The East German revolt of 1953

“The first real uprising, by working people, against the Communist and Socialist system.”

-Socialism Sucks

On June 17, 1953, East Germany (The German Democratic Republic ) (GDR) experienced a series of workers strikes, riots and demonstrations. This unrest became much more than just a strike as the populace attempted to rid themselves of Socialism and Communism.

“The ‘proletariat’ had risen against the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.”

-Christian Ostermann

(Well, imagine that !)

On the morning of 16th June 1953, 300 East Berlin construction workers went on strike after their superiors announced a pay cut, if they did not meet their new Socialist work quotas.

Their numbers quickly swelled and a general strike and protests were called for the next day.

Throughout the night of June16th and the morning of June 17th , reports of the events in East Berlin spread quickly throughout the GDR by radio broadcasts.

From all over East Berlin and the surrounding suburbs came the people !

The result?

More than one million people in about 700 localities.

As the numbers grew so did their confidence and determination,

They were there to rid themselves of communism, stop the inhumane human rights abuses and unrealistic quotas the Socialists had levied on them.

Demonstrators began to demand other changes too, such as free elections.

These Communist policies did not work and their Socialist economic demands were unrealistic.

Chants were heard calling for “Death to Communism” and

“Long live Eisenhower!”

The protests soon turned violent as the workers became more vocal and determined.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to use force to stop the uprising. On June 17th 1953,

16 Soviet divisions with tanks, 20,000 soldiers and 8,000 KVP (Barracked People’s Police) were used to quell the uprising.

How ?

They opened fire on unarmed civilians.

“By 09:00, some 25,000 people had gathered in front of the House of Ministries, and tens of thousands more were en route. Between 10:00 and 11:00, some 80 to 100 demonstrators apparently managed to storm the government seat. Only the sudden appearance of Soviet Army vehicles, and then tanks, seemed to prevent a complete takeover.

Within an hour, Soviet troops had cleared and isolated the area around the government headquarters. But fighting between Soviet forces (later also GDR police) and the demonstrators continued into the afternoon and night; eyewitnesses reported that in some instances the Soviets fired directly into the crowd:”

“It was awful to see [. . . ] how the crowds of people fell to the ground. One could immediately see several writhing on the ground, covered with blood; everybody screamed for ambulances and police.”

-Wikipedia

The world knew and observed but, in fear of nuclear war, would not move to help the East Germans.

There would be no help !

This revolt was over.

 

Here’s a video:

 

West Germany estimates of the number of people killed at:

513 people shot and killed in the street, 106 people executed under martial law (or later condemned to death) and 170 executed for political crimes.

1,838 were injured, and 5,100 were arrested (1,200 of these were later sentenced to an average of 5 years in penal camps).

17 Soviet soldiers were also executed.

Why?

They refused to shoot demonstrating workers.

Even they knew it was wrong !

 

Well, there it is !

Again !

Isn’t Socialism great ?

 

“The ‘proletariat’ had risen against the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.”

They always do.

“Know the history”

 

Filed Under: History - Past to Future

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