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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June 18, 1953

    Secret Telephone Report by V. Semenov and V. Sokolovski in Berlin to V. M. Molotov, 18 June 1953, Morning

    On June 18th the Soviets began actively to include German organizations and SED party organizations to restore order in Berlin. At 9:30 a.m. at the Brandenburg gates, employees of the people's police of the GDR were fired upon from the direction of West Berlin. The people's police fired several shots in return, as a result of which one West Berlin policeman was killed.

  • June 18, 1953

    CIA Current Intelligence Review Analyzing the Communist 'New Look in East Germany' and 'Recent Unrest in Eastern Europe'

    A CIA report discusses new policy modification in East Germany following the East German Uprising. It is reported that measures are being taken by the regime to relieve political and economic tension and to improve the quality of life in East Germany. This includes shifting the some of the production of heavy machinery to the production of consumer goods. The report also reviews details on recent social unrest in Eastern Europe.

  • June 19, 1953

    Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin (3), 19 June 1953, 5:35 p.m.

    Semenov and Sokolovskii described the alleged capture of infiltrating parachutists in the night of 17 June.

  • June 19, 1953

    Secret Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii to V. Molotov and N. Bulganin (2), 19 June 1953, 7:50 p.m.

    V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii stated that in Berlin all enterprises were working at normal capacity and life in Berlin was proceeding normally.

  • June 19, 1953

    Secret Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin (1), 19 June 1953, Midnight

    According to Semenov and Sokolovskii the mood of the populace had improved. They reported that the commandants of the Western sectors of Berlin had issued a decree to the effect that any demonstrations in West Berlin could only take place after receiving permission from the commandants. The need for this decree was based on the situation which has arisen and on the preservation of security and order.

  • June 19, 1953

    Polish Ministry of State Security Action Memoranda, to Regional Branches Outlining Steps to be Taken to Limit Spillover of Events in East Germany

    The Polish Ministry of State Security orders all district heads to take measures to limit spill-over effects of the East German uprising. Regional offices are instructed to increase surveillance of ethnic Germans and “revisionist” elements.

  • June 19, 1953

    Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin, 19 June 1953 (2)

    According to V. Semenev and V. Sokolovskii there were small remnants of strikes in some comparatively minor points throughout the Republic. In the provinces of the GDR there was also evidence of the dispatch of American agents from West Berlin and West Germany.

  • June 19, 1953

    Report, I. Fadeikin to V.D. Sokolovskii

    Fadeikin reported that the situation in the GDR was improving. As brought to light by then, the strikes were a protest against the 10% rise in output quotas that the GDR government had declared at some GDR industry enterprises on May 29-30. They continued on June 6-7. The construction workers on Stalinallee in Berlin started saying that they did not agree with the new output quotas and would declare a strike if needed. The central leadership of the Free German Trade Union [League] and the SED CC knew about such feelings and opinions among working class people on June 15. Fadeikin accused the GDR leadership not to have undertaken timely preventive measures. Fadeikin concluded from secret service and official information that some SED members took an active part in the delays and strikes.

  • June 20, 1953

    Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin, 20 June 1953, 5:50 p.m.

    V. Semenov and V. Sokolovsk stated that, although the the situation in the GDR and in East Berlin is generally peaceful, there are still some local strike movements in several areas.

  • June 22, 1953

    The Report to the SED Central Committee

    The authors blamed "hostile forces", with direct support and under the leadership of American agencies and the peoples' enemy and the warmongers in Bonn, for having organized an attempt for a "fascist coup" in the GDR in the period from 16 June 1953 to 22 June 1953. The authors admitted, however, that the party had failed to mobilize broad segments of the working class for a unified and offensive appearance against the provocation and for suppression of the coup on the 17th and 18th.

  • June 22, 1953

    Secret 'Report on the Events in Berlin on 16 and 17 June 1953,' from P. Naumov, Correspondent in Berlin to D.T. Shelipov, Editor-in-Chief of Pravda, 22 June 1953

    Naumov in his report gave a very detailed account of the events in Berlin on 16 and 17 June 1953.

  • June 24, 1953

    CIA Information Report 'Continuing Resistance Among Workers'

    A CIA report states updates regarding East German workers, many of which had fled to West Berlin during the uprising on June 16-17, and their plan to continue resistance at their place of employment.

  • June 24, 1953

    Report from Vasilii Sokolovskii, Vladimir Semyonov, and Pavel Yudin, 'On the Events of 17-19 June 1953 in Berlin and the GDR and Certain Conclusions from these Events'

    The authors accuse "fascist and other organizations, working primarily under the leadership of American intelligence," to be responsible for the uprisings in Berlin and other GDR cities. The authors stated that "Adenauer intended to exploit this disenchantment to strengthen his position before the upcoming Bundestag elections in August-September of this year." The CC SED is accused having not paid attention to short-lived strikes in early June. According to the authors "the events in Berlin on 16-19 June were completely unexpected to the leadership of GDR". Finally the authors drew a few conclusions and gave some recommendations "in order to correct the situation in the GDR."

  • June 27, 1953

    Report from Lieutenant-General F. Fedenko to Lieutenant-General N.O. Pavlovskii

    Fedenko stated that the strikes and demonstrations in the GDR from 17 to 19 June 1953 had been prepared beforehand by the so-called Center of Strike Movement located in West Berlin.

  • 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 01, 1953

    Letter from Lavrentiy Beria to Georgii Malenkov Reflecting on the Events of Spring 1953 (Excerpt)

    Letter from Beria to Malenkov discussing the events which took place in East Germany in the spring of 1953. Beria also discusses his actions after Stalin's death, asking for the forgiveness of the CPSU CC Politburo.

  • 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 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 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.