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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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East German Uprising

This is a collection of primary source documents related to the East German uprising of June 1953. The uprising started with a strike by East Berlin construction workers on June 16th. The next day it spread throughout East Germany and was violently suppressed by the Soviet Army. The documents in this collection are from Russian and German archives and cover the period between April 1952 and October 1953. There are memorandums, minutes of conversation, decrees, cables, and reports on the development during the uprising. Some documents in the collection refer to the Soviet military intervention, including the movement of troops and equipment by the Soviet Army. There are 14 cables from June 17th - the second day of the uprising, describing the situation and its development. Other documents refer to reactions to the uprising and its conclusion. (Image: Uprising in the Soviet sector in Berlin. Tanks used by the Soviet occupying powers to suppress the unrest in Schützenstrasse.)

  • July 02, 1953

    Protocol #1 of the Meeting of the Vyshinskii Commission for Drafting a Proposal to the USSR Council of Ministers Pertaining to the GDR

    This contains resolutions regarding proposals for Soviet aid and planned measures in the GDR for economic policy and development.

  • July 02, 1953

    Transcript of the CPSU CC Plenum Meetings Regarding Beria’s Views on the German Question

    Malenkov, Khrushchev, and Mologov express negative opinions about Beria’s proposals about the ‘German question,’ accusing him of sympathizing with the ‘imperialist’ side in his plan for a neutral Germany. Bulganin accuses Beria of threatening the positions of the current Ministers in the Presidium if they rejected his ‘bourgeois’ proposals.

  • July 04, 1953

    Telephonogram from Soviet High Commission Officials Miroshnichenko and Lun'kov to High Commisioner V. Semenov

    Miroshnichenko and Lun'kov consider it expedient to ease travel for commuters between east and west Berlin by improving public transport.

  • July 04, 1953

    Telephonogram from Miroshnichenko and Lun’kov to Soviet High Commissioner V. Semyonov Regarding Inter-zone Travel

    Telegram describing discontent of the German population living in East Berlin at the disruption caused by the restrictions imposed on intra-zones travel as a result of the events of 17 June 1953. The telegram recommends actions to be taken to improve the movement of people across the Berlin border.

  • July 04, 1953

    Memorandum from Vladimir Semyonov and Pavel Yudin to Vyacheslav Molotov Regarding Inter-Zonal Movement in Berlin

    SED CC Politburo requests to resume movement across the sector border between East and West Berlin. This report includes step-by-step instructions in how this could be implemented.

  • July 08, 1953

    Memorandum of Informal Psychological Strategy Board Meeting

    The logistics behind a food relief distribution plan for East Germany are discussed.

  • July 08, 1953

    Otto Grotewohl's Handwritten Notes on the SED CC Politburo Meeting

    In this meeting on July 8 1953 SED Politburo discussed changes in the internal structure of the party organization.

  • July 08, 1953

    Report from Maj.-Gen. Sergei Dengin to Vladimir Semyonov, 'On the Situation in the Soviet Sector of Berlin'

    Sergei Dengin states that a series of strikes are occurring in the Soviet Sector of Berlin, following the East German Uprising. It is reported that GDR inhabitants are generally dissatisfied with the under allocation of food products, steel, electricity, and other resources. Jendretzky has agreed to take measures to improve the supply of resources, strengthen government authority, and control the spread of provocative rumors.

  • July 09, 1953

    Report of the Chief of WUBP in Olsztyn (Poland) for June 1953

    Chief of WUBP reports the state of security in regions of Poland following the riots in East Germany, and some hostile disturbances in Poland. The public opinion and intelligentsia of ethnic Germans living in Poland is also discussed.

  • July 09, 1953

    Memorandum from Georgi Pushkin to Andrei Vyshinskii Regarding Proposals Made by Semyonov, Sokolovskii, and Yudin

    This memorandum outlines proposals for measures that should be taken in order to implement a new political course in the GDR, with a focus on economic development and increased standard of living.

  • July 09, 1953

    Note from S. Kruglov to Malenkov with an Accompanying Communication from the Executives of the MIA USSR P. Fedetov and I. Fadeikin

    Kruglov presented Malenkov with a communication from the head of the First Chief Directorate of the MIA USSR, Com. Fedotov, and the Representative of the MIA USSR in Germany, Com. Fadeikin, about some facts characterizing the situation in the Politburo of the CC SED. Within the SED leadership there are severe arguments about how to solve the GDR's economic crisis.

  • July 10, 1953

    Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between John Foster Dulles and Allen W. Dulles

    In a telephone conversation, the Dulles brothers discuss their opposing views in regards to the future direction of Soviet policy following the uprising.

  • July 10, 1953

    CIA Information Report, 'Berlin as of 5.00 p.m., 9 July 1953'

    This CIA report contains an assessment of the situation in East Berlin; while East Sector is relatively quiet, general unrest still exists with strong indications of upcoming workers strikes.

  • July 10, 1953

    CIA Special Supplement to the Current Intelligence Weekly

    This CIA report contains a chronological breakdown of the nature and extent of the riots and demonstrations in East Germany, and descriptions of the Soviet reaction, East German capabilities, East German government reaction, and the Soviet policy reaction. According to the report, at this point, the USSR has not yet revealed any long-term policy reaction to the German situation.

  • July 13, 1953

    CIA Information Report, 'Plans for Strikes in East Germany'

    A series of intelligence information regarding strike plans throughout Eastern Germany.

  • July 14, 1953

    Letter from President Eisenhower to Field Marshall Montgomery of Alamein

    In a personal letter to the Field Marshall regarding to his assumptions made in a memoranda, President Eisenhower presents an opposing view that the successful integration of West Germany into Western Europe would increase pressure within East Germany for reunification.

  • July 15, 1953

    Memorandum from S. Kruglov to G.M. Malenkov

    Kruglov reports on the arrest of organizers during the East German protests.

  • July 21, 1953

    Intelligence Advisory Committee, Special Estimate (SE-47), 'Probable Effect Of Recent Developments In Eastern Germany On Soviet Policy With Respect To Germany'

    This intelligence report presents and analyzes Soviet policy in East Germany before, during, and after the East German Uprising. The report assesses potential actions the Soviets could take in the future towards East Germany, and the likelihood of each.

  • July 28, 1953

    Letter from James B. Conant to John Foster Dulles

    Conant reports the apparent success of a food distribution plan from West Berlin to the occupants of East Berlin. However, he informs Dulles of received complaints by British and French Allied High Commandants about unilateral action in Berlin, and the American lack of consultation of the Allied High Commission on these matters.

  • July 31, 1953

    Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee (Draft)

    Draft resolution before the CPSU CC, seeking approval for actions required to strengthen the Soviet position in Germany and increasing the counteraction of the aggressive plans of the Anglo-American bloc in Europe.