The East German Uprising – a summaryIt turned into a widespread uprising against the German Ggerman Republic government the next day. East german revolt 1953 and working class networks, particularly relating to the old Social Democratic Party of Germany east german revolt 1953, anti-fascist resistance networks and trade unions played a key role in the unfolding of the uprising. In spite of the intervention of Soviet troopsthe wave of strikes and protests was not easily brought under control. Even after June 17th, there were demonstrations in more than towns and villages. The party was acting on demands made by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin.
Uprising of in East Germany - Wikipedia
It turned into a widespread uprising against the German Democratic Republic government the next day. Strikes and working class networks, particularly relating to the old Social Democratic Party of Germany , anti-fascist resistance networks and trade unions played a key role in the unfolding of the uprising. In spite of the intervention of Soviet troops , the wave of strikes and protests was not easily brought under control.
Even after June 17th, there were demonstrations in more than towns and villages. The party was acting on demands made by Soviet premier Joseph Stalin. This division marked an assault on the remaining middle stratum of the GDR: This decision was made amid the background of the catastrophic economic situation in the country. The economic policies of the SED favoured the development of heavy industry at the expense of the production of food and consumer goods, all of which resulted in a severe crisis in supplying the public with goods.
Electricity was turned off in factories and public buildings at the onset of darkness every evening during peak period. The dramatic increase of emigration Republikflucht , brain drain in the first half of , already high since the establishment of the GDR, constituted a serious economic and social problem. Another factor that contributed to an already complicated political situation was the high number of political prisoners in the GDR. Suppression of the illegal organisation Junge Gemeinde Young Congregation , wrongly perceived as the central youth organisation of the Evangelical Church , played a role here.
Numerous trainee pastors were imprisoned e. Johannes Hamel and Fritz Hoffmann. Ecclesiastic recreation centres were closed and taken over by the FDJ e.
Schloss Mansfeld and Huberhaus Wernigerode. High school students who belonged to a church were often expelled by the school authorities, sometimes even shortly before school graduation. Within this complicated background, the decision to raise the work norms in short the principle 'more work for the same salary' was perceived as a provocation, which would conceivably lead to the deterioration of living standards. These changes were coming into force by 30 June , Ulbricht's 60th birthday.
Issued as a suggestion, it became in effect a direction that was introduced in all the state-owned enterprises so-called volkseigene Betriebe and if the new quotas were not met then workers would have to face a reduction of salaries.
The decision was taken on 13—14 May , and the Council of Ministers approved it on 28 May. Following Stalin's death in March and the massive increase in emigration, the new Soviet government decided to ease the policies Stalin had demanded.
On 4 June , the Soviet government, alarmed at reports of unrest, summoned East German leaders to Moscow. Georgy Malenkov warned them that if policy direction were not corrected immediately, there would be a catastrophe. However, according to the historian of East Germany, Manfred Wilke, that admission may have had the unintended effect of inflaming public opinion rather than easing tensions.
On the morning of 16 June, East Berlin construction workers went on strike and marched down Stalinallee, now Karl-Marx-Allee , towards government buildings after their superiors announced a pay cut if they did not meet their work quota. Things started with a discussion by shop stewards as regards how to respond to recent increase in their work quotas.
However, this soon turned into a mass demonstration, which gathered more workers from construction sites as they marched first to the headquarters of the Free German Trade Union Federation. However, dissatisfied with the response there, the protest swelled to over ten thousand as they marched to Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus , the home of the House of Ministries in Leipziger Strasse.
When a minor official informed the crowd that their original demand about quotas had been met, this failed to satisfy the protestors who started developing other demands until a young engineer made the suggestion that they put out a call for general strike the next day.
These events were reported by the West Berlin -based Radio in the American Sector which helped spread news of the intended strike. Early on 17 June 40, protesters had gathered in East Berlin, with more arriving throughout the morning. Many protests were held throughout East Germany with at least some work stoppages and protests in virtually all industrial centers and large cities in the country.
The original demands of the protesters, such as the reinstatement of the previous lower work quotas, turned into political demands. SED functionaries took to the streets and began arguing with small groups of protesters.
Eventually, the workers demanded the resignation of the East German government. The government decided to violently suppress the uprising and turned to the Soviet Union for military support.
In total, around 16 Soviet divisions with 20, soldiers as well as 8, Kasernierte Volkspolizei members were used to quell the uprising. In East Berlin, major clashes occurred along Unter den Linden between the Brandenburger Tor and Marx-Engels-Platz , where Soviet troops and Volkspolizei opened fire,  and around Potsdamer Platz , where several people were killed by the Volkspolizei.
The number of known victims is 55;  other estimates put the number of victims at least Earlier West German estimates of the number of people killed were considerably higher: It also was alleged that 17 or 18 Soviet soldiers were executed for refusing to shoot demonstrating workers,  but these reports remain unconfirmed by post research. On 18 June , Neues Deutschland , the official party publication of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany SED and the daily national newspaper, published an article on its front page titled "Was ist in Berlin geschehen?
What occurred in Berlin? Other archived editions of Neues Deutschland document similar comments made by party officials that condemned the influence of American popular culture on German youth. The prominence of American films and music in both East and West Berlin influenced the rise of a subculture of youth commonly known as Halbstarke lit.
American films of the era like The Wild One and Rebel Without a Cause , featuring movie stars Marlon Brando and James Dean , respectively, were viewed by the GDR with romanticizing public disobedience and rebellion, as well as encouraging violent crime.
Continued occurrences of crime and uprisings by German youths would eventually lead to the decision by SED party officials to begin construction of the Berlin Wall in Upon German reunification in October , it was moved to 3 October, the date of formal reunification. The event is commemorated in the following poem by Bertolt Brecht:. West German group Alphaville mention the date explicitly as "the seventeenth of June" but without reference to the year in their song "Summer in Berlin," from the album Forever Young.
When the compilation album Alphaville Amiga Compilation was assembled for release in East Germany in , the song "Summer in Berlin" was submitted for inclusion, but rejected "for political reasons.
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