We would like to draw attention to the latest dossier of the International Research Center GDR (Internationale Forschungsstelle DDR (IF DDR)) on the 70th anniversary of the counter-revolutionary coup attempt on 17 June 1953 in the GDR. The dossier contains analyses and important background on the historical events. It therefore disgraces the narrative of a spontaneous “workers’ uprising” or a “people’s revolt”.
As an internationally linked institute, the IF DDR is dedicated to researching and processing the history of the German Democratic Republic and its lessons for the present.
In an article in the dossier, Jörg Roesler recalls the West’s aggressive “roll-back” strategy towards socialism and people’s democracies worldwide at that time, while Kurt Gossweiler and Dieter Itzerott shed light on the conflicts between the CPSU and the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) about building socialism in the GDR around 1953. In another article, Jörg Roesler depicts the deliberate interference and incitement of protest in the GDR by the West through targeted propaganda, while Anton Latzo addresses the instrumentalization of the unrest by Western security agencies. The dossier concludes with Bertolt Brecht’s impressions of the June events and their background, which he describes in a letter to the publisher Suhrkamp. The letter shows the author’s clear partisanship for the maintenance and strengthening of the GDR, which is all too readily swept under the carpet in German public opinion today.
Contrary to the omnipresent and simplistic propaganda against the GDR, the dossier provides interesting insights into the contradictions and background of the events of that time. Then as now, the Western governments’ professed defense of liberal values turns out to be a cover for their own tangible political and economic interests at home and abroad, as well as a whitewash for their flat anti-communism and aggressive revanchism.