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Encyclopedia > Uprising of 1953 in East Germany
Protesters marching through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

The Uprising of 1953 in East Germany took place in June and July 1953. A strike by Berlin construction workers on June 16 turned into a widespread uprising against the East German government the next day. The uprising in Berlin was violently suppressed by tanks of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (ГСВГ, Группа советских войск в Германии) and the Volkspolizei. In spite of the intervention of Soviet troops, the wave of strikes and protests was not easily brought under control. There were demonstrations even after June 17 in more than 500 towns and villages. 17 June 1953: Protestors marching through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Source: http://www. ... 17 June 1953: Protestors marching through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Source: http://www. ... 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... GDR redirects here. ... Location of Berlin within Germany / EU Coordinates Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2) Administration Country NUTS Region DE3 City subdivisions 12 boroughs Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) Governing parties SPD / Left. ... June 16 is the 167th day of the year (168th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Location of Berlin within Germany / EU Coordinates Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2) Administration Country NUTS Region DE3 City subdivisions 12 boroughs Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD) Governing parties SPD / Left. ... Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (1949--1988), also known as Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany (1945--1949) and Western Group of Forces (1988-1990) were the troops of the Soviet Army in East Germany. ... A 1:87 scale model of a Volkspolizei police car The Volkspolizei (German: Peoples Police) was the national police of East German, whose officers were commonly nicknamed VoPos. ...

Contents

June 16

In May 1953, the Politburo of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) raised the work quotas for East German industry by ten percent. On June 16, between 60 and 80 East Berlin construction workers went on strike after their superiors announced a pay cut if they didn't meet their work quota. Their numbers quickly swelled and a general strike and protests were called for the next day. The West Berlin-based Radio in the American Sector reported about the Berlin events and thus probably helped to incite the uprising in other parts of East Germany. Politburo is short for Political Bureau. ... The party emblem represented the handshake between Communist Wilhelm Pieck and Social Democrat Otto Grotewohl when their parties merged in 1946 The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) (German: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) was the governing party of East Germany from its formation in 1949 until the elections of 1990. ... June 16 is the 167th day of the year (168th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... East Berlin was the name given to the eastern part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. ... Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) was a radio station in the American Sector of Berlin during the Cold War. ...


June 17

By dawn on June 17, 100,000 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. June 17 is the 168th day of the year (169th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... GDR redirects here. ...

Soviet Tank in Berlin

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 use force to stop the uprising and turned to the Soviet Union for military support. 17 June 1953 in Berlin, Source: http://www. ... 17 June 1953 in Berlin, Source: http://www. ...


Around noon, the Volkspolizei had trapped many of the demonstrators in an open square. When dozens of T-34 Soviet tanks arrived, massacre followed. It is still unclear how many people died during the uprising, and by the death sentences which followed. The official number of victims is 51. After the evaluation of documents accessible since 1990, the number of victims appears to be at least 125. Higher estimates put the number of dead at 267. In addition, there were numerous arrests. The T-34 is a Soviet medium tank first produced in 1940. ... MCMXC redirects here; for the Enigma album, see MCMXC a. ...


Legacy

Protesters throwing stones at a tank

In memory of the 1953 East German rebellion, West Germany established 17 June as a national holiday. Upon reunification in October 1990, the "Day of German Unity" was moved to 3 October, the date of formal reunification). The extension of the boulevard Unter den Linden in West Berlin, called Charlottenburger Chaussee, was renamed Straße des 17. Juni following the 1953 rebellion. 17 June 1953, Leipziger Street in Berlin: Protestor throwing stones against tanks Source: http://www. ... 17 June 1953, Leipziger Street in Berlin: Protestor throwing stones against tanks Source: http://www. ... June 17 is the 168th day of the year (169th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... October 3 is the 276th day of the year (277th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... A view of Unter den Linden, showing the linden trees for which it is named Unter den Linden (in English: Under the Lindens), is a street in the centre of Berlin, the capital of Germany. ... Boroughs of West Berlin West Berlin was the name given to the western part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990. ... Originally called Charlottenburger Chaussee, The Straße des 17. ...


The event is perhaps best remembered in the following poem by Bertolt Brecht: Bertolt Brecht Brecht redirects here. ...

The Solution
After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

The uprising is also mentioned, albeit subtly, in the 1984 song "Summer in Berlin" by German synthpop band Alphaville. Forever Young was the first album released by Alphaville in 1984, by Warner Music. ... This does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Alphaville is a German synthpop/-rock music group which gained popularity in the 1980s. ...


See also

Monday demonstration in Leipzig The 1989/1990 Monday demonstrations (German: Montagsdemonstrationen) in the East German city of Leipzig were a series of peaceful political protests against the East German government. ...

Sources

References

  • Database of the International Literature on the Uprising of June 17th 1953 in the GDR
  • Ulrich Mählert. Der 17. Juni 1953, ein Aufstand für Einheit, Recht und Freiheit. Berlin: J.H.W.Dietz, 2003.
  • 1953: The East German uprising on libcom.org
  • Alexandra Richie. Faust's Metropolis: a History of Berlin. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1998.
  • Ann Tusa. The Last Division: a History of Berlin, 1945-1989. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1997.
  • BBC: Berliner recalls East German uprising (by Ray Furlong)
  • Hope M. Harrison. "Driving the Soviets up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961."
  • Christian F Ostermann. "Uprising in East Germany, 1953: The Cold War, the German Question, and the First Major Upheaval..." Central European University Press: 2003.

  Results from FactBites:
 
German Propaganda Archive (East German Material) (793 words)
A speech by Albert Norden on the Division of Germany from 1966.
Caricatures from 1953: Mostly aimed at the U.S. or West Germany.
On those leaving East Germany: Advice from 1955 on Republikflucht (fleeing the GDR).
East Germany (941 words)
East Germany, formally known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) (German Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR)), was a Communist satellite state of the former Soviet Union which, together with West Germany, existed from 1949 to 1990 in Germany.
East Germany was heavily under the influence of the Soviet Union, becoming a Stalinist-style socialist country, and part of the Warsaw Pact.
Thus, on October 3th 1990 the East German population was the first from the Eastern Bloc to join the European Union as a part of the reunified Federal Republic of Germany.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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