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discussion of the German question" while along with all of you" introducing "initiatives at the Presidium aimed at the correct solution of issues, such as the Korean one, the German one." A year-and-a-half later, at the January 1955 CC CPSU Plenum, Beriia's ally in 1953, Malenkov, now under attack by Khrushchev and Molotov, “admitted" that he had been wrong in 1953 when he held the view that "the task of socialist development in Democratic Germany" was "incorrect." "Today I admit that I essentially took a wrong position on the German Question."40

Additional evidence is provided by secondary figures such as KGB operative Pavel Sudoplatov, a close collaborator of Beriia. In his memoirs Special Tasks, Sudoplatov recounts that as early as April, "[p]rior to the May Day celebration in 1953, Beriia ordered me to prepare topsecret intelligence probes to test the feasibility of unifying Germany. He told me that the best way to strengthen our world position would be to create a neutral, unified Germany run by a coalition government. Germany would be the balancing factor between American and Soviet interests in Western Europe. East Germany, the German Democratic Republic, would become an autonomous province in the new unified Germany." According to Sudoplatov, Berija intended to air the idea through his intelligence contacts in Central Europe and “begin negotiations with the Western powers.":41 Similarly, Vladimir Semenov, who, as head of the responsible division within the Soviet Foreign Ministry, participated in the key meetings of the Soviet leadership on Germany (as well as the later meetings with the SED leaders), charges in his 1995 memoirs that Beriia was pursuing a line on Germany which would have "disrupted the continuity of our policy on the German question and aimed at shocking the Soviet Union and eliminating the GDR." Semenov reports that during a Presidium meeting in the second half of May, 1953,” Beriia, once called on, “took a paper out of his jacket pocket, without haste, as if he was the master of the house, put on his glasses and read his own draft on German policy. It differed fundamentally from the one which I carried in my bag "42

Serious doubts, however, have been raised about the existence of a “Beriia plan.” Thus far, the evidence on Beriia's role in the decision-making process within the Kremlin is fragmentary, biased and contradictory. The transcript of the May 27 Presidium meeting at which Beriia supposedly made his proposal remains classified in the Presidential Archive in Moscow. Mention of Beriia's alleged initiative on the German question was first made by his opponents at the July 1953 CPSU Plenum that condemned him, following his arrest on June 26.43 It is probable that the charges about Beria's views on the German question, made by Khrushchev and others at the Plenum, were motivated largely by a desire to portray Berija in most sinister ways and to characterize him as a traitor to the socialist cause, as a Western agent and provocateur. United in their fear of the brutal KGB chief and desirous to eliminate a strong competitor in the

struggle for supremacy within the Kremlin, Beriia's opponents might well have fabricated, distorted or exaggerated any difference of opinion on his part.44

The documents presented here suggest a somewhat different interpretation. They certainly reflect Beriia's activism in the foreign policy field, especially on the German question. What is striking, however, is the fact that Beriia managed to gain Presidium approval for the demarche to the Soviet Control Commission, which in turn, with its May 18 critique of the SED's indifference and mishandling, set the tone for the May 27 meeting and the June 2 "New Course" document. Beriia's initiative in early May thus turned into a Presidium-approved SCC investigation into and review of the situation in Germany which most likely forced the Foreign Ministry to take a much more critical attitude towards the SED's policy. At least initially, therefore, Beriia's views on Germany apparently corresponded with the thinking within the SCC and were not blocked within the Presidium. Beriia's continued prominence in foreign affairs after the May 27 meeting — see his active participation in the discussions with the German and Hungarian leaders — also lends weight to this argument.

The available documentation through May 27, of course, does not preclude the possibility that Beria put forth a more drastic approach to the German problem at the Presidium meeting. Whether he did so or not, within days the Council of Ministers agreed on a draft resolution, which was adopted as an order "On Measures to Improve the Health of the Political Situation in the GDR,” dated June 2. Thus far, only draft versions of the document and its German translation have been available to scholars.45 For the first time, an English translation of the original Russian version is printed below. Sharply criticizing the "incorrect political line” of forced construction of socialism in the GDR, the resolution called for an end to the "artificial establishment of agricultural production cooperatives" and to the prohibitive taxation of private enterprise, for support of small and medium-size enterprises, for an increase in mass consumption production at the expense of heavy industry as well as for the elimination of the ration card system. The resolution also recommended strengthening democratic rights in East Germany, changing the excessively punitive criminal code, ending the crude interference in church affairs, and "eradicating" the brutal administrative methods by which the SED regime had been ruling. Significantly, the order also emphasized that it was necessary to put the "tasks of the political struggle to reestablish the national unity of Germany" at the center of attention.

The same day, the Moscow leaders expressed their concerns about the GDR to an arriving East German delegation, composed of Ulbricht, GDR Premier Otto Grotewohl and Fred Oelßner, confronted it with the resolution and, after Oelßner had translated the document, asked for a response by the next day. According to Grotewohl's fragmentary notes, the East German propos

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als, half-heartedly drafted during the night and tabled the stood for the accelerated socialization program. Following next day in their meetings with Malenkov, Berija,

their return to Berlin on June 5, however, discussion Molotov, Khrushchev, Bulganin, Mikojan, Kaganovich, within the SED Politburo of how and when to publicize Semenov and Grechko, apparently fell short of Soviet the New Course document quickly turned into criticism of expectations. “Our document is a reversal, yours is (just) Ulbricht's dictatorial leadership style. During SED reform," an exasperated Kaganovich exclaimed.46 Politburo meetings on June 6 and 9, fellow Politburo According to the memoirs of SED Politburo member members vented their dissatisfaction with the Ulbricht's Rudolf Herrnstadt, the editor of the party organ Neues personality cult and management of the Secretariat. Deutschland, the SED leaders had to take quite a beating Semenov, who had returned with the SED delegation from as all of the Soviet comrades rejected the superficial draft. Moscow and participated in the sessions, seemed increasBeriia displayed particular aggressiveness, allegedly ingly inclined to support Ulbricht's critics. 54 Arguing throwing the documents at Ulbricht across the table with against any great celebration planned for Ulbricht's 60th the words: “This is a bad remake of our document!":47 birthday (June 30) during the forthcoming 13th Central

The Soviet leaders acknowledged that “we all have Committee Plenum, Semenov recommended that the SED made mistakes" and that the recommendations were not leader celebrate the way Lenin did his 50th birthday, by meant as “accusations,” but insisted that “everything has to inviting a few friends to drop in for dinner.”:55 The

, be based on a change in the conditions in the G.D.R.” Politburo finally decided to draw up a comprehensive Demanding that the SED leaders should not worry about statement on the self-criticism of the work of the Polit(their) prestige,” Malenkov warned that “if we don't buro and the Secretariat” which would be presented to the correct [the political line] now, a catastrophe will happen." CPSU Central Committee Presidium. It also resolved to set The Soviet leaders appealed to the Germans to "correct up a commission, composed of Ulbricht, State Security fast and vigorously.” “Much time has been lost. One has to chief Wilhelm Zaisser, Oelsner, Herrnstadt, and Berlin act quickly.” And in a manner, as Molotov curiously SED boss Hans Jendretzky, to prepare an organizational added, “that all of G[ermany] can see it.”:48

reform of the working methods of the Politburo and The June 2-4 talks with the East German leaders have

Secretariat.” 56 to be viewed against the background of a larger effort by A recently declassified report to the USSR Minister of the post-Stalin Soviet leadership to halt and mitigate some Internal Affairs, S. Kruglov by the KGB deputy resident in of the worst excesses of Stalinist rule in East Central Berlin, Ivan Fadeikin, throws new light on the events Europe. Similar talks, which, in each case, resulted in the within the SED Politburo. In a June 30 conversation with announcement of a “New Course" program were held with Soviet officials, the GDR Minister of Trade and Supply the Hungarian leadership (13-16 June 1953)49 and the Curt Wach reported on the opposition which the New Albanian leader Enver Hoxha later that month.50 The Course instructions from Moscow, particularly the shift of transcript of the Soviet-Hungarian talks on June 13-16,51 resources from the heavy to consumer goods industries, are instructive for several reasons: Much fuller than the had encountered within the SED Politburo on June 9. Just fragmentary Grotewohl notes, 52 the transcript of the about everybody seemed to oppose a plan tabled by the Soviet-Hungarian meeting is striking for its similarities: as Minister of Machine Construction, Hermann Rau accordin the German case, the discussion focused on the "auda- ing to which 1.3 billion marks would be reallocated to cious” industrialization and socialization drive and the light industries. Key members of the SED leadership — abuses of power (especially by the security police), though Rau himself, Wilhelm Leuschner, Chairman of the State cadre questions received considerable attention, too. As Planning Commission, Fritz Selbmann, Minister for the before with the East Germans, the Soviet leaders "ur- Ore-Mining Industry, Fred Oelsner, Anton Ackermann gently” demanded changes and warned that “a catastrophe opposed the plan to cut back on heavy industry. According will occur if we do not improve the situation." Once again, to Wach, Ulbricht most vehemently spoke out against the Malenkov and Beriia were harshest and most “passionate” plan, arguing that “[w]e cannot free up such resources. in their criticism, though Molotov and Bulganin did not Rau's plan disorganizes the national economy, and our lag behind. Unlike the earlier talks with the German economy is already disorganized as it is." With the GDR leaders, however, Soviet criticism was vented primarily at lacking sufficient resources, Ulbricht instead favored a premier and party chief Matyas Rakosi, the leading

different approach. Shifting the burden to the Soviets, who proponent of Stalinist rule in Hungary. Criticism of

after all, had decreed the policy shift, he argued that “we Rakosi's rule, his personal involvement in most political should turn to the Soviet government with the request that issues, and his “personality cult” quickly produced

they lower the reparations payments." A fellow Politburo changes within the leadership: within days of their return member succinctly pointed to the thought that must have from Moscow, Rakosi resigned from the premiership been on everybody's mind: the only way “to get out of this which was given to the agrarian specialist Imre Nagy catastrophic situation and improve our position" was for (though Rakosi stayed on as party leader).53

the Soviet Union to “[render) us the same help that the Grotewohl's notes of the June 2-4 Kremlin meetings USA is giving Western Germany through the Marshall do not reflect any personal criticism of Ulbricht, who had Plan.” As Wach recounted, “[n]oone reacted to this

statement.":57

declared martial law. In the evening, Berlin's citywide Most Politburo members agreed that the announce- traffic was interrupted and the East sector sealed off. ment of the New Course program warranted careful

The reaction to the crisis by Soviet diplomatic and preparation of the party and the population at large, but military observers in East Germany can now be docuSemenov urged speedy implementation of Moscow's mented in detail.63 What is striking about the reports is instructions. When, on the evening of June 10, Herrnstadt how quickly the Soviet representatives assumed that the pleaded with Semenov to give the SED two week's time to uprising had been instigated by the West. As early as the prepare the policy change, the High Commissioner

evening of June 16, High Commissioner Semenov and insisted that the communiqué has to be in the paper General Grechko, in reporting on the day's events, pointed tomorrow, warning the Neues Deutschland editor that “you to the fact that persons from West Berlin participated in the may not have a state for much longer."58

demonstrations in increasing numbers. According to Heeding Semenov's order, the Politburo announced Semenov and Grechko, "large crowds started arriving from the “New Course” liberalization program in Neues

West (Berlin)” late on June 16, and it was "mainly West Deutschland on June 11. As expected by Herrnstadt and Berliners” who were rioting in the streets of Berlin. Citing others, the communiqué with its frank admission of past the evening edition of the local newspaper Der Abend, mistakes came as a surprise to many in and out of the they concluded that it was “clear from the reports of the party. Reports from local party organizations, carefully West German press and radio that the above-mentioned monitored by the SED headquarters in Berlin indicated hostile actions have been organized from West Berlin."64 with great candor the widespread disappointment, disbe- The next day, Grechko cabled to Bulganin that “[i]t may lief, confusion and shock within party ranks as well as the be considered that a special organization based in West populace. To many, the communiqué signaled the SED's Berlin has directed the strikes in East Berlin.” “Analyzing final bankruptcy and the beginning of its demise. Party the situation," Grechko continued, “I have also come to the members felt betrayed and "panicky," others even called conclusion that the provocation was prepared in advance, for Ulbricht's resignation. Many thought the SED retreat organized and directed from the Western sectors of Berlin. from crash socialization resulted from pressure by the The simultaneous actions in the majority of the big cities West German government under Konrad Adenauer and the of the GDR, the same demands of the rebels everywhere as Western powers, evidenced by such reports as the one well as the same anti-state and anti-Soviet slogans have from the small town of Seehausen where “the entire proved such a conclusion.”65 KGB sources soon provided village is in the bar, drinking to the health of Adenauer." details on alleged Western subversion, mentioning in To make matters worse, the only segment of the population particular the activities of the Berlin-based anti-Commuwhich seemed to have been excluded from the New nist organization “Fighting Group Against Inhumanity.”66 Course liberalization were - paradoxically - the

General Vasilii Sokolovskii, deputy USSR defense workers: the raised work norms arbitrarily imposed on minister confirmed this judgement the day after his arrival May 28 remained in force. Labor dissatisfaction was in Berlin. Given that the disorders had erupted simultafurther fueled when the SED regime, groping to maintain neously in Berlin and other major cities and that “the same its authority, confirmed the controversial norm increases tactics of action were used everywhere," the uprising had

to have been “prepared beforehand on the entire territory The internal events in East Germany from the New of the German Democratic Republic and aimed at making Course announcement through the first days of the uprising have been treated elsewhere.

Suffice it to say

Considering the perception that the West had instithat the riots and demonstrations, which climaxed on 17 gated the crisis, Soviet authorities in Berlin as well as June, eventually engulfed more than 350 cities and villages the Soviet leadership in Moscow — were carefully in the GDR, and more than 500,000 people throughout the monitoring Western troop movements on the GDR border. GDR marched in defiance of the regime. Both the SED Semenov remembers that during those days, the teleleaders and the Soviets were surprised by the extent of the phones kept ringing. Khrushchev called several times, uprising. Underestimating the crisis situation and eager not even more often did Molotov and others.'

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The Soviets to precipitate bloodshed, the Soviet Berlin commandant, knew that U.S., British and French troops in the Western General Dibrova, balked when East Berlin police chief sectors of Berlin had been put on higher alert status on Waldemar Schmidt requested authority on the morning of June 17. In the early morning hours of June 18, Soviet June 16 to clamp down on the demonstrators.61 Complain-military intelligence learned that the 7th U.S. Army and ing about the hesitant, even passive, initial response on the

the 12th Air Force unit in Western Germany, as well as part of the Soviets, Schmidt later charged that “if we had NATO headquarters, were put on alert. Within three hours, taken strong action immediately, the whole thing would however, Grechko could reassure Moscow: The alert of have been forgotten."62 Fearful of wider unrest the next ,

U.S. forces had been cancelled. 69 Given the restrained day and a statewide general strike, Soviet troops did and passive Western response to the events in the East finally, in the early morning hours of June 17, enter East sector, it must have been evident to Soviet authorities that Berlin, and by 1 p.m. that day, Soviet military authorities Western troop alerts had likely been defensive in nature.

on June 13.59

a coup d'état."67

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the uprising, Matern argued that the party was lacking militant leadership. Politburo meetings were disorganized” and not well attended, and the body had “made almost no practical decisions." The work of the secretariat had come to a standstill after Ulbricht left for Moscow in early June and left much wanting in general. In Matern's opinion, the "secretariat has been turned from a political organ into Ulbricht's personal office, and its members “nodded their heads in agreement with all the proposals of the secretary-general." Matern also complained about the state of local and regional party leadership, which, not used to independent decision-making, totally depended on direction from above. Communications with the central leadership were difficult since, as Matern explained, on Ulbricht's orders, telephone operators did not connect them (the local party leaders) with him." All of this "was the result of the defective leadership methods on the part of Ulbricht whose motto was “No one can do anything without me.""' Matern announced that he would speak out against Ulbricht at the forthcoming Central Committee

Plenum.75

According to Semenov, Sokolovskii in turn ordered the state of alert for Soviet border troops canceled and took precautions to avoid unintended incidents, which could have caused a military confrontation with the West. As Semenov put it in his memoirs in rather dramatic terms: “The danger of events developing into a Third World War had been banished."70

For days if not weeks Soviet military authorities remained concerned about continuing signs of resistance - in particular continuing strikes — throughout the GDR, and arrests continued in high numbers through the end of June. Yet as early as June 19, Moscow was receiving clear signals that the immediate danger to the SED regime had passed. That day, Grechko informed the Soviet leadership that “street disorders on the territory of the GDR have ended everywhere." A growing number of workers were resuming work, and SED activists were back in the factories, propagandizing the SED's interpretation of the riots. Much to the Soviet observers' satisfaction, more and more people were distancing themselves from the disturbances. By July 4, the Soviet High Commission was even considering easing travel restrictions between the Eastern and Western sectors in Berlin and reopening the sector border. 71

While for the Soviet observers, the peak of the crisis seemed to have passed by June 19-20, tensions were mounting within the SED regime. "This is not a Politburo, but a madhouse," one GDR minister had characterized the situation within the top party committee as early as June 9.72 The uprising paralyzed the SED leadership and froze the discussion on internal renewal. In the early morning hours of June 17, Semenov ordered the SED Politburo to evacuate to the more secure Soviet headquarters, cynically commenting that “it is almost true” when RIAS allegedly reported that the GDR government had fallen apart. After the acute crisis had passed, dissensions within the SED leadership heightened dramatically. Key SED functionaries, such as Fred Oelsner, who had just accompanied Ulbricht and Grotewohl to Moscow, now mounted criticism against the party chief. According to Fadeikin's report, Oelsner stated in conversations with Soviet officials on July 1 that “Ulbricht most of all has not understood the erroneousness of his conduct. He has not understood that as a matter of fact he lost touch with the masses and that his methods of dictatorial leadership were one of the serious reasons that errors were committed." Despite Moscow's New Course instructions, "Ulbricht had not changed and continued to work as before,” though Oelßner noted that he had become somewhat more passive. But he was still inclined to create an atmosphere of pomp around his person.” With telling understatement, Oelsner revealed to his Soviet interlocutors that "no complete unity of views existed in the Politburo."

974 Another one of Ulbricht's close collaborators, Hermann Matern, registered his views with the MVD [KGB predecessor] the next day. Reflecting the paralysis and catharsis prevalent within the SED in the aftermath of

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The opposition to Ulbricht within the Politburo crystallized around the issue of the leadership structure. On June 25, the “organization commission,” set up on June 6 to improve the workings of the Politburo, met for the first time and discussed key issues such as the dualism of Politburo and Secretariat, collective decision-making, and Ulbricht's leadership methods. The results of the discussion, tabled at the second meeting on July 2, called for an elimination of the post of secretary general — Ulbricht's position - and an enlargement of the Politburo which, following the Soviet model, would henceforth be called the “Presidium of the Central Committee." While the secretariat of the Central Committee would be dissolved, a 4-man “Permanent Commission of the Presidium” would direct the implementation of the New Course according to Soviet instructions. 76

The organization commission's recommendations were similar to proposals which Semenov, Sokolovskii and ludin sent to Moscow on June 24/25.77 Besides calling for additional aid to the GDR to improve the food supply of the population, a sharp reduction of GDR exports and occupation expenses, and greater internal party democracy, the Soviet representatives in Germany also favored a reorganization of the GDR government. The Soviet High Commissioner and his colleagues considered it necessary to "liquidate the Ministry of State Security" and to "relieve com[rade] Ulbricht of the responsibility of deputy prime minister of the GDR so as to enable him to concentrate his attention on the work of the C[entral] C[ommittee of the] SED." At the same time, the position of general-secretary should be abolished, the secretariat itself should be limited in its functions, re-staffed, and reduced in size. The proposals suggested to “radically renew the personnel of the Politburo,” removing from it those who do not “demonstrate the necessary capabilities” required for the leadership of the party and state in the current circum

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stances. The People's Chamber should take on the

fessed that he did not have to be first secretary: “This takes responsibility for dismissing “less capable and less popular confidence which has to be renewed.” ministers" and replacing them with more popular person- Yet Ulbricht called the elimination of the secretariat alities, "drawing more widely from among representatives "dangerous" and considered Zaisser's nomination of of other parties." Semenov, Sokolovskii, and Iudin also Herrnstadt as first secretary "the logical consequence," called for investigations into the union leadership, a

thus reneging on the agreement" that had been reached in strengthening of the People's Police and changes in the the organization commission. Moreover, some members Free German Youth. In order to raise its international and now spoke up in his defense. Arguing that Ulbricht's domestic prestige, the new GDR regime should be invited resignation would “cause damage to the party,” Erich to Moscow for an “official visit."78

According to

Honecker objected to blaming Ulbricht alone for the Semenov's memoirs, Molotov's overall reaction to the situation, and Hermann Matern flatly stated that “U. must report was "positive," but as far as Ulbricht is concerned, be first secretary." Playing for time, Ulbricht announced Semenov has drifted to the right."79

that he would take a stand in the C[entral] C[ommittee)” Molotov's reaction, if reported correctly, spoke not plenum scheduled for later that month. only of his commitment to Ulbricht but also might have

In Moscow on July 8, Ulbricht and Grotewohl indicated the shifting balance of forces in Moscow in the apparently learned about Beriia's arrest and his alleged latter's favor. The day after the organization commission's plans for the GDR. It is likely that Ulbricht turned the meeting, on June 26, Berija was arrested in Moscow. Most Beriia affair to his advantage, using his short presence in likely, the arrest had little to do with Beriia's views on Moscow to garner support for his position. It may not have Germany, but his more flexible position on socialism in been by accident that on the following day, Vyshinskii was the GDR, if he indeed had taken such a position, was informed of the cancellation of several of Semenov's, quickly seized by his opponents within the Kremlin to Sokolovskii's and Iudin's recommendations. In any case, justify the action. Beriia's arrest probably brought any upon his return to Berlin, Ulbricht, probably backed by the discussion and reassessment of Soviet policy towards Soviets, went on the offensive, turning first against Zaisser Germany to an abrupt halt. By the second meeting of the and Herrnstadt. Ulbricht used the resolution on “The New organization commission on July 2, B. Miroshnishchenko, Course and the Renewal of the Party," drafted in June by who was participating in the meeting on Semenov's Herrnstadt in preparation of the forthcoming 15th SED behalf, 80 objected to any immediate changes to the Plenum, to launch a massive attack against both Herrnstadt secretariat structure, thus indirectly reinforcing Ulbricht's and Zaisser when the Central Committee met on July 24position. Semenov himself apparently withdrew some of 26. Accusing Herrnstadt and Zaisser of behavior "hostile his earlier recommendations. About the same time,

to the Party" and alleging a connection between both of moreover, a Foreign Ministry subcommittee headed by them and Beriia, Ulbricht managed to achieve the expulfirst deputy Foreign Minister Andrej Vishinskii, “can- sion of his two opponents from the Politburo.82 By late celed" or postponed the implementation of key measures July, Ulbricht had weathered the most dangerous challenge in the Semenov-Sokolovskii-Iudin report, particularly to his leadership thus far. those which affected Ulbricht's control of state and party. Ulbricht's survival did not only mean the survival of

Grotewohl's notes on the night session of the Polit- his hard-line policies and Stalinist practices, many of buro on July 7-8, shortly before he and Ulbricht were to which were gradually reintroduced in the following leave for Moscow, reflect the volatile balance of forces months. With the decision to continue the support for within the SED Politburo.81 There was still considerable Ulbricht and the East German regime, Moscow shed the criticism of Ulbricht, led by Zaisser's statement that, while last ambiguities in its German policy. In the following Ulbricht was “no more responsible for the wrong course months, the Soviets took steps to boost the East German than we all," he was to blame for the brutal administrative regime's economic viability and internal support, first by methods which had "spoiled the Party." To leave the party agreeing to provide East Berlin with an extensive ecoapparatus in Ulbricht's hands, Zaisser argued, would “be nomic aid package, and later by an official termination of catastrophic for the new course.” Several Politburo

the reparations' payments. In the international arena as members sided with Zaisser. Hermann Rau, for example, well, Moscow sought to raise the prestige of its client doubted that Ulbricht had the will to change his working regime. In August, the Soviet leadership announced its methods and favored a change at the top. Anton

decision to turn the High Commission into an embassy. In Ackermann argued that the party had to recover but could March 1954, Moscow officially announced the GDR to be not do so with Ulbricht in the leadership. Alluding to the a “sovereign state." The road was set for the “twodivisions within the Politburo, Fred Oelßner stated that “U. Germany doctrine," espoused by Khrushchev in 1955, has considered all of us as stupid. W. has not learned his which guided Soviet policy in Germany until 1989. lessons." There would not be “any need for a first secre

Although the documents presented below shed much tary." Faced with such criticism, Ulbricht acknowledged new light on the 1953 crisis, the documentary record is that the criticism was correct and his behavior regarding fragmentary at best. While we have a pretty clear sense of the ostentatious birthday celebration mistaken. He pro- what went on in the SED Politburo, the decision-making

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