Situation Report from Andrei Grechko and A. Tarasov to Nikolai Bulganin, 17 June 1953, as of 11:00 p.m. Moscow Time (9:00 p.m. CET)


Copy #6

To Comrade Bulganin, N.A.

I am reporting on the situation in the GDR and Berlin as of 11 p.m., 17 June 1953 (Moscow time).

1. The Soviet forces, namely the 1st mechanized infantry division, the 14th mechanized infantry division, and the 12th tank division (altogether 600 tanks), have for the most part restored order in the Soviet sector of Berlin. The provocative plan of the reactionary and fascist elements has collapsed.

There have been only minor groups around the Alexanderplatz and Stalinallee area downtown in the evening, which are being dispersed and arrested by our troops.

[We] can surmise that a special organization based in West Berlin has directed the strikes in East Berlin.

Analyzing the situation, I have also come to the conclusion that the provocation was prepared in advance, organized and directed from Western sectors of Berlin. The simultaneous actions in the majority of the major cities of the GDR, the same demands of rebels everywhere as well as the same anti-state and ant-Soviet slogans, are proof for this conclusion.

As the result of measures undertaken in the Western sectors of Berlin, there were large gatherings of German residents at the borders between the Soviet sector and the British and American ones by 8:00 p.m.

The border with the Western sectors of Berlin was closed by our troops.

There were no clashes at power stations, gas plants, water supply, and railroads.

About 300 organizers and provocateurs were arrested in Berlin by 8:00 p.m.

2. Order was restored in the majority of the cities of GDR. A normal state of affairs and activity of state institutions were restored toward the end of the day. Order was restored by measures undertaken in Magdeburg. Fifty Germans were killed and wounded, and over 100 instigators and provocateurs have been arrested during the restoration of order.

3. With the purpose of preventing possible further riots, the forces of the Group [of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany] were dispatched from the field camps into the following major, important population centers by the morning of 18 June:

The 3rd Army - the 19th mechanized division into Magdeburg; the 136th artillery-technical, tank & self-propelled gun regiment into Burg; the 13th mechanized division into Parchim, Ludwigslust, Perleberg; the 207th infantry division into Gardelegen, Stendal.

The 8th Guards Army - the 20th Guards mechanized division into Weimar, Jena, Zeitz; the 21st Guards mechanized division into Halle, Merseburg; the 57th Guards infantry division into Naumburg, Weissenfels and its one infantry regiment into Eisenach.

The 1st Guards Army - the 11th tank division into Dresden (the main forces) and Meissen, Königsbruk (the minor forces); the 8th Guards mechanized division into Leipzig (the main forces) and Borna, Grimma (the minor forces); the 9th tank division into Piesa, Oschatz, Zeithavn.

The 3rd Guards Mechanized Army - the 6th Guards tank division into Dessau, Wittenberg; the 9th mechanized division into Lubben, Cottbus, Spremberg.

The 4th Guards Mechanized Army - the 6th Guards mechanized division into Bernau, Eberswalde, Bad Freienwalde; the 7th Guards mechanized division into Fürstenwalde, Frankfurt an der Oder.

The motorbike battalion and the howitzer battalion of the 10th tank division into Brandenburg; the 25th tank division (a tank regiment and a mechanized infantry regiment) into Oranienburg.

4. According to preliminary information, the losses of the strikers in the whole territory of the DDR have been: 84 people killed and wounded, 700 men arrested. Our exact losses are being determined.

5. Martial law was declared in the British sector of Berlin. Soldiers are not allowed to leave the barracks. The patrols at the border with the Soviet sector have been reinforced. Troops in the American and French sectors of Berlin are in Barracks.




17 June 1953

[Quelle: AGSh, f. 16,op. 3139, d. 155, II. 12-14. Übersetzung: Victor Gobarev. Zuerst veröffentlicht in: Cold War International History Project Bulletin, No. 10 (March 1998), S. 89. Auch dok. in: Christian F. Ostermann (Hg.), Uprising in East Germany. The Cold War, the German Question and the First Major Upheaval Behind the Iron Curtain. National Security Archive Cold War Readers, New York: CEU Press 2001, Dokument Nr. 33, S. 196/97.]