said that it would seem sensible to him. Mr. 323–442. Undermining the Kremlin: America's Strategy to Subvert the Soviet Bloc. D. Stassen also agreed that the key areas were the European satellites. For further documentation. Jackson. as had been the The Solarium Project." Military Affairs 52:1 (1988). On the other hand.). the revolts would have to be more serious and more widespread than at this moment before they promised real success and indicated the desirability of our intervening. that a rising in that country was the most remote of all the current possibilities. was an extensive review of U. If. there was a real chance of success. Mr. He felt that it was very important that the unrest spread to China. In his opinion. that there was no intelligence to indicate the likelihood of dissention in China.The question of whether we should slip arms to the East Berliners. named after the White House solarium where the idea was first approved. indeed. See H. He added that Under Secretary Smith believed that we should go ahead promptly to begin negotiations with our allies regarding the VFC. Jackson to talk with the Secretary of State. the President added. who had temporarily left the room. but added the question. 1949-1956 (Ithaca. Jackson then inquired whether the moment had not come when we should activate quickly one or more of the alternatives that were being studied by the Solarium project. If. pp. and observed that in each instance the Soviet faced trouble of one kind and degree or another. N. Jackson then said that it seemed to him most useful if the National Security Council would permit the Psychological Strategy Board to constitute itself a staff to direct the day-by-day follow-up of these riots in the satellite states. pp. to cause the enemy every possible difficulty. and. and directed Mr. on the assumption that the PSB would be able to secure policy guidance from the National Security Council. national security policy conducted by the Eisenhower administration. President Eisenhower considered creating a Volunteer Freedom Corps (VFC). He wanted. 130 Early on in his administration. On the other hand. do we help to make this movement more serious and more widespread? The President stated his view that it was not quite the time yet. added the President. a Cold War foreign legion composed of anti-Communist Eastern European emigres. pp. and the time might indeed be ripe to ship arms there and even to undertake to subvert the Czech National Army. Stassen that there were men willing to die for their freedom in these areas and that each of them contained indigenous armed forces.: Government Printing Office. you might well do so. but was informed. Brands. The President answered that if to do so was just inviting a slaughter of these people. Jackson agreed with the President's point. He listed all of them. Mr. 1984). II (Washington.Y. on the contrary. Allen Dulles observed that great caution must be used in any distribution of arms to the participants in these uprisings. he did not wish to kill our friends. 7–11 129 228 . It would be foolish and dangerous to distribute arms in countries where there were Soviet armed forces. was one of the first of his questions. said Mr. both by Mr.W. 2000). they would find it tough to deal with trouble both in Europe and in the Far East. Dulles and by Mr. you certainly did not supply the arms. Czechoslovakia was free of such forces. Our problem was to weigh the prospects of success.: Cornell University Press. Jackson. The President again reverted to the possibilities of an uprising or revolt in China. see Department of State (ed. It seemed plain to Mr.S.

said Mr. This would be one more way of adding to the pressures which the President and the Secretary of State had been applying to the Soviets. as a matter of urgency. The Russians can scarcely come. both with our allies and with the Russians. There can be no four-power conference until the Russians have withdrawn their armies from East Germany. Secretary Wilson. He was determined to defeat and destroy European unity at this moment when it seemed on the very point of consummation. in view of what had happened in the past. Mr. The President agreed that this deserved consideration. was to divide the Western powers. additional armament for his police force. said the President in response to a question from Mr. this should be taken as a sign of real promise. in the circumstances. reverting to the problem of President Rhee. As for arms for West Germany. The Secretary of State pointed out that his Department was giving a great deal of thought as to how it would be possible to engage in a four-power conference including the Russians without inevitably providing the latter with some degree of moral support of their tyranny and of depriving the dissident people of the satellites of all hope. Stassen then said he wished to point out to the Council the ever-mounting pressure by our allies to relax the existing controls on trade with Communist China the moment the . What we must do is to throw all our weight behind the EDC objective. The President quickly replied that he had supposed he had made it crystal clear that if there were to be a four-power conference he himself would not be present. Certainly we couldn't ride two horses at one time.case in East Germany. the Russians could not trust these indigenous forces and felt compelled to bring in their own troops. Stassen expressed the view that the East Berlin uprising heavily underscored the necessity of getting more military strength more quickly into West Germany. The Secretary of State could very well go. it was his opinion that the East Berliners had pulled out the rug from under the Kremlin. expressed his own personal opinion that perhaps the "Rhee business" wasn't really too bad. he had better get busy and say that we approve of what Rhee has done. Commenting on the points just made. the President admitted that it was desirable to rearm that country just as rapidly as we could. at which time we would withdraw our armies from West Germany. The President said that he would do almost anything to help the German Chancellor. He wants no such army until it is integrated under the EDC. As for a four-power conference. Churchill against a four-power meeting. Secretary Dulles agreed. Jackson. Mr. The point was that Chancellor Adenauer was firmly and quite properly opposed to the creation of national German army. However. the President observed that the uprisings certainly had provided us with the strongest possible argument to give to Mr. Allen Dulles stated that the whole object of all the moves that Foreign Minister Molotov had been making by way of softening the harshness of Soviet rule. Allen Dulles. The President replied with some asperity that if Secretary Wilson felt that way. Mr. we should certainly inquire of Chancellor Adenauer whether he now desired. and added that in his view Molotov was undoubtedly the ablest and shrewdest diplomat since Machiavelli. Stassen then inquired as to whether there was any possibility that we could raise in the United Nations the issue of the forceful Russian repression of these uprisings. Mr. and confine himself to technicalities which would lend no semblance of moral support for Soviet imperialism. to any four-power conference posing as spokesman for a contented democratic Germany which only seeks to be re-united. The United States should take a very strong position.

230 131 . e. the President said "yes. (3) Continue intensified efforts to persuade our allies to refrain from relaxing their controls on trade with Communist China in the event of a Korean armistice. therefore. Noted an oral briefing by the Director of Central Intelligence on the events leading up to the recent East German and Czechoslovak riots. and that in any case the Prime Minister would have to be back in London by July 7. Noted that the President confirmed his authorization to proceed with the development of the Volunteer Freedom Corps (NSC 143/2) at such time as might be agreed upon by the Secretary of State and Mr. recommendations as to policies and actions to be taken during the next sixty days to exploit the unrest in the satellite states revealed by the recent East German and Czechoslovakian riots. that the time to "roll them out for keeps" is not yet. he said. C. Queried as to whether or not the Bermuda Conference would be held as scheduled for June 29. Jackson. C. The Churchill-Eisenhower Correspondence (Raleigh. He wondered.armistice was signed. N. 1990). 73-74. (2) Consider raising in the United Nations the Soviet repression of the popular demonstrations in East Germany. Agreed that the Secretary of State should: (1) Inquire of Chancellor Adenauer as to his need for additional arms for the West German police forces. Boyle. He would be perfectly willing to call a special meeting of the Council to take a look at such a report when it was complete. but prior to adopting any general policy with regard to these uprisings it was first necessary to see what specific actions we could take and to watch how developments unfolded. d." He had just received a message from Churchill indicating belief that the French would have a government in time. and perhaps to institute a naval blockade prior to the armistice. at a special meeting if necessary. not to relax controls until we had achieved a settlement.: University of North Carolina Press. but emphasized his feeling that the Secretary of State should use every diplomatic weapon at hand in order to encourage the British and our other allies to hold the line on trade with China until the end of the political negotiations. and it was vital. pp. Discussed alternative courses of action open to the United States as a result of this evidence of popular opposition to Soviet control within the satellites. Noting the hue and cry for free elections in Germany in the course of the riots. We should do our best to impress on our allies our conviction that the existing controls on trade had been one of the main reasons why the Chinese Communists had sought an armistice. b. In response to Mr. whether this was not the time to tighten control over trade with China. Requested the Psychological Strategy Board to prepare.C.D. and the implications thereof for Soviet policy. Mr. Jackson then said that he desired the Council's guidance in the East German situation together and to find a policy thread upon which he could string the actions which this Government might take. he stressed the importance of keeping this idea of free elections alive. D. c. Jackson. the President suggested that the Council really needed a report from the Psychological Strategy Board outlining the possible actions that could be taken under existing policy over the next sixty days or so. as presented by Mr. for urgent Council consideration. therefore.131 The National Security Council: a. Jackson's request for guidance. The President expressed no sympathy for this latter proposal. It was still his opinion. See Peter G.

VII. Everett Gleason"] Source: Dwight D. Published in sanitized version in Department of State. "S. Eisenhower Library (Mandatory Review Release to the editor). 231 . On file at the National Security Archive. Jackson.. Foreign Relations of the United States 1952-1954. 1586-1590.. 2 (Washington. C. The action in e above subsequently transmitted to the Psychological Strategy Board for implementation.Note: The action in c above subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of State and Mr. pp.: Government Printing Office. [. "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. D.D.]132 [Signed.S.C. policy toward the Near East and proposals for resolving other current issues affecting national security. The action in d above subsequently transmitted to the Secretary of State for implementation. pt. 1986). 132 Additional items on the NSC agenda included U.

The German People's Police revealed the gathering of provocateurs in the restaurant MITROPA and arrested 40 instigators. 20 provocateurs were arrested at Alexanderplatz. Two provocateurs calling for strikes were detained by some workers at the High-Frequency Instruments Plant in Treptow. Ivan Fadeikin to Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii. and obliged themselves to make up the lost working time next Sunday. One could witness peaceful conversations between Soviet soldiers and German residents in the streets of Berlin by the evening of 18 June. but also reports the alleged large-scale involvement of "fascist thugs "from the West.m. the plant in Leipzig. The provocateurs and instigators had been actively withdrawn and arrested in East Berlin and the Districts of GDR for 18 June and the night of 19 June. They continued on 6–7 June. For instance.00 p. 47: Report from KGB Resident in Berlin Col. emphasizes thai the strikes and demonstrations began as a protest against the rise in work norms. in Berlin. an engineer. confiscating weapons from three of them on the evening of 18 June. These police actions were welcomed by passers-by. Partial strikes occurred in a number of other enterprises where personnel in the night shifts from 30 percent to 60 percent were to the close of 18 June. Our soldiers conducted themselves in a disciplined manner the entire time. The construction workers on Stalinallee in Berlin started 232 . the instrument plant in Schmelna). As has been established. Fadeikin's report on the "improving" situation. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION. The German People's Police arrested two persons in front of the HO restaurant on the evening of 18 June. the strikes were a protest against the 10 percent rise in output quotas that the government had declared at some GDR industry enterprises on 29-30 May. [upon] understanding that the strikes had been provoked by hostile elements. among other sources.DOCUMENT No. OPERATIONS DIVISION. who had visited plant shops calling for a strike. V. A minor number of enterprises have been on strike (LAS. There have been some reports that workers at some plants (Railway-Carriage Repair Works in Weimar. The workers' strikes are over in the overwhelming majority of the GDR cities as of 5. passed resolutions at their meeting condemning themselves for their actions on 17 June 1953. 18 June. in the Kopenick district (Berlin) some workers arrested Simon. I am reporting that the situation in the country (Germany) is improving.. etc. The meetings at the plants were stopped by the evening of 18 June. Many workers understood they had been misled by provocateurs and cursed the fascist thugs from West Berlin. Sokolovskii relied on. who proved to be residents of West Berlin. 19 June 1953 In assessing the situation in the GDR. Relations between Soviet troops and Berlin residents have improved noticeably on 18 June. GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET To Marshal of Soviet Union Comrade Sokolovskii. Street demonstrations in the GDR cities and towns were not permitted during 18 June. itself based in part on information provided by East German intelligence and police. or chief of station.). KGB reports such as this one by the acting KGB resident.D. The workers themselves have started participating in exposing the provocateurs and taking them into custody.

Certain members of the GDR government and SED CC displayed cowardice and bewilderment during the events. The interrogations of the arrested SED members have established that many of them were dissatisfied with the worsening living standard among the working people and justified their conclusions by referring to the SED Politburo's published admission of its mistakes. Negotiating with the strike committee of Varnav shipyard on the morning of 18 June. an active participant in the uprising. For instance. On 14 July 1953 he was expelled from the SED for alleged anti-party behavior. to compensate workers for travel from residential areas to the enterprises. 290.134 a member of SED CC. [Bernd] Weinberger.. ed. See Bernd-Rainer Barth. During the investigation it became evident that many West Berlin residents and members of West Berlin subversive organizations.saying that they did not agree with the new output quotas and would declare a strike if needed. 1996). a German. and Bailey. they didn't say a word about the "provocative demands" of the strikers. Berend. The central leadership of the Free German Trade Union [League] and the SED CC knew about such feelings and opinions among workers on 15 June. The following is the most typical evidence of such behavior. already by morning they were giving lively radio commentaries in the places where clashes between East Berliners and the People's Police occurred. Kondrashev. 233 133 . the release of convicts. Battleground Berlin. p. 134 Adalbert Hengst had been a member of the SED Central Committee Secretariat since 1953. 106-108."133 were among the provocateurs and instigators arrested. Speaking about their promises just after that. and [Adalbert] Hengst. pp." This is a typical example revealing that West Berlin authorities had been well informed in advance about the actions in East Berlin on 17 June. they conducted themselves in a cowardly manner and made many unrealistic promises to the strikers. When the strike committee in their counter-suggestions was demanding the resignation of the GDR Government. al. Weinberger signed a protocol in which he promised to raise salaries. It is clear from secret service and official information that some SED members took an active part in the delays and strikes. They were present when the points were read over the intercom to the workers at the plant. a CIA-supported anti-communist group. was arrested in Dessau. [such as the] so-called "Fighting Group Against Inhumanity. to establish a new schedule of vacation. et. Helmut. He indicated during interrogation that a large group of instigators including him had arrived in Dessau from the American Sector of Berlin during the night of 17 June and that they had been sent by the West Berlin Center of the "Fighting Group [Against Inhumanity]. They had sent beforehand some West Berlin radio commentators to democratic Berlin. continuously broadcasted that recorded commentary. Weinberger and Hengst did not reject those points. etc. the Minister of Transport and Farm Mechanical Engineering. the West Berlin radio station.. Wer war wer in der DDR (Frankfurt/M: Fischer. Known in German as Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit (KgU). timely preventive measures were not adopted. and the cancelation of martial law. RIAS. On the KgU. However. to pay for their residing apart from their families. Moreover. Weinberger and Hengst made the decision to release two strike organizers arrested by police. see Murphy. arrived in Rostock in the evening of 17 June.

The fact that about 100 people have quit their SED membership in the Cottbus district in the last two days is evidence of considerable dissatisfaction among the party members. a resident of Magdeburg. Kultus. were arrested. military tribunals sentenced six of the most active organizers and participants in the armed actions to be shot. two in Gorlitz. prisons. Numerous intelligence official and investigatory evidence tells [us] that organizers and leaders of many strike committees at the GDR enterprises were executives of German trade unions. on 19 June 1953. Leipzig. born in 1910. two in Magdeburg. Jena and other GDR cities. and it was announced by radio to the German population. He confessed under interrogation that he had been recruited by American intelligence on 16 June while he was repeatedly visiting the West Berlin Labor Exchange and had received the order from the latter to drive to the Democratic Sector of Berlin and take an active part in the planned riots there. Gottling. the chairman of the plant's trade union organization. Among the GDR MfS." According to information by 5. Potsdam District. Brandenburg. born in 1918. provocateurs and instigators as well as persons who participated in armed attacks on the German People's Police units. officers and democratically inclined [East] German citizens. had taken part in its destruction and had fired from there at the arriving units of the German People's Police and Soviet troops. "We are going to show our power and strive to get our demands fulfilled. Gorlitz. and 85 were wounded. Berlin (arrested). led the demonstration and called on the workers of other plants to join the strikers (Wetzel has been arrested). owner of a private firm. Herbert. People's Police. also executed in Magdeburg. According to information as of 5 a. courts. armed (with a reconnaissance rifle) and jointly with other rebels. 21 rebels were killed in the armed clashes. The Military Council of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany confirmed the sentences which were executed the same day.930 organizers. led the strike at the electric equipment plant of the Soviet Joint-Stock Company in Treptow. 7 were killed and 151 wounded. and one in Jena. who does not belong to the party and who. Joining with other rebels during the clashes with German People's Police units in the center of Berlin. He. the chairman of the plant's trade union committee. the leader of the Construction Workers Trade Union in the Frankfurt [an der Oder] district.m.00 a. who had taken an active part in destroying the prison and releasing state criminals. was in charge of the strike at the optical apparatus plant in Rathenow. Gottling attacked a propaganda vehicle of the German People's 234 . 2. Magdeburg. had burst into the House of Justice in Magdeburg. was executed in Berlin. Willi. too. leaders and participants of the strikes. among the four organizers of the strike at the people's enterprise Wohnungsbau (Berlin) on 17 June who were arrested by the GDR MfS. a certain MIFS. Apart from six rebels caught and shot instantly by Soviet troops during the armed clashes.m. the resident of West Berlin. Alfred. There was Strauch. called on the workers to take to the streets and declared. Among those executed. Halle. there was Darch. Kolster. Wetzel. including: one in Berlin. party and state institutions in Berlin. the main part was played by the chairman of the local trade union committee and the candidate member of SED. 19 June 1953. For example.

155. pp. which was calling for an end to the strike with a radio loud-speaker. 10 (March 1998). Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. d. f. He called on the crowd to attack police and Soviet troops. threw the driver and the announcer out of the vehicle. 11. no.Police. and brutally assaulted them. 235 . 95-97. REPRESENTATIVE OF MINISTRY OF INTERIOR OF USSR IN GERMANY Colonel Fadeikin 19 June 1953 Source: AGSh. op. 16. 217-222. 3139. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev.

Translated by Benjamin AldrichMoodie. f. which Semyonov later rescinded.135 Source: AVP RF. op. 280. one of the parachutists was captured. Perhaps because they were forced to admit to Moscow that after three days the crisis was still not over and was in fact spreading. 082. 1 ask you not to use this material until the end of the investigation. Reports such as the one below on captured parachutists carrying heavy weapons. another five parachutists were dropped. p. the unrest shifted from urban centers to the countryside. 280. 48: Telephonogram from Vladimir Semyonov and Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii to Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Bulganin Reporting on the Situation in East Berlin. as were weapons (5 carbines and a large quantity of grenades). The basic task of the dropped parachutists was to participate broadly in the uprising and to incite the populace to rebellion. even if it was unconfirmed. pap. This was particularly the case with respect to rumors of Western involvement. port. pap. On 19 June 1953. 82. 1. 1. that would help explain the situation." AVP RF. 41. 41. The inquiry is continuing. 93.DOCUMENT No. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. In the region of Sangerhausen (45 kilometers west of Halle) on the night of 17 June 1953. undoubtedly raised threat perceptions in Moscow. a group of 6 parachutists was dropped. f. they hid the weapons in a forest in the region of Sangerhausen. Semyonov reported to Moscow that "the further interrogation of the parachutist allegedly dropped in the region of Sangerhausen gives grounds for assuming that his initial testimony as to the drop of a group of parachutists is a provocatory-mendacious statement. The captured parachutist also indicated that they were given a radio transmitter with which they were supposed to report on the uprising. 3:35 p. 236 . op. port.m. especially of a military nature. Semyonov and Sokolovskii (like their colleagues Grechko and Tarasov) were ready to seize on any piece of information. 93. 94. no. 135 On June 20. 10 (March 1998). Upon reaching the ground. 41. making it even more difficult for Soviet troops and East German security forces to regain control. 31. CET Within 48 hours. at the preliminary interrogation he indicated that together with him. 19 June 1953.

l36 Informational Bulletin #44/53 Contents: Reception of the resolution of the government of the GDR and the events in Berlin. this was particularly true for Czechoslovakia. They are working in tandem with the arguments of the "Voice of Free Europe"138 and are disseminating the most senseless speeches. etc. and awaiting commentaries to the reports to be printed in the papers. 19 June 1953 The crisis in East Germany sparked fears among neighboring East-bloc governments that the disturbances might spill over from the GDR into their own countries. 49: CPCz Information Bulletin on Czechoslovak Reaction to the Events in East Germany. Central Intelligence Agency (FOIA release to the editor) on file at the National Security Archive. 237 . the authors noted: "This is the first evidence that any Satellite government has taken special security precautions as a result of the German disturbances. are following the reaction." The bulletin adds that no additional security measures had been detected inside Czechoslovakia. Given the 1 June demonstrations in Plzen and lingering popular unrest. The Czech government was apparently less fearful of an uprising among the indigenous Czech population than among the German minority which it has recently been making new efforts to assimilate. Several members and functionaries of the party are saying that last night they were listening to foreign 136 See also the 30 June 1953 Current Intelligence Bulletin by the CIA's Office of Current Intelligence (SC No. Copy No.DOCUMENT No. However. and that now their enterprises will be returned to them. News of the East German "revolution. indeed spread quickly. and reporting on the development of the situation to the CPCz CC. The general public is considering the events with restraint. Prague. Comrades in Prague [District] I are stating that rumors of a revolution in Germany have been spread among the people. Regional and district Party organs are on alert. et al. 137 Distributed by the Department of Party Organs. 07069. Many people. entrepreneurs. There are reports from the countryside in which rumors about the liquidation of the JZD [Standard Farming Cooperative] and the transition to private enterprise are being spread. 19 June 1953. are springing into action and are openly voicing their conviction that their time has come. "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. Party Information section. but notes an unconfirmed report from Berlin that the Soviets had deployed a division of security troops in the area of Plzen on 26 June. construction projects. which states. understand the significance of the GDR government measures for the unification of Germany and the conclusion of a peace accord. 84). by phone or via Western radio reports.137 Reaction to the resolution of the government of the GDR and the events in Berlin. causing a considerable stir among the local populations and raising hopes of similar political changes at home. instructing party functionaries. Dissemination of reports on the events in the GDR. Many alarming reports about the new currency reform and others have cropped up. most likely Radio Free Europe." as this Czechoslovak CP Information Bulletin shows. kulaks especially are striving for this. The first reports are already revealing where these elements are to be found—in the commercial network. "Czech security police headquarters on 18 June ordered a 100 percent alert of all units in the districts bordering East Germany and a 50 percent alert throughout the rest of Czechoslovakia as a result of 'provocations' which had occurred in East Germany." In a follow-on comment. The reports on the GDR government measures and the events in Berlin attracted much attention in our country. party members and other workers. 138 As in the original. reactionary elements from the ranks of former merchants.

Speculation is spreading in the region that the Soviet Union and the USA have agreed not to continue socialization in Germany and other People's Democratic countries and that there will be a return to private enterprise. all chairmen of party organizations were summoned. the wire works. as in the GDR. This was repeated among the other employees. In the Nove Straseci district. In Krumlov and Vimperk there is talk of these events primarily among citizens of German nationality. In the district committee of the CPCz in Prague-South. In all district committees of the CPS in the Banska Bystrica region. those enterprises that are not fulfilling the plan should be returned to the industrialists. In VZKG. Vimperk. In the Ostrava-center district. In the Ceske Budejovice region the events in Berlin are known only in individual cases—in the Krumlov. meaning "the region around Usti nad Labem. as in Usti. They will observe the situation within their sphere of influence and report on it. they point out that our broadcasts do not state anything and that in many places. the comrades announced that. Contributing to the dissemination of these opinions is the fact that the GDR government's resolution was published without commentary. through the most trustworthy workers in the area. for example. The workers in Ustecek139 are generally not informed about what is going on. and the situation in the GDR as well as their duties in the workplace were explained to them. contact was made with trustworthy comrades-functionaries in management. The municipal council of the CPCz in Prague called the chief secretaries of the district committees of the party to the regional secretariat and discussed with them the contents of the teleprint from the CPCz CC. In the Mlada Boleslav district. 18 June. distribution and offices. OV (District Committee) and the basic party organizations. On Friday they will submit a report on the general situation in the district. Strakonice and Trebon areas. the research [that has been done] in several I39 "Ustecho" in the original. They request that this presentation be introduced first in the regional center and in the reading-room in Prague. such as. on the basis of the letter received from the regional CPCz council. the comrades want to do a presentation on the resolution of the GDR government.broadcasts and heard that Comrade Grotewohl and Comrade Walter Ulbricht were calling all parties to action in the GDR and were mobilizing the entire country for further measures. It is not clear how to explain the SED reaction. CSD [Czechoslovak State Railways] and the chemical factory in Bohumin. various reactionary opinions are being spread among the population. The comrades are confirming information about worker opinion of the events in the GDR. the first secretaries of the district committees confirmed. Comrade Ctibor. In the Olomouc region. In the Mistek district. who is on a business trip to Berlin. the duty in the factories is ascertained. Security measures were discussed with the comrades in important districts. He literally told the comrade whom he called that he had to close the window because tanks are riding by and making noise below. measures were undertaken based on instructions received from the CPCz CC. the comrades state that on Thursday. it was arranged for a letter from the regional committee to be sent by car personally to the first secretaries of all the town party councils. At the same time." 238 . Litomerice and Teplice. reports from foreign broadcasts are being spread. they will discuss the contents of the CPCz CC teleprint at the district CPCz committee meeting and will charge individual district committee members with pertinent tasks in the factories in the area. called the Koospol factory in Prague VII and said that Berlin is under a state of martial law. Which measures are being undertaken by the KV (Regional Committee).

the evacuated kulak Vaclav Vakr was visiting and spreading reports that before long. they say that there are strikes and martial law in Berlin. In the factory of the CKD [Kolben-Danek Machinery Works] Modrany. rumors are being spread saying that the members of cooperatives will farm together until the harvest. In the Stavoprojekt factory in Prague VII. the farmers announced that they will wait to herd their livestock back to the barns until they see that what is happening in Germany will not happen here. are spreading rumors that there will be no more cooperatives in our country. In the regional committee of the CPCz and in all the district committees. The regional committee of the CPCz called a public meeting for tomorrow in these villages to clarify all uncertainties. Marianske Hory district. Reports on the situation in the GDR in some cases take advantage of the kulaks for their own purposes. one farmer stated that in the GDR they had to move away from hard line politics. In answer to the question about where she obtained such reports. stated that they are returning land in the GDR because the farmers were so impoverished that the communists could not resolve the situation in any other way. This can be heard only from the fitters from the GDR. in isolated cases until now. The secretary of the district committee of the CPCz in Mlada Boleslav. Jan Hudec from Slovenske Klaciany. night shifts have been confirmed. In the power stations in Sucha and Dukla. it was said that there are demonstrations in Berlin. Arguments of the reaction. otherwise. then everyone will work on their own. that kulaks are being supported in the German Democratic Republic. and that the kulaks and those who were deprived of their property will get their enterprises and businesses back. she replied that she heard it from officials in positions higher than those in the district. Reception of the GDR government resolution in the factories. Ostrava region. Comrade Haskova stood up and said that there will also be a revision of the party line in our country. In Pochvalov and Kozojedy in the district of Nove Straseci. and that even here it is impossible to punish the farmers so harshly for not fulfilling supply demands. During a meeting in Horosedly. He stated further that it is to be expected that our JZDs will also begin to break down. In the village of Citoliby. Bily Potok and in the ONV (District National Committee). In the Ceske Budejovice region. In the Jesenice district in the village of Bernartice. In the village of Pnovice in the Litovel district. there is talk that the dissolution of the JZD will occur and that individual farmsteads will be handed over to private persons. the former owner of a blacksmith business as well as a landowner. it was also rumored that martial law was in effect in Berlin and that the Red Army is keeping order. word went around that there was a general strike in Berlin. rumors were spread that tanks were used in the struggle in Berlin. former entrepreneurs are rejoicing over the situation and say that if what is happening in Germany will also happen 239 .important factories and villages. but she did not name anybody. where there are fitters from the GDR who listen to the broadcasts. states that in the villages. Louny district. and that they will also be supported here. that tanks were used and that a lot of people fled from East to West. especially in the JZD. He himself is a member of the JZD intends to withdraw from it. Seventeen members were present from the JZD in Horosedly who said that they will once again farm privately and that they will receive more support from the state. In the Bruntal district in the Moravsky Kocov and Stare Mesto districts. that in any case the JZD could not ensure a sufficient quantity of products. he will be sowing fields all by himself again. In the cement factory in Hranice. Reaction in the villages. the kulaks and merchants. Comrade Pospisil. no one talks of this. Pisek district. In the Valcovny pipe factory in Svinov. In the Czechoslovak army's power station in Karvina. there emerged a concern that the Germans will return to the border regions.

that the communists in the GDR are making concessions so they can save themselves for at least a short time. they will get their property back. the discussion is mostly about paid vacations. In a series of mines in Slezska Ostrava. Source: Archiv UV KSC. 240 . 19 June. The brothers Kaukolikov. fond 014/12. Comrade Kral. In the factories of Prague XII. According to the reports of the head of the STB in Ostrava. reacted to the affair with the feeling that it would be good if a similar situation were to take place in the CSR. and one of the employees—Boucek—announced that if it got to that point. expressed his opinion that the communist regime is collapsing. they are saying that in the GDR they are in the first phase of the NEP. there is a rumor being spread in the region that they will print money and there will be passbooks. In Prague I in the field of gardening. In the factory OZ 02 in Prostejov. Various findings. listo 8. In the factories in Olomouc. and the state security is warning that there may be unrest. In the Children's House in Prague Na Prikope. The chief secretary of the D[istrict] C[ommittee] CPCz in Kladno indicates that the employees of the State Bank in Kladno and the branches in Bustehrad are spreading reports that in three months there will be a new monetary reform and everyone will start from zero. there is also talk of late payments scheduled for 24 June. On Thursday morning miners swore at Comrade Chairman Dvorak that state discipline. the former merchants are happy that the store will once again belong to them. Since on the last payday the amount of money paid was high. Similar tendencies are manifesting themselves mainly among privileged social groups. the farmers and reactionary elements are happy that things will come out in their favor here and are delighted that things are worsening in Germany. miller in the Cervenany village in the Modry Kamen district. businessmen spoke about getting their businesses back and are thus inciting the workers. party members cannot understand it and demand that the party submit an explanation. he would not be afraid to do business again even though he is 60 years old. they also demand that the resolution of the SED and the GDR government be more clearly explained. Pauliny in the Stavoindustrie of Banska Bystrica said that the GDR government had to carry out these measures because the workers were constantly on strike. Dr. former factory workers in Banska Bystrica. People are saying that half of the vacation will be paid 1:50 and the other half 1:5. In the Sverma mine in the Marianske Hory district in the Ostrava region. as Comrade Zapotocky discussed it. by all accounts does not apply to combines. Discussions about the GDR government measures are especially lively among the merchants in Prostejov. Comrade Silhacek indicates that he was notified by the regional STB [State Security] wing in Kladno that on Friday. Obtained and translated by Oldrich Tuma. Kladno. In the Agrostroj they talk about the shooting in Berlin and how the Russians are burning factories. in the confectionery department. ar. this one will be smaller. wages are supposed to be paid in the SONP. there was unrest during the night of the 17th to the 18th of June because wages will be paid only on the 24th of June. Half a million workers are allegedly on strike and have banners that say: "Away with the Red Army. Also in Prague VII. i 182. sveka 11. and the employees are dissatisfied." Pavel Valach.here. The emptying of bank accounts is particularly strong here.

particularly in the recovered [former German] territories and Upper Silesia. particularly of those who are suspected of maintaining political contacts with West Germany. which in more and more brazen manner are switching from all sorts of hostile commentaries to provocative calls on Polish workers to lower their work efficiency. intensifying their work with their agent-informant network. etc. 140 241 . Such provocations are widely exploited by the imperialist broadcasting stations. 19 June 1953 As in Czechoslovakia. AC-R—1022/53 TOP SECRET Copy No. WRN was an underground anti-communist resistance movement—Wolnosc. the Minister of State Security orders the implementation of a large-scale security program to prevent similar outbreaks of unrest (see also Document No. One should take into account that spy rings of German and American imperialism may attempt to make trouble through hostile propaganda and acts of terror. Niepodleglosc— Freedom.DOCUMENT No. Here. particularly the former territories of the German Reich. The chiefs of UBPs. to Regional Branches Outlining Steps to be Taken to Limit Spillover of Events in East Germany. particularly revisionists and those from the WRN.141 particularly in the recovered territories. led the Polish government to take immediate precautionary measures. These provocative calls are calculated to disturb an effectively run action in the construction and metallurgical industry. etc. fears of a spillover from East Germany into Poland. Equality. 50: Order from the Polish Minister of State Security. Close operational observation should be conducted. This might cause activation of all sorts of hostile elements. 53). 2. 141 UBP—Ur=qd Be=piec=enstwa Public=nego—Office of State Security. I direct that: I.140 In order to prevent an increase in the enemy's activity. 19 June 1953 Ministry of State Security No. will pay close attention to the activities of all manner of revisionist circles active among ethnic Germans and to German groups and circles. diversion and sabotage. those suspected of connections with the imperialist intelligence agencies. Warsaw. 1. thwarting its criminal designs. state security offices for the regions. 1 DO–99 WO–89 PO–59 Heads of voivodship and county state security offices Recent provocative events in the German Democratic Republic caused by provocateurs— imperialist agents sent from West Berlin—may embolden revisionist elements in the country. Independence. Rownosc. elements and groups inclined to terrorist and diversionary acts.

— with regard to the instigators of this hostile activity—unconditional arrest. Work should be intensified with the agent-informant networks in all plants where new daily norms are being introduced. reporting them to the Ministry of State Security. MO—Milicja Obywatelska—People's Militia. 140–141. pp. AC-R-852/53 of 2 May and No. according to the new daily norms. Translated by Jan Chowaniec. know in advance where hot spots might arise. In those cases. where someone is simply sharing news of the events in Berlin without any mischief or intent to instigate—organs of the state security will not react. Similarly. any sanctions would be repressive and are inadmissible. identified by our organs. Closely evaluate moods among factory crews. Within the course of its official duties. 3. under no circumstances should any uneasiness or nervousness be allowed to develop among the population as a result of these measures. the KBW142 should conduct inspections of security conditions of facilities under their control and the state of protection of industrial guards. the MO143 organs should keep control. 1998). akta normatywne (normative acts) 1953. In such cases. From each signal of hostile activity. A system providing for the steady flow of information from the regions shall be set up. of facilities under their protection and intensify their operational work with the informant network. Brzyski Source: CA MSWiA. In the period before payday. Minister /-/ S. AC-R–1017/53 of 12 June of this year. 1. Radkiewicz144 for conformity: Head of Orders Section of the Minister's Cabinet S. Secure a steady flow of information on hostile groups and circles. Pierwszy Znak Solidarnosci (Wroclaw: Oficyna Wydawnicza Arboretum. and show the utmost vigilance during payday. However. 2. 4. draw immediate political and operational conclusions consistent with letter No. 144 Stanislaw Radkiewicz served as Polish Minister of State Security from December 1944 to December 1954. on the other hand. KBW—Korpus Be=piec=enstwa Wewnetr=nego—Corps of Internal Security. II. 143 142 242 . within normal patrol duties. Report daily to the Director of the Minister's Cabinet on the mood among factory crews and all indications of hostile activity. the following means should be applied: — if it is a repeat occurrence with a call to hostile actions or other forms of intentionally hostile activity—interrogation and detention. Published in Andrzej Malkiewicz and Krzysztof Ruchniewicz.The apparatus work should be carried out in such a way as to anticipate and prevent any attempts at provocation on our territory. a military security police. In situations where slanderous propaganda is being spread by an imperialist radio [station]. Regularly inform the party organs about the facts and forms of hostile activities.

suggests how difficult it was for U. and Soviet zone traffic into the city irregular. Public transportation in East Berlin was still disrupted on 18 June. 333 OCI No. It is probable that at various levels the government has been compelled to relinquish authority to the Soviet military establishment. 243 . Strict controls over intersector travel have been imposed. American interest remained focused on the city in the days following the 17 June strikes and demonstrations. Soviet troops continue to back up East German police. There are numerous unconfirmed reports of strikes and disturbances in other areas of East Germany. and martial law has reportedly been extended to some of them.DOCUMENT No. however.S.S. representative of other intelligence reports at the time. intelligence to obtain a clear picture of the situation throughout East Germany. Comment on Berlin rioting: The situation in East Berlin has apparently been brought under control. and numerous arrests have reportedly been made. This CIA digest. The government has obviously been frightened by these events and continues to alternate promises of generous concessions with threats of severe punishment. OFFICIALS ONLY SECRET [ P a g e excised] 19. Source: Central Intelligence Agency (FOIA release to the editor)." 19 June 1953 Given the overriding strategic importance of Berlin to the West. On file at the National Security Archive. "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. Copy No. "Comment on Berlin Rioting. American observers in Berlin tentatively attribute the riots to popular suspicion that the recent conciliatory moves of the East German government were a confession of weakness and that demonstrations would be dealt with less ruthlessly than in the past. 51: CIA Current Intelligence Digest. 4248 19 June 1953 Current Intelligence Digest Central Intelligence Agency OFFICE OF CURRENT INTELLIGENCE U.

were killed. suspicious persons. 11. some 1. There is still a pocket of the strike movement in Magdeburg. 170–172. 2. Originally published in Cold War International History Project Bulletin. Die DDR vor dem Mauerbau: Dokumente =ur Geschichte des anderen deutschen Staates. After sentencing by court martial. 3139. rebels. Werkentin. (Munchen: piper.000. 52: Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A.A. There have been no losses. 6 active provocateurs were shot. Moscow Time (8:00 a. 162. Voroshilov. This cable by the commander of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany suggests that the numbers may have exceeded 8. government and party officers. as of 10:00 a. 20 June 1953. where various enterprises have not yet resumed their operations. Beria. and 166 wounded. Bulganin I am reporting on the situation in GDR and Berlin by 10:00 a. MAIN OPERATIONS ADMINISTRATION GENERAL STAFF OF THE SOVIET ARMY TOP SECRET To Comrade N.029 provocateurs. Molotov. of these.744 people had been detained. d. 33 rebels were killed. the night and morning shifts at some plants and factories have not resumed their work in the following towns: Strassfurt (a plant). Grechko Tarasov "Correctly". and 132 wounded.m. Moreover. 8. pp. 4. the Soviets and the SED regime were arresting people involved in the strikes and demonstrations on a massive scale.m. p. and 10. Provided and translated by Victor Gobarev.146 Source: AGSh.500 people were later sentenced. 146 Sent to: Malenkov.. 16. OPERATIONS DIVISION. No riots were observed in Berlin and GDR last night. General of the Army Shtemenko 20 June 1953.000 as early as 20 June. 1. Khrushchev. Karl-Heinz Schmidt. Overall. For instance. 11. Halberstadt (furniture factory) and Ilsenburg (veneer and furniture factories. The situation and disposition of the units of the Group [of Soviet Occupation Forces] are unchanged.34–35. two of them to death.40 a. Previous estimates145 held that by 19 June. 244 . rail-wheels plant). By then.DOCUMENT No. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin. (Moscow time). Kaganovich and Mikoyan. 1.000 in the course of the crackdown. no. 155. 3.m. CET) Pockets of unrest continued to exist as late as 20 June. and that by 23 June. [and] offenders of the Soviet military authorities' orders were arrested and detained in the GDR. the number had arisen to around 6. 1993). op. eds. Exposure of provocateurs and instigators of street riots and strikes is continuing. 10 (March 1998). Peter Skyba. 145 Dierk Hoffmann. Politische Strafjusti= p. Bulganin. 97. the workers of electric motor plant in Wernigerode have entered the grounds of the plant but have not resumed their work. Seventeen supporters of the democratic power. f. 20 June 1953.m. Enterprises in Berlin have resumed their routine operations since the morning of 20 June.

The ethnic German population in the former German territories of Poland were a particular focus of attention because of its strong response to the uprising. On 19 June. there was a massive buying up of foodstuffs due to a circulating rumor about the replacement of the Polish currency by the ruble. [Give us bread and we will beat all Russians until they are dead. a state of emergency has been declared. it is rumored that the Americans have handed an ultimatum to the USSR to leave GDR territory by 20 June and in many German cities. Regarding Spillover from Events in Berlin. said that the GDR population is expressing its attitude towards the GDR in the following phrase: Gibt uns Brot und wir schlagen alle Russen tot. The Germans who are working in a Turow mine in Boleslawiec county and living on GDR territory. commenting on developments in the GDR in their conversations with the Poles were asking: "Why are the Poles sitting so quiet?" At the same time the Poles are showing particular interest in developments in the GDR—emigrants from Westphalia are saying "if there were no Soviet occupation. 20 June 1953 To The Director of Cabinet of the Minister of State Security Section of Information in Warsaw A Special Report No. 2 The Voivodship Office of State Security in Wroclaw In the clusters of the ethnic German population over the whole voivodship area we continue to see hostile pronouncements and commentaries related to the events in the GDR.] As a result of hostile propaganda by ethnic German workers in a coalmine at Nowa Ruda in Klodzko county. there would already be a revolution in Germany.DOCUMENT No. and the Germans have received a grant from the Americans in the amount of $120 million for arms. 2 of the WUBP in Wroclaw (Poland).g. in Chojnowo in Zlotoryja county. 50). Halle and others. The commentaries are hostile and varied. there is a tendency among young Germans to abandon work. local security offices kept a close watch on popular reaction to the events in Berlin. 20 June 1953 Following the 19 June order by the Polish Minister of State Security (see Document No. anti-government demonstrations and bloody street incidents. 53: Special Report No. The Voivodship Office of State Security in Wroclaw Wroclaw. The talk is about strikes. e. like Berlin. In Sycow county one ethnic German woman. In each case those making the comments are referring to imperialist radio broadcasts as a source of information. Descriptions of events in Berlin and their linkage to event in Czechoslovakia dominate conversations." 245 . The numbers of killed and injured are being cited in conversations.: In the ethnic circles of Dzierzoniow county. commenting on the events.

An employee of the Czech plant "Celwiskoza" in Jelenia Gora. So far there have been no arrests. 246 . was arguing that the Poles are unable to bring themselves to carry out such a heroic effort like the Germans or Czechs did. A woman participating in the conversation. There are few such cases. and they come from people who are showing hostile attitude. major Source: AP Wroclaw.g. that developments in the GDR were very serious and would certainly lead to a situation similar to that in Korea. Translated by Jan Chowaniec. and events similar to those in the GDR would take place in Poland. Besides comments by ethnic Germans. and Poland would become a battleground for the United States. killed and arrested. sygn. Published in Andrzej Malkiewicz and Krzysztof Ruchniewicz. 161–162. On 19 June the editorial office of Slowo Polskie in Wroclaw received an anonymous letter stating that the editorial staff would meet the same fate as Martyka147 from "Wave 49". KW PZPR. where many people were injured. captain Chief of the Voivodship Office of State Security in Wroclaw /-/ Daniel Kubajewski. said that in the GDR there was a general strike caused by changes in work norms and that similar events took place in Czechoslovakia. he would be the first one to lead the people. pp. For conformity with the original Head of the Administrative Division of WUBP in Wroclaw /-/ M. [and the same what happened to [GDR] vice-premier [Otto] Nuschke. It comments on the ongoing reforms with considerable hostility. Ostaszewski. apparently by someone from the anti-communist underground movement. among other things. 147 A communist broadcast journalist who was shot to death in 1949.] The letter was filled with hatred toward the people's authorities and the USSR. employed in the personnel division of that plant. a member of PUWP and suspected of a hostile attitude toward the People's Republic of Poland—was saying. e. He added that if a similar event happened in Poland. Pierwszy Znak Solidarnosci (Wroclaw: Oficyna Wydawnicza Arboretum). but in several cases there were precautionary hearings. there has been some interest in the events and some comments by Poles. 74/VIII/26.: A director of a tuberculosis sanatorium in Zabkowice—Stanislaw Gorski.

what does he find wanting? — What does he wish for? — What about the policy of the government. make inquiries among circles of acquaintances.DOCUMENT No. so to speak. listen in on the conversations. 247 . They should personally seek out families. where a real conversation can happen. that means everywhere where they can create an atmosphere of speaking one's mind. 54: Memorandum from Karl Schirdewan to First Secretaries of the District Leaderships of the SED. Please keep us continually informed on this set of questions which are needed here urgently. Dept. Leading Organs of the Party and Mass Organizations 6/21/1953 (signed) Schirdewan Source: SAPMO-BArch. Scrambling to understand why the workers had risen against them and why they continued to openly oppose the regime. we must ask you to immediately deploy a group of party members. Obtained by the editor. What do we want to know? — What is the worker really thinking at the present moment? — What exactly are his main concerns at present. why not? — Is there already the determination that in this or that question? — This evening they must go to the bars. 21 June 1953 "Evacuated" by Semyonov from East Berlin to the Soviet headquarters in Karlshorst. To the 1st Secretaries of the District Leaderships of the SED Despite the great burden that affects all party functionaries. according to the opinion of those people with whom they are speaking with. the SED CC on 21 June ordered SED district first secretaries throughout the GDR to assess the populace's state of mind. the SED leadership remained paralyzed through the height of the crisis. Translated by Christiaan Hetzner. This document is an admission of the degree to which the SED leadership had been out of touch with popular opinion. DY 30 IV 2/5/530. what would she like to have improved? — Why is the atmosphere still not calm at present? — Is there no faith in the government to improve the situation? And. to determine the true attitude of the workers. and. does he find incomprehensible? — What does his wife say. and maybe 5 co-workers of your Apparat.

Also return from Berlin & Paris. a Republican Senator from Wisconsin.S.DOCUMENT No. HICOG James B. Joseph McCarthy. he would later become one of the chief critics of the psychological warfare campaign developed by President Eisenhower's advisers. the former Harvard University president recognized the difficulties the unrest posed for Moscow's New Course policy. Ironically. including hearings on budget before House Committee and public hearing before Senate appropriations committee with McCarthy149 chief prosecutor. June 21. I am inclined to think so.A. 21 June 1953 U.. Conant Personal Papers. Pusey Library.. which would keep the Soviets off balance. 55: Diary Entry from U.. A suburb of the West German capital Bonn. Provided by James G. 1953 In Bad Godesberg148 (alone) after returning from two weeks trip to U. Mass. Unification on their terms is no longer even a good propaganda line. 149 148 248 . Query whether some proposal from the Allies on Berlin or the border would throw them still further off balance. Sunday. High Commissioner James B. which investigated Communist infiltration into American society and government.] As to the Russians. Conant had been in Washington for budget hearings when the strikes and demonstrations began in Berlin. But would the French and British go along? Source: James B.S. Conant on the Effects of East Zone Troubles on Soviet Policy. Berlin demonstrations in East Sector add complications to Russians' sudden turn to a soft policy! [. Harvard University Archives. Returning to Bonn. the question is how will they get out of their troubles in the East Zone. Hershberg. Conant initially favored ideas such as undertaking afree-election initiative on Berlin or opening the inter-zone border. he was chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Cambridge.S.

Pointing to the fact that in its treatment of the Berlin situation the Orbit press had printed an almost unprecedented admission that a working class could oppose a Communist regime.S. 67 CURRENT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN [3 Lines Excised] Office of Current Intelligence CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY [3 Lines Excised] SOVIET UNION 1. They stemmed from the realization by the new Soviet rulers that a continuation of intensified socialization there would lead either to economic and political catastrophe or would require methods of open terror which they were unwilling to employ. and to the stress put on the need for greater consideration for the masses. 56: CIA Current Intelligence Bulletin on Comments by Charles Bohlen and the Deployment of Soviet Troops. Comment: The Kremlin's dilemma in the face of the East German situation is deepened by the fact that in the other Satellites no liberalization has been evident. the ambassador suggests that the reforms are likely to continue. The ambassador considers that the reforms were motivated primarily by the domestic situation.DOCUMENT No. (Chip) Bohlen served as U. If reform is applied 150 Charles E. but that. OFFICIALS ONLY SC No. 21 June 1953 Lacking satellite reconnaissance and other intelligence tools developed in later years. The inability to obtain firm. Under Stalin. timely intelligence on the violent military suppression of the uprising probably led the Eisenhower administration to underestimate the scale and depth of the crisis. the CIA did not receive the first reliable reports of the deployment of Soviet troops in East Germany outside of East Berlin until 18 June. the reverse would have been almost certain. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 29 March 1953 to 8 March 1957. 07062 Copy No. 249 . nevertheless. TOP SECRET U. the reforms in East Germany are likely to go forward. Ambassador Bohlen150 comments on probable Kremlin reaction to Berlin riots: [Excised section] Ambassador Bohlen believes that the Berlin riots will forcibly impress on the Soviet leadership the dangers to a dictatorship inherent in a program of relaxation and liberalization.S.

Comment: This is the first reliable report of the deployment of Soviet troops in East Germany outside of East Berlin in connection with the recent disorders. together with light artillery. "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. Halle. Leipzig. On file at the National Security Archive. Mayor [Ernst] Reuter stated that he felt it necessary to renew an official demand for all-Berlin elections to restore normal life and free circulation throughout the city. tanks and armored cars. a unified Berlin would presumably remain under four-power control.solely in East Germany and the USSR. Further deployment of Soviet troops in East Germany observed: [blacked out section] According to observations on 18 June [ 1 line excised] Soviet troops in battle dress. a similar proposal planned by Reuter and Eric Ollenhauer. [Remainder of page excised] WESTERN EUROPE [Excised section] 9. then Satellite discontent is likely to become an increasingly acute problem. 10. [1 line excised] it was not possible to determine whether the Soviet troops had been sent to quell disturbances or merely to surround the cities to prevent possible uprisings. The unification of Berlin would have great appeal for West Germans in the light of recent events and would involve far fewer complications than all-German unification. was blocked by the Allied High Commission on the grounds that it might stimulate a Soviet counterproposal on the all-German problem which could be embarrassing to the Allies. chairman of the Social Democratic Party. were stationed around Magdeburg. Furthermore. Comment: Last April. Mayor Reuter to renew official demand for all-Berlin elections: [Excised section] In a meeting with the Allied commandants of West Berlin. Source: Central Intelligence Agency (FOIA release). 250 . Meissen and other unspecified major cities in East Germany. This possibility still exists.

We have the impression that confusion continues to exist among the leadership of the SED CC as to the recent events. J IV 2/2/294. 23 June 1953 The Soviet reaction to the hastily drafted SED CC declaration on the events of 16–17 June. heightened the struggle within the SED leadership between hard-line forces around embattled party leader Ulbricht and his opponents. Source: SAPMO-BArch. 57: CPSU CC Memorandum to the SED CC. 251 . DY 30. the Soviets urged the SED to "put an end to any confusion in the leadership without delay" and to regain the trust of the masses in the power of the state. Enclosure to Minutes No. In our opinion. decide on the measures for consolidating the influence of the party on the masses. The work of the state apparatus and the party organs is weakened in excessive ways. we have also received the decision of the SED CC Politburo on the urgent measures for the immediate improvement of the supply of goods for the population. Obtained and translated by the editor. This requires serious. which should assist in bringing the situation in the GDR back on the right track. and regain the trust of the masses in the power of the state.DOCUMENT No. well-developed measures. this "fraternal advice" tended to undercut Ulbricht's position even further. As for the request to the Soviet government for aid. Moreover. this request will be immediately examined and assistance will be provided. and there is still nothing known on what [measures] the party wishes to undertake in order to wrest back control of the trade unions. though supportive of the declaration and the SED's requests for immediate economic aid. Although not naming names. The CPSU CC has looked at the explanation of the SED CC on the present situation and the immediate tasks for the party. you must put an end to any confusion in the leadership without delay. 40 from the SED Politburo Session of 21 June 1953. Notable is the fact that the trade unions find themselves in someone else's hands. Criticizing the slow tempo of the SED's restoration to power. The practical work for the restoration of the situation is only proceeding extremely slowly.

perhaps the greatest since the defection of Tito. Adenauer. 58: Minute from Selwyn Lloyd to Winston Churchill. the French and ourselves—feel in our hearts that a divided Germany is safer for the time being. he makes the unusually candid admission that German unification was not a priority for the West or Moscow at the time: "everyone—Dr. This is a great triumph in the cold war. by their own standards. It is true that the Russians. Churchill sharply questions the Berlin commandants 'protest against Soviet military action.DOCUMENT No. from February 1949 to November 1953. Therefore we all publicly support a united Germany. PRIME MINISTER Your minute M.S. 152 Not printed. In this note to Prime Minister Churchill. 3. the Americans. whether Germany is united or not. Reflecting British Perspectives on the Berlin Uprising. [even] if practical. 22 June 1953 While British Foreign Minister Selwyn Lloyd considered the East German revolt "a great triumph in the cold war. the British quickly recognized the importance of the revolt and Western reaction to it. Germany is the key to the peace of Europe. perhaps the greatest since the defection of [Yugoslav Leader Josip Broz] Tito. British Foreign Office. Many people in West Berlin were killed or 151 Sir William Strang served as permanent under secretary of state. we have to keep the sympathy of the Germans with the West and our purpose has been that the Germans in the Soviet Zone of Germany and in East Berlin should not become loyal subjects of the Russian Communists. The recent strikes and demonstration in East Berlin and throughout the Soviet Zone have shown up the fact that the Russians have almost completely failed with the Germans and that their puppet regime in the Soviet Zone is now completely discredited. Churchill's reaction foreshadowed later British reservations against the U. the Russians shot almost out of hand Goettling [Gottling]. 128.] Coleman had in mind in his telegram No.152 5. In the meantime. each on his own terms. Like the Americans. 4. But none of us dare say so openly because of the effect upon German public opinion. a West Berlin citizen and therefore under our protection. To unite Germany while Europe is divided. the Russians.-sponsored psychological warfare measures in the wake of the uprising. the Russians. 2." Realizing that the revolt would undercut his hopes for an East-West summit and mindful that the Soviet military crackdown was less violent than could have been expected. Therefore everyone—Dr." the uprising opened a Pandora's box on the German question. Since the Berlin blockade we have done all we can to sustain their morale and resistance to communism at the same time avoiding any provocation to violence. for Chancellor Adenauer s fortunes in the upcoming 6 September elections. On the other hand. 252 . the Americans. Adenauer.F. 1. A divided Europe has meant a divided Germany. is fraught with danger for all. the French and ourselves—feel in our hearts that a divided Germany is safer for the time being. Certainly they do not appear to have been provoked by these events into contemplating any attack upon our militarily precarious situation in West Berlin. This no doubt was what [British Commandant for Berlin] General [C.215/53 of June 19 to Sir William Strang:151 Berlin. appear to have behaved so far with relative restraint.

If we can have your views on the above. ed.157 9. You will have seen his personal message to you (copy attached). while endorsing the Chancellor's and the Commandants' counsels of restraint. in the East and West as well as in Berlin.M. pp. A reply on these lines. 156 Not included. communications between East and West Berlin have been severed. Adenauer's election prospects.) You would say that we still think the way to achieve this is on the basis of the Allied note of September 1952. should help Dr. We think that the strong statement of the Commandants.. is now carefully watching to see whether we continue to support them against the Russians or not. Strong as is our desire to see a friendly settlement with Soviet Russia. when there are already questions down about recent events in Berlin. to make a firm protest in accordance with those facts. or even an improved modus vivendi. The Germans in West Berlin have on the whole behaved sensibly and with restraint. we shall be better able to decide on the nature of the reply to the latest Soviet communication to the Allied Commandants in Berlin (copy Not printed. 1952. 154 153 253 . 324-327. We also technically share responsibility for the East Berliners. we are resolved not in any way to fail in the obligations to which we have committed ourselves about Western Germany.wounded on the sector boundary by shots fired from East Berlin. It would help him even more if you could make a statement on the same lines in the House of Commons on Wednesday.. 1. pt. 8. Churchill: His Complete Speeches VIII (New York: Chelsea House Publishers. Adenauer reaffirming your declaration that Germany will not be let down. 1974). What action should now be taken? I suggest (1) [British High Commissioner for Germany] Sir I[vone] Kirkpatrick should return to his post.153 7. Winston S. ed. The words used by you on May 11154 were The policy of H. (2) A reply should go to Dr. Western Germany will in no way be sacrificed or cease to be master of its own fortunes within the agreements we and other NATO countries have made with them. pp. see Department of State. I hope you would express some sympathy with the spirit and courage of the East German population. 157 For the text of the 23 September 1952 Allied note to the Soviets. Contrary to existing agreements. and indeed the duty.M. There are of course also reports of numbers of East Germans and East Berliners being shot and ruthlessly handled. if made public. together with their restraining influence. Adenauer in his elections. has helped towards this. this seems a good moment to rub in the Allied offer to the Russians of September 1952. Orders have been given to this effect.G. German opinion. You could remind him that these obligations fully cover West Berlin and that H. which conforms with the Bundestag resolution of June 10 (see separate note attached). 155 Not included. (In this connection you may like to glance at the speech (copy attached)155 made by the Foreign Secretary in Berlin on May 28.156 Finally. VII. is to adhere most faithfully in the spirit as well as in the letter to our agreements with Western Germany. Apart from this. have frequently stated that they desire to see a reunited Berlin as the capital of a free reunited Germany. This all gave us the right. FRVS1952–54. 8475-8485. This refers to Winston Churchill's 11 May speech to the House of Commons. Three mechanized Soviet divisions have been moved into Berlin. See Robert Rhodes James. June 24. This is of vital importance to Dr.G. 6.

254 . The tone of the note does not differ from other Soviet communications made to us in Germany. alleges Western provocation but ends on the constructive note that the Russians are willing to restore communications between the sectors. This. Obtained by the editor. put very briefly.attached with copy of Allied note). rejects our protest. Kew (U. 1953 Source: Public Record Office.).K. PREM. Selwyn Llovd June 22.

Apart from commentaries obtained from hostile foreign broadcasts. in spreading the news about the East German events. Among the workers of the Nowa Ruda mine. 59: Special Report No. He is also suspected of deliberately causing the engine failure at the "Wizow" plant. 23 June 1953 STRICTLY SECRET To The Director of Cabinet of the Minister of State Security Section of Information in Warsaw Special Report No. starting 1 July. Pieck had departed for Moscow and that he may have been arrested. 23 June 1953 Rumors and discussions about the East German uprising continued to preoccupy the Polish public in late June. Hostile pronouncements and propaganda are being spread in the German environment mostly by suspected elements frequently under investigation. in particular Radio Free Europe. prices for basic foodstuffs such as fats and meat are going to be raised. 4 of the Voivodship Office of State Security in Wroclaw Interest in provocative developments in the GDR continues to exist in the Wroclaw voivodship. This report from the Wroclaw state security office demonstrates the importance of Western broadcasts. Gerhard Fuchs. a rumor is circulating that [GDR] President W. an employee of the "Wizow" plant. one can notice dissatisfaction caused by extended working hours in some fields. was telling about oppression of the population in the GDR. 4 of the WUBP in Wroclaw (Poland). particularly in the regions bordering the GDR. and this has caused an intensive buying up of these goods.DOCUMENT No." In Boleslawiec county. 255 . is making exceedingly hostile and anti-Soviet comments from news heard from the imperialist radio broadcasts. there is gossip spreading that. and particularly among German miners. The Voivodship Office of State Security in Wroclaw Wroclaw. In Nowa Ruda in Klodzko county. In the German circles in Dzierzoniow. a suspected spy. Hostile propa- ' Pieck was vacationing in the Soviet Union in May–June 1953. saying also that "every day about 250 refugees are escaping from the GDR to West Germany. Noting the Spread of Rumors about East Germany. there have been no hostile acts from the revisionist elements.158 A draftsman of the Machine Factory for Linen Industry in Kamienna Gora—formerly owner of that plant—Walter Fuchs.

which operated in the territory of the prewar Polish state. they are just calling on people to understand the situation and not to let themselves be trod on by the communist boot. 74/VIII. Pierwszy Znak Solidarnosci (Wroclaw: Oficyna Wydawnicza Arboretum. In the Zabkowice county. Heinrich Gumkowski.ganda in that mine is still going on. the wife of a former security officer doing a 4 year prison term. a former member of AK159 and son of a kulak. 166–67." We are going to hold either a precautionary conversation or a hearing with her. at its peak. pp. Completely hostile pronouncements and comments are coming also from the Polish population. secretary of the local party organization. speaking on the [German] events. place Henrykow. Blaznik. and which. A woman employee of a trade cooperative in Zabkowice Slaskie-Kozikowa reporting on foreign broadcasts added that "there are courageous people. Translated by Jan Chowaniec. is widely commenting on broadcasts from English radio.26." The Commission on Party Control has been notified about it. is spreading hostile propaganda heard from "[Radio] Free Europe" arguing that "these broadcasts do not lie. e. major Source: AP Wroclaw. We have set up an informer network to detect the instigators.000 members. It was officially formed on 14 February 1942 (from the Union of Armed Struggle formed on 13 November 1939) on orders from the London-based Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces and Prime Minster of the Polish govemment-in-exile. was one of the largest clandestine anti-Nazi military resistance organizations in Europe. is making a supposition that "maybe something will come out of it" and adds that his wife is persuading him to leave these territories fearing that "afterwards it may be too late. 159 The Armia Krajowa. people here in Zabkowice are drinking a great deal. General Wladyslaw Sikorski. 1998). The AK was officially dissolved on 19 January 1945. she said. claimed some 300. An employee of a military construction plant in Wroclaw. 256 . Published in Andrzej Malkiewicz and Krzysztof Ruchniewicz.: A woman employee of the Dairy Plant in Wolow-Kedzierska. KW PZPR. For conformity with the original Head of the Administrative Division/-/ of WUBP in Wroclaw /-/ M.g. sygn." and for this reason. the Polish Home Army. not like here where they agree to everything. captain Chief of the Voivodship Office of State Security Daniel Kubajewski. Ostaszewski.

Implicitly. this lengthy report by Moscow's top officials in Germany is the most detailed assessment of the events surrounding the 17 June uprising from a Soviet perspective. abolishing his position as general secretary. Though permeated by the notion of foreign instigation of the upheaval the Sokolovskii–Semyonov–Yudin report seriously criticizes SED policies and proposes far-reaching changes in the GDR. toward agreement with the Soviet Union and detente in Europe on the basis of recognition of the predominant influence of the Soviet Union in the people's democracies. the report reflects the tenuousness of Ulbricht's position during the height of the crisis. The concurrent hostile action in Czechoslovakia and the GDR on the eve of the Bermuda conference of the three Western countries testifies to this. and on several practical conclusions that follow from these events. on the causes of the disturbances. the issue of the events of 17 June as a great international provocation. the day of open action against the democratic sector in the GDR by fascist and other underground organizations working primarily under the leadership of American intelligence." 24 June 1953 One of the most significant documents yet to emerge from the Russian archives. which has begun in Western Europe." Adenauer intended to use this dissatisfaction to 257 . 60: Report from Vasilii Sokolovskii. As of yet. and also in the GDR. and Pavel Yudin "On the Events of 17-19 June 1953 in Berlin and the GDR and Certain Conclusions from These Events. -which had been under discussion since the spring of 1953. including "relieving" Ulbricht of his governmental functions (as deputy prime minister). In any case. we have not been able to come to a thorough understanding of the international background of the events." that is.DOCUMENT No. On the Events of 17–19 June 1953 in Berlin and the GDR and Some Conclusions from these Events The following memorandum is a preliminary report on the events of 17–19 June in eastern Berlin and the GDR. Ulbricht's power base within the party. since the investigation of the participants who have been arrested is still at the beginning stage. it is clear that 17 June was the so-called "Day X. the report also calls for organizational changes within the GDR government. Vladimir Semyonov. c) the Americans and the Adenauer–Ollenhauer clique have taken into account the broad extent of the dissatisfaction among workers and other employees with the situation in the GDR connected with the mistakes of the SED CC and the SCC in the implementation of the policy of so-called "accelerated construction of socialism. The acceleration of the action by the fascist elements and the designation of 17 June as "Day X" was apparently due to the following reasons: a) the announcement by the SED CC Politburo on 9 June of this year of a new political and economic course for the GDR. has not been worked out in detail in this memorandum. b) the effort of the Americans to prevent the further growth of opposition among broad social circles in Western Europe to the aggressive policy of the USA and to frustrate the turn. the implementation of which could have lessened the chances for any significant support for the fascist action on the part of the population of the GDR. partly as a result of a lack of factual material at the present time and also due to the fact that this side of the matter has already been widely illuminated by the Soviet press. In general. prepared earlier by the three Western powers and their accomplices from the circles of West German monopolistic capital. and reducing the role of the SED CC Secretariat. In addition to measures for stabilizing the economic (and in particular food) situation in East Germany.

The Course of Events in the GDR from 17–19 June 1. In addition. Especially harmful was the perception among the petit-bourgeoisie that they were deprived of their ration cards for lard." began to lose contact with the masses and increasingly began to resort to methods of command and administration by mere injunction with regard to SED members as well. From January-March 1953. Some conclusions and recommendations. II. in connection with the policy on "accelerated construction of socialism" adopted at that conference. and so on. revocation of additional vacation time for treatment in sanatorium. and in the winter of 1952–53 there were also severe disruptions in the supply of fuel and electricity to the cities.160 as well as for qualified workers in the five leading branches of industry. particularly in the less well-off sectors of the population. 1.strengthen his position before the Bundestag elections in August-September of this year. the prices of meat in ration cards were increased by 10–15 percent in April 1953 under the pretext of a change in the quality of meat products. which on the local level took the extremely distorted forms of administration by mere injunction and mass repression in relation to workers as well. in various enterprises there were small and short-lived strikes of workers.and middle-bourgeoisie of the towns and villages. elicited the dissatisfaction of workers. This memorandum has three basic sections: I. In a number of instances SED district and regional committees completely supplanted local organs of power. III. as well as the increase in the price of jam and artificial honey (a product widely consumed by low-paid workers). Prices of consumer goods had not been lowered since the spring of 1952. a number of privileges were revoked which German workers had enjoyed since 1945. as part of the implementation of the so-called "austerity regime. This led to the rise of dissatisfaction. All of this. 160 Injenerno teknicheskii rabotnik—engineering technical worker. meat and sugar in connection with the absence of these products in commercial trade. which were adopted in July 1952. In December 1952 and in January-February 1953. which escaped the attention of the SED CC and of the SCC organs. The course of events in the GDR from 17–19 June. worsening of terms of social insurance for housewives who had ceased working for pay. and in many cases earlier as well—the abolition of railroad passes. taking on themselves the management of police operations. On the contrary. under the influence of the decision of the 2nd Party Conference of the SED "on the construction of socialism regardless of any difficulties. d) there is no doubt that the Western powers and the Adenauer government wanted to use the provocation of 17 June to turn the Soviet Union away from its present course in its relations with the GDR. meat and sugar." and with the active participation of the SCC. Soon after the 2nd SED Party Conference (July 1952). especially lard. Functionaries of the SED and of the State apparatus. began to occur in the GDR. Economic questions of the GDR in light of the events of 17-19 June. measures were taken in conjunction with the mistaken policy of the SED CC to liquidate the petit. with the exception of the wage increases for ITR. 258 . changes in payments for sick leave. which gradually built up among the masses and was aggravated by the fact that after the 2nd SED Party Conference the party and the government of the GDR did not take any measures to improve the position of the bulk of the workers. arrests. copying the harmful methods widely employed within the Secretariat of the SED CC. serious and increased disruptions in the supply of basic necessities to the population. On the eve of the action.

as well as with demands for lowering prices by 40 percent in the commercial HO stores. After hearing this announcement the construction workers began to disperse. which had made the mistakes. as well as other unhealthy developments noted in the resolution of the Soviet government of 6 June [2 June]. but the West Berlin provocateurs began to agitate among them about how the issue now was not securing the earlier output norms but lowering them. On the morning of 16 June two thousand construction workers out of a total of 35–40 thousand construction workers in Berlin began a strike in the center of the city. The events that followed were completely unexpected for the GDR leadership.the economic activity of enterprises. Events in Berlin from 16–19 June. The construction workers decided to march to the GDR government building. The initiator and main champion of the policy of raising output norms was [SED General Secretary Walter] Ulbricht. Already long before 17 June it was possible to observe in some GDR localities sporadic strikes of workers in various enterprises directed against an increase in output norms carried out in accordance with directives of the government and various ministries of the GDR without corresponding organizational-technical measures and political work among the workers. the resignation of the . drowning out their words with shouts in chorus that [GDR Premier Otto] Grotewohl or [GDR President Wilhelm] Pieck should appear before the workers. The construction workers were joined on the way by large groups of West Berlin provocateurs carrying placards against the government with demands for the resignation of the GDR government. Crowds of onlookers also joined the demonstration. However. The Berlin organization of the SED and the municipal government of East Berlin did not react in any way to these demands. the provocateurs did not allow Rau and the other members of the government to speak. However. in particular. right on the border between the Soviet sector and the Western sector of Berlin. this. They had a strike committee which maintained ties with West Berlin. on the Stalinallee construction site. were the basis of the disturbances and agitations that broke out in the GDR 17–19 June. The SED CC did not pay attention to these short-lived strikes and only under great pressure from the SCC issued carelessly formulated orders about the inadmissibility of overreaching in connection with the implementation of the campaign to raise output norms. was not accompanied by any kind of organizational measures on the part of the CC and in fact fell on deaf ears in the party. to repeal the increase in output norms and to send CC Politburo member [Heinrich] Rau to meet with the workers. and also lowering the prices in the HO's. by withholding corresponding sums from their paychecks. they did not attach any significance to this information and did not report it to the leadership of the SED CC and SCC. 2. The information about the repeal of the increase in output norms was announced over the loudspeaker. who repeatedly in public speeches argued for the necessity of this measure. however. On the evening of 15 June the construction workers in Berlin announced categorical demands to repeal the increase in output norms. at a session that was taking place at that time. etc. about which they [the workers] had been informed. On 14 June the state security organs of the GDR and the SED city committee for Berlin received information on preparations for a strike against the increase of output norms for construction workers in Berlin. Having learned of the demonstration and of the workers' demands. the SED CC Politburo decided. agents from West Berlin and not-yet-identified traitors from among GDR trade union workers incited the construction workers. so that about 5 thousand people were gathered around the GDR government building. located on Leipziger Strasse. As later became clear. without any prior explanatory work. All these.

with the entire SED CC Politburo present. By the evening of 16 June the situation in Berlin had become complicated. as well as on foot. [SED Politburo member Rudolf] Herrnstadt). we should not expect serious disturbances in the city on 17 June. where [the provocateurs] gave them vodka. an extraordinary session of the Berlin SED aktiv was held. overturning automobiles. At this time. although they did not exclude the possibility that the disorder would 260 . We turned the attention of our friends to the extraordinarily serious nature of the disturbances that had occurred in the city. and holding all-German elections. separate groups of provocateurs and bandits. The mood of the party aktiv. a crowd of around 2 thousand West Berliners gathered on Stalinallee. began to come to East Berlin. We informed our friends of the decision we had taken to send Soviet troops to the city of Berlin. instigating them to new actions. as well as a slogan calling for a general strike on 17 June. During the afternoon of 16 June. Late on the evening of 16 June we met with the leadership of the SED CC (Grotewohl. There were also shouts by individual provocateurs calling for the killing of Russians.00 p. began to commit outrages in various places in the Soviet sector of Berlin. stopping street traffic. at which Ulbricht and Grotewohl gave speeches on the new political course of the party and government. These acts of outrage were carried out by groups that together numbered approximately one and a half to two thousand people. In a number of enterprises of East Berlin and in the GDR a slogan was taken from West Berlin calling for an immediate strike in solidarity with the construction workers of Berlin. A small portion of the construction workers was led by the West Berlin provocateurs to nearby pubs and restaurants. looting shops and apartments of SED activists on Stalinallee.m. they threw stones at the monument to Stalin and called for the overthrow of the GDR government. acting on their instructions. in their opinion. [MfS chief Wilhelm] Zaisser. in various parts of East Berlin increased activity of small groups of provocateurs was noticed.GDR government. pointing out that the slogan thrown out by the provocateurs at the end of the day calling for a general strike was evoking a response within the enterprises of East Berlin and in several localities of the GDR. West Berlin. and also pointing out that it was necessary to take the most decisive measures to maintain order in the city on 17 June. during this meeting the GDR leadership never mentioned the strikes that were taking place in the city and they didn't give the party aktiv any guidance about how they should act in the near future. The majority of the construction workers did not fall for this provocation and after a short while dispersed from around the House of Ministries. In the evening of 16 June an extra edition of the evening paper Der Abend was published in West Berlin with calls for a general strike in the eastern zone of Germany. was good. Ulbricht. The GDR police. A crowd of 4–5 thousand persons moved in the direction of the Friedrichstadtpalast where the meeting of party activists was taking place. At the same time. creating a threat that the members of the SED CC Politburo might be seized. mostly youth. However. Solidarity strikes began to spread throughout a number of enterprises towards the end of the day of 16 June. trying to break into the gas plant and other important city enterprises. and then also the mob on Stalinallee. succeeded in dispersing the crowd that was moving toward the Friedrichstadtpalast. After this. mainly from. according to the statement of members of the CC Politburo. in the center of the city. since we could expect a massive intrusion into East Berlin of bands of provocateurs from West Berlin. The measures taken upon our orders (sending police reserves to the Friedrichstadtpalast). who were carrying out antidemocratic agitation among the population. Our friends stated that they did not consider the events so serious as to warrant such extraordinary measures and that. At 8. arriving by city railroads and other means of transportation. did not actively intervene in these events. large crowds of West Berliners.

The provocateurs did not succeed in provoking a general strike in Berlin. the "Bergmann–Borzig" plant. around 80 thousand workers out of the total number of 200 thousand workers went on strike." By 9. The police security force of the government building had been reinforced and at the time of the attack numbered 500 men. The provocateurs also organized a pogrom of the store "The International Book" and of the main "HO" department store on Alexanderplatz. besieged the SED CC buildings. which they did by the morning of 17 June. On Alexanderplatz and in the Pankow district the demonstrators built barricades and obstructions. mass strikes began simultaneously. large columns of demonstrators converged in the area of Alexanderplatz (the center of Berlin). by telegram. the German police. the insurgents exchanged fire with the people's police and 7 police were disarmed. The government building was retaken only by the arriving Soviet troops. and others). where they engaged in a pogrom. took an active part in restoring order in cooperation with our troops.m. set fire to the Kolumbushaus department store on Potsdamer Platz. the Berlin Police Presidium. 261 . Around 7. but our friends did not manage to do anything better than to call the first secretaries of the district [party] committees to Berlin on 17 June 'for instruction." "We demand free elections." cable plants and others. throwing rocks at them. The crowds of demonstrators. around 10 thousand persons had gathered on that square. and. and suggested that they take measures of precaution and preparedness for the outbreak of disorder in the [various] districts of the GDR. broke into the government building. the provocateurs had called a citywide rally. the city trade union administration and others. At the same time. the main telegraph office.00 a. By 7:30 a. The insurgents managed to crush the resistance of the police. a significant portion of whom were residents of West Berlin. a crowd of 30 thousand persons had gathered around the GDR government building on Leipzigerstrasse. with the active participation of the provocateurs. Stores were looted in various parts of the city. The largest enterprises went on strike: the Stalin electrical machinery plant.00." "We demand a lowering of norms. who had held fast but had not used their weapons. Windows were smashed in a number of GDR government buildings. Our friends appraised the situation in the GDR extremely optimistically. in East Berlin and in many cities of the western and southern parts of the GDR. and proposed that detachments of German barracked police be called to Berlin from Potsdam and Oranienburg. the day before. We advised our friends (Ulbricht) also to warn the districts about this through SED CC channels. Kopenick (Soviet sector of Berlin). Gorlitz. destroyed the "Defa" movie theater and a number of other public buildings. on the sector border. At Potsdamer Platz. The afternoon of 16 June we alerted our representatives in the districts about the disturbances in Berlin. which turned into demonstrations.m. who were the main organizers of the provocational and pogrom-like actions." "We demand a lowering of prices in HO by 40 percent. which in turn took on the character of a riot in a number of cities (Berlin. However. many workers moved in columns toward the center of the city to Strausberger Platz. partially beaten by the crowd.increase somewhat in comparison with 16 June. After stopping work. from the districts of Pankow. Magdeburg. the Soviet enterprises "Siemens–Planiya. We pointed out to the GDR leadership the necessity for special preparedness in the GDR as well. they moved in separate columns towards the GDR government building under the slogans: "Down with the Government. Weissensee. on 17 June.' as a consequence of which. at the time of the disturbances of 17 June the districts were left with essentially no top party leaders. which had [already] been emptied. where. according to rough calculations.

They first of all tried to stop the main city electrical station Klingenberg. In the SED city committee the receipt of operational information from the localities was also badly organized. FDJ161 Central Council workers. including first secretary [Hans] Jendretzky.m. Consequently. the workers of these enterprises showed a high level of consciousness and organization. numbering 2. however.d.940 men. the city committee took the 161 FDJ.00 a. Over the course of the day reinforcements totaling 2 thousand men were brought to Berlin from Potsdam. led to [a situation in which] the city's central streets were essentially in the hands of the better organized opponents. 262 . The second tier workers who were left in the city committee of the SED were mainly gathering information at the request of the CC. An analogous picture was observed in other large cities of the GDR. as a result of their small numbers and poor weapons. set out for the most important city enterprises in order to prevent the outbreak of strikes there. confusion was observed in the SED city committee. At 10. Numerous groups of provocateurs made their way into city enterprises. as well as a second large electrical station Rummelsburg and a gas plant. From all of these police forces. which created the threat of the seizure of government buildings and other important places by the insurgents. some units of the German Barracked Police.200 men. However. the demonstrators were able to overcome the resistance of the People's and Barracked Police.660 men were stationed on the sector border with West Berlin. In addition. Free German Youth League. having set up their picket lines around the production buildings. we moved the members of the SED CC Politburo and several members of the GDR government to the buildings of the High Commissioner of the USSR in Germany. Frankfurt a. on the morning of 17 June.m. but they were beaten by the crowd. In addition. and also the absence of a call from the party to its members to take to the streets to defend democratic power.] were occupied with "working out arguments" for propaganda among the population. 3. yelling hostile slogans and singing fascist songs.m.The crowds of insurgents moved through the city. the expedition of party activists to the enterprises at the time of the development of street disturbances. which they did not allow the provocateurs to reach. were brought to the city.00 [p. For these reasons. By 12. not counting those guarding the sector border).m. and 200 staff members from the city party school were also sent to the city enterprises. the crossing of which was closed for both vehicles and pedestrians. The Russian acronym used in the text is SNM. by order of the Soviet military authorities. regional party committees. the SED city committee secretariat members. Although the activists were able to prevent strikes in a number of enterprises. The available police personnel in Berlin turned out to be completely inadequate for suppressing more or less serious disturbances (a total of 4. The city committee exercised practically no leadership over the district committees. Detachments of the people's police tried everywhere to put up resistance against the bandits and the hooligans. While our troops were not taking active measures to suppress the disturbances. calling workers to the strike. [noon] members of the secretariat of the city committee returned to the committee premises and until 3. around 10:30 a. As a result of the outbreak of disturbances in Berlin. It is true that in a number of places the SED activists bravely engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the insurgents. Oder and other population centers of the Republic. they were for the most part overrun and dispersed. in Karlshorst. as a result of which the city committee did not know the actual situation in the enterprises.00 p. the management of affairs in the city was essentially transferred to the hands of the Soviet organs.

The cities and population centers in which the 263 . American planes appeared over various parts of the Soviet sector of Berlin. as a result of which there were casualties. In relations between the population and the Soviet troops significant alienation was evident. including about 10 thousand West Berliners. jails. The SED and FDJ continued to act indecisively and weakly.necessary measures to secure the uninterrupted work of the electrical stations. In a number of places there were attempts to resume the demonstrations and to form strike picket lines. gas plants. On 18 June strikes in many plants continued [even] under martial law. fearing that in large meetings of workers the party functionaries would meet with hostile acts and would be hissed at. The headquarters of the people's police of Berlin (W. On 18–19 June the strikes in Berlin subsided and a normal situation was restored. around 66 thousand persons took part in the street demonstrations in East Berlin on 17 June. However. After the establishment of outposts on the sector border. On the evening of 17 June the American radio station. During the morning of 17 June in a number of cities of the GDR large-scale strikes of workers developed. It should be noted that at the beginning the insurgents acted rather provocatively toward our troops—they hooted. it was not until 22 June that the party organized work to establish friendly relations between the population and our troops. This turned out to be a strongly sobering action. though even on that day. RIAS. which functioned smoothly. On the sector border. 3. which were suppressed by decisive actions of the German police and in part by Soviet troops. threw stones at the troops. place before them the question of the immediate implementation of fearless and brave political work by the party in the enterprises and the dispatch to the enterprises of all available party personnel in Berlin in order to secure a corresponding change in the mood of the workers. and shops. Numerous cases were noted of actions by enemy agents and provocateurs in the enterprises. who occupied all of the most important points in the eastern part of the city. The situation in other cities of the GDR on 17-19 June. climbed onto tanks. from which leaflets were dropped containing calls to the population to participate in the strikes and disturbances and to secure the overthrow of the GDR government. On the streets of Brunnenstrasse and Bernauer Strasse these bands started an exchange of fire with the German police. the demonstrators included artisans. In all. several large groups of provocateurs and hooligans broke through to the Soviet sector. During the course of the day on 17 June. from which orders were transmitted to the insurgents. city transport. after which unrest in the city quickly abated. etc. mobile loudspeakers repeatedly appeared. At the police presidium building our troops opened fire against the insurgents. a mood of bitterness was observed among the workers in the enterprises which had participated in the strike. Besides workers. in a resolute form. We had to summon the leading members of the SED city committee and. The main role in the dispersion of the demonstrations and the liquidation of the street disturbances in Berlin was played by Soviet troops. water works. and the trading network. in accordance with Ulbricht's orders. recommended in its transmissions that the insurgents submit to the orders of the Soviet authorities and not allow clashes with Soviet troops. Schmidt) adequately led the people's police. and in some cities there were street demonstrations accompanied by pogroms in public buildings. The SED city committee and the SED CC began to send their workers to the factories on a large scale on 19 June. using mainly lower-level functionaries. By evening order was restored in the city. merchants and other representatives of the city petit-bourgeoisie. they followed a course of convening small meetings.

11 were killed and 83 wounded. is included in Attachment No. since a portion of them was taken home by the population (for example. 264 . Weapons were used by the Soviet troops and by the German people's police on 17 June. from 17-19 June. Gorlitz and in part in Cottbus. Workers from this plant headed to the city center. From the German people's police's and SED activists' side. From these figures it is clear that demonstrations and street unrest took place only on 17 June (335 thousand demonstrators). Serious disturbances also took place in Dresden. In all. and also the lengthy advance preparation of underground enemy organizations for open action in these cities. [Soviet joint stock company] "Wismut" (except the town of Gera) and the entire mining region of Chemnitz (except Werdau) were free of [insurrectionary] actions. 19 and 20 June they still were going on in a number of places although they were decreasing (47 thousand strikers on 19 June to around 8 thousand on 20 June). the district council. Gera. There were only short-lived strikes in the shipyards of Stralsund and Rostock on the second day of the events—18 June. The actual number of killed and wounded insurgents should be somewhat higher. strikes grew from 157 thousand participants on 17 June to 218 thousand participants on 18 June. Oranienburg. Quedlinburg. Leipzig. as a result of which there were [people] killed and wounded in Berlin. In contrast. indicating the presence of a single organizational center in western Berlin. which in the past was a stronghold of Social Democrats and also of Trotskyites and Brandlerites. Merseburg. the demonstrations. demonstrators and persons arrested for having participated in the disturbances. remained relatively peaceful.). Rosslau and also Weissenfels. Magdeburg. Strausberg and others). but were driven out by the workers of these plants.m. Summary data by district regarding the number of strikers. The main breeding ground of the disturbances was the industrial cities of the former land of Saxony-Anhalt. disarmed and 162 Not printed. took on the character of a fascist pogrom against the buildings of the government and party establishments. The actions reached a relatively significant scale in the localities adjacent to Berlin (Potsdam. a) Halle. including the city of Erfurt and others. groups of provocateurs numbering 20–30 persons tried to stir up the sugar refinery and pumping station. Leipzig.O. Halle. including the SED city committee. Eisleben. Below is a brief outline of events in several of the largest centers of the disturbances. and on 18 June in Berlin. Halle. Along the way they were joined by workers of the "Karosseriewerke" and "Halle Machine Factory" plants of the Tram Park. Bitterfeld. bordering the American Zone. first work stopped at the Ammendorf railroad car plant (at 11 a. 1).m. Magdeburg. the procurator and so forth. Jena. At their approach to the city center. Brandenburg. to West Berlin). Bandits smashed store windows. methods and modes of organization. by individual day from 16–20 June.162 From this map it is evident that the northern part of the GDR was almost untouched by the strikes and demonstrations. 2 [see end of this document]. In the city of Halle. The region of A. Halle. Gera. At 12:30 p.strikes and demonstrations of 17–19 June took place are noted on the attached map (Attachment No. The development of events in the most important centers of the disturbances has common characteristics. which at first had a peaceful character. The countryside remained peaceful everywhere. the district trade union committee. Most of Thuringia. The main centers of the disturbances in these regions were Magdeburg. since the overwhelming majority of the peasants reacted negatively to the disturbances in the cities. 29 of the insurgents were killed and 350 persons were wounded.

in the morning. tore up the banners and portraits of the leaders of the GDR. The secretary of the SED city committee.00 p. Around 10. by the arrival of reinforcements of Soviet tank troops. from which 251 prisoners were set free. Kannen. [and] the district council of the Society of German-Soviet Friendship.00 p. At the beginning of the disturbances. Around 8. The bandits succeeded in making their way to the first floor of the building of the SED district committee. a group of provocateurs came out of shop No. bordering on provocation. Thalmann.m. The workers of the SED district committee organized a defense of the building and did not allow the provocateurs [to get] further than the first floor. the district committee acted more energetically. Within 16–17 hours after the introduction of Soviet troops. The insurgents succeeded in destroying the criminal section of the jail and releasing 220 prisoners. According to SED CC Politburo member [Fred] Oelssner. later reinforcements arrived from units of barracked police. [and] severely beat party functionaries. [and] the editorial office of the district newspaper. forcing them to stop work. tomorrow there will be a general strike.00 a. pogrom character. beat them mercilessly and threatened the workers. from which unknown [persons] shouted anti-government slogans. giving the demonstration an anti-government.m. Moving along the main street of the city. marching at the head of the columns." "We call for a general strike. Several cars appeared in the city.m. 6 of this plant with iron rods in their hands and began to go around to other shops. From the trade union organizations came false rumors of panic. who was sent by the SED CC to Halle on 17 June. The majority of the workers were sympathetic to the appeals of the provocateurs but did not directly take part in the pogroms themselves. the district party apparatus was paralyzed at the beginning. In particular." b) Magdeburg. there were 400 people's police in Halle. By 1. and was suppressed by our troops.m. where they destroyed literature. [and] portraits. banners. official documents. looted public buildings. smashed store windows. after the liquidation of the disturbances the Halle trade union leadership gave the following provocational order to the factory committees: "Strengthen plant security. Groups of provocateurs marched at the head of the column." The provocateurs crushed the disorganized resistance of the party functionaries. Before then. The disturbances were finally liquidated at 8.00 p. With great animosity the crowd attacked the police department and the jail. a demonstration began. The [party] collective of the university in Halle conducted itself well. 265 . posters. But groups of provocateurs enticed the crowd to follow them and went to the street. Later. Groups of provocateurs and hooligans dispersed. who had remained in winter apartments. the state control commission. the district procurator. The rest of the troops were in camps. The provocateurs shouted the slogans: "We support Berlin. The provocateurs succeeded in drawing to the street a number of workers of other plants. [and] made a bonfire of newspapers.00 a. The storming of the men's jail continued until 7. Party activists were sent to the striking enterprises. The initiator of the strikes was the large Soviet machine-building plant. in the city there were in all 4 tanks and 70 Soviet soldiers. the provocateurs and hooligans. order was restored on the streets of the city. the crowd stormed the women's jail building. spoke before a crowd of many thousands gathered in the factory yard. Groups of insurgents broke into the premises of the FDJ district administration. Destruction of the police department was averted by the arrival of Soviet troops.m. In the Karl Liebknecht and Dimitrov factories and in several other plants the party organizations succeeded in organizing a rebuff of the provocateurs and with the support of workers maintained normal work in the shops.mercilessly beat policemen and SED functionaries and organs of the state apparatus. official documents.

provocational elements tried to hold a rally in front of the train station. but due to their small numbers (330 policemen were sent to Berlin and a total of 1. Bystanders joined the columns of demonstrators moving toward the center of the city. The strikers advanced in columns to the center of the city. and then moved toward the city center.00 p." By 3. the building of the district court and the FDJ administration were destroyed. On 18 June. The radio station. Workers of the district committees were afraid to appear at the enterprises.Out of the 73 thousand workers of the city.00 p.. around 15 thousand persons had gathered on the central square of the city.m.100 police remained in Leipzig) and their poor weaponry.m. among the demonstrators there were many from the city's petit-bourgeoisie. In many cases the instigators of the disturbances were former Nazi activists and SS164 officers. out of 120 thousand workers in the city. As a result of the intensification of political–explanatory work. During the night Soviet troops stationed in the camps entered the city. 164 SS signified the black-uniformed elite corps of the National Socialist Party. "Der 17.00 p. organizing a large demonstration around 11 a. Workers from this plant sent a delegation to neighboring enterprises. changed the directors of the enterprises and the leadership of the trade unions. See Roth. quiet was maintained on the streets of the city. in the afternoon. 266 . disturbances and strikes continued in a number of enterprises.000 children participated in the demonstrations. During the disturbances. armed with small caliber rifles.163 Many members of the SED took part in the demonstrations. youth from the church organization "Junge Gemeinde. Soviet troops from the small local garrison were enlisted to disperse the demonstrators. In several plants the strikers declared the dissolution of the SED organization. even children. however.000 women and 2-3. On 18 June there was quiet on the streets of the city." "For new elections. Besides workers. Along the way they were joined by workers of other plants and bystanders. some 10. However. the enterprises were protected against penetration by provocateurs.00 and 10. the insurgents sent delegations from Magdeburg to enterprises of other cities near Magdeburg. Construction workers began the disturbances in Leipzig..00 a." p. where strikes also broke out. The Soviet electrical equipment plant "Sachsenwerk Niederseidlitz" was the first to begin the strike. A strike in a number of enterprises in Dresden began between 9." women. The party and trade union organizations of the city showed helplessness and inability to prevent the development of the disturbances. The demonstrators shouted the slogans: "We are free. On 18 June by 3. and also the 7th of October plant. Juni 1953 im damaligen Bezirk Leipzig. A normal situation was restored in the city by 9. 20 thousand struck on 17 June. d) Dresden. on 17 June. the second shift at all plants went to work on time with a somewhat lower attendance of workers. [and] mercilessly beat SED members and activists. c) Leipzig. The strike at the Thalmann plant continued.m. In the morning the shipyards in Rotensee struck. At 3. 579. but were dispersed by troops and police. they were overrun by the demonstrators in a number of places. the SED district committee organized detachments of party members. The police tried to prevent the outrages.m. 163 According to documentation available in the Leipzig SED archive.m. According to approximate figures.m. more than 5 thousand workers took part in the strikes of 17 June.00 p. Provocational elements perpetrated attacks on the buildings of local organs of power and social organizations. the SED organizations succeeded in averting strikes in several enterprises. The number of demonstrators grew to 40 thousand persons. With these detachments.

who shouted anti-government slogans. These declarations were greeted with approving applause. In the city of Gorlitz. On 19 June the strikes were liquidated. On the evening of 18 June workers went to work. a sugar refinery. SS officers. however. enemy agents succeeded in organizing discussions among various groups of workers about the Berlin events. In these plants. After the confirmation of these demands. At the beginning the SED city committee displayed confusion. the city council. and other small enterprises. who opened fire on the crowd of 500–600 persons which had gathered on Postal Square. The political demands did not find active support among the workers. f) Gera. in the morning. The disturbances were not immediately liquidated. They were joined along the way by workers from the "WMW-Union" and "RFT-Kondensatorenwerk" plants and others. The provocateurs tried to organize a general strike and a demonstration. The demonstrators carried out an attack on the SED city committee. lost connection with the primary [party] organizations and practically did not intervene in the course of events. including members of the Free German Youth League and students. 10.5 thousand persons participated in the strike of 17 June. and troop units appeared in the city only after 5 hours. The strikers left for a demonstration and were joined by a portion of the inhabitants of the city. and also by a portion of the railroad workers. The attempts at a demonstration were suppressed by Soviet troops. and youth. above all the members of "Junge Gemeinde. which turned into a general meeting of workers of both of these plants. the FDJ city committee and the House of Pioneers. petit-bourgeois elements. voted for all the demands as a whole." took an especially active role in the events. who. There was no clash. At the rally the creation of a national committee of the Social Democratic Party was declared. The Berlin events served as the signal for action by the workers in the city. Former fascists. The jail was taken. They seized the radio station. The demonstrators were dispersed by Soviet troops and German people's police. from which 414 prisoners were released. Of the 85 thousand workers in Dresden. the chief of the MfS city department Niesper.m. workers of the railroad car plant "Lowa" struck at 9:45 a. They were joined by a machine-building plant. On 18 June the strikes continued without a demonstration. the premises of the MfS. on 17 June. two jails. The workers took up the demand to revoke the increase in [output] norms with special satisfaction. On 18 June the strike continued in a number of enterprises. In a number of cases the trade union workers supported the demands of the provocateurs about the organization of the rallies and meetings at which a resolution was then adopted to declare a strike. Encouraged by hostile elements. Among the demonstrators were many young people. For 5 hours the demonstrators in fact ruled the city. the demonstrators approached the SED city 267 . The trade unions behaved suspiciously. The first secretary of the SED city committee Weichold. organized actions with demands for the overthrow of the government and declared the prohibition of the SED. The plants "EKM-Gera" [and] "Roter Rekord" were the first to act. the chairman of the city council Ehrlich and several others were beaten.demanding the appearance of representative organs of power. The disturbances took the SED party organizations by surprise. Demands for the resignation of the government and the liquidation of the MfS were put forward by a small group of provocateurs. Several orators at the rally boastfully stated that they had earlier served in the SS and had been members of the fascist party. since the commandant's office in the city of Gorlitz turned out to be helpless and did not take any measures to restore order. e) Gorlitz. the strikers went to the streets and moved in columns toward the city center.

and began to destroy banners. our troops opened fire. On 18 June there were no actions on the streets. FDJ. and the crowd destroyed them to hooting and whistling. Here a pogrom was carried out on the SED plant party committee and the trade union committee. The group of provocateurs burst into the building of the regional committee of the Free German Youth League and destroyed it in a pogrom. tore the portrait of Ulbricht from the building of the city committee. By approximately 8.committee. Having tried to speak to the demonstra268 . with the sympathy of a significant portion of the crowd. Around 2 thousand persons gathered at the jail. Grotewohl and Ulbricht. a group of provocateurs spread out to the various shops and led nearly the whole first shift to the square in front of the management's building. At the jail. lowering pay rate for managers by 30 percent. The insurgents. g) Bitterfeld. These workers subsequently took the most active role in the disturbances. Destruction of the jail was prevented by the arrival of Soviet troops. On 17 June. The "Wolfen Farben" factory was the hotbed of strikes in the city of Bitterfeld." This same provocateur made a call to move toward the jail to liberate the prisoners.00 p. carried out a pogrom on the premises of the regional committees of the SED.00 a. except those who had committed criminal offenses. drove away the guard from the cell of those imprisoned before trial. Along the way to the "Film Factory. advanced a demand for the resignation of several members of the management and trade union committee. and freed the prisoners. A trio of provocateurs." "Free and secret elections. went out to the factory yard and held a short rally. driven away from the jail." who had arrived on 50–60 buses and trucks. One of the provocateurs shouted the slogans: "Down with the government. However.500 thousand workers took part in the strikes. headed for the "Bitterfeld" chemical combine. they were driven away by Soviet troops. the crowd of people.m." the crowd was joined by a group of drunken youth shouting provocational slogans: "Down with the SED. to 2." "Abolish trade in commercial prices. numbering up to 7-8 thousand persons.m. a crowd of workers of around 2 thousand persons headed for the "Wolfen Film" factory. 10 enterprises were completely on strike and 5 were partially on strike. and 6.m. where they were joined by workers of the enterprises of the Soviet joint-stock company "Wismut. slogans. Workers in the mechanical shops stopped work. the introduction of a household day for women. Short-lived strikes took place in some enterprises. numbering up to one thousand persons. Party pins and party cards were taken away from SED members. Around 6.00 a. From 11. artisans and traders." After bursting into the "Film Factory" plant. the editorial board of the regional newspaper. young students. The most active among the demonstrators tried to enter the jail building by force and liberate the prisoners. where by that time workers of various shops had also begun to go out to the street. After some time the crowd again gathered at the jail and on Republic square. headed by the provocateurs. besides general demands. housewives. the telephone station. MfS. besides workers. The strikers seized the plant radio station. The workers of the "Gera Seide" textile factory. After a short rally the crowd. The crowd included. The insurgents made several attempts to break into the building of the district council and the MfS administration." "Down with the Grotewohl government. the mobile loudspeaker.000 persons [took part] in the demonstrations. payment of mid-level wages to workers kept idle." "Repeal the increase in norms." "Free political prisoners. introduction of a 46-hour work week for shift workers. They threatened functionaries of the SED and trade unions with physical reprisal. the district council. moved again toward the city center. and portraits of Pieck.

Among them.00–11." They began with the mechanical shops (the shops of basic production did not stop their work). Such an ill-assorted composition of participants in the disturbances also determined the great diversity of demands and slogans put forward in the course of the events. It should be noted that the information given above gives an account of only the internal picture of the events." The letter contained an appeal to the people's police of the GDR to prevent the introduction into action of the main force of the [Soviet] occupation troops and to seize storehouses with weapons (the text of the letter is given in Attachment No. From what has been said. the main ones were: repeal of the increase in output norms. concerned the economic situation of the workers. On 17 June. strikes broke out in the Soviet plants "Leuna" and "Buna. the regional police agency. as did young people belonging to the protestant religious organization "Junge Gemeinde. around 30 thousand persons took part in the demonstrations in Bitterfeld. it is obvious that the composition of the activists and rank and file participants in the demonstrations and strikes of 17–19 June was rather diverse and that completely different currents and aspirations were joined in these events.165 former Social Democrats. destroyed banners and portraits hanging in the streets of the city. increasing 165 SA. an extremely active role was played by workers of Soviet enterprises in Germany who often acted as organizers of strikes in other enterprises as well (for example. The main demands. the main force which took part in the disturbances and uprisings of 17–19 June in East Berlin as well as in the GDR were workers. ensconced in the trade unions." and other degenerate elements among the youth. the restoration of passes and other privileges to workers which were taken away by the GDR government in February–March 1953 as part of the "austerity regime. which found wide support among the masses. Facts about the external organization of the disturbances and the ties of their instigators to West Berlin are being established and verified by the investigative organs.tors. where under the leadership of provocateurs they destroyed the offices of the MfS. members of the SA. In the remaining cities of the GDR the uprising had a less severe and less widespread character.00 a. The main organizers of the strikes. including workers. and also former Trotskyites. Following the Bitterfeld enterprises. SS officers. Slogans and demands of the demonstrators and strikers. the reorganization of trade unions on the terms of 1933 (Gera region). demonstrations and uprisings and the instigators of the political slogans and demands of an anti-democratic character were direct agents of American intelligence [services] sent from West Berlin. former Social Democratic functionaries. 3 (see end of this document). in particular among the engineers of several enterprises. improvement in provisions for workers and the population. the secretary for propaganda of the SED regional committee was pulled down from a car and thrown into a sewage canal. para-military units of the pre-1945 German National Socialist Party. former officers. who was arrested on 24 June. After short rallies the strikers set off in a disorganized crowd to the city of Merseburg. Side by side with the workers. Nossek. Not having an order to use weapons. 269 . Brandlerites and others. a letter was found signed by the so-called "German liberation committee. at 10. in particular workers of large national enterprises and construction workers. In terms of numbers. the German police did not put up any resistance. former fascists. From the chief of the people's police of Bitterfeld region.m. 4. freed 57 prisoners from the jail. Among these. people expelled from the KPD and the SED participated actively." lowering prices in the HO commercial stores by 40 percent. in Dresden and Magdeburg).

Moreover. At the Soviet plant "Thalmann. chanted by columns of demonstrators: Safety for the strikers. communicated by the German management of the plant: a) To replace the government. c) To improve working conditions in the factory. were first put forward by hostile elements and direct agents of the West. who in rather wide strata of the population. the liquidation of the MfS and the Barracked Police. the workers sometimes expressing dissatisfaction with the privileged position created in the GDR for the intelligentsia. Return of all prisoners of war. stopping the administration [by injunction] of organs of power. To guarantee personal rights. but found clear sympathy and support among the workers. Freedom of speech and press. In all these political slogans the influence of the broadcasts of the American radio station in Berlin. the liberation of all political prisoners. as a rule. To set work norms without leaps and rush work. Away with sector borders." was felt. freedom of speech and press. Away with the increased norms. Such political demands were first of all the slogans directed against the existing government of the GDR. raising the payments to workers (in a number of districts). payment of bonuses for saving coal (Frankfurt an der Oder). We will cite concrete examples. Workers at the construction site on Strausberger Platz (in the center of Berlin) took up the following slogans. since it has made many mistakes and since the workers do not believe that the government will make amends for them and not make new mistakes. Disband the Barracked Police. including those sentenced to more than 3 years. Wages corresponding to GDR prices. Abolish people's control. Lower prices for food and consumer goods. to remove Ulbricht and punish those guilty of allowing the mistakes. is considered guilty for the mistakes that have been committed. and in several places also slogans directed against the restoration of the position of private capital. Free elections for all of Germany. not to force people to return to work before they are completely well. varying in their sharpness—from the immediate overthrow of the government and the prosecution of those guilty of committing errors to the resignation of various ministers and especially Ulbricht. These demands of the workers varied in different places depending on local conditions and peculiarities. on 17 June workers' delegates put forth the following demands. However. b) To put an end to pressure on workers through increased norms and the use of other measures. Withdrawal of all occupation troops. who now lose their wages if they are ill for more than three months. not excluding even party circles. Preserve previous fees for workers' travel to work. not to economize on payments for those on the sick-list. to lower the prices on food. The delegation of demonstrators in Magdeburg presented the following demands to the mayor: to lower the prices in commercial trade." in Magdeburg. To free political prisoners and those arrested for participating in the disturbances. to provide a normal standard of living for the population. e) To liquidate the sharp differentiation between wages of skilled workers and specialists and [those of] ordinary workers. to supply the factory with raw materials and supplies. the economic demands almost everywhere were combined with political demands which. "RIAS.payment for overtime work by 10 percent. the SED and the trade unions with regard to workers. Freedom for all political prisoners. repeal of the law on protection of socialist property. d) To change the system of payments for the sick. raising pensions and others. to ensure the free selling of food. demands were advanced for free elections in the GDR (more precisely: free all-German elections). to guarantee the safety of participants in the strikes and demonstra270 .

meat. and the demonstrators sang the old German fascist hymn." and so forth. free elections and equal rights for all parties. to hold a meeting of the city council with the delegation participating. fat. as a rule. about the withdrawal of Soviet military units from the streets and from the cities. 271 . then we will get even for everything. The organized nature of all the demonstrations calls attention to itself: the presence of slogans written in advance and nearly identical in all areas of the GDR. In the strikes of 18–19 June the character of the demands and slogans of the strikers changed significantly. meat. utensils. about the release of the arrested instigators of the strikes. The political demands directed against the government. at which measures for the future would be discussed. identical duration of the actions. From 18–21 June we conducted an investigation of a large number of workers from various enterprises in Berlin and the GDR. about a declaration of mourning for the provocateurs killed in Berlin. the middle class and the peasantry were not put forward in connection with the disturbances of 17–19 June. a portrait of Thalrnann. flung the banners and signs down around the building and proceeded to storm the CC building. oil. We also had discussions with German workers who were arrested during the disturbances. sugar. Leipzig. which took shape especially at the end of 1952 and the first half of 1953. and in a number of places potatoes and vegetables. The moods of the workers. slogans were spread in several places by the hidden organizers of the disturbances: "We will come again. about the payment of wages for the days of the strike and others. These rumors prompted the organs of power of the GDR to introduce strengthened police security on the railroads on 20 June. In Berlin a column of demonstrators approaching the SED CC building under red [banners] and national banners and democratic signs. dishes. 5. and others. There is general dissatisfaction with the low quotas on rationed supplies and also with the small quantity of coal given to the workers (in Brandenburg 1300 kg for a family of three persons). unite!"—after it they carried a national banner. and not a dictatorship. Provocative rumors were also spread about strikes on the GDR railroad that had supposedly been planned." "Martial law will not continue forever. demonstration routes and gathering places determined in advance (Dresden. All these materials indicate that the main cause of the strikes and unrest among the workers is the difficult living conditions of the workers. new demands were put forward about lifting martial law. also of the population as a whole. For a long time there has been a lack of margarine. have still not moved forward. Many workers state that they regard the living conditions of the first half of 1952 as [having been] rather good and would like them to be restored as soon as possible. in the future to have broad discussion of intended measures so that everything is carried out by the government for the people and with the consent of the people. in the commercial stores of the GDR. the presence of communications [equipment] and automobiles. Berlin and others). using employees of Soviet enterprises in Germany who have a good command of the German language and experience working with Germans. Some curious things were observed in the course of the demonstrations. On 19–21 June.tions. coal). The poor supply of the population with lard. and in part. In Halle a column numbering approximately one thousand persons walked under a large sign—"Workers of the world. Demands concerning improving the situation of the intelligentsia." "We must preserve military cadres. fish and other food-stuffs needed by the workers' families is noted everywhere. In many places there is also an absence of good quality and inexpensive industrial goods (linens. Along with the earlier economic demands.

" At the "RFT" plant in Kopenick (Berlin) workers express dissatisfaction with the poor supply of the population with foodstuffs (constant interruptions in the supply of oil. Under SVAG166 things were significantly better. We eat meat only on Sundays." Pensioner Breckow. The children do not go to the movies because of the family's economizing. 272 . refuses to make repairs. therefore everyone must understand the reason for our uprising. Roose considers that "the culprit in raising the norms and lowering living conditions is the SED. the sooner we will find confidence in our government. has a family of four persons.A crane driver from the Brandenburg shipyard. the sewage system is bad. and also with the high prices and lack of basic food-stuffs in the "HO" stores (sugar. thus when it rains water comes into the shop. The sooner the workers are satisfied. as before). margarine. It skillfully managed the economic life of the Republic. which sits on the neck of the workers. besides the sources of dissatisfaction listed above. At the shipyards they listen to the criticism and opinions of the workers. who has 20 years of work experience and was an active participant in the strike. Roose does not have bed linens." A metal worker of the Brandenburg shipyard. and the GDR does not need to get involved in this conflict. Roose complains of the inflated management apparatus of the plant. Workers at the plant also express dissatisfaction with the large number of salaried office workers and the recent changes in the system of paying wages (paying wages twice a month instead of weekly. receives 280 marks in wages and has a family of three persons. which. oil). has been living for three years in a damp apartment without a stove. sewage runs down from the ceiling. pays 15 marks for housing. because of the high prices." Roose's wife states: "The Soviet Army cared more about us than the present government. 166 Soviet military administration in Germany (1945-1949). "Thalmann. which is extremely worn out. stating that no one threatens the GDR and that it doesn't need its own army since the conflict is occurring between the USA and the Soviet Union. but obviously don't draw any conclusions from it. receives a pension of 65 marks. He is dissatisfied with the increase in norms. formerly an agricultural worker. It saved us from fascism. but when will it begin to improve life? There is little in the resolutions of the government that touches on questions of improving the situation of the workers. with the large amount of idle time at the shipyard and with the lowering of wages. sugar. he is indignant over the lack of overalls [work clothes] in "HO" and Konsum stores and with the high prices for shoes and clothing. He states: "The Red Army is our only hope. the lack of inexpensive types of sausage and so forth). The SED obviously cannot govern the country. without having provided the prerequisite for this. I cannot buy a suit for myself or a coat for my wife. Hopfher. potatoes. said that he received wages of 250–280 marks per month. [the workers] point out that the management of the plant cannot get from the ministry an allocation of resources to repair the roof of the plant. to whom Roose pays 28 marks a month for the apartment. Workers at this plant connect the worsening of their material situation with the creation of an army in the GDR. At the "K. misery reigns in the apartment. He states: "Since the war. It doesn't take into consideration our situation. He complains about the great difficulty of obtaining bed linens in "HO. obviously has moved forward too quickly. aged 68. Liebknecht" plant in Berlin." since they are seldom [available] there. an active participant in the strikes." named Brandet Roose." With regard to the last decisions of the Politburo and the government of the GDR he says: "The government has acknowledged mistakes—this is good. SVAG was succeeded by the SCC. The owner of the house. He is dissatisfied with the unjust distribution and low quotas for coal rations.

6. organized part in the strikes and disturbances of 17–19 June. The intelligentsia. In May of this year a worker in Brandenburg was sentenced to 2 years in jail for taking 2 kilograms of cement from the plant. Some workers also have a disapproving attitude toward the construction of the large residential buildings on Stalinallee. unreservedly support all the measures of the government for raising norms and so forth. The overwhelming majority of the intelligentsia did not take part in the strikes and demonstrations. along with his colleagues. Schools and educational institutions. The church. The director of the Institute of Biology and Medicine in Buch. as a rule. Prominent metallurgist professor Maurer (Hennigsdorf) declared that even if all the workers leave the plant. with a strong Western orientation) on his own initiative called a meeting of fellow workers at which he condemned the fascist provocation and called on those attending to maintain order. The countryside. which the GDR cannot afford. The implementation in recent times of measures to improve the situation of the intelligentsia in the GDR determined to a significant degree its loyal conduct and favorable attitude toward the government of the GDR during the events of 17–19 June. the intelligentsia and peasants. in their opinion. since the rent in these buildings. They also talk about the fact that they cannot get through to Ulbricht. is too high for workers and this only increases the difference in the position of various strata of the population. Academician Lohmann (non-party. such as the "OST" enterprise group. ensured the continued work of the plant. Private enterprises in a number of places took part in the strikes. A large number of workers are dissatisfied with the trade unions in connection with the fact that they do not defend the interests of the workers. and so on. shops and stores. Office workers. along with proprietary enterprises. worked everywhere without any interruptions. with the remaining workers. stadiums. but the district council still demands a delivery of milk from him. The workers consider that bureaucracy and red tape are well developed in the trade unions. and also all communal enterprises and transport. The conduct of other groups of the population. Thus. The cow belonging to the shipyard worker Gustav Reincke died a month ago. will continue work. at the machine building plant "Schelling" in Berlin a portion of the workers struck. The dissatisfaction of the population is also provoked by the construction of several large projects. Many members of the intelligentsia expressed their agreement with the economic demands put forward by the workers but decisively condemned the fascist provocations and approved of the measures taken by Soviet troops to restore order. In the Central Construction Bureau (Berlin) non-party engineer Scholz declared to the group of hooligans trying to break into the bureau: "What are you doing bothering with all sorts of rubbish people who are busy with serious business?" and along with other engineers did not allow them into the building. and also the construction of clubs.The cruel measures of the punitive organs and the organs of justice are resented by the workers. Engineers and technicians refused to join the strikers and. Grotewohl or Pieck personally with their complaints. as well as institutions and offices. he. and also the main mass of small traders did not take an active. 273 . Cases are noted when representatives of the intelligentsia actively spoke against the instigators of the disturbances and ensured the continuation of the work of the enterprises and institutions.

However. There are isolated cases of self-dissolution of production cooperatives and the withdrawal of peasants from the cooperatives. The authority of the SED among the intelligentsia fell sharply as a result of the recent events. in the Gera district 4 agricultural production cooperatives were dissolved and around 200 farms withdrew from the cooperative. Brandenburg. and under the banner of "creative freedom" to liquidate any party and state leadership in the area of art and literature and to give freedom of action to formalistic trends. and regions of Teltow. Doctors and mid-level medical personnel of the clinic of Leipzig University participated in a demonstration. Demahl and others were beaten. tore portraits of leaders of the SED and the government from the walls. students tore up and destroyed portraits of SED leaders. While carrying out agitation among the demonstrators. National prize laureates Finkelberg and Kaiser (radio plant No. In a number of schools in Erfurt. withdrawals from the SED by assistants and teachers are observed. at the command of the teachers. there are a few cases of active participation by representatives of the intelligentsia in the strikes and demonstrations. Many representatives of the intelligentsia (academicians Ertel. Rathenow. especially those who succeeded in returning from West Germany. two-time National prize laureate Knoll. the director of the Mathematical Institute of the Academy of Sciences. an aspiration is noted to review the earlier decision of the party on the question of art. milk. and Neuruppin. Ruben.The director of the clinic of the university in Jena did not allow a band of hooligans to break into the clinic and drag out the wounded policemen who were lodged there. The director of the high school in Rathenow. Kulaks. Strucks. who called on the peasants not to give their agricultural produce to the government. The majority of peasants condemned the disturbances in the cities. cases were noted of the spread of anti-government pamphlets among peasants in individual villages and also the activation of the kulaks and other hostile elements. and eggs for obligatory deliveries and for sale diminished sharply. a mass exodus of peasants from cooperatives is still not observed. carry out active agitation among the peasants and members of the cooperatives on the issue of the supposedly forthcoming dissolution of all production cooperatives. In the countryside no significant actions by the peasants were noted during 17–19 June. and others convinced the workers to take part in the strike. Thus. artist K. In the Rostock district statements were made about the dissolution of 4 cooperatives. Among workers in art. Leipzig. many representatives of the intelligentsia refuse to sign any statements of confidence in the SED and the government. Trepte. In the universities and schools. writer W. Haas. writer Brecht and others) made statements in the press and on the radio of confidence in the government and condemnation of the fascist bandits. [who is] director and scientific leader of the pharmaceutical plant in Jena. and threw busts out of the windows. However. Alongside these. saying that it is necessary first to examine whether the government is able to fulfill its promises and correct the mistakes. 1 in Kopenick). that those guilty of making the mistakes should be punished. Friedhold. The opinion was widespread among the intelligentsia that there should be changes within the government. This concerns first of all engineers who were earlier linked closely to [business] concerns and also doctors and teachers. led all the teachers and the majority of the students to a demonstration. In a number of regions of the Magdeburg district the receipt of meat. Prof. The exceptions were members of the "Junge Gemeinde" 274 . Thus. The loyal behavior of the Evangelical and Catholic churches in the GDR during the disturbances deserves attention.

local party organs were in the grip of a delirium of implementation of all kinds of measures directed against the churches. and in general did not conduct himself as the leader of the party. Ulbricht stated to Semyonov that the new methods of work which the members of the CC Politburo are acquiring are incorrect and that he. In a conversation with Semyonov before this meeting Ulbricht stated that he had ceased to lead the apparatus of the SED CC in view of the interference in its functions from Grotewohl (this interference. Social organizations. The State Apparatus. The leadership of the SED CC and district committees of the SED were taken by surprise by the development of events. with which they had concluded an agreement several days before regarding the cessation of the mutual struggle. consisted of Grotewohl inviting the CC department chiefs to one of the meetings within the government without Ulbricht's knowledge) and that the CC apparatus does not know what to do with him. which led to inactivity for some time on the part of the CC Politburo and the government of the GDR. the SED CC Politburo conducted its "special meeting" with the usual long speeches by all members and candidate members of the Politburo on each of the issues discussed and with the absence of prepared drafts of decisions. All this fell apart. The tumultuous course of events on 17–18 June gave rise to confusion among the leaders of the GDR. In the second half of the day.organization and also some clergymen who are especially hostile to the democratic system. as disturbances unfolded in Berlin. on our advice. at the SED CC Politburo meeting on 16 June Ulbricht openly stated that there is a lack of confidence within the party in connection with the new course. 7. he brought himself to urge the acceptance of various CC commissions. On the morning of 17 June. and also of other administrative measures. Ulbricht. 275 . The open acknowledgement by the SED CC Politburo of mistakes allowed by them was a new experience for Germany and the German workers movement. Thus. where they played some role in organizing political work among the population. The Party. according to Ulbricht. There was no simple and clear reasoning given by the SED CC explaining to the functionaries the necessity for the change in political course in the interest of workers. which found its greatest expression in the work of the SED CC plenum on the night of 21-22 June. at the liquidation of the middle and also a portion of the petit-bourgeoisie in towns and villages. Ulbricht was also capricious. argumentation for the party and party press was worked out in Karlshorst by members of the Politburo and government statements were formulated. It was only on 19 June that the apparatus of the SED CC and the GDR government began to act more energetically and decisively. since there is no proper reasoning. The majority of the Politburo members were sent that day. but will wait four weeks while comrades are not satisfied that the methods of work applied by Ulbricht better secure the party's interests than those being used now. At the 16 June meeting of the SED CC Politburo. since in accordance with an order of the SED CC. who was subjected at that same meeting of the SED CC Politburo to sharp criticism for incorrect methods of work. From 17–19 June the leadership of the Protestant churches refrained from making any statements and appeals against the government of the GDR. Serious confusion in connection with the turn in party policy was displayed on the eve of the events of 17-19 June by Ulbricht. The bloc of parties. pastoral messages were read in many churches of the GDR regarding humility and obedience to authority with the goal of preventing difficulties in the implementation of the GDR government's new course. 21 June. It should be noted that the 9 June communique of the SED CC Politburo about immediate measures for implementing the new course elicited notable confusion among a portion of the SED functionaries. will not follow these methods. On Sunday. to the district centers of the GDR.

[Karl] Schirdewan. The office staff of the state apparatus. in the main. The different branches of the people's police and also the barracked police (army) showed themselves to be a steadfast support for the democratic order. See Jurgen Frolich. behaved correctly and in the majority supported the government. but in places these parties in fact adhered to neutrality. The Barracked [People's] Police also conducted themselves well. police president [Waldemar] Schmidt and deputy mayor [Alfred] Neumann made a good showing for themselves. the head of the department of the leading party organs. some activity by disguised fascist groups was observed. Within the National Democratic Party. In the Berlin organization. many other manufactured goods are also in insufficient supply. In recent months. eggs. pp. which had worsened since the summer of 1952. and also [Hermann] Axen. where all these goods are in abundance and in a large variety. milk. The bloc of parties did not exert any influence over the population during the events. coats. 426–428. [Rudolf] Herrnstadt. butter. In this regard the situation in the GDR differs very unfavorably from West Germany. since the demonstrations and outrages of the provocateurs did not hinder this. a member of the CC Secretariat. the main dissatisfaction of the workers was their difficult material situation. 276 167 . 169 The National Democratic Party was founded in 1948 and designed to integrate former members of the National Socialist German Workers' Party and Wehrmacht soldiers into the GDR. in actuality leading the apparatus. The bourgeois parties—the LDP167 and CDU168—press in general behaved well. 168 The Christian Democratic Union. II. since the The Liberal Democratic Party was founded in July 1945 by former members of the left-liberal Weimar Republic era German Democratic Party and soon integrated into the "Block of Democratic Parties. The state apparatus of the GDR worked without break from 17–19 June. [there has been] very little woolen cloth. made a good showing for himself. GDR markets have not had for sale such important foodstuffs as margarine. Rainer Eppelmann (Paderbom: Schoningh. "Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands. Despite the numerical superiority of the insurgents in a number of places and the poor weaponry of the police (in many cases the police only had wooden sticks). the police acted fearlessly in defense of order and bravely defended themselves from the bandits and provocateurs. writing together with Axen the draft of the famous SED CC plenum resolution. The trade unions in many sectors turned out to be in the hands of hostile or questionable elements. delivering a well-prepared speech at the CC plenum. The editor of Neues Deutschland. 1996). Grotewohl quickly enough overcame his confusion. There were no cases revealed of police employees going over to the enemy side. ed. leather shoes. Economic Questions of the GDR in Light of the Events of 17-19 June As was stated above.169 which also behaved fairly passively in the localities. carried out major and skillful work." controlled by the SED. sugar. investigations of the affairs of participants in the disturbances indicates the presence of hostile clandestine organizations within the trade unions which have their people in high positions within the trade unions. In the small towns where there were disturbances the police were quickly dispersed by the demonstrators and often showed indecisiveness and weakness." in Lexikon des DDR—Sozialismus.Within the CC apparatus.

Moreover. a total of 8. which was the granary of Germany and the major base of livestock raising. 2. the difference in the standard of living between the population of the GDR and the population of West Germany is explained by deeper causes.34 33. a significant portion of the deficit in the import–export balance was compensated for by export of industrial products manufactured in the Ruhr industrial area. touching on a whole set of economic problems in the GDR. were delivered to West Germany. Germany in the past.50 20. the establishment of an excessively strenuous pace of development of heavy industry and the implementation of an excessively broad program of capital construction.6 80.00 10.100 thousand tons. never supplied its foodstuffs with its own resources. England.00 8. as well as resources for their manufacture. The worsening of the economic situation in the GDR in the second half of 1952 occurred as a result of an incorrect economic policy. using a distinctive dumping.00 28.1 marks.343 thousand tons of foodstuffs was brought into West Germany as imports.35 32. 112 thousand tons of fish. where for political reasons the western occupation powers keep prices even lower than in West Germany. France and other neighboring countries supply many foodstuffs and goods in wide demand. apart from deliveries for the Marshall Plan. 277 .10 Even the nominal wages of industrial workers in West Germany are somewhat higher than the wage in the GDR.755 thousand tons of wheat.00 4. by which a special subsidy is allocated to western Berlin.78 1. Thus.00 0. and so forth.08 2.00 90.10 1.36 4. However.00 — — — — — — GDR Fixed Prices West Germany 1. 67 thousand tons of meat and meat products.USA.31 2. the standard of living in West Germany is higher than in the GDR.92 12. The price levels in the GDR and West Germany are also not in favor of the GDR.67 7.20 0. In 1951.00 119 9. the population of the GDR judges the standard of living in West Germany by the prices and assortment of goods in West Berlin.11 0. 26 thousand tons of oil.20 2. in contrast to deliveries to all of Germany in 1936 of 5.70 1. The average monthly wage for a worker in West Germany in 1952 was 329 marks. The relatively high standard of living of the population of Germany was supported by the extensive importing of foodstuffs and basic necessities. even when it had Pomerania and East Prussia. according to data from the West German press. while in the GDR [it was] 295. In 1951. as indicated by the following data on retail prices in December 1952: GDR Commercial Prices Wheat Flour 78% Sugar Pork of Medium Type Fresh Fish Butter Margarine Beer Natural Coffee Men's Woolen Suit Woolen Material for Women's Clothes Men's shirt Men's shoes kg kg kg kg kg kg 250 gr kg piece 1 m piece piece — 3. 41 thousand tons of coffee.80 4.00 250 22.23 1.

However. in the first half of 1953 the expected output of textiles is 95 percent of that of the corresponding period of the previous year. An escape from the extremely difficult economic situation that has been created and a serious improvement in supplying the population are possible only under conditions of curtailing the removals without compensation of GDR products for reparation deliveries and other types of removals. these removals occupy a major place in the material balances of the republic. liquor is 76. to the Soviet Union and Poland (reparations.6 percent. Thus. butter is 77. For the purpose of correcting the mistakes in the area of state procurements [of grain from peasants] and strengthening the interest of the peasants in increasing agricultural production.3 percent.The GDR is at present in a worse situation with regard to the utilization of heavy industrial products for export and the acquisition of foodstuffs with resources received from exports. machine tools. It is necessary to underscore that although the removals indicated above do not weigh heavily (12. Along with this. and other manufactured goods of the GDR are exported either as the GDR's obligatory deliveries. the balances of various types of machines and equipment.3 percent) in the overall budget of the republic. reaching. or are exported in accordance with trade agreements with the Soviet Union and the people's democracies. in particular in the balance of metals. a significant deficit is being created in butter and vegetable oil and in meat and fat.5 percent. knitted underwear is 99. a few days ago the Government of the GDR made a decision to lower the delivery norms of agricultural products by peasant farms. 278 . without indemnity. which negatively influenced the food supply situation in the republic.6 percent. And in reality. mainly for the purpose of providing the GDR machine-building industry with metal and other materials. attempting to provide the needs of the population in foodstuffs (the population on the territory of the GDR at present is 9.6 metric centners of grain per hectare of arable land for large farms with an average yield of 24–25 metric centners. so that this production can be used to significantly increase the import of foodstuffs and [the import of] resources for the production of articles of consumption. Under these conditions. raising even higher the tax rates for peasants' farms in obligatory deliveries. knitted outerwear is 87.2 percent.4 percent. which has a real significance in the production of articles of general consumption. lowering the delivery norms at the present time complicates even further the tense situation in the area of supplying food to the urban population. 18. for example. In particular. the government of the GDR. the balance of electrical energy. the import of which to the GDR is connected with great difficulties. intensified pressure on agriculture. margarine is 88. the government of the GDR underestimated the role of private and artisan industry. The economy of the areas which now constitute the GDR is notable for the high level of development of the machine-building and chemical industries. However. In actuality. 25 percent of kulaks gave up their land. The reduction in the number of large peasant farms and the worsening of conditions of production in them led to a lowering of their output of goods. income of Soviet enterprises and others). and also to stop the flight of kulaks from the countryside. Moreover. The difficulties in supplying the needs of the population of the GDR in articles of mass consumption grew also in connection with the fact that in recent years attention to questions of the development of light industry and the food industry was weakened.3 percent higher than the prewar [figure] on account of immigrants from areas broken off from Poland and Czechoslovakia). the most valuable machines. vegetable oil is 77. significant material resources of the GDR are spent in the output of the A/O "Wismut" which demands additional removal of resources and materials from the national economy. such tax rates meant the liquidation of large peasant farms. resources and half-finished products. in the 4th quarter of 1952 and the first half of 1953.

5 8. and that it is necessary to pay the most serious attention to providing the import of a sufficient quantity of foodstuffs to the GDR.0 Quantity 2115. and also machine tool and forging equipment will be significantly lower in accordance with the actual possibilities of production. in order to use the production of machine building designated for those purposes for export on the basis of trade agreements which provide an increase in delivery to the GDR of essential foodstuffs from the Soviet Union and other people's democracies.5 % 8.3 6.2 4. as a rule.9 185.9 12.0 16.4 23.8 2.0 558.0 30.3 20. Other variants could be granting corresponding long-term credit to the GDR or declaring a moratorium on a significant portion of the reparation deliveries.4 12. Transport is in an extremely neglected condition. in the main with large machine-building equipment.3 11. kw/li thou.1 — —- 2.0 312.5 3.8 11.5 47.7 % 2.5 28.2 9. tons thou. shipbuilding. marks thou.7 3.7 25.5 28. which have been produced in the GDR but exported abroad. tons mil.0 8. tons thou. In any case.1 403.0 55.39 48.2 1500. but this space has still not been fully fitted out with equipment.2 7.8 138. and as Revenues from USIG Deliveries in Exports Total Quantity weight in % Electrical Energy Rolled Ferrous Metal—Total Copper Lead Nickel Carbide Goods Ammonium Sulfate Sulfuric Acid Shipbuilding Energy Equipment Machine Tool and Forging Equipment Rolling Equipment Mining-Processing Equipment mil.0 8. having been subjected to strenuous dismantling after the war. was not renewed. tons thou. as Payments for Sold Enterprises.4 14.6 — _ 15. On the other hand.6 20.0 47.1 5.0 52.75 55. tons thou.7 33. From the above it is obvious that real improvement of the GDR population's economic situation requires a sharp curtailment of reparations and other deliveries from the GDR to the Soviet Union and Poland.2 13.5 4.0 203.5 Considering that the plan of output for 1953 for rolled ferrous metals.8 30.4 thousand square meters of productive space was turned over for operation.9 58.0 42.8 34.6 55.2 8. tons thou.0 245. There is a shortage of 11 carousel machines with faceplates of 4 to 9.3 20. marks mil.9 37.5 23. i 0. for example.25 9. tons 25903 2189. 13 lathes with centers .0 Quantity 615.7 492. production of energy and rolling equipment.0 3. the events of 17 June testify to the fact that it is impossible to continue any longer the collection of reparations from the GDR in the volume taken earlier.5 13.6 56.16 0.1 13.23 29. it is necessary to take into account that during the war and after 1945 the fixed industrial capital in the GDR.0 327.8 202.5 meters.8 0. tons thou.4 29.0 22.0 17. Thus.7 _ — 4. 17 boring machines (rastochnyistanok) with spindles of 200 to 300 mm diameter. marks mil.4 31.0 11. so that it could in actuality equal the standard of living of West Germany.7 247. tons thou.To illustrate the extent of the removals we introduce the following data: Unit of Measure Resources 1953 Total Production and Import Removals: as Reparations and Occupation Expenses.0 0. in machine-building (the 24 most important plants) 561.4 540.1 3. the percent of removals for these products will rise sharply.6 43.2 22. There are now in the GDR new plants whose construction has been finished but which have not begun operating because of the lack of several types of equipment.5 30. including China.5 13.6 62.

[the following] new productive capacities have not been put into operation: for the production of soda ash—81. [the following] capacities have not been put into operation: for extraction of brown coal—7. at present large questions are coming to a head in the economic life of the GDR.0 thousand tons per year. aluminum—10 thousand tons. a new production capacity of 309 MW has not been put into operation. With regard to this. Lauta. 2. only 9 boilers and 5 turbo-units were manufactured.855 thousand tons per year. cement—914 thousand tons. Because of delay in manufacturing: 2 gas compressors and electrical equipment for the Bernburg soda plant. To implement firmly and consistently the new political course outlined in the Resolution of the Soviet government of 6 [2] June 1953 on normalizing the political situation in the GDR. fulfilling the plan for introduction of power-generating capacity in 1952 required 29 steam boilers. for production of briquettes—1. for the production of briquettes—the non-delivery in 1952 of briquette presses. tubular drying apparatuses and electrical equipment. and through it in other Western European capitalist countries as well. In the GDR there is the possibility to increase production of various types of products earmarked for satisfying the population's needs. The main reason for the failure to put the energy capacity into operation is the non-delivery of basic energy equipment. In the energy industry. if we want to preserve and strengthen the influence of the Soviet Union in Germany. In the chemical industry. Thus. The main causes of the failure to put [them] into operation were: for extraction of brown coal—the non-delivery of stacking bridges. This change must be made decisively and boldly. as the events of 17 June indicated. one calcination apparatus and equipment for a gas energy station for the Lauta aluminum plant. Thus. and planing length of 10 m. To take immediate measures to improve radically the food supply of the population of the GDR by providing the GDR with corresponding aid from the Soviet Union and the people's democracies. if the capacity of ships being built in GDR shipyards is used for the construction of a fishing fleet. assembly work at the Karl-Liebnecht. Thus. for example. it must be taken into account that the measures of assistance taken thus far.of 800 to 1600 mm high. As regards Soviet enterprises in Germany. 11 drilling machines with 100–120 mm diameter drills. their further existence in the GDR negatively influences the relations of the German people to the USSR. including additional deliveries in accordance with the resolution of 280 . 8 autoclaves.5–4 m. the resolution of which requires a radical change in the economic relations of the Soviet Union and the people's democracies with the German Democratic Republic. and 10 weighting hoppers (vesy-dozery) for the Wolfen sulfuric acid plant. In the coal industry. there is the possibility of significantly increasing the catch of fish. electrical locomotives and electrical equipment. III. 14 turbo-units and 2 turbines. 4 contact apparatuses fitted out with heat exchangers and heaters. Because of the non-delivery of this equipment. we consider it expedient to implement the following measures for correcting the situation that has been created in the GDR: 1.859 thousand tons per year. trolleys. under the condition of providing the various branches with the necessary equipment. Because of the non-delivery of equipment the growth of production is also limited in the coal industry (the production of briquettes). In actuality. for example. sulfuric acid (Wolfen plant)—50 thousand tons. Some Conclusions and Recommendations In connection with the above. Erfurt and Magdeburg electrical stations was not carried out even though the construction work on these stations was essentially completed in 1951 and the beginning of 1952. It goes without saying that a more concrete elaboration of the problems connected with this is required. 2 planing machines with a planing width of 3. in light industry (the production of artificial fibers) and in other branches.

" 6.the Soviet government of 24 June." 4. criticism and self-criticism from top to bottom. as well as the bank and Black Sea-Baltic Sea insurance society. it is considered necessary: a) to carry out a reorganization of the GDR government with the goal of strengthening and simultaneously reducing the state apparatus in the center and in the districts. 8. in sums that ensure the normal activity of A/O"Wismut. ownership of all Soviet industrial. bringing under the review of the SED CC only the major. c) to free Cde. establishing commissions. using the payment received for these enterprises chiefly for providing the future expenses of the Soviet Union connected with A/O "Wismut. to establish an exchange rate of GDR marks to rubles which reflects the actual purchasing power of marks and rubles. discussing and applying the laws of the Republic. To continue the removals as reparations. In accordance with this. removing the ministers who are incompetent and unpopular and advancing more popular people to ministerial posts. on the other. trade. in marks. 3. substituting for its state and economic organs. For settling accounts between the USSR and the GDR. 5. To concentrate the attention of the SED CC on the development of political work among the masses of the population and on setting to rights the intra-party work of the SED on the basis of broad development of intra-party democracy. aimed at strengthening the party's ties with the working class. discussing inquiries and demands of the People's Chamber deputies. In view of the fact that the SED CC has recently used an incorrect method of leadership over the state and national economy. To transfer to the GDR. To forbid the adoption of any resolutions having the character of laws without [the approval of] the People's Chamber of the GDR. 281 . b) to liquidate the GDR ministry of state security. 7. and transport enterprises remaining on GDR territory. e) to call an extraordinary session of the People's Chamber of the GDR with the government of the GDR giving an account of its work and the mistakes it has allowed. with broader enlistment of representatives of other parties. To consider the primary task of the SED CC and the government of the GDR to be a serious improvement of the material-living standards of workers in the state and private enterprises of the GDR. to consider the question of ceasing the delivery of goods to the Soviet Union and Poland as reparations and the export of goods to the USSR as revenue of Soviet enterprises in the GDR beginning with the second half of 1953. merging it into the GDR ministry of internal affairs. principal questions of state construction and development of the national economy. Ulbricht of the responsibilities of deputy prime minister of the GDR so that he can focus attention on the SED CC's work. In order to create a stable economic situation in the Republic and to raise the standard of living of the GDR population to the level of the population of West Germany. d) to raise the role of the People's Chamber to that of an active parliament of the Republic. [it is necessary] to draw a strict delineation between the government of the GDR. provide only the distribution of foodstuffs by ration card and minimal commercial trade in the "HO" stores in the third quarter of this year. so as to use these goods to develop the foreign trade of the GDR and provide for the internal needs of the republic. and the SED CC. and so forth. consolidating a number of scattered ministries and agencies into larger ministries and agencies. To examine the question of sharply reducing the occupation expenses collected from the GDR for support of Soviet occupation troops in Germany. and also the development of broad political work among the workers. on the one hand. on favorable terms. after which to reorganize the personnel of the government.

To give the FDJ organization the character of a broad-based. non-party youth organization. after the confirmation of the new government by the People's Chamber. To consider it expedient to change the character of the delegation sent to the Soviet Union from the GDR. 11. selection. 12. 13. workers and activists from other parties. To review the numerical strength. using the corresponding experience of earlier youth organizations in Germany. To carry out a reorganization of the CC Secretariat personnel with the goal of advancing into the Secretariat a number of new workers. 10. In connection with this." To carry out at the congress a serious renewal of CC personnel by replenishing it with young cadres who have made a good showing in practical work with the working class masses. To consider it inexpedient [to keep] an open sector border between eastern Berlin and western Berlin after the lifting of martial law in eastern Berlin. and also to adopt new regulations which would fundamentally change the character of the work of the trade unions in accordance with the tasks of the new course. removing from it those members who do not measure up to the level required for leaders of the party and state in the present circumstances. taking into consideration the interests of the German population. introducing several posts of CC secretary. including [members of] the intelligentsia. 282 . To liquidate the current post of general secretary of the SED CC. at which to discuss questions of the party tasks in connection with the implementation of the "New Course. placement and training of cadres. more broadly. 15. and also having created on the basis of the present detachments of barracked police sufficiently strong mobile detachments of people's police. 14.9. To renew the core group within the SED CC Politburo. while the commander of western Berlin is not taking all necessary measures to guarantee the cessation of the infiltration into eastern Berlin and the GDR of agents and provocateurs from western Berlin with the aim of carrying out subversive activity against the GDR. To conduct a special investigation of the work of the trade unions and make resolute changes in the composition of the leading organs of the trade unions. To implement a change in the leadership of the Central Council of the FDJ. to establish. To consider it necessary to convene the Fourth Party Congress of the SED within the next 3–4 months. as well as the authority of the government of the GDR in the German population's eyes. To consider it expedient to decrease trips to the Soviet Union and other countries for vacations and medical treatments by SED functionaries and to increase trips to the USSR for vacations and medical treatments by leading representatives of the German intelligentsia. for a government delegation from the GDR to make an official trip to Moscow. To strengthen the cultural and technical ties between the GDR and the Soviet Union. having armed it with modern weapons. in the immediate future. as well as questions of party-political work among the masses. organizational questions. laboring peasants and intelligentsia. including armored transports and armored vehicles. ready and capable of maintaining order and peace in the Republic without assistance from Soviet troops. To limit the function of the SED CC Secretariat to questions of monitoring the fulfillment of CC Politburo resolutions. 16. To consider it necessary to reorganize the presently existing GDR army corps into formations of internal service troops analogous to the corresponding formations in West Germany. to consider it necessary. a system of permanent and temporary passes for crossing the sector border between eastern and western Berlin. and its tasks. and also tourists. organization and distribution of the GDR people's police. and with communications equipment. In order to raise the GDR's international prestige. not creating unnecessary difficulties in the distribution of these passes and. To reduce the number of Secretariat members from 11 persons to 5 persons.

2 Report on the Number of Persons Killed. Wounded.06.000 9.000 7. Semyonov) [signature] (P.700 _ 80 96 250 426 2 _ 1 1 4 14 2 26 3 45 450 67 7 7 7 58 133 146 104 50 14 158 4 43 1. taking into account the lessons of the 17 June events and.550 10.865 19.200 25.050 200 780 7. 283 .600 900 6.500 10 _ 3 6 4 23 200 800 20.650 4. Attachment No.410 218.17.490 2.650 37.500 310 335.53 Strikers 8. [signature] (V.600 600 550 7.500 15 22 1.06.350 2.450 200 3 100 303 2.758 18.300 80 1.150 3.210 13.53 Strikers Soviet Sector of Berlin Rostock Schwerin Neubrandenburg Frankfurt an der Oder Potsdam Magdeburg Halle Leipzig Erfurt Suhl Gera Dresden Chemnitz Cottbus Total Region Strikers Soviet Sector of Berlin Rostock Schwerin Neubrandenburg Frankfurt an der Oder Potsdam Magdeburg Halle Leipzig Erfurt Suhl Gera Dresden Chemnitz Cottbus Total 1 [signature] (V.500 43.414 3 20 174 167 247 107 176 69 118 210 1 52 3. in particular.500 157. Shot and Arrested Participating in Antidemocratic and Antigovernment Actions during the Period from 17 to 20 June 1953170 Region 16.180 115.06.860 20.430 3.100 Demonstrators 66. Sokolovskii) 24 June 1953 20 copies made and distributed to? /M. To assign the Command Group of Soviet occupation troops in Germany to improve the distribution of Soviet troops.100 8.000 Killed Wounded Detained and Arrested 2.420 14.53 Demonstrators Killed Wounded Detained and Arrested 20.167 26.250 6.702 1.145 102.200 20. Yudin) 17. to provide for the stationing of the necessary number of tank units in Berlin.254 Data on the number of strikers and demonstrators are attached.

025 - 193 24 _ 78 38 10 24 425 2.600 300 _ 2 _ 1 750 9.336. Jena—1.762 200 Total for 17-20. Killed—29+11 4. Jena—1. Note: 1) The report does not include losses of government units (police) and party activists: killed—11.600 - 770 46. 2) 6 persons were sentenced to be shot (Gorlitz—2. The sentence has been carried out for 4 provocateurs (Magdeburg—2. Arrested and detained—6. Demonstrators—3. Magdeburg—2.53: 1. Tarasov 24 June 1953 284 .884 300 1. CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE GROUP OF SOVIET OCCUPATION TROOPS IN GERMANY Lieutenant-General A. Berlin—1). Wounded— 350+83 5.06.521.700 1 40 25 2 14 412 7.53 Killed 2 _ _ Wounded Detained and Arrested 1 _ 556 7 _ 26 99 42 Soviet Sector of Berlin Rostock Schwerin Neubrandenburg Frankfurt an der Oder Potsdam Magdeburg Halle Leipzig Erfurt Suhl Gera Dresden Chemnitz Cottbus Total Region Soviet Sector of Berlin Rostock Schwerin Neubrandenburg Frankfurt an der Oder Potsdam Magdeburg Halle Leipzig Erfijrt Suhl Gera Dresden Chemnitz Cottbus Total 210 1. Strikers—430.06.074 24. The sentence has not been carried out for two provocateurs (Gorlitz—2).53 Strikers _ Demonstrators _ 200 _ Killed _ _ - Wounded Detained and Arrested 164 _ 16 _ 6 15 35 27 _ 50 17 - 862 - 1 _ 1 200 6. Berlin—1). wounded— 83.800 _ 630 6.097 20.Region Strikers _ Demonstrators _ 19.513 2.376 3.06.

Contents of a Letter Found in the Desk of the Former Chief of the Territorial Police of the Bitterfeld Region. the people's police must with a single blow seize the main bases of the occupation troops and secure the weapons depots. Translated by Kathryn Weathersby. The hour of liberation of the eastern zone from Soviet tyranny is clearly approaching. d. The possibility to carry out the struggle quickly and with the minimum of losses depends on correct leadership and single-minded action by the people's police. with the correct introduction into action of the people's police. to the task. op.Attachment No. 06. Nossek. Those occupation troops which have no wish to fight will not then make any active resistance and will lay down their arms. After the first blow. 12a. the first demand will be to prevent the introduction of central occupation troops [into action] against the revolution." German Liberation Committee Source: AVP RF. in order to secure. In connection with this. Thus. 285 . Arrested 24 June "To the leaders of the people's police. pap. Thus. 3 Translation from German.11. 301. It will also be expedient to connect as soon as possible with neighboring establishments of the people's police to make a simultaneous blow and ensure victory. in 1917 the Russian revolution got started because of a lack of means of subsistence. uniting all German people in peace and freedom. a wave of liberation will roll freely ahead and will wash away all hostile feelings toward the German people. in the person of these valuable fighters. made up of Germans. Therefore the task of the leadership of the people's police is to quickly and correctly throw these wellequipped troops. assistants for liberation. so that those arms will also fall into the hands of the people's police. liberation will be carried out in a short time and without great bloodshed. f. 5. To accomplish this. 1–51. similarly in the eastern zone the struggle for basic necessities of life gives an impetus to the struggle for freedom. It is necessary immediately to disband the concentration camps for political prisoners.

East Germany. are now engaged in maintaining order and enforcing martial law in East Berlin and other major cities of the Soviet Zone of Germany. TOP SECRET 2. [l/2 Line Excised] Soviet troops are patrolling other large cities in East Germany. Nevertheless. 24 June 1953 Compared to what was known about the riots in East Berlin at this time. These disorders in East Germany reached a proportion which demonstrated the Communist regime's dependence on Soviet military force to maintain it in power and to enforce order. On 19 June. Indications of Intentions in Europe. "Indications of [Soviet] Intentions in Europe. a. a total of 25.DOCUMENT No. Demonstrations and riots occurred in East Berlin and other major cities of the Soviet Zone of Germany on 16 and 17 June. Despite the avowed intent of maintaining the recently announced policy to curb Sovietization in East Germany (see Watch Committee Report No. Initial countermeasures used by the East German Government in East Berlin were unsuccessful in preventing the riots and Soviet troops had to be employed. [1 Line Excised] A total of 450 tanks and self-propelled guns and approximately 10. the equivalent of a regimental combat team. The inability of the Government to cope with the situation must also have shattered whatever confidence the Kremlin may still have had in East German Communist leadership. 171 Not printed. of the first Mechanized Division arrived in East Berlin by noon of 17 June from Dallgow/Doeberitz (about 16 miles west of Berlin)." c. 150). but there is no reliable information of the number of persons participating elsewhere. this intelligence memorandum throws light on the deployment of Soviet troops in the GDR. including troops of the local garrison. 61: CIA Intelligence Memorandum. Soviet troops. the CIA was still largely in the dark on developments elsewhere in the zone.171 Moscow is now faced with the possible question whether any real relaxation of Communist representation is possible without an outbreak of further demonstrations which would again necessitate the employment of Soviet forces. The bulk of the first Mechanized Division and elements of the 14th Guards Mechanized Division apparently are still in the Soviet sector of Berlin. Soviet Army Activity.000 and 100.000 Soviet troops was estimated to be in East Berlin. reflecting the Agency s continued efforts to gauge Soviet military movements and potential offensive action against the West. after suppressing the riots of 17 June. b. Germany. and observations of recent troop movements indicate that some units left field training areas and returned to home stations following the outbreaks of 17 June. Elements of the 14th Guards Mechanized Division arrived in East Berlin on 17 and 18 June from Jueterbog (about 35 miles south of Berlin).000 Soviet troops from these two divisions are estimated to have moved to East Berlin by noon of 18 June. Nor is there reliable evidence as to the total casualties suffered and the damage inflicted. Advance elements. 286 . Between 50.000 persons apparently were involved in the Berlin disturbances. and possibly have been joined by elements of the 12th Guards Tank Division from Neuruppin (about 35 miles northwest of Berlin).

"Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. On file at the National Security Archive.172 The Soviets also are attempting to establish that the initial occupation agreements give them the right to dictate terms of western access to Berlin. the over-all offensive capability of the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces. at least temporarily. Soviet training activities in East Germany were following a normal pattern. after six quadripartite meetings concerning flight safety in the Berlin air corridors. 172 Not printed. The basic Soviet position. With some Soviet troops now deployed to enforce martial law in the Soviet Zone of Germany. The recent disturbance. 141). also is temporarily impaired. however. the progress of the summer training program. 1/2 Page Excised] Source: Central Intelligence Agency (FOIA release). Germany. interrupted the training of some units and may delay. remains unaltered. 287 . c. There are no indications that the movement of Soviet troops to suppress the riots is intended as a cover for offensive action against the West. Soviet Position on Changes in the Berlin Air Corridors. The primary objective of the Soviets still appears to be to eliminate air traffic which might observe military activities within or near the present Frankfurt-Berlin corridor (see Watch Committee Report No.Prior to 17 June.

Most of these were members of the Communist-controlled FDGB. This attitude is said to be in contrast to that displayed in the past. the CIA eventually obtained information that the worker outbreaks were continuing.: [ ] Date Distr. 2. provided prior permission is obtained. Source: Central Intelligence Agency (FOIA release). "Continuing Resistance among Workers. 73).DOCUMENT No. On file at the National Security Archive. as well. when workers who came over as refugees were terrified and were determined to remain in the West illegally if they were not recognized as refugees. Information such as this formed the basis for the National Security Council s adoption of an action program aimed at maintaining the spirit of resistance in the satellite countries (see Document No. "Soviet Flashpoints" Collection. 3." 25 June 1953 Contrary to earlier expectations that the unrest had been quickly subdued (particularly in light of the CIA's focus on Soviet troop movements). Assemblies of groups of people are now allowed in East Berlin. of Pages: 1 Requirement No. The majority of the workers who fled to West Berlin or were temporarily stranded there as a result of the disorders of 16–17 June are determined to return to their places of employment and to continue their resistance there. 62: CIA Information Report.: [ ] Place Acquired:[ ] Report No. (FOR KEY SEE REVERSE) Source: [Excised] 1. 288 .:[ ] References: THE SOURCE EVALUATIONS IN THIS REPORT ARE DEFINITIVE THE APPRAISAL OF CONTENT IS TENTATIVE. and some belonged to the SED. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY INFORMATION REPORT SECRET SECURITY INFORMATION Country: East Germany Subject: Continuing Resistance by Workers Date of Info.: 25 June 1953 No. The labor unrest in East Germany does not seem to have subsided.

pp. 10. by the next day all East German publications ha