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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."

  • April 24, 1961

    Record of a Conversation between N. S. Khrushchev and FRG Ambassador in the USSR H. Kroll about the State of Soviet-German Relations and Questions of the Signing of a Peace Treaty with Germany

    Kroll remarks that trade between the USSR and Western Germany is improving and that he hopes they can continue to trade on good terms. The two discuss the Soviet exhibition in FRG, and Kroll suggests to Khrushchev that the USSR should try and reach an agreement with the GDR soon. Khrushchev also mentions that he will not prevent West German citizens (with FRG passports) to enter FRG from Soviet-controlled Berlin, since population control is too difficult. However, he does mention the possibility of building a wall and quickly says that it would be "impossible".

  • 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.'"

  • June 20, 1961

    Free Europe Committee Proposal to Exploit Berlin Crisis

    FEC Directors C. D. Jackson and Whitney Debevoise discuss with State Department officials their ideas on using RFE to pressure the Soviets during the Berlin Crisis

  • July 02, 1961

    Record of a Conversation [between] N. S. Khrushchev and F. Roberts, British Ambassador in the USSR concerning the Signing of a Peace Treaty with the Two German States

    The two parties discuss the national exhibitions in Moscow and London, and opportunities for trade between England and the Soviet Union. Khrushchev puts forth his intentions to sign the peace agreement with Germany as soon as possible and to declare Berlin a free city. Roberts is worried that the peace agreement will limit the rights of Western nations in Western Germany and Western Berlin.

  • 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."

  • July 05, 1961

    Record of a Conversation between N. S. Khrushchev and Chen Yi, Deputy Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

    Chen asks Khrushchev to go over the pressing international issues and he presents the USSR's stances on the situation in Laos, South Korea, and Cuba. Khrushchev also raises problems in GDR and difficulties in negotiations with Western powers with regards to the German question. Khrushchev also mentions Soviet plans to launch a spaceship and resume nuclear testing. The two leaders also discuss the challenges of agricultural development.

  • August 01, 1961

    Notes on the Conversation of Comrade N.S. Khrushchev with Comrade W. Ulbricht on 1 August 1961

    Transcription of a meeting in Moscow between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and East German leader Walter Ulbricht on August 1, 1961. They discuss plans to close the border between East and West Berlin. The document shows Khrushchev’s and Ulbricht’s deliberations about the reasons for sealing the border in Berlin, the timing for sealing the border and some of the difficulties they expected to arise therefrom.

  • 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.

  • June 12, 1987

    Speech by President Ronald Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, 'Remarks on East-West Relations'

    Ronald Reagan's famous speech in which he advises Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!"

  • November 06, 1989

    Conversation on GDR-FRG Economic Cooperation between Alexander Schalck and Egon Krenz

    Note of conversation between East German leader Alexander Schalck and West German Minister of the Chancellery Rudolf Seiters on future economic cooperation between the two German states. The discussion makes clear that the East German economy will collapse without immediate and massive West German aid.

  • November 09, 1989

    Material for the Session/For Circulation in the Council of Ministers, Draft: Temporary Transition Rules for Travel and Permanent Exit from the GDR, Berlin

    Draft resolution and press release announcing new temporary transition rules for travel abroad and permanent exits from East Germany.

  • November 09, 1989

    Günter Schabowski’s Press Conference in the GDR International Press Center 6:53 - 7:01 p.m.

    Schabowski announces new travel regulations allowing permanent exit for East German citizens at all border crossing effective "immediately, without delay."

  • November 09, 1989

    Conversation between Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa

    In this extraordinary conversation, Solidarity’s leader fears the collapse of the Wall would distract West Germany’s attention - and money - to the GDR, at the time when Poland, the trail-blazer to the post-communist era in Eastern Europe, desperately needed both. "Events are moving too fast," Walesa said, and only hours later, the Wall fell, and Kohl had to cut his Poland visit short to scramble back to Berlin, thus proving Walesa’s fear correct.

  • November 10, 1989

    Excerpt from the Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev

    Excerpt from Anatoly Chernyaev’s diary following the fall of the Berlin War, praising Gorbachev’s vision

  • November 10, 1989

    Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Berlin to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Telegram from the Romanian Embassy in Berlin to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the opening of borders between the GDR and the FRG and the celebration of citizens on both sides of the wall with the continuing maintenance of order