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The proposal will be discussed in connection with the visit by the leadership of the SED CC to Moscow.


8. In light of the fact that lately the SED CC has adopted an incorrect method in leading the state and the economy, replacing the state and economic organs; to undertake a strict separation of functions between the government of the GDR, on the one hand, and the SED CC on the other, bringing only the major principal issues of building the state and developing the economy to the SED CC for examination. To concentrate the attention of the SED CC on developing political work in the masses of the population and on placing the SED's internal party work on the basis of the broad development of internal party democracy, criticism, and self-criticism from the bottom to the top (of the party).

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Will be discussed in connection with the visit by the leadership of the SED CC to Moscow.

9. To limit the functions of the Secretariat of the SED CC to: issues of monitoring the implementation of the CC's Politburo decisions, organizational issues, the selection, placement, and training of cadres, and also issues of party-political work amongst the masses.

To carry out a change in the personnel of the Secretariat of the SED CC with the aim of moving a series of new employees, including intelligentsia members, into the Secretariat. To reduce the number of members of the Secretariat from 11 persons to five. To eliminate the presently existing post of General Secretary of the SED CC, introducing the posts of secretaries of the CC.

10. To consider it crucial to hold, in the course of the coming 3-4 months, the upcoming Fourth Congress of the SED, at which the issues of the party's tasks in connection with the implementation of the New Course would be discussed. To carry out a serious

Issue will be discussed in connection with the visit by the leadership of the CC SED to Moscow.

renewal of the CC personnel at the Congress, in order to replenish it with young cadres who have proved themselves in practical work with the masses, the working class, the working peasantry, and also the intelligentsia. To renew in a fundamental manner the personnel of the Politburo of the SED CC, removing from it those who do not stand at the level necessary for the leadership of the party and the state in the current circumstances.

Proposal will be implemented through operational procedure and no resolution is required for this.

11. To conduct [both) a special investigation into the work of trade unions and (to carry out) a decisive change in the personnel of the unions' leadership organs, as well as adopting new Charter which would fundamentally change the character of the work of trade unions in conformity with the tasks of the new course.

The leadership of the GDR are to present their proposals, which are now being prepared, on the issue of the police.

12. To re-examine the numbers, organization, and distribution of the People's Police of the GDR, equipping them with modern arms, including armored transport vehicles, armored cars and communications equipment, as well as creating from the current divisions of barracked police, sufficiently strong, mobile, (operationally) ready divisions of the People's Police, which are capable of preserving order and calm in the republic without the help of Soviet troops.

To consider it necessary to transform the presently existing army corpus of the GDR into a troop formation for internal service in the GDR by analogy with the corresponding formation present in West Germany.

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system of permanent and temporary passes for passage through the sector border between East and West Berlin. Moreover, in issuing these passes, not to create unnecessary difficulties and broadly to take account of the interests of the German populace.

The issue has been resolved by the Ministry of Defense of the USSR in the course of operational procedure.

17. To order the Command of the Group of Soviet occupation forces in Germany to improve the distribution of Soviet troops, taking into account the lessons of the events of June 17, and, in particular, to see to the stationing around Berlin of the necessary quantity of tank units.

(Source: AVP RF, F. 82, op. 41, por. 93, p. 280, d. 93, 11. 63-68. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.)

Memorandum, S. Kruglov to G. M. Malenkov,
15 July 1953

Top secret

Presidium of the CC CPSU 15 July 1953.

To comrade G.M. Malenkov No. 216/k

In the investigatory process of the MfS of the German Democratic Republic there are group files on the persons who took an active part in the preparation and realization of the provocation on June 17 of this year in Berlin and in other cities.

The investigation has established that the provocative work was carried out according to assignments given by reactionary and espionage organizations in West Germany.

The most characteristic are the following files:

1. An investigative file on 7 residents of the city of Berlin - HERTEL, 18 years of age, lubricator in a transport association, MÜLLER, 26 years old, the owner of a truck, DIBALL, 20 years old, without definite occupation, and others, who took active part in the riots (broke glass in government buildings and shops, tore down slogans and placards, and threw stones at police).

The arrested HERTEL and DIBALL admitted that they took part in the riots on the instructions of the fascist organization “League of German Youth," of which they had been members since 1952.

The arrested MÜLLER stated that he was drawn into participation in the disorders by the representatives of the anti-Soviet organization of West Berlin, “Fighting Group Against Inhumanity.”

The file of the investigation is complete.

2. The investigative file on 14 residents of the city of Leipzig - GNICHTEL, 33 years old, auto electrician; MULBERG, 41 years of age, dental technician; SCHEBE,

24 years old, student of the veterinary faculty, and others.

The arrested Germans in this group admitted that they were connected with the agents of the “Group for the Struggle Against Inhumanity" in West Berlin - TALEM and SCHUBERT - and on their instructions, carried out espionage and other enemy activity on GDR territory and took active part in preparing the provocation of June 17. They received instructions at secret meetings of the "Fighting Group Against Inhumanity” in West Berlin.

The arrested SCHEBE showed that TAHL called him to a secret meeting in West Berlin at the beginning of May of this year and informed him that an uprising was being prepared and accordingly instructed him.

The arrested GNICHTEL also received an assignment from TAHL to show up active supporters of the SED and to warn them in writing that they would be eliminated. Stamps displaying a picture of one of the leaders of the GDR with a noose around his neck were supposed to appear on the envelopes.

Workers in the apparatus of the Representative of the MVD SSSR in the GDR, having consulted with the High Commissioner in Germany, Com. Semenov, are introducing a proposal to organize open trials on these cases with the goal of unmasking West German fascist organizations engaged in preparing and carrying out the provocations of June 17 of this year in Berlin and in other cities.

Presented for your examination.


(Source: AVP RF. Provided by the National Security Archive; translated by Ben Aldrich-Moodie.)

Christian Ostermann is the incoming Acting Director of the Cold War International History Project and a specialist on the Cold War in Germany.


The West German Bundestag had ratified the Bonn and Paris agreements on the creation of a European army (European Defense Community or EDC) on 19 March 1953. 2

On the establishment of the SCC, see Elke Scherstjanoi, Das SKK-Statut. Zur Geschichte der Sowjetischen Kontrollkommission in Deutschland 1949 bis 1953. Eine Dokumentation (Munich, forthcoming). 3

USSR State Directorate for Soviet Property Abroad. 4 The Wismut uranium mining complex in southern East Germany was established in 1947 as a Soviet stock company under exclusive Soviet control. In 1954, Wismut was transformed into a “Joint Soviet-German Stock Company," which it remained until 1990. Wismut produced about 215,559 tons of uranium between 1945 and 1990, 13% of the total global uranium production (to 1990). See Norman Naimark, The Russians in Germany. A History of the Soviet Occupation Zone 1945-1949 (Cambridge, 1996), 238-250; Rainer Karlsch, “Ein Staat im Staate. Der Uranbergbau der Wismut AG in Sachsen und Thüringen," Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte B 49-50 (1993), 1422; and Rainer Karlsch/Harm Schröter (eds.), "Strahlende VergangenheitStudien zur Geschichte des Uranbergbaus der Wismut (St. Katharinen, 1996). 5

Marshal Vasilii I. Chuikov (1900-1982) had been the commander-in-chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany and head of the Soviet Control Commission in Germany until May 1953. 6

Pavel F. Iudin (1899-1968), Soviet philosopher and diplomat, deputy USSR High Commissioner since 1953. He later became ambassador to China. 7

Probably Ivan Il’ichev, head of the USSR mission in the GDR. See Semjonow, Von Stalin bis Gorbatschow, 297. 8

Georgii M. Malenkov (1902-1988), 1946-1957 member of the CPSU Politburo/Presidium, 1953-1955 Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. In 1957 excluded from the Presidium, in 1961 from the CPSU. 9 Underlined by hand.

See the CWIHP Electronic Bulletin (www.cwihp.si.edu). 11

Reference is made to the “Law for the Protection of People's Property,” enacted in October 1952, providing for exorbitant punishments for even minor “crimes” such as black market deals (“economic crimes”) or anti-regime statements. The law led to an explosion of arrests and prison sentences. 12 German Economic Commission. 13 Some of these anxieties stemmed from the large-scale deportation of German scientists and technicians to the Soviet Union by the NKVD and Soviet army units in the early years of Soviet occupation. See Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 220233. 14

Following the establishment of the GDR, the SED sought to eliminate the influence of the churches, particularly the dominant Protestant Church, which had remained an interzonal, all-German organization and was regarded by many as the last force of resistance within East Germany. The main target of the SED's brutal “Kirchenkampf" were the church youth organizations, especially the Protestant "Junge Gemeinde" [Youth Congregation). After Soviet intervention in early June 1953, the SED agreed to a “truce” with the churches. The SED, however, continued to fight the “Junge Gemeinde” by forcing young people to choose between the Church's "confirmation" and the so-called “youth consecration” (“Jugendweihe”), a rival secular initiation process. On the SED's church policy, see Martin George Goerner, Die Kirche als Problem der SED [The Church as a Problem for the SED] (Berlin, 1997), and Thomas Raabe,

SED-Staat und katholische Kirche. Politische Beziehungen 19451961[SED State and Catholic Church. The Political Relationship 1945-1961] (Paderborn, 1995). 15 Bund Deutscher Jugend - German Youth League. 16 Walter Ulbricht (1893-1973), since 1950 Deputy Prime Minister, 1950-1953 SED Secretary-General, 1953-1971 First Secretary of the SED Central Committee, 1960-1973 Chairman of the GDR State Council (President). 17

Free German Youth, the Communist-front youth organization. 18

Underlined by hand. 19 Radio in the American Sector. — Central to Western efforts to destabilize the SED regime and maintain the spirit of resistance in the GDR, the US-controlled RIAS had become, in the words of the first U.S. High Commissioner, John J. McCloy "the spiritual and psychological center of resistance in a Communistdominated, blacked-out area.” US authorities estimated that up to 70% of East Germans tuned into the radio station. See Christian F. Ostermann, “Keeping the Pot Simmering. The United States and the East German Uprising of 1953,” German Studies Review 19:1 (March 1996), 65. In the spring of 1953, RIAS led a vigorous propaganda campaign against the forced norm increase of 28 May. See Markus Wacket, “Wir sprechen zur Zone. Die politischen Sendungen des RIAS in der Vorgeschichte der JuniErhebung 1953," Deutschland Archiv 26 (1993), 1035-1048. 20

It was not until late August 1953, that the SED Politburo decided to make an all-out effort in the “fight against the reactionary RIAS broadcasts." Minutes of Politburo Meeting, 26 August 1953, Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der ehemaligen DDR im Bundesarchiv (SAPMO-BArch), DY 30 IV 2/2/312. See Christian F. Ostermann, "The United States, the East German Uprising of 1953 and the Limits of Rollback.” CWIHP Working Paper No. 11 (Washington, 1994). 21 Communist Party of West Germany 22 Created in February 1950 as the successor to the failed People's Congress Movement, the Communist-front organization “National Front of a Democratic Germany" was a Soviet/GDR instrument for all-German propaganda. Although nominally a national organization, it was only effective in the GDR where it served to facilitate the electoral "unity list.” Dietrich Staritz, Geschichte der DDR, rev. ed. (Frankfurt, 1997), 49. 23

Vladimir S. Semenov (1911-1992) was the Political Adviser to the Chief of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany 1946-1949 and, since 1949, Political Adviser to the Soviet Control Commission in Germany. In April 1953 he became head of the Third European Division in the Soviet Foreign Ministry. The next month he was named the USSR High Commissioner in Germany. He later became Deputy Foreign Minister and USSR Ambassador to West Germany. See his memoirs Von Stalin bis Gorbatschow. Ein halbes Jahrhundert in diplomatischer Mission 1939-1991 (Berlin, 1995). 24

Andrei A. Grechko (1903-1976), 1953-1957 Commander-inchief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. 25

Otto Grotewohl (1894-1964), 1945-1946 Chairman of the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party in the Soviet Zone; since October 1949 GDR prime minister. On Grotewohl's role see Markus Jodl, Amboß oder Hammer? Eine politische Biographie (Berlin, 1997). 26 Lavrentii P. Beriia (1899-1953), 1938-1946 People's Commissar for Internal Affairs, 1946 Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, head of the KGB, was arrested on 26 June 1953 and executed in December 1953. 27 Viacheslav M. Molotov (1890-1986) had been a member of






the CPSU Politburo/Presidium from 1926 until 1952and again from March 1953 to June 1957, the chairman of the Council of People's Commissars 1931-1941. In 1939-1941 and 1953-1956 he headed the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs resp. the Soviet Foreign Ministry. 28

Lazar M. Kaganovich (1893-1990), 1930-1957 member of the CPSU Politburo/Presidium. 29

Nikita S. Khrushchev (1894-1971), 1939-1964 member of the CPSU Politburo/Presidium, 1953-1964 First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, 1958-1964 Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. 30

Nikolai A. Bulganin (1895-1975), 1948-1958 member of the CPSU Politburo/Presidium, 1953 Minister of Defense, 19551958 Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. 31

Fred Oelßner (1903-1977), since 1950 member of the SED Politburo, Central Committee Secretary for Propaganda and editor-in-chief of the SED party magazine Einheit. 32

Anastas I. Mikoian (1895-1978), 1935-1964 member of the CPSU Politburo/Presidium. 33

This is not a verbatim transcript since it first gives the Soviet statements which are followed by those of the Hungarian officials.

Matyas Rakosi (1892-1971), Prime Minister 1952-1953 and 1955-1956, the central figure in Hungary's Stalinist dictatorship. 35

Imre Nagy (1896-1958), Hungarian Prime Minister 19531955 and October - November 1956; condemned in a secret trial and executed on 16 June 1958. For recent biographies see Andras B. Hegedus et al, (eds), 1956. Kezikönyve. Megtorlas es Emlekezes (Budapest, 1996), 108-109; Janos Rainer, Imre Nagy (Budapest, 1996). 36 Allamvedelmi Hatosag, the Office of State Security, had been established in 1946. 37

Gabor Peter (1906-1993), head of the Political Police 19451954, was arrested in 1953 for trespasses against socialist legality" and sentenced to life in prison (from which he was freed in 1960). 38

Hungarian, in this context, meant non-Jewish. 39

Admiral Miklos Horthy, regent of Hungary 1911-1945. 40

Magyar Dolgozok Partja - the Hungarian Workers' Party, formed in 1948 as a result of the forced merger of the Social Democratic Party and the Hungarian Communist Party. 41

Mihaly Farkas (1904-1965), since 1945 secretary of the MKP and MDP Central Committee; later Minister of Defense under Rakosi. 42 All four top Hungarian Communists Rakosi, Gerö, Farkas and Joszef Revai were of Jewish background, a factor which seriously complicated popular attitudes towards communism in the face of widespread anti-semitism. 43

For a transcript of the Hungarian leaders' speeches on 13 June and the transcript of the 16 June 1953 Soviet-Hungarian leadership meeting, see the CWIHP Electronic Bulletin (www.cwihp.si.edu). 44 Marshal Leonid Aleksandrovich Govorov was the Chief Inspector of the Soviet Ministry of Defense. See David E. Murphy, Sergei A. Kondrashev and George Bailey, Battleground Berlin (New Haven, CT, 1997), 168. 45

Reported by “VCh-phone” at 7.26 a.m., 17 June 1953, Moscow time. The reporter was Comrade Kovalev (Assistant to Comrade Semenov). The receiver was Chief of Main Operations Department of General Staff Lieutenant-General PAVLOVSKY. Copies were sent to Malenkov, Berija, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich and Mikoian.


The reporter was Colonel General GRECHKO. The receiver was Lieutenant General PAVLOVSKY, Chief of the Main Operations Administration of the General Staff of the Soviet Army. Sent to Malenkov, Beriia, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich, Mikoian 47 Sent to Malenkov, Berija, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich, Mikoian. 48 Marshal Vassili D. Sokolovskii (1897-1968), an old Germany expert who had been deputy commander-in-chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany in 1945/46 and commander-in-chief and head of the Soviet Military Administration of Germany, headed the Soviet General Staff from 1952-1960. 49

Sent to Malenkov, Berija, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich, Mikoian. 50

Sent to Malenkov, Berija, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich, Mikoian. 51 Sent to Malenkov, Beriia, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich, Mikoian. 52 Sent to Malenkov, Beriia, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich, Mikoian. 53

Sent to Malenkov, Berija, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Bulganin, Kaganovich, Mikoian. 54

Stamped “MID USSR, 18 VI 53; Declassified"

Sent to Malenkov, Beriia, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Kaganovich, Mikoian. 56

Stamped: “MID USSR, 19 June 1953; MID USSR 7 July 53; Declassified" 57

Soviet Control Commission. 58 37-year

old West Berliner Willi Göttling who had been crossing the Soviet sector in Berlin to pass from one part of the Western sectors to another, was arrested by Soviet troops and became the first person to be executed. See Manfred Hagen, DDR Juni '53. Die erste Volkserhebung im Stalinismus (Stuttgart, 1992), 91.

Otto Nuschke (1883-1957), since 1948 Chairman of the Soviet Zone CDU, was GDR Deputy Prime Minister from 1949 to 1957.

Stamped: “MID USSR, 23 June 1953; Declassified" 61 On 20 June, Semenov reported to Moscow that “the further interrogation of the parachutist allegedly dropped in the region of Sangerhausen gives ground for assuming that his initial testimony as to the drop of a group of parachutists is a provocatorymendacious statement. I ask you not to use this material until the end of the investigation.” AVP RF, f. 082, op. 41, por. 93, p. 280, 1. 41. 62. Stamped: “MID USSR, 23 June 1953 and 20 June 1953; Declassified." 63 Colonel Ivan A. Fadeikin. According to Pavel and Anatoli Sudoplatov, with Gerold L. and Leona P. Schecter, Special Tasks, The Memoirs of an Unwanted Witness - A Soviet Spymaster (New York, 1994), 365, Fadeikin was the deputy KGB resident in Berlin. According to David E. Murphy, Sergei A. Kondrashev and George Bailey, Battleground Berlin (New Haven, CT, 1997), 177, Fadeikin was Acting MVD Berlin chief at the time. 64 The Fighting Group Against Inhumanity ("Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit") was established in 1948 by publicist Rainer Hildebrandt as a humanitarian organization for East Zone refugees and victims of SED terror. In the early 1950s, the West Berlin-based KgU developed into a anti-communist resistance organization, devoted to providing and collecting information in East Germany and carrying out sabotage operations throughout the GDR.



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