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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • January 02, 1953

    CPSU CC Resolution Approving the Deployment of Border Guards along the Eastern Border of the GDR

    CPSU CC Resolution Approving the Deployment of Border Guards along the Eastern Border of the GDR

  • March 18, 1953

    Draft Instructions for General Vasilii Chuikov and Vladimir Semyonov regarding GDR Control of Borders

    Draft instructions of the Soviet leadership to its representatives in East Germany, advising that the SED requests for East German control of the border with West Germany are "unacceptable and grossly simplistic."

  • July 01, 1953

    Telephonogram from Miroshnichenko and Lunkov to Semenov, [early July 1953]

    On 17 June, the Soviet military had stopped all cross-sector travel, causing widespread resentment among many East Germans who worked in the Western sectors or crossed them on their way to work. Under pressure from the East German population in the days following the uprising, SED leaders and local Soviet High Commission officials urged Semenov, then in Moscow for the Extraordinary CPSU Plenum, to normalize the traffic situation in Berlin. Semenov, following Molotov’s orders, informed Ulbricht that the question of free movement across the sector border “must be decided by the [German] comrades themselves, taking the situation into account.” On 7 July, tram and metro traffic between the sectors in Berlin was restored.

  • 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.

  • September 25, 1953

    Draft Instructions to Chuikov and Semyonov

    In March 1953, Moscow had declined Ulbricht’s request for tightening up the sector border in Berlin, then the major loophole in the SED leadership’s efforts to seal off East Germany. In the aftermath of the demonstrations and unrest in Berlin, the SED leadership apparently tried to reintroduce the idea of increased “border security” in Berlin. Eager to salvage whatever was left of its political position as a champion of German unity, Moscow again held such measures as politically “disadvantageous” and “unacceptable.” Certainly, the Kremlin was also aware of the continued widespread resentment among the Berlin and GDR population which made any more restrictive measures a risky undertaking. Instead, the Soviets urged the SED to increase its “fight against hostile elements” in West Berlin—an issue that would become more and more the focus of Soviet attitude on Berlin.

  • May 19, 1961

    Letter from Ambassador Pervukhin to Foreign Minister Gromyko on the German Problem

    Ambassador Pervukhin reports to Russian Foreign Minister Gromyko on the position of the East German government regarding the possibility of a peace treaty between the Soviet Union and East Germany and a resolution to the ambiguous status of Berlin. The report also discusses the possibility of enforcing better border controls between east and west Berlin in order to "close 'the door to the West.'"

  • July 04, 1961

    Letter from Ambassador Pervukhin to Foreign Minister Gromyko on the Peace Treaty with East Germany

    Ambassador Pervukhin sends the views of the Soviet embassy in East Germany regarding the negotiation of a peace treaty between East Germany and the Soviet Union. It notes that "the most difficult issues which will arise after signing a peace treaty are the practical exercise by [the] GDR organs of effective control over the links between West Berlin and the FRG and the establishment of a regime over the movement of the population between West and Democratic Berlin."

  • August 03, 1961

    Walter Ulbricht's Speech at the Moscow Conference, 3-5 August 1961

    Ulbricht speaks at the Moscow Conference of Secretaries of the Central Committees of the Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries for the Exchange of Opinions on Questions Concerning the Preparation and Conclusion of a German Peace Treaty.

  • September 15, 1961

    Letter from Ulbricht to Khrushchev on Closing the Border Around West Berlin

    Ulbricht writes to Khrushchev regarding the closing of the border between east and west Berlin.

  • September 28, 1961

    Letter from Khrushchev to Ulbricht Regarding the Situation in Berlin

    Khrushchev response to Ulbricht's 15 September letter regarding the closing of the border between east and west Berlin. He notes that since the Western powers were tending toward negotiation rather than confrontation over the crisis, "such steps which could exacerbate the situation, especially in Berlin, should be avoided."

  • December 02, 1969

    Transcript of a meeting between the delegations of the PZPR and the SED in Moscow (Excerpt)

    Excerpt from a conversation in which Polish Communist leaders Jozef Cyrankiewicz and Wladyslaw Gomulka remind Walter Ulbricht of how they suggested closing the border between East and West Berlin years before the Berlin Wall was constructed.

  • March 10, 1970

    Memorandum for President Nixon from Kissinger, "The Current Status of Brandt's Ostpolitik"

    A memorandum for President Nixon from National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger on the current status of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt's "Ostpolitik" or Eastern Policy, which sought to normalize relations between West Germany and the communist countries.

  • April 05, 1971

    Memorandum for President Nixon from Kissinger, "The Berlin Negotiations - New Guidelines"

    National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger updates President Nixon on the status of the Four Power Berlin negotiations between the Soviet Union, East Germany, West Germany, and the United States.

  • July 21, 1971

    Memorandum for President Nixon from Kissinger, "Berlin Negotiations: The Unresolved Issues"

    National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger updates President Nixon on the status of the Four Power Berlin negotiations between the Soviet Union, East Germany, West Germany, and the United States, focusing on unresolved issues on which the four states were unable to agree.

  • August 13, 1971

    Cable from Ambassador Rush to Kissinger Regarding Four Powers Negotiations on Berlin

    US Ambassador Rush informs Kissinger on the progress of negotiations between the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain, and the United States on the status of Berlin. He reports that negotiations have gone well, aside from difficulties with the British and French ambassadors.

  • August 15, 1971

    Cable from Ambassador Rush to Kissinger Regarding Four Powers Negotiations on Berlin

    US Ambassador Rush informs Kissinger on the progress of negotiations between the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain, and the United States on the status of Berlin.

  • August 18, 1971

    Cable from Secretary Rogers to Ambassador Rush on the Four Powers Negotiations on Berlin

    Alarmed by the speed of the negotiations' progress, Secretary Rogers informs Ambassador Rush (and Henry Kissinger) that "an ad referendum agreement should not be reached at the present time."

  • August 18, 1971

    Cable from Ambassador Rush to Henry Kissinger on the Four Powers Negotiations on Berlin

    US Ambassador Rush recommends to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger that the negotiations take a "no more than a two week recess" in agreement with the request made by Secretary of State Rogers.

  • August 19, 1971

    Cable from Ambassador Rush to Henry Kissinger Regarding the Four Powers Negotiations on Berlin

    Rush updates National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger on the progress of the Four Powers Negotiations on Berlin, informing him that the "bureaucrats [in the State Department] have been foiled" and an agreement has been completed and "it contains virtually everything we hoped to get under our maximum demands."