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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • 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

    National Security Council Report, NSC 158, 'United States Objectives and Actions to Exploit the Unrest in the Satellite States'

    Recommendations adopted by the National Security Council at the suggestion of the Psychological Strategy Board on covert actions to be undertaken in the Soviet Satellite States. Authorized by the National Security Council, NSC 158 envisaged aggressive psychological warfare to exploit and heighten the unrest behind the Iron Curtain. The policy was endorsed by President Eisenhower on June 26, 1953.

  • 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 19, 1953

    Minutes of Discussion at the 150th Meeting of the National Security Council, 18 June 1953

    The US National Security Council discusses recent release of prisoners of war in South Korea. The riots and disturbances in East Germany and Czechoslovakia are discussed in the context of the general “softening” of Soviet policy. The Council also discusses the possibility of a four-power meeting, and other alternative courses of action.

  • June 21, 1953

    Diary Entry from US HICOG James B. Conant on the Effects of East Zone Troubles on Russian Policy

    Conant briefly speculates over possible complications with Russian policy as a result of the East German Uprising.

  • June 21, 1953

    Memorandum from Karl Schirdewan to First Secretaries of the District Leadership of the SED

    Schirdewan orders the First Secretaries of the District Leadership of the SED to employ party members to seek out personal conversations and inquiries with individuals in the GDR after the East German Uprising. He provides specific questions for Party members to ask, in order to determine the temperament of the workers towards the GDR government and suggestions for improvement.

  • June 21, 1953

    CIA Current Intelligence Bulletin on Comments by Charles Bohlen and the Deployment of Soviet Troops

    Charles Bohlen, ambassador to the Soviet Union, speculates on liberalization reforms in East Germany and their potential impact on Soviet leadership and the reaction of other Satellite nations, following the East German uprising.

  • June 22, 1953

    Minute from Selwyn Lloyd to Winston Churchill, Reflecting British Perspectives on the Berlin Uprising

    Lloyd emphasizes Germany’s large role in the unification of Europe, and the importance of maintaining the sympathies of the West German population. He provides suggestions for how to proceed in Germany, and requests Churchill’s views on the matter.

  • June 23, 1953

    CPSU Central Committee Memorandum to the SED Central Committee, Enclosure to Minutes No. 40 from the SED Politburo Session of 21 June 1953

    In response to a request for aid by the SED CC, this memorandum from the CPSU CC states that the Soviet government will provide assistance to improve the distribution of goods to the GDR population, and recommends immediate measures be taken to reduce confusion and increase trust in the SED government.

  • 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

    CIA Intelligence Memorandum, 'Indications of [Soviet] Intentions in Europe'

    This CIA report states that the recent uprising revealed the Eastern German Communist regime’s dependence on Soviet military force to maintain power and enforce order. Based on activity of Soviet forces, indications of future Soviet intentions in Germany and in Europe are also discussed.

  • 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 25, 1953

    TASS on Radio Liberation Broadcast to Soviet Military in Germany during June 1953 East German Revolt

    This TASS bulletin containing the transcript of a Radio Liberation broadcast urging Soviet forces stationed in East Germany to “return to the barracks” was sent to top Soviet officials. Radio Liberation, later to be renamed Radio Liberty, went on the air in March 1953.

  • June 25, 1953

    Summary of Discussion at the 151st Meeting of the National Security Council

    American response to East German protests, plans of action toward the Soviet Union, question of defectors from socialist countries, implementation of passive and active resistance in socialist countries.

  • June 26, 1953

    TASS on Voice of America Broadcast Citing Radio Liberation Appeal to Soviet Military in Germany

    This document is the transcript of a VOA broadcast citing part of the Radio Liberation program mentioned in the 25 May TASS bulletin.

  • 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

    Memorandum of Informal Psychological Strategy Board Meeting

    The United States Psychological Strategy Board discusses implementation of previously-discussed plan, NSC 158, as well as other proposals for responding to the East German riots.

  • 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.