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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • 1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises

    The uprising began in Hungary as a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, while in Poland similar political uprisings began in October 1956. The documents, most of which are working notes, are from 1956 and come from Russian and Bulgarian archives. See also, the Nikita Khrushchev Collection, and the Warsaw Pact. (Image, head of a toppled Stalin statue in Budapest, 1956)

  • 1980-81 Polish Crisis

    The Polish Crisis of 1980-1981 began with a wave of strikes across Poland and the formation of the first independent labor union in a Soviet bloc country – Solidarity. The crisis ended with the imposition of martial law in December 1981. Most of these documents are from Russian archives and record the Soviet response to the Polish crisis, including preparations for military intervention. There are also documents from other Eastern European archives which contain the Communist bloc leaders’ discussions and reactions to the events in Poland. See also the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia and the Warsaw Pact. (Image, Strike Coordination Committee in Szczecin, 1980, Archiwum autora, Stefan Cielak)

  • 1988 Seoul Olympic Games

    A collection of primary source documents about the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games drawn from the archives of the International Olympic Committee. The collection highlight the relationship between sport and politics and offer an unprecedented window into North Korea's negotiating strategies, inter-Korean relations, and the DPRK’s foreign relations at the end of the Cold War. (Image, fireworks over the closing ceremonies of the Seoul Olympics, 1988, US Department of Defense, DF-ST-90-05038)

  • February, 1866

    Letter from George Kennan to Hattie Kennan, January 31- February 12, 1866

    During the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition to Siberia, American explorer George Kennan writes to his sister. Here, he contrasts the ethereal beauty of Siberian nature with the filthy interior of a subterranean dwelling of the settled Koryak, a Siberian Native tribe. Kennan strongly preferred what he called the “wandering Koraks,” who he saw as manly, strong, and independent, unlike the settled Koraks, who he felt had received the vices of civilization but none of the virtues.

  • July, 1866

    Letter from George Kennan to Doctor Morrill, July 4-16, 1866

    During the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition to Siberia, American explorer George Kennan writes to Dr. Charles Morrill of Norwalk, Ohio, Kennan's hometown. The letter lacks the final part and signature, as do several others reproduced here.

  • July 09, 1866

    Letter from George Kennan to Hattie Kennan, July 9, 1866

    During the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition to Siberia, American explorer George Kennan writes to his sister in a light and playful letter. The letter lacks the final part and signature.

  • October, 1866

    Draft Letter from George Kennan to Col. Charles Bulkley, September-October 1866

    In this draft letter, George Kennan the elder writes to his superior in the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition, Col. Charles Bulkley, to complain that promised supply ships never arrived due to logistical mistakes.

  • August 21, 1867

    Letter from George Kennan to Emma Hitchcock, August 21, 1867

    American explorer George Kennan writes to his cousin Emma Hitchcock, describing the sudden arrival of ships in Siberia with the news that the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition is to cease operations. Although Western Union had ordered this in October 1866, word did not reach Kennan until July 1867, nearly a year later. This letter is lacking the final pages and signature.

  • February, 1876

    Letter from George Kennan to John Kennan, February 4-16, 1867

    This letter from George Kennan the elder to his father is missing a large section, but one small part can be read, in which Kennan unburdens himself to his father regarding the misfortunes of the Russian-American Telegraph Expedition, owing in part to the mistakes of the expedition head, Col. Charles Bulkley.

  • April 18, 1922

    Appointment of John W. Staggers as General Counsel by Syngman Rhee

    A copy of appointment of John W. Staggers as General Counsel by President Syngman Rhee in 1922

  • September 04, 1930

    Imre Nagy’s OGPU (Unified State Political Directorate) Enlistment

    Certificate signed by Imre Nagy upon enlistment in the OGPU secret police (later the NKVD).

  • September 30, 1930

    Resolution of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and Soviet of the People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, 'About the Practical Conduct of Nationalities Policy in the Far East Region in Regard to Chinese and Koreans'

    The All-Russian Central Executive Committee lists inadequacies in meeting the needs of Korean and Chinese laborers in the Far Eastern region of the Soviet Union. Problems include interethnic tensions, inequality in labor conditions, inequality in education, capitalist economic activity, lack of Chinese and Korean in state administration and social organizations, and unsatisfactory implementation of resettlement plans.

  • September 01, 1933

    Primorsk Region Oblispolkom, 'Memorandum Report on the Question of the Criminal Conditions in Building No. 10, 'MILLIONKA'

    Addressed to the Oblispolkom, or district administration and executive committee, this report shows concerns about the Chinese population in the far eastern Primorsky region. The “Millionka” were a series of large apartments that housed thousands of Chinese in the Chinese quarter of the Vladivostok and their destruction was part of a series of Stalinist deportations which targeted the Chinese and Korean populations of the city. This document shows the Soviet administrator's deep suspicion of Asian communities and ethnic connections, which they perceived as mysterious, limitless, transnational, and inevitably related to “banditism,” “hooliganism,” drug use, and various criminal activities. The report identifies the Millionka as home to a wide variety of criminal activity and disorder (drug use, prostitution, blackmarket trade, drunkenness), as well as a source of "an anti-Soviet element with counterrevolutionary goals."

  • June, 1934

    Letter of Governor Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

    Governor Shicai Sheng expresses his firm belief in Communism, his desire to overthrow the Nanjing Government and construct a Communist state in its place, and the need to establish a Communist Party branch in Xinjiang. Emphasizing his long study of Marxist theory, he requests that Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov allow him to join the Communist Party.

  • July 27, 1934

    Letter from Stalin to Cde. G. Apresov, Consul General in Urumqi

    Stalin compares Sheng Shicai, Governor of Xinjiang, to "a provocateur or an hopeless 'leftist'."

  • July 27, 1934

    Letter from Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov to Governor Sheng Shicai

    While expressing appreciate for Sheng's role in pacifying Xinjiang and expressing their firm trust in him, Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov deny his request to join the Communist Party and express their disagreement with the opinions he expressed in his earlier letter. Citing Xinjiang's economic backwardness, they condemn the rapid implementation of Communism in Xinjiang as a "ludicrous" idea and also advise against overthrowing the Nanjing government.

  • November 01, 1934

    Letter from Governer Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

    Responding to Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov's letter of 27 July, Sheng expresses his agreement with their assertions about Xinjiang's unsuitability for Communist rule and the inadvisability of overthrowing the Nanjing government. Accepting that he cannot become a member of the Communist Party at this time, Sheng expresses his gratitude for the Soviet assistance he has received and requests that he and Consul General Apresov be permitted to travel to Moscow.

  • March 19, 1935

    Politburo Decision of 19 March 1935 concerning Xinjiang

    The Politburo transfers NKVD members currently working in Eastern Siberia and Central Asia to Xinjiang.

  • March 22, 1935

    The Distribution of the Sovsin'torg Trade Loan

    A breakdown of how a Soviet loan to Xinjiang will be utilized.

  • March 22, 1935

    Memorandum Concerning Cde. Kaganovich's Proposals for Xinjiang

    The Politburo approves Comrade Kaganovich's proposals for further action in Xinjiang.

  • March 22, 1935

    VKP(b) CC Politburo Decree concerning Xinjiang

    A Central Committee report on Soviet-Xinjiang trrade and the economy in Xinjiang more generally.

  • July 16, 1935

    Excerpt on Xinjiang from Minutes No. 42 of the VKP(b) CC Politburo Meetings

    The Politburo orders an increase in the number of Soviet trade officials in Kumul and Aksu.

  • August 05, 1935

    Concerning the Release of Money to the NKVD

    The CPSU Politburo releases 1.2 million rubles to support individuals arriving in the Soviet Union from Xinjiang.