The Prelude to Nationwide Surveillance in East Germany: Stasi Operations and Threat Perceptions, 1945-1953
by Gary Bruce

Journal of Cold War Studies, 5:2, Spring 2003, pp. 3-31

The early years of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) remain a poorly developed area of Cold War historiography. Literature on the MfS (known as the Stasi in common parlance) has tended to focus on the period after 1953, with only brief attention accorded to the organization's formative years. 1 This article explores the conduct and threat perceptions of the MfS from the time of its embryonic predecessors in the 1940s to the eve of the mass uprising that swept through East Germany in June 1953.

The article reveals that the MfS in its early years focused almost exclusively on anti-Communist organizations based in West Germany and overtly oppositional elements at home. Prior to mid-1953 the MfS was moving only slowly into the field of broad surveillance of the population. On this point the later history of the organization may well have clouded our understanding of what the Stasi was initially like. The revelation in 1989 that the MfS was East Germany's largest employer and that a staggering 173,000 informants were working for the ministry at the time of its collapse rightly shocked observers. 2 The MfS of the early 1950s, however, was much smaller. Moreover, the predominance of operations related to Western organizations and overt internal opponents, combined with the poorly developed surveillance apparatus, suggests that the MfS did not "fail" its superiors in the Socialist Unity Party (SED) by not foreseeing the unrest that led to the 17 June uprising, as most of the current literature suggests. 3 The MfS was neither responsible for nor capable of foreseeing the rebellion.

The article is divided into four main sections. To understand how the MfS developed in its early years, one must look beyond its inception in 1950, and beyond Germany's borders. The story of the MfS begins in the country that had a pervasive impact on the course of East German history, the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation officials were instrumental in setting up the initial police organs in eastern Germany, and they remained extremely influential thereafter. The second section looks at the formation of the MfS and the functions it was supposed to perform. Only a small number of employees were available to carry out these functions during the ministry's first few years. The third section shows that MfS activities in the early 1950s were directed predominantly against known opposition groups and Western-based organizations. Nationwide surveillance was not yet within the ministry's purview. The final section examines the role of the MfS during the June 1953 uprising and the changes that followed in the state security apparatus. Internal political struggles in the GDR intensified in the immediate aftermath of the uprising, and the accusations that were lodged against the MfS had more to do with political maneuvering than with the actual responsibilities of the ministry.

Soviet Influence and the Creation of K-5

After the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia in November 1917, they sought to eliminate all their internal and external "enemies." To this end, they formed a secret police agency, known initially as the Cheka, in December 1917. Under the Bolshevik regime, the distinction between foreign and internal intelligence became increasingly blurred, and the foreign intelligence apparatus was regarded as merely an external projection of state security. 4 Similar attitudes prevailed under Josif Stalin both before and after World War II. In July 1948 Soviet Politburo member Andrei Zhdanov told the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) that the Soviet Ministry of State Security had proof that Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito was conspiring with "imperialist espionage agencies" to subvert the peoples' democracies. 5 Stalin claimed that one of the orchestrators of the plot was Noel Field, an American who worked for the Unitarian Organization in Europe that assisted exiles. The theory of a conspiracy involving Field led to the purging of his "contacts" in the East European Communist parties, including László Rajk in Hungary. From 1950 to 1953 the Soviet state security organs fought against the presumed alliance between Zionists and Western intelligence services, who supposedly were conspiring to undermine socialism. The Rudolf Slánsk_ show trial in Czechoslovakia in 1952 and the belief that Jewish doctors, aided by the United States, were plotting to subvert the Soviet Union were integral to Stalin's anti-Zionist campaign. 6 In certain instances the paranoia bordered on the absurd. Stalin alleged that the United States had enlisted Jewish organizations and the actor Simon Mikhoels to infiltrate the Crimea. 7

These episodes should not be interpreted simply as extensions of internal power struggles and thus convenient excuses to carry out purges. Leadership rivalry did of course play an extremely important role, but the obsession with purported Western conspiracies to undermine socialism cannot be separated from the external orientation of the Soviet Union. As Vojtech Mastny points out, the clamor against "subversion" in the Soviet Union in late 1949 could not possibly be justified solely by an internal threat. 8 In the state security apparatus the external and internal elements became inseparable. The Soviet Ministry of State Security (MGB) was constantly on the lookout for collusion between the Western secret services and Tito. 9

The arrival of Soviet forces in Germany at the end of World War II enabled the Soviet Union to control the establishment of East German socialism, particularly the formation of the East German secret police. In the 1920s and 1930s the Soviet-sponsored Communist International (Comintern) had assisted in setting up and operating the intelligence service of the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, KPD). 10 After World War II eleven "special camps," including Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, were converted by Soviet forces into notorious prisons for active Nazis and opponents of Communism. The camps brimmed with German youths rounded up by the Soviet internal security (NKVD) forces on drummed-up charges of belonging to Werewolf groups engaged in underground activity against the Soviet occupation. Recent estimates suggest a death rate of 35-40 percent in these camps. 11 Soviet officials were concerned above all with securing Communist hegemony in eastern Germany and therefore conducted a ferocious campaign against potential resisters. Although civil war-like conditions did not exist in eastern Germanyunlike in western Ukraine, western Belarus, and the Baltic republics 12 —Soviet forces acted on the assumption of a well-organized, well-armed resistance.

In 1947 the Soviet authorities created K-5, the fifth department of the eastern German criminal police, primarily to monitor officials in sensitive branches of the embryonic East German state apparatus. 13 The Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SVAG) directly controlled K-5, although the department was formally part of the German Central Administration of the Interior (Deutsche Verwaltung des Innern, DVdI). 14 A report from the head of K-5, Erich Jamin, to all sections of the department underscored the political nature of the new police unit. Jamin ordered officers to be generous with individuals arrested for nonpolitical acts, but to be strict with those who had been arrested because of their political convictions. 15 The leaders of K-5 made clear that unlike other branches of the police they would not employ anyone who had worked for the Gestapo or Security Service (SD) during the Nazi regime. 16

Erich Mielke, who was one of three deputy chairmen of the DVdI (along with Willy Seifert and Paul Wagner) and from 1957 was also minister of state security, regarded the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) to be the greatest internal barrier to the establishment of a Communist state. 17 The forced fusion of the KPD and SPD in 1946 in the Soviet-occupied zone had met with strong SPD protests. The Soviet authorities resorted to threats, arrests, and the withholding of resources in order to establish the Socialist Unity Party (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, SED), thereby preventing the SPD from becoming a strong political rival. Many SPD members turned to underground activity, such as pamphlet distribution, and were assisted by the western SPD's Ostbüro, an agency created specifically to aid SPD resisters in the East. 18 In Saxony K-5 reported a flurry of SPD activity in the form of pamphlet distribution and the distribution of SPD newsletters at an SED provincial party conference in Dresden. 19 K-5 officers were alarmed that the incidence of SPD activity had increased more than threefold in 1946 and 1947. 20 K-5 acknowledged that it was targeting SPD activities under SVAG Order Number 201 on denazification, which called for the removal of former active Nazis from leading positions in state, social, and economic administrations. Order Number 201 thus served a dual purpose: to complete the denazification process in the Soviet zone, and to eliminate political opponents.

In November 1947 Walter Ulbricht ordered Mielke to establish an Intelligence and Information Department (Abteilung Nachrichten und Information, ANI) in the DVdI. Although the new department was supposed to transmit information on government measures to the public, it was also supposed to convey information about the public to the government. 21 The directive establishing the ANI showed that overt political opponents remained a concern for the SED. The document complained of "elements" that were trying to destroy the united party (a veiled reference to SPD members) and of "reactionary groups" in the non-Marxist parties. 22 The new department was responsible for tracking former SPD members, both within and outside the SED, and political opponents in the still legal non-Marxist parties.

The Intelligence and Information Department worked under the auspices of the Landesnachrichtenämter, the provincial information offices that had been primarily involved in media monitoring. 23 With the creation of the ANI the Landesnachrichtenämter took tentative steps into the field of popular surveillance through a small network of informants. 24 In classic SED jargon, the Landesnachrichtenämter were to "take the pulse of all internal developments, come up with a diagnosis, and, when necessary, prescribe the most effective 'medicine.'" 25 Although the Landesnachrichtenämter contained the seeds of eventual blanket surveillance, it is important to emphasize that the extent of surveillance at this point was considerably less. One must therefore be cautious in interpreting Mielke's famous statement that he desired a network of informants to "know everything and report everything worth knowing." 26 This represented Mielke's ideal, but the reality on the ground was distant from his rhetoric. The early East German security apparatus lacked the resources necessary to attain Mielke's lofty ambitions. This shortfall forced the East German security apparatus to work much more selectively, as the SED justification for the Intelligence and Information Department suggested.

The establishment of the ANI occurred during a period of increasing East-West tension over Germany's future. Given the ideological differences between the Soviet Union and the Western allies, the joint administration of Germany had become increasingly untenable. The Soviet Union had left the Allied Control Council, and major societal changes, including denazification, land reform, and sequestering of factories, had taken place on a zonal basis. In the spring of 1947 the British and U.S. governments formed the Bizone Economic Council for their zones of Germany, in effect an embryonic West German government. Later that year the Soviet Union orchestrated the Volkskongress (People's Congress) movement in East Germany ostensibly to establish a national parliament "from below," while in reality preparing to secure Communist hegemony over the political structures of East Germany. Three Volkskongresse were held over the next two years, culminating in the establishment of the GDR under Soviet auspices in October 1949. 27 As East-West tensions mounted, the Western powers introduced a unified deutsche mark into their zones of Germany, and Stalin responded by imposing a military blockade of ground access to Berlin in the winter of 1948-1949.

The accelerated Stalinization of the Soviet-occupied zone required a party of iron discipline, free from members who might be "ideologically weak." In 1947 and 1948 the SED became a "party of a new type" at Moscow's insistence, ridding itself of former SPD members and becoming more selective in accepting new members. 28 In 1948 Ulbricht and Wilhelm Pieck traveled to Moscow and urged Stalin to permit an expansion of K-5. Stalin agreed, despite the protest of the Soviet MGB, which saw in an enlarged K-5 a rival to its own activities in East Germany. 29 In the tense Cold War atmosphere the consolidation of SED power in East Germany remained the paramount concern. In May 1949 K-5 was dissolved and a new organization established, the Hauptverwaltung zum Schutz der Volkswirtschaft (Main Directorate for Defense of the People's Economy), which reported directly to the DVdI, not through the police as the K-5 had done. The Main Directorate, however, was extremely small. Wilhelm Zaisser, the first minister of state security in the GDR, later claimed that the organization had been permitted only thirty employees, "including the cleaning ladies." 30

The Inception of the MfS

On 8 February 1950 the provisional People's Assembly (Volkskammer) of the GDR met for its tenth sitting. Point 4 on the agenda that day was the establishment of a Ministry for State Security. With little fanfare the Volkskammer removed the Main Directorate for Defense of the People's Economy fromtheMinistry of the Interior and established it as a separate Ministry forState Security (MfS). On 20 February the Volkskammer appointed Zaisser to be minister of state security and Mielke to be state secretary for state security. 31

The MfS was founded with a central headquarters on Normannenstrasse in East Berlin, with branches at all the Land (provincial) and Kreis (local district) levels. Following the dissolution of the provinces in 1952, the SED divided the MfS into Bezirke (regional districts). Important sites such as the sprawling Leuna factory complex or the sensitive uranium mining operation in the Wismut region also had their own branches. 32 The MfS, however, was not yet the massive apparatus that shocked observers when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. In 1950 the MfS had only 2,700 full-time employees (compared to 91,015 in 1989). By 1951 the MfS employed roughly 4,500, and by the spring of 1952, some 5,000. 33 Despite the notorious shortcomings of the early MfS data on informants, the available evidence suggests that the Stasi employed relatively few informants in the early 1950s. The most recent estimates are that 5,204 informants were recruited in 1950, 14,000 in 1951, and 15,000 in 1952, but it is clear that some of these informants were enlisted separately by different MfS officers. It is also clear that not all of the early informants were active. Some of them, once recruited, never worked for the MfS. 34 In 1955 the MfS moved to a more selective recruitment of informants. 35 Even so, these low numbers contrast sharply with the roughly 173,000 MfS informants that were active by 1989. 36

The main internal divisions of the MfS were called departments (Abteilungen), which over time became Main Departments (Hauptabteilungen). 37 One of the most important departments in the early MfS was Department V, headed by a former member of the National Committee of Free Germany, Fritz Schröder, and his first deputy, Erich Jamin. 38 Department V was responsible for fighting underground resistance such as the anti-Communist organizations based in West Berlin. Another key role was played by Department VI, which was responsible for more visible opponents such as the non-Marxist parties in the GDR, the churches, and "sects." Department III was responsible for protecting economic installations; and Department II was responsible for intelligence operations in West Germany. 39 Although Department II conducted operations in West Germany, the MfS did not have a separate department for foreign espionage in general. The SED established a small foreign espionage service in 1951 within the Foreign Ministry rather than the MfS. 40

Department V campaigned against resistance activities and then authorized Department VIII 41 to carry out arrests of particular individuals. 42 It remains unclear which department was in charge of penetrating organizations in West Germany and West Berlin. Most likely, Department V's Section 5 was responsible for "western operations" (Westarbeit), while Department VIII, apart from carrying out arrests, planned and executed measures against individuals, groups, and sites in the "operations theater" of West Germany and West Berlin. 43 Additionally, Department VIII coordinated contacts with the Volkspolizei (People's Police—the uniformed police).

The department responsible for monitoring the broader population, Department VIa, was initially small. The leading researcher on this topic at the former Stasi archive, Roland Wiedmann, has described Department VIa as an "extremely small apparatus." 44 The relatively secondary role of wide-scale surveillance during the Stasi's early years is evident in a 9 September 1950 order from Mielke regarding the registration of informants from the general population. 45 His instructions were brief, lacking in detail, and limited mainly to general statements that recruitment should take place only in MfS buildings and only with the approval of a supervisor. If the individual agreed to cooperate, the MfS required that he or she sign a form to this effect. Not until the fall of 1952 did the MfS issue a detailed directive on the recruitment of informants, as discussed below.

On the same day that Mielke sent out guidelines for informant registration, he issued a directive on the registration of those arrested by the MfS. This document is suggestive of the hierarchy of priorities for the early MfS. Mielke ordered the Stasi to register criminals by the "severity" of the crimes they had committed. In the case of a person who was charged with having been both an active member of the Gestapo and an American spy, the directive indicated that he was to be registered under the "more important" crime of being an "agent of the USA." 46

The MfS focused its early efforts on groups and individuals in the GDR who were openly opposed to the regime, including members of the non-Marxist parties and their respective Ostbüros, organizations established by the West German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), SPD, and Free Democratic Party (FDP) to assist party members in East Germany (as well as those who had fled to the West). 47 Until 1950 there was considerable opposition to the SED from the ranks of the "bourgeois" parties, especially from Jakob Kaiser and Andreas Hermes of the CDU. Prior to the Gleichschaltung (forcing into line) process, which was completed in large part by 1952, the eastern CDU and Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD) were inherently suspect because the ideologies they represented were fundamentally opposed to Communism. 48 The existence of Ostbüros, which reported to their Western counterparts, contributed to SED suspicions. In November 1951 Mielke ordered the MfS to gather information on the members of the provincial executives of the LDPD, the CDU, the National Democratic Party of Germany (NDPD), the Free German Youth, and the Association for Farmer Mutual Assistance. 49 The MfS also fought the privately run anti-Communist resistance organizations based in West Berlin, especially the Fighting Group Against Inhumanity (KgU), the Investigative Committee of Free Jurists (UfJ), the Union of Victims of Stalinism (VOS), and the League of German Youth (BDJ). 50 In addition, the MfS kept watch on religious organizations, especially the Protestant youth organization, Junge Gemeinde. 51

The perception of Western intentions played an important role in the MfS's fight against these opponents. 52 Senior officials in the MfS believed that the West was engaged in a concerted effort to bring down the GDR, and therefore they assumed that all the opposition groups were linked under the ultimate control of Washington. Stasi officials claimed that the western SPD was "participating actively" in the KgU; that the Union for the Victims of Stalinism was running joint operations with the KgU and with a Soviet émigré organization, the National Labour Alliance; that the BDJ was working hand in hand with the West German FDP; that the Allgemeine Bibellehr- Vereinigung (ABV), a splinter organization from the Jehovah's Witnesses, was led personally by the vice president of the United States; 53 and that the KgU and the UfJ also enjoyed close cooperation. 54 In a press conference on 4 May 1955 Mielke's deputy, Gustav Borrmann, raised the prospect of a coordinated attack by the West when he referred to "the entire activity of the imperialist secret services and of agent organizations like Gehlen, Ostbüros, UfJ, RIAS, or however they may disguise themselves." 55 This perception affected the logistics of the MfS, as penetration of one organization was believed to lead to the penetration of another. 56 A disproportionate amount of resources were accorded to organizations that posed negligible threats, such as the ABV and the VOS. In Operation Twilight, for example, the MfS instructed its officers to investigate the splinter organization ABL to determine its contacts with the West and "other bureaus," an indication of a belief that the ABL operated jointly with genuine espionage agencies. In the campaign against the VOS, the MfS used up valuable resources obtaining information on the organization's alleged sabotage activities, even though no such activities were actually performed. 57 Similarly, the MfS viewed the SPD's removal from the party of Ernst Tillich, Rainer Hildebrandt's heir as head of the KgU, as simply a ruse to conceal their ties. 58

The MfS's assumption that these organizations were cooperating was exaggerated, but there was some element of truth to it. Contacts with the United States were clear in several of these organizations, especially the Ostbüro of the FDP and the KgU. 59 The contacts among the individual organizations are less clear. They operated independently of one another but did participate to varying degrees in information sharing. The UfJ and the Ostbüro of the FDP engaged in a great deal of information sharing, whereas the KgU and the SPD Ostbüro had a strained relationship. 60 The MfS had an exaggerated view of coordination among all the groups supposedly engaged in a concerted Western effort to bring down the GDR. The strong Soviet presence in the early MfS likely contributed to these perceptions, as Stalin grossly overestimated Western subversive activities in Eastern Europe. 61

The MfS's Early Activities

From 1950 to 1952 the MfS campaigned mainly against politically active "bourgeois" elements who were deemed to threaten the SED's ability to implement change. The ministry also began to build up its presence in western Germany. In 1950 the MfS sought to eliminate political opponents of the SED in anticipation of the elections scheduled for October. The SED took advantage of the postponement of the elections from the fall of 1949 to the fall of 1950 to break the resistance of opposition parties to the compilation of "unity lists" (lists slanted toward the SED) for that election. On 29 March 1950 the MfS arrested Frank Schleusener, a CDU member of the Brandenburg legislature and mayor of Brandenburg, who was a vocal opponent of the SED, and tortured him until he died. It remains unclear whether his death was intentional. 62 In the spring and summer large numbers of CDU members were arrested in Plauen and Leipzig. The campaign against the CDU was made public in a show trial in Dessau, where Leo Herwegen, the CDU minister for work and social policy in Saxony-Anhalt, Willi Brundert, a former SPD member of the SED, and others were accused of economic sabotage and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. 63 The harassment of the CDU was so noticeable that Otto Nuschke, the leader of the CDU in the GDR who guided the CDU on a path of accommodation with the Soviet regime, issued a formal protest. 64 Through this campaign of intimidation, and aided by Marxist elements in the CDU, the SED succeeded in placing pro-Communist candidates at the head of all CDU Land councils by the end of 1950. 65

The MfS also targeted the LDP. Günter Stempel, the general secretary of the LDP, was arrested in August 1950 for speaking out against election unity lists. 66 On 23 February 1951 Hans Klette, an LDP kreis council leader, was sentenced to ten years in prison, also for speaking out against the elections of October 1950. 67 In October 1950 the LDP in Schwerin suffered a wave of arrests at the hands of the MfS. 68 Yet, despite the MfS's efforts to eliminate opposition to the SED, a variety of anti-SED posters and pamphlets appeared on the streets of the GDR during the October elections. 69

In addition to this campaign against internal opponents, the MfS began operations in West Germany, which was initially to be the sole jurisdiction of Department II of the MfS. In December 1951 Zaisser expressed concern that the department had still not been formed in all Länder, and he demanded that the situation be remedied immediately. 70

From 1950 to 1953 the MfS assisted in purging the SED of members who had been in exile in the West during the war. The purges were an extension of the transformation of the SED into a "party of a new type" and took place at the same time that broader purges were under way in Eastern Europe as a result of the Tito-Stalin split. László Rajk, the Hungarian foreign minister, was executed in October 1949, and the same fate befell Traicho Kostov, the second-highest-ranking Bulgarian Communist, in December. Current and former high-ranking SED members such as Leo Bauer, Paul Merker, and Willi Kreikemeyer found themselves in the basement cells of MfS buildings around Berlin. Four of those arrested in the East German purges died: Paul Bertz, Willi Kreikemeyer, Lex Ende, and Rudolf Feistmann. 71 The thoroughgoing purge of SED was intended to harness the ideological fortitude needed for the harsh implementation of the "building of socialism," which would be launched in the summer of 1952.

In March 1952 the West responded coolly to Stalin's transmission of a "note" on the German question, contributing to a souring of relations. 72 Regardless of whether Stalin's note was a ruse or a genuine attempt to solve the "German question," the unification of Germany appeared to become ever more remote. The East German Politbüro accordingly informed the MfS to be on heightened alert for espionage and subversion. 73 In May the signing of the European Defense Community and Bonn Treaties signaled the integration of West Germany into the North Atlantic alliance, bolstering the effective sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and solidifying the divide between the two camps. Consequently, the MfS embarked on the creation of a five-kilometer demarcation zone along the border with West Germany. In operation "Vermin" the MfS deported roughly 8,000 "undesirables" from the demarcation zone and assisted in installing barbed wire along the demarcation line. 74 The deepening Cold War—Stalin even declared a state of "permanent conflict" between Communism and capitalism 75 —combined with the Second Party Congress of the ruling SED in July 1952, had an enormous impact on the MfS. At the SED Congress, party leaders declared that the conditions were ripe to proceed with the "building of socialism." This process involved major changes to the economy, including the forced transfer of farmers to agricultural production collectives, a buildup of heavy industry at the expense of consumer production, and increased restrictions on independent business. It is likely that Stalin's desire for heavy industry to meet his own Cold War needs helped spur the SED into this course of action. In any case, the "building of socialism" in the GDR could not have been carried out without Stalin's consent. 76

These changes were to be implemented by the power of the state (Staatsmacht), in which the MfS played a key role. 77 The SED warned that such changes would be accompanied by a "heightened class war," a veiled reference to the expected resistance to attempts to eliminate the middle class. 78 To deal with the heightened conflict, the SED issued a "Law for the Protection of People's Property and Other Community Property" on 2 October 1952, under which 7,775 people were tried in the first three months of 1953. 79 The deepening of both the Cold War and the class war prompted the MfS to intensify its campaign against internal opponents and Western anti-Communist organizations throughout 1952 and into the first half of 1953. In 1952 alone, the number of employees in the MfS rose by 2,822, an increase of 114.8 percent. 80

The stepped-up campaign in 1952 was reflected in the first comprehensive instructions dealing with informants (IMs), Directive 21/52 of 20 November 1952, released on the same day that the Rudolf Slánsk_ trial began in Prague. Informants from the population were the main tools used by the MfS in its campaign against all internal opponents. 81 By the 1980s the MfS employed an average of 157,000 IMs per annum. 82 Ministry officials acknowledged that "the IMs were, from the beginning, the main strength of the MfS for penetrating the conspiracy of the enemy." 83 MfS directives outlining the manner in which enemy organizations were to be defeated emphasized continually the recruiting of IMs. 84 Directive 21/52, a 42-page document detailing the procedure for recruiting, registering and running IMs, stipulated that the task was necessary to counter "increased sabotage and disruptive work by the West: in the wake of the signing of the Bonn and EDC treaties." 85 The directive explained what guise to use when approaching IMs, how to recruit them (whether through compensation or pressure), and how to develop the IMs to take on more difficult assignments. 86 Some instructions in the directive bordered on the absurd. The MfS evidently believed that the recruitment of religious elements would increase if officers brought up examples of cathedrals in the GDR that had been rebuilt since the war. 87

Directive 21/52 underscores the perception within the MfS that opponents of the SED were intimately linked to the West. This document stated that when recruiting informers "the main goal always is to penetrate the centers of the enemy or groups set up by him." 88 In the fight against the KgU, which the MfS believed to be a disguised neo-Nazi organization, MfS officers were instructed to recruit IMs from the ranks of former Wehrmacht officers, Nazi activists, criminals, and homosexuals. MfS officials regarded these circles as the most likely to be approached by the KgU. MfS officers also were instructed to recruit at the loan stations of agricultural collectives, where former Nazis were employed for their technical knowledge and were thus likely to be approached by the KgU. Other targets for informant recruitment were criminals and farmers on agricultural collectives, whom the MfS regarded as disaffected elements likely to cooperate with Western organizations. 89 For the campaign against the League of German Youth, IMs were to be recruited from former members of such organizations as the Hitler Youth and the SS, as well as from among children of former Nazis. 90 Notably, all the examples provided in the document relate to the fighting of Western-based groups rather than to blanket internal surveillance.

The penetration of West Berlin and West Germany became increasingly important to the MfS as a tactic in the fight against internal opposition. Mielke emphasized the need to infiltrate the West: "It was necessary to penetrate offensively into the enemy conspiracy ... in order to guarantee an effective defense and to detect and render enemy forces [within the GDR] harmless." 91 The preamble to Directive 21/52 also made the penetration of West Germany and West Berlin a priority, based on the premise that agents from the FRG, the "bourgeois" parties, and the right-wing SPD leadership in West Germany and West Berlin were playing "an important role as Deputy Battalions of the Anglo-American secret services in [disrupting DDR life]." 92 The restructuring of Department V in 1952 provides a clear case of the blending of internal and external operations. With the takeover of Department VI by Department V, the section responsible for the LDPD campaign became V/C/III, broken down as follows: C/III/1- LDPD and university groups; C/III/2the Help Service of the LDP and the exile LDP; C/III/3—Ostbüro of the LDP and the Office for All-German Student Affairs. The increased monitoring of the LDPD was thus focused on the Western contacts of the party. 93 The internal history of the MfS reinforces this point: "Only through an offensive struggle was it possible to guarantee the internal security of the GDR. In this fight, penetration and defense were inseparably united." 94

The MfS had paid increasing attention to the KgU throughout 1952. In April 1952 Zaisser described the fight against the KgU as one of the ministry's "most important tasks" and issued order No. 60/52 calling for a more concerted and vigorous effort against the KgU. The directive required MfS departments to transfer all their information on the KgU to Department V. 95 The MfS alleged that the KgU was infiltrating agents into the East German government to bring the GDR to a standstill in preparation for "Tag X" (Day X), the day that the United States supposedly would launch a war against the socialist world. The KgU soon experienced a surge of attacks on its workers in West Berlin and show trials of its members working in the GDR. In May and August 1952 two spectacular show trials against the KgU took place in the First Criminal Division of the Supreme Court of the GDR with Hilde Benjamin (who was soon appointed justice minister) presiding. 96 In February 1953 Mielke issued a directive to combat the KgU by finding suitable IMs in groups likely to be targeted by the KgU and, when possible, by using these contacts to penetrate the center of the KgU. 97

The MfS was preoccupied with the KgU because of a fear that the group was out to destroy the GDR's economy. 98 At a meeting of the MfS on 28 May 1953 Ulbricht demonstrated his concern about the economy by criticizing MfS employees at economic installations for their lack of knowledge of economic matters. He urged them to study the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, and especially Stalin on the economic issues of socialism in the Soviet Union. 99 The precarious economic situation of the GDR and the brewing social tensions no doubt magnified the MfS's interest in the KgU. Uneven Christmas bonus distributions in 1952 caused enraged workers to walk off the job in Weissenfels, Glauchau, Schkopau, Plauen, Cottbus, Berlin, and the massive Karl-Liebknecht-Werk in Magdeburg. Their monetary demands soon fused with demands for political change. 100 In rural regions farmers disrupted meetings that were convened to set up collectives, often physically assaulting those in favor. 101 By May 1953 the SED was forced, under Soviet pressure, to acknowledge the failure of its collectivization strategy and to halt the establishment of new collectives. 102 By the spring of 1953 prisons in East Germany were overflowing with those sentenced under the "Law for the Protection of the People's Property and Other Community Property." Workers and farmers were engaged in overt resistance to the "building of socialism," and basic goods such as butter and vegetables were difficult to obtain. East Germany was in crisis.

Throughout the period of the "building of socialism," the MfS did not shy away from extreme measures, including kidnapping and torture, to deal with perceived threats. 103 A Neues Deutschland article of 13 July 1952 provided a thinly veiled reference to kidnappings when it stated: "Not a single agent of the war-mongering imperialists is in safety, whether he is in West Berlin, Bonn, Paris or even Washington." 104 The threat rang true for a sizable number of KgU workers who were abducted in 1952, including Wolfgang Kaiser, the leader of the KgU laboratory that produced explosives. 105 The best-known case of a kidnapping, however, involved a member of the UfJ. MfS agents kidnapped Walter Linse, the head of the economic branch of the UfJ, in West Berlin on 8 July 1952. Linse died in the Soviet Union in December 1953. 106 The kidnapping received international attention and elicited a formal protest from the United States. 107 The MfS relied on threats, telephone calls in the middle of the night, and damage to personal property to terrorize West Berliners who were involved in anti-Communist activities. 108

Church organizations, particularly the Protestant Church's youth group, Junge Gemeinde, were also affected by the increased MfS campaign in 1952. The SED was seeking to eliminate this vestige of the "bourgeois" class and potential outpost for sabotage. 109 The stepped-up campaign by the MfS against the churches was a change for the ministry. The section of Department VI that dealt with churches had only three employees when the MfS was founded. No members of K-5 who had dealt with churches were brought into the MfS. 110 After 1952 a more extensive section for churches was set up within Department V, which contributed to the arrests of 175 members of various religious groups in August-December 1952. 111 On 11 November 1952 Mielke issued the first specific orders to observe members of the Junge Gemeinde and to employ IMs to penetrate its leadership. 112 In early 1953 the antichurch campaign reached its high point with the arrests of fifty pastors, deacons, and lay preachers and the expulsion of 300 schoolchildren who belonged to the Junge Gemeinde. 113

The non-Marxist parties continued to be victims of the MfS throughout this period. In 1952 members of the CDU in Saxony and Thuringia were arrested, and show trials were held in Erfurt and Gera. 114 In December 1952 the minister of trade and supply, Karl Hamann of the LDP, was arrested. 115 The campaign continued in 1953 with searches of CDU offices, including its headquarters, and the arrest of Georg Dertinger, the CDU foreign minister of the GDR, on 13 January 1953. Dertinger was sentenced the following year to fifteen years in prison because of his supposed links to a West German conspiracy to take over the GDR. 116 As was the case with most campaigns, the MfS had relied on IMs to root out the "enemy" elements within the CDU. 117

The MfS and the Uprising

MfS activities against church members and political opponents, combined with sweeping arrests of "economic" criminals and a living standard that had dropped to catastrophic proportions, sparked a wave of popular hostility. Despite signs of unrest, the SED believed that the situation in the GDR was stable enough to continue its "building of socialism." At a plenary session on 14May 1953, the SED Central Committee called for "increased work norms of 10 percent by 1 June." 118 Increased work norms translated into longer hours in the factory for the same wages (or the same hours for lower wages). Although these norms did not become law until 2 June, the call for the increase on 14 May meant that factory party chairmen would feel obliged to have their workers "voluntarily" raise the production level before the law came into effect. 119 The increased norms caused strikes as early as May 1953 when 900 workers at the iron and steel pouring works in Leipzig marched out of the factory. 120

The Soviet Union, which closely monitored the situation in the GDR, realized that the East German regime was teetering in the spring of 1953. From the end of 1952 through the first four months of 1953 the Soviet Control Commission in East Germany tracked the mood of the East German population and found that ordinary citizens not only were dissatisfied but were "confronting the regime with increasing hostility." 121 The Soviet Union therefore called three leading members of the SED to Moscow. On 2 June Fred Oelssner, Walter Ulbricht, and Otto Grotewohl travelled to Moscow to meet with the interim leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), who had replaced Stalin after his death in March 1953. The SED delegation met with Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrentii Beria, Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgii Malenkov, and Vladimir Semyonov from 2 to 4 June to discuss the situation in the GDR. 122 The Soviet participants lashed out at their German comrades: "There is serious dissatisfaction in the majority of the population, including among workers, farmers, and intellectuals, regarding the economic and political measures that have been introduced in the GDR." 123 The Soviet leaders forced the SED to slow down the "building of socialism" and to publish a statement acknowledging the party's mistakes. 124

When the East German leaders returned from Moscow, they convened a meeting of the SED Central Committee. Most of the Central Committee members were taken aback by the information about the East German population, and they proposed measures to ensure they would receive accurate assessments of the public mood. The Central Committee's displeasure with the quality of information became evident on 12 June, when Karl Schirdewan, the head of the SED's unit on main party organs and mass organizations (Leitende Organe der Parteien und der Massenorganisationen, LOPM), ordered a special group of three members of the LOPM unit to produce daily reports on the mood of the population. These documents were to be based on information from SED Bezirk-level leaders, from the central leadership of the mass organizations, from party instructors, and from the various departments within the Central Committee apparatus. 125 It is important to emphasize that Schirdewan's order did not envisage the use of MfS reports, an omission that highlights the ministry's inability to maintain close surveillance of the GDR population during the early years of the GDR.

The SED Politbüro heeded the advice of the Soviet Union by recommending in a communiqué of 9 June 1953 that the government adopt a "New Course." 126 Two days later the government announced in its newspaper Neues Deutschland that a "New Course" would begin. News of the impending change of policy had spread quickly through East Germany in the two days after the communiqué was adopted, and on 11 June East Germans rapidly bought up Neues Deutschland, often paying several times the asking price in order to obtain a copy. 127 Under the "New Course" the SED pledged to halt the collectivization of agriculture, to cease the persecution of church members and the Junge Gemeinde, and to eliminate restrictions on private business owners. However, the communiqué made no mention of a reduction of work norms. 128

Workers' protests over the increased norms sparked widespread unrest that culminated in, but did not end with, the uprising on 17 June 1953. Hundreds of towns and cities experienced strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances of some kind. 129 The MfS was unprepared for the scale of the upheavals of 16-17 June 1953, especially outside East Berlin, as revealed by the fact that Zaisser invited several hundred key MfS officers from the provinces to East Berlin on 16 June in anticipation of disturbances in the capital, something he would not have done had he suspected the possibility of mass upheavals elsewhere. 130 Until midnight on the 16th, the MfS in Dresden had received no orders on how to deal with the increasingly numerous disturbances, and even then it received only vague instructions to take "appropriate security measures against recognizable agents and saboteurs," an order that came not from the SED Politbüro but from the "Russian friends." 131 During the 17th the MfS remained idle, likely a result of having received an order not to fire on the demonstrators. Torsten Diedrich argues that the SED was fearful of the political reliability of the GDR's security apparatus, particularly the Barracked People's Police, a heavily armed security force established in 1948. Because of these concerns, the authorities ordered the security forces not to shoot except in extreme circumstances (on the scale of the situation facing Fred Oelssner when he gave orders to open fire in Halle). 132 MfS officers did not use force even when their lives were endangered by civilians armed with rocks and bottles. 133 There was a precedent for the decision to avoid the use of force against mass unrest. During a public demonstration of angry workers at the Wismut uranium mining operation in Saalfeld on 16 and 17 August 1951, Ulbricht had given the MfS orders to refrain from using force under any circumstances to quell the disturbances. 134 On 17 June 1953, Soviet troops intervened and quickly subdued the unrest. 135 The MfS did not remain idle long, however, beginning a series of arrests on 18 June. In the two days after the uprising, the MfS and Volkspolizei arrested 1,744 people in East Berlin alone in association with the disturbances. On 23 June the Stasi arrested another 6,325 people throughout the GDR. 136

The most important result of the disturbances in the GDR in the summer of 1953 was the expansion of the SED's instruments of control. At the 15th Plenum of the SED Central Committee, held on 24-26 July, the SED called for a more complete system of monitoring and controlling the population. Armin Mitter, Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, and Stefan Wolle have cited the 15th Plenum as a turning point in the history of the GDR. 137 It was here that the SED embarked on the "internal founding of the state" (Innere Staatsgründung) in order to prevent future disturbances that would require Soviet assistance and further undermine the legitimacy of the SED. Measures adopted by the SED included the creation of interior troops such as factory militias (Kampfgruppen) and a "rapid reaction" motorized police unit with over 4,000 men. 138

The MfS also underwent significant changes after the uprising. The SED Central Committee expelled Zaisser; Rudolf Herrnstadt, the editor of Neues Deutschland; and Max Fechner, the former minister of justice, from the SED for having challenged the leadership of the party and, in the case of Zaisser, for having failed to foresee the uprising of 17 June because of personal ambition and a lack of cooperation with the party. 139 Zaisser was accused of ineffective leadership of the MfS, resulting in the organizations's inability to uncover the internal organizers of the "fascist putsch" of 17 June, as the SED characterized the uprising. 140 The SED then dissolved the MfS as an independent ministry and transferred it to the Ministry of the Interior as a Secretariat for State Security (Staatssekretariat für Staatssicherheit, SfS). Ulbricht's accusation that Zaisser had failed to foresee the "fascist putsch" was a convenient pretext for Ulbricht to remove a political rival who had been a persistent critic of his hard-line policies. Ulbricht thus solidified his position in the SED, a position that immediately before and after the uprising had been on the verge of collapsing. Upon returning to the GDR from the meeting with Soviet leaders on 2-4 June, Ulbricht came under sharp criticism from Vladimir Semyonov and Pavel Yudin, both of whom were political advisers to the Soviet Control Commission in Germany, and from Vasilii Sokolovskii, the chief of the Soviet General Staff, who in a memorandum of 24 June urged Moscow to remove Ulbricht as deputy prime minister of the GDR and recommended that Ulbricht's current position of SED general secretary be abolished. 141 In the days following the uprising, SED Politbüro members Hermann Matern and Fred Oelssner lashed out against Ulbricht in the presence of Soviet officials. By the end of June, however, the Moscow leadership appeared to favor retaining Ulbricht in power. The arrest on 26 June of Lavrentii Beria, who had been serving as minister of internal affairs and deputy prime minister in the USSR, appeared to suspend further discussion in Moscow of changes in the East German leadership. 142 Soviet support did not translate into support at home, however. Into July, Zaisser, Hermann Rau, Fred Oelssner, and Anton Ackermann—all members of the SED Politbüro—sharply criticized Ulbricht's leadership. 143 By 9 July, however, following a trip to Moscow where Ulbricht learned of Beria's arrest on charges of "undermining socialism" in the GDR, Ulbricht gained renewed confidence that he would enjoy Soviet support. Semyonov, who days before had called for Ulbricht's dismissal, now supported him as well. 144 With Soviet backing, Ulbricht went on the offensive. The 15th Plenum of the SED Central Committee underscored Ulbricht's solid place at the head of the SED.

As part of the expanded control and surveillance effort, the SfS vastly increased its capacity to gather information on the GDR population. In August 1953 Wollweber established information groups within the SfS, 145 which the MfS defined as:

[a] group in the Bezirk administration [of the SfS that] examines and evaluates the incoming reports on a daily basis ... From the reports of the information groups in the Bezirk administrations, the information group in the [SfS headquarters] produces a situation report on the GDR for the head of the SfS, for the Politburo, and for the government. 146

These information groups collected and evaluated reports of informants from the general population. The SfS was careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past, when reports from party members tended to present an inaccurate assessment of the public mood. In instructions outlining the procedure for collecting information, Heinz Tilch, the head of the new information service (Informationsdienst) called for the use of unofficial informants rather than "official sources" such as factory party chairmen, because "real enemies do not usually show their true colors to functionaries." 147 In outlining the advantages of informal sources, Tilch wrote:

An informant who is a mechanic in a factory, for example, will be able to bring us useful information on the mood of workers.... Because nobody will know that he has a connection to the SfS, workers will talk to him exactly how they talk to other colleagues. 148

The most important factor in improved monitoring of the East German population was a reliable informant network. In a resolution adopted on 9September 1953, the SED Politbüro emphasized that the SfS information net was exceptionally weak and called for an increased and more reliable system. 149 Wollweber, as secretary for state security, was aware of the deficiencies in the informant pool. Four days before the Politbüro resolution he had called for a substantial increase in the use of informants, but he also stressed the need for better qualified informants: "Apart from the poor quality of the information network, the network does not have sufficient numbers, and is therefore incapable of uncovering enemies in all sections of GDR society." 150 Unlike Directive 21/52 of 1952, which emphasized obtaining informants who could penetrate Western organizations, this directive focused on widening the informant network in important economic and administrative sites throughout the GDR.

The fall of 1953 witnessed the beginning of an offensive strategy by the state security apparatus, a strategy known as konzentrierte Schläge (concentrated strikes) to weed out the Western agents who supposedly had incited the uprising. The SED was hoping to bolster its case that 17 June was "Day X"—the day of a Western-sponsored "fascist putsch" against the GDR, a story that had appeared as early as 18 June in Neues Deutschland. 151 Operation Feuerwerk (Firework) of October-November 1953 resulted in the arrest of over 100 supposed agents of the West German secret service; the Gehlen Organization Operation Pfeil (Arrow) of August 1954 resulted in 550 further arrests. Roughly the same number were arrested in the subsequent Operation Blitz (Lightning), which targeted the Ostbüros. 152

Scholars must be cautious in interpreting these operations as simply an effort to corroborate the legend that the SED had concocted. Prior to 1953 the MfS focused its resources on Western targets, giving them precedence over internal surveillance. The post-1953 "concentrated strikes" were in large part simply an extension and enhancement of previous MfS activities. The attacks against Western-based organizations were part of an integrated internal security program, just as they had been prior to 1953. The key difference, however, is that after 1953 the MfS was responsible for broad internal surveillance. Prior to 1953 the ministry worked primarily against specifically defined targets. Given this approach and the poorly developed internal surveillance apparatus, the MfS could not have been expected to foresee the uprising of June 1953. Ulbricht's reproach of Zaisser on this point provided the SED with a convenient scapegoat and helped Ulbricht retain his embattled leadership position. Scholars would do well not to be taken in by Ulbricht's contention that the MfS "failed" to foresee the uprising.


The author is grateful for the comments of five anonymous reviewers of this article and also wishes to acknowledge the financial assistance of the German Academic Exchange Service and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Gary Bruce is an assistant professor of history at St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia, Canada).


1. Significant memoir literature includes Josef Schwarz, Bis zum bitteren Ende (Schkeuditz: GNN- Verlag, 1994); and Reinhardt Hahn, Ausgedient: Ein Stasi Major erzählt (Halle: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 1990). The most important journalistic accounts are David Gill, Das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Berlin: Rowohlt, 1991); Anett Schwarz, Arianne Riecker, and Dirk Schneider, Stasi intim: Gespräche mit ehemaligen MfS-Angehörigen (Leipzig: Forum, 1991); Liehard Wawrzyn, Der Blaue (Berlin: K. Wagenbach, 1990); and Peter Siebenmorgen, "Staatssicherheit" der DDR (Bonn: Bouvier Verlag, 1993). More scholarly works include Karl Wilhelm Fricke, MfS intern (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1989); and the documentary collection edited by Armin Mitter and Stefan Wolle, Ich liebe euch doch alle! (Berlin: Elefanten Press, 1990). The most useful work on the early years of the MfS remains Karl Wilhelm Fricke, Die DDR-Staatssicherheit (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1989), which appeared before the fall of the Wall and thus does not contain new archival material. For an introduction to East Germany's state security in English, see David Childs and Richard Popplewell, The Stasi: The East German Intelligence and Security Service (Hound- mills: MacMillan, 1996). Important information on the police organizations that preceded the MfS can be found in Monika Tantzscher, "'In der Ostzone wird ein neuer Apparat aufgebaut' Die Gründung des DDR-Staatssicherheitsdienstes," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 31, No. 1 (January/February 1998), pp.48-56; and Monika Tantzscher, "Die Vorläufer des Staatssicherheitsdienstes in der Polizei der Sowjetischen Besatzungszone: Ursprung und Entwicklung der K-5," Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung, Vol. 7 (1998), pp.125-156.

2. Jens Gieseke, Mielke-Konzern: Die Geschichte der Stasi 1945-1990 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags- Anstalt, 2001), p.113.

3. Vojtech Mastny talks of a failure of the MfS, even suggesting a conspiracy on its part. See his The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996). See also Roger Engelmann and Karl Wilhelm Fricke, "Konzentrierte Schläge": Staatssicherheitsaktionen und politische Prozesse in der DDR, 1953-1956 (Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 1998), p.12.

4. John Dziak, Chekisty: A History of the KGB (Toronto: Lexington Books, 1988), p.16.

5. Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1990), p.336.

6. Ibid., pp.341-346.

7. Mastny, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity, p.60.

8. Ibid., p.84.

9. Andrew and Gordievsky, KGB, p.338.

10. The early history of the KPD's security apparatus has received remarkably little attention in the literature. The sole reliable work to date is Bernd Kaufmann et al., Der Nachrichtendienst der KPD 1919-1937 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1993), p.51. Historians who continue to subscribe to the now dubious view that the MfS had its roots in the Gestapo would be well-advised to consult this work for a more accurate portrayal of the historical roots of the MfS.

11. Norman Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), p.378. On the camps, see also Alexander von Plato, ed., Sowjetische Speziallager in Deutschland (Berlin: Akademie, 1998); and Barbara Kühle and Wolfgang Titiz, Speziallager Nr. 7 Sachsenhausen (Berlin: Brandenburgisches Verlagshaus, 1990).

12. Gieseke, Mielke-Konzern, p.32. For more on resistance activities in eastern Europe, see Peter Grose, Operation Rollback (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), pp.33-44; Timothy Snyder, "'To Resolve the Ukrainian Problem Once and for All': Ethnic Cleansing of Ukrainians in Poland, 1943-1947," Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Spring 1999), pp.86-120; and Jeffrey Burds, "'Agentura': Soviet Informants Network and the Ukrainian Underground in Galicia, 1944-1948," East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Winter 1997), pp.89-130.

13. A loose and disorganized political police existed from 1945, but in January 1947 this loose collection of units was centralized and unified under K-5. See Jens Gieseke, Die hauptamtlichen Mitarbeiter der Staatssicherheit (Berlin: Ch. Links, 2000), p.55.

14. Ibid., p.360. Ernst Lange led K-5 until August 1948 when Erich Jamin replaced him; see report on the DVdI by a "reliable source," 9 September 1948, in Archiv der Sozialen Demokratie in der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (AdSD), SPD-PV-Ostbüro 0005. The best current account on K-5 and its uneven evolution into the MfS is Monika Tantzscher, "'In der Ostzone wird ein neuer Apparat aufgebaut': Die Gründung des DDR-Staatssicherheitsdienstes," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 31, No. 1 (January/February 1998), pp.48-56.

15. Report from Jamin to all departments of K-5, 30 May 1949, SPD-PV-Ostbüro 0357/1.

16. Yearly report for 1947 for K-5 Saxony, 13 January 1948, in Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatsicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (BStU), Zentralarchiv (ZA), Allgemeine Sachablage (AS), 229/66, p.365.

17. Fricke, Die DDR-Staatssicherheit, p.22.

18. See Wolfgang Buschfort, Das Ostbüro der SPD (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1991); and, more recently, Wolfgang Buschfort, Parteien im Kalten Krieg (Berlin: Ch. Links, 2000).

19. Yearly report for 1947 for K-5 Saxony, 13 January 1948, BStU, ZA, AS, 229/66, p.374.

20. Ibid., p.385.

21. Naimark, The Russians in Germany, pp.364-365.

22. Report, "Aufbau einer Abteilung Nachrichten und Information in der DvdI," 11 November 1947, BStU, ZA, AS, 229/66, p.267.

23. Letter from D;u:now of the press office to Mielke, 29 July 1947, BStU, ZA, Sekretariat des Ministers (hereinafter SdM) 324, p.23.

24. The employee complement of the Landesnachrichten;a:mter for the entire Soviet occupied zone was just over 1,000. Gieseke, Die hauptamtlichen, p.67.

25. Report, "Aufbau einer Abteilung Nachrichten und Information in der DvdI," 11 November 1947, BStU, ZA, AS, 229/66, p.280.

26. Naimark, The Russians in Germany, p.366.

27. Ibid., pp.56-57.

28. The debate regarding the extent to which the Soviet Union planned from the outset to Sovietize its zone of Germany continues to rage. A cutting and insightful analysis of the literature on this topic is found in Mark Kramer, "The Soviet Union and the Founding of the GDR: 50 Years Later—A Review Article," Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 51, No. 6. (September 1999), pp.1093-1107.

29. Wilfriede Otto, Erich Mielke—Biographie. Aufstieg und Fall eines Tschekisten (Berlin: Karl Dietz Verlag, 2000), p.113; and Gieseke, Mielke-Konzern, pp.42-43.

30. Otto, Erich Mielke, p.118.

31. Spanish civil war veterans formed a sizable pool for early MfS employees. See Tantzscher, "In der Ostzone," p.51.

32. As of 3 November 1951 Department W dealing with the Wismut uranium mining operation became an independent administration with the rights of a provincial MfS administration. See Order Nr. 56/51 from Zaisser, 3 November 1951, BStU, ZA, #100012.

33. Gieseke, Die hauptamtlichen, pp.86-87; Clemens Vollnhalls, "Das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit," in Harmut Kaelble, Jürgen Kocka, and Harmut Zwahr, eds., Sozialgeschichte der DDR (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1994), p.502; and Jens Gieseke, "Die Hauptamtlichen 1962," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 27, No. 9 (September1994), p.940.

34. Helmut M;u:ller-Enbergs, Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter des MfS in der DDR (Berlin: Ch. Links, 2001), p.30.

35. Gieseke, Mielke-Konzern, p.57.

36. Ibid., p.113. See also "Referat des Genossen Staatssekret;a:r auf der Dienstbresprechung am 5.8.1955," BStU, ZA, SdM 1921, p.75. In this speech Ernst Wollweber, the head of state security from 1953 to 1957, noted with delight that the number of informants from the population had increased dramatically by 1955. This observation suggests that the initial numbers were small.

37. There were originally sixteen Abteilungen. See Directive on Aktion Sonne from Mielke to the Bezirke leadership, 1 October 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 1233/52, #100041. An early West German account, Der Staatssicherheitsdienst (Bonn: Bundesministerium für Gesamtdeutsche Fragen, 1962), pp.18-19, mistakenly claims there were seventeen.

38. Dr. R. Turber, former MfS Officer in Department V and later Department XX, interview, Berlin, 31 May 1995.

39. Directive on Aktion Sonne from Mielke to the Bezirke leadership, 1 October 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 1233/52, #100041. Department III had four sections 1) planning, development, and finance; 2) industry; 3) light industry and trade and supply; 4) agriculture. Directive 37/53 Generalmajor Last to leader of Department XIII, 16 November 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 3530/53. Until further documents are released, the operations of Department II will remain somewhat obscure.

40. The prototype organization for the GDR's foreign espionage was the Institute for Economic Research. Its work was brought to a standstill by West Germany's Federal Ministry for the Protection of the Constitution in the "Vulkan affair" of 1953. See David Dallin, Soviet Espionage (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955), p.343; and Siebenmorgen, "Staatssicherheit" der DDR, p.91. See also Bodo Wegmann, Zwischen Normannenstrasse und Camp Nikolaus. Die Entstehung deutscher Nachrichtendienste nach 1945 (Berlin: BStU, 1999).

41. Letter from Mielke to Gutsche, Minister for State Security in Saxony, 21 April 1952, BStU, ZA,GVS 525/52, Tgb. Nr. 952/52, #101166. Memoir literature also points to Department VIII asthe entity responsible for internal arrests. See, for example, Günter Fritzsch, Gesicht zur Wand(Leipzig: Benno Verlag, 1993), p.44. For details on the actual arresting procedure, see Karl Wilhelm Fricke, Politik und Justiz in der DDR (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politic, 1979), pp.218-235.

42. Order Nr. 60/52, 24 April 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 542/52, #100030.

43. Siegfried Mampel, Der Untergrundkampf des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit gegen den Untersuchungsausschuss Freiheitlicher Juristen in Berlin (West) (Berlin: Der Berliner Landesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR, 1994), p.24. According to Der Staatssicherheitsdienst (Bonn: Bundesministerium für Gesamtdeutsche Fragen, 1962), p.46, kidnappings in the West were carried out by Departments V and VIII. Der Staatssicherheitsdienst (Berlin: UfJ, 1956), p.91, contains a reprint of a report from the Berlin Police Präsidium from 13 November 1952 on the kidnapping of Linse from West Berlin, stating that Department VIII of the MfS, headed by Morgenthal, carried out the kidnapping. Turber confirmed that Section 5 of Department V was responsible for "Western operations" (interview, 31 May 1995).

44. Roland Wiedmann, interview, Berlin, 28 April 1997. Following the uprising of 1953 the MfS greatly expanded its internal monitoring duties by creating "information groups" within the MfS, a topic that will be discussed below. For a more detailed study of the MfS after the uprising, see Gary Bruce, Resistance with the People: Repression and Resistance in Eastern Germany, 1945-1955 (Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

45. "Richtlinien über die Erfassung der geheimen Mitarbeiter, der Informatoren und der Personen, die konspirative Wohnungen unterhalten," issued by the Head of the Department of Statistics and Registration, confirmed by Mielke, 20 September 1950, BStU, ZA, GVS 9/50, #101091.

46. "Richtlinien über die Erfassung von Personen, die eine feindliche Tätigkeit durchführen und die von den Organen des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit festgestellt wurden," issued by the head of the Department of Registration and Statistics, confirmed by Mielke, 20 September 1950, BStU, ZA, GVS 8/50, #101091.

47. On the SPD Ostbüro, see Buschfort, Das Ostbüro der SPD; and Helmut Bärwald, Das Ostbüro der SPD 1946-1971: Kampf und Niedergang (Krefeld: SINUS, 1991). Works on the CDU and FDP Ostbüros are scarce. Michael Richter deals with the CDU Ostbüro in cursory fashion in Die Ost-CDU 1948-1952: Zwischen Widerstand und Gleichschaltung (Dusseldorf: Droste, 1990). On the FDP Ostbüro, see Wolfgang Schollwer's "Die DDR Staatssicherheit und das Ostbüro der FDP," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 29, No. 1 (January/February 1996). The most recent treatments are found in Wolfgang Buschfort, Parteien im Kalten Krieg: Die Ostbüros von SPD, CDU und FDP (Berlin: Ch. Links, 2000); and Erhhart Neubert, Geschichte der Opposition in der DDR, 1949-1989 (Berlin: Ch. Links, 2000).

48. It is not fully clear why the Soviet Union put up with middle-class parties in its zone of Germany. One explanation is that Soviet officials believed they could control the parties through a united front. Another possibility is that Soviet officials hoped to mitigate popular resentment by allowing two clearly oppositional parties. See Hermann Weber, Parteiensystem zwischen Demokratie und Volksdemokratie (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1982), pp.25-27. See also Naimark, The Russians in Germany, pp.258-260.

49. 1951 Directive 1/51 from Mielke to the Minister of State Security in Brandenburg, 15 November 1951, BStU, ZA, #100828.

50. Rainer Hildebrandt established the KgU in 1948 initially to draw attention to the plight of political prisoners in East Germany and to fight for their release. The UfJ was formed in November 1949 by jurists who had left the GDR. Its main task was to compile a registry of injustices in eastern Germany for an eventual trial that would be a "new and better Nüremberg." The VOS was formed shortly afterward, in February 1950, by former prisoners in East Germany to promote the release of political prisoners there. See Kai Uwe Merz, Kalter Krieg als antikommunistischer Widerstand: Die Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit, 1948-1959 (Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1987); and Frank Hagemann, Der Untersuchungsausschuss Freiheitlicher Juristen, 1949-1969 (Frankfurt am Main: P. Lang, 1994).

51. The campaign against the Gehlen Organization has been purposely avoided in this discussion because the Soviet, rather than East German, security services undertook the campaign against this organization, although the MfS did have informants in the Gehlen Organization. Letter to Department I from Mielke, 13 January 1955, BStU, ZA, GVS 125/55, #101522. Otto John, in discussing his kidnapping in July 1954, states that he was kidnapped by Soviet officials, but that the MfS acted ascaretakers. Additionally, Heinz Felfe, a key double agent in the Gehlen Organization, was handledby Soviet operatives. Otto John, Twice through the Lines (London: MacMillan, 1972), pp.236, 296.

52. In the period immediately after the uprising of 1953, the MfS further combined its operations outside the GDR with those inside. See Engelmann and Fricke, "Konzentrierte Schl;a:ge," p.37.

53. "Operation Twilight," Directive 2/53, 30 October 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 213/53, #100896, p.5. This organization was thought to be conducting espionage for the United States.

54. "Operation Karo," Directive 8/53, 23 February 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2523/53, #100896, pp.10-11; "Operation Pest," Directive 7/53, 24 January 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 335/53, #100861, p.34; Mielke to Gartmann, Directive 7/51, 4 May 1951, BStU, ZA, GVS 78/51, Tgb. Nr. 423/51, #100835; Studienmaterial, BStU, ZA, VVS JH3 001-133/80, p.55; Mielke to Bezirksverwaltung Pankow, Directive 12/51, 26 July 1951, BStU, ZA, GVS 128/51, #100840; and Order No. 60/52, issued by Zaisser, 24 April 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 542/52, #100030.

55. "Erkl;a:rung des Vertreters des Staatssekretariats f;u:r Staatssicherheit der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, Oberst Borrmann, auf der Pressconferenz am 4. Mai 1955," u.d. in Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR (SAPMO), Zentrales Parteiarchiv (ZPA), IV 2/9.02/53a, p.109 (emphasis added).

56. "Operation Twilight," Directive 2/53, 30 October 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 213/53, #100860; "Operation Pest," Directive 7/53, 24 January 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 335/53, #100861; and "Operation Karo," Directive 8/53, 23 February 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2523/53, #100896.

57. "Operation Twilight," Directive 2/53, 30 October 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 213/53, #100860, p.11; and "Operation Pest," Directive 7/53, 24 January 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 335/53, #100861, p.3.

58. "Operation Karo," Directive 8/53, 23 February 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2523/53, #100896, p.11.

59. Wolfgang Schollwer, unpublished journal, p.95, in Archiv des Deutschen Liberalismus (hereinafter referred to as ADL). Wolfgang Schollwer, "Die DDR Staatssicherheit und das Ostbüro der FDP," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 29, No. 1(January/February 1996), pp.100-106.Memorandum by Dr. Borgs-Maciejewski, 5 May 1949, in Archiv für Christlich-Demokratische Politik (hereinafter referred to as ACDP) III-013-706. The information branch of the FDP Ostbüro (I-Stelle) set up by Schwennicke of the FDP in early 1953 was financed by and supplied information to the United States. See Schollwer, unpublished journal, p.54, Entry of 26 January 1953, ADL.

60. Naase, head of Ostbüro, to Bach head of Berlin branch of FDP Ostbüro, 1 August 1953, ADL, #2584. The UfJ was willing to provide information that the FDP Ostbüro needed on certain individuals in the eastern zone. Ernst Tillich, the leader of the KgU from 1951, was expelled from the SPD in 1952 for his activities in trying to undermine the GDR. Merz, Kalter Krieg, p.185. On CDU/UfJ cooperation, see Richter, Die Ost-CDU, p.279. CDU Ostbüro members even participated in KgU seminars on running psychological warfare. Letter from Jöhren to the KgU, 16 November 1953, in ACDP, III-013-795.

61. Mastny, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity, p.97. The United States and Britain did run missions in Eastern Europe, particularly Romania in 1946 and the doomed Albanian efforts of 1950. The bungling of several operations deterred U.S. Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower from stepping up the level of covert operations in Eastern Europe. Instead they sought to emphasize psychological warfare. Recent treatments of Western operations in Eastern Europe during the Cold War are found in Grose, Operation Rollback; Gregory Mitrovich, Undermining the Kremlin (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000); and Scott Lucas, Freedom's War (New York: New York University Press, 1999). See also Kenneth A. Osgood, "Review Essay: Hearts and Minds—The Unconventional Cold War," Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring 2002), pp.85-107.

62. Richter, Die Ost-CDU, pp.228, 239.

63. Michael Richter, "Vom Widerstand der christlichen Demokraten in der DDR," in G;u:nther Scholz, Verfolgt-Verhaftet-Verurteilt (Berlin: Westkreuz Verlag, 1990), p.41.

64. Ibid., pp.46-47.

65. Richter, Die Ost-CDU, p.254. See also Manfred Agethen, "Die CDU in der SBZ/DDR 1945-53" in J;u:rgen Frölich, B;u:rgerliche Parteien in der SBZ, DDR: Zur Geschichte von CDU, LDP(D), DBD, und NDPD, 1945 bis 1953 (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1994). For a personal account, see Peter Bloch, Zwischen Hoffnung und Resignation: Als CDU-Politiker in Brandenburg 1945-1950 (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1986).

66. Richter, Die Ost-CDU, p.291.

67. Fricke, Politik und Justiz, pp.243-245 contains an excerpt from the trial proceedings.

68. Bernahrd Sagolla, Die Rote Gestapo (Berlin: Hansa Druck, 1952), p.46. Although the MfS focused mainly on the non-Marxist parties, it also targeted the Jehova's Witnesses organization, a group officially banned in the GDR in 1949 for allegedly being a front organization for American espionage. Memorandum by Dr. Fischer, president of the German administration of the interior, 13 September 1949, in BA-P., Bundesarchiv Potsdam DO 1/7.0/71, p.29. In addition to detecting and defeating opposition elements, the MfS was also responsible for routine police tasks such as securing the first elections in the GDR in 1950 and the World Games of 1951, which were held in Berlin. On the measures to secure the World Games, especially from encroachments of the League of German Youth trying to recruit for their organization, see Mielke to MfS Brandenburg, Gartmann, Directive 7/51, 4May 1951, BStU, ZA, GVS 78/51, Tgb. Nr. 423/51, #100835.

69. Report from the Resistance Movement of Saxony against the election of 15 December 1950, AdSD, SPD-PV-Ostbüro 0368 a-c; and Extract from trial against Müller and others, 11 November 1950, ADL, #2924.

70. Order 67/51, from Zaisser, 11 December 1951, BStU, ZA, GVS 447/51, #100016.

71. Otto, Erich Mielke, p.177. See also Wolfgang Kiessling, Partner im Narrenparadies (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1994).

72. On the Stalin notes of 1952, see Gerhard Wettig, "Die Stalin-Note vom 10. März 1952 als geschichtswissenschaftliches Problem," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 25, No. 2 (February1992), pp.157-167; and Mastny, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity, p.137. A weak argument that the Stalin notes were a genuine attempt to unify Germany is found in Wilfried Loth, Stalin's Unwanted Child (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998).

73. Otto, Erich Mielke, p.162.

74. Fricke, Politik und Justiz, p.173. In January 1953 the transport police also came under MfS jurisdiction.

75. Stephan Wolf, "Die "Bearbeitung" der Kirchen in der SBZ und der DDR durch die politische Polizei und das MfS bis 1953," in Bernd Florath, Armin Mitter, and Stefan Wolle, Die Ohnmacht der Allmächtigen: Geheimdienste und politische Polizei in der modernen Gesellschaft (Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 1992), p.191.

76. See Dietrich Staritz, "Die SED, Stalin und der Aufbau des Sozialismus in der DDR," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 24, No. 7 (July1991), pp.686-700.

77. Christoph Klessmann, Die Doppelte Staatsgründung (Bonn: Verlag Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1991), p.264; and Armin Mitter and Stefan Wolle, Untergang auf Raten (Munich: Bertelsmann Verlag, 1993), p.32. "Extract from the Resolution of the Second Party Congress of the SED, 12 July 1952," in Hermann Weber, Die DDR: Dokumente zur Geschichte der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik 1945-1985 (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1986), pp.188-190.

78. Weber, Die DDR, pp.188-190; and Klessmann, Die Doppelte Staatsgründung, p.264.

79. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.47. This law, like the "Economic Order" of 23 September 1948, was also a way of reducing political capital, but there is no doubt that the SED was concerned about the economy, as economic transformations were the key to the "building of socialism." See Fricke, Politik und Justiz, p.201; and Klessmann, Die Doppelte Staatsgründung, p.264. Of the 377 tried in the Bezirk court of Leipzig under this law from October to April 1953, 228 were workers and only 8 were independent business owners. See Heidi Roth, "Der 17. Juni im damaligen Bezirk Leipzig," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 24, No. 6 (June1991), p.576.

80. Jens Gieseke, "Die Hauptamtlichen 1962," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 27, No. 9 (September1994), p.942. The huge increase, the largest in the history of the MfS, was partially explained by the reorganization of the five Länder into fourteen Bezirke and, therefore, an increase in administrative staff.

81. In the first decade of the MfS, informants were referred to as secret collaborators (GMs) or secret informants (GIs). GMs were informants who penetrated opposition groups, whereas GIs were informants who simply were able to report information because of their position, such as hotel owners. Directive 21/52, 20 November 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 1855/52, #101097, pp.15-19. This separation was done away with by the mid-1960s and replaced by the term "Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter" (IMs). For the sake of simplicity, "Ims" is used throughout this article. See BStU, Die Inoffiziellen Mitarbeiter (Berlin: BStU, 1992).

82. Paper given by BStU researcher Roger Engelmann, "Die Verwaltung der Stasi-Akten," at the "Nachrichtendienste in Deutschland nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg" conference, Tutzing, May 1995.

83. Studienmaterial, BStU, ZA, VVS JH3 001-133/80, p.21.

84. "Operation Karo," Directive 8/53, 23 February 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2523/53, #100896; "Operation Pest," Directive 7/53, 24 January 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 335/53, #100861; "Operation Twilight," Directive 2/53, 30 October 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 213/53, #100860; and Mielke to MfS Brandenburg, Gartmann, 4 May 1953, BStU, ZA, Tgb. Nr. 423/1951, GVS 78/51, #100835. In a forum on the church and the MfS, it was concluded that "the cooperation with IMs was the most important basis for MfS activity." Quoted in Erhart Neubert, "Meister der Legende: Ein Kommentar zum Text des 'Insider-Komitees,'" Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 27, No. 4 (April 1994), p.376.

85. Directive 21/52, 20 November 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 1855/52, #101097, p.1.

86. Ibid., p.12.

87. Ibid., p.12.

88. Ibid., p.27.

89. "Operation Karo," Directive 8/53, 23 February 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2523/53, #100896, p.16; and Directive 21/52, 20 November 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 1855/52, #101097, p.4.

90. Mielke to MfS Brandenburg, Gartmann, Directive 7/51, 4 May 1951, BStU, ZA, GVS 78/51, #100835, Tgb. Nr. 423/51. The pathfinder league within the BDJ was seen as similar to the HJ because of its organization, its paramilitary training, and its status vis-à-vis the Führerprinzip. Mielke ordered IMs in both East and West Berlin to determine the plans of this organization and its contacts with enemy agents. See Directive 12/51, 26 May 1951, BStU, ZA, GVS 128/51, #100840.

91. Erich Mielke, "Mit hoher Verantwortung für den zuverlässigen Schutz des Sozialismus," Einheit, No. 1 (1975),p.44; and Karl Wilhelm Fricke, "Schild und Schwert: 25 Jahre Ministerium für Staatssicherheit," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 8, No. 2 (February1975), p.132.

92. Directive 21/52, 20 November 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 1855/52, #101097, pp.1, 8; and BStU, Die Inoffiziellen Mitarbeiter, p.14. The directive also explicitly stated that IMs either working or living in West Berlin had to be compensated in Western funds.

93. Mielke to all Bezirk administrations, Directive 17/52, 26 September 1952, BStU, ZA, V/C GVS 1221/52, #100848.

94. Studienmaterial, BStU, ZA, VVS JH3 001-133/80, p.39.

95. Order Nr. 60/52, 24 April 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 542/52, #100030.

96. In May 1952 Johann Burianek, Emil Mötis, Fritz Heschel, Lydia Schirrwagen, Otto-Heinrich Kranz, Hermann Theodor Hovestädt, and Renate König were tried. In August the same was done with Joachim Müller, Ursula Müller, Wolfgang Kaiser, and Kurt Hoppe. The stenographic transcripts of the trials are in SAPMO, IV 2/13/625, pp.1-371; and SAPMO, IV 2/13/627, pp.1-257 respectively.

97. "Operation Karo," Directive 8/53, 23 February 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2523/53, #100896. This tactic also was used in operation Twilight, in which informants penetrated illegal groups of the Allgemeine Bibellehr-Vereinigung and established contact with its headquarters. See "Operation Twilight," Directive 2/53, 30 October 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS 213/53, #100860, p.18.

98. "Operation Karo," Directive 8/53, 23 February 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2523/53, #100896, p.13, states that the KgU was attempting to introduce agents into the GDR that would bring about the "standstill of the entire GDR economy." The MfS was largely correct in its assumptions about the KgU's interest in weakening the GDR's economy. With the effective takeover of the KgU from Rainer Hildebrandt by Ernst Tillich in 1951, the group shifted to more aggressive forms of resistance, including sabotage of factories and rail infrastructure. Whether this change was brought about by the United States remains a topic of debate. American involvement in the KgU in 1951 was substantial. See n. 50 above.

99. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.48.

100. Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk and Armin Mitter, "Die Arbeiter sind zwar geschlagen worden," in Armin Mitter, Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk, and Stefan Wolle, eds., Der Tag X—17. Juni 1953 (Berlin: Ch. Links, 1995), p.44.

101. Armin Mitter, "Am 17.6.1953 haben die Arbeiter gestreikt," in Mitter, Kowalczuk, and Wolle, eds., Der Tag X, p.87.

102. Ibid., p.95.

103. The Soviet state security organs were in all likelihood helpful in carrying out these activities, in much the same way that thay were involved in kidnappings from West Berlin in the late 1940s and early 1950s. See Fricke, Politik und Justiz, pp.62-63.

104. Neues Deutschland, 13 July 1952, p.1.

105. Merz, Kalter Krieg, p.168.

106. Mampel, Der Untergrundkampf, p.29.

107. Bundesministerium für Gesamtdeutsche Fragen, Der Staatssicherheitsdienst (Bonn: Bundesministerium für Gesamtdeutsche Fragen, 1962), pp.40-45, contains a list of twenty-five people kidnapped from West Berlin. For the American protest note, see pp.148-149.

108. Mampel, Der Untergrundkampf, p.36-41.

109. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.43. In February 1953 Ulbricht stated that "Our measures against the enemy activities of the churches are concentrated at the moment on the illegal youth groups like 'Junge Gemeinde' and others." On the perception of the Junge Gemeinde as a centre for sabotage, see Ibid. and Report from state administrations to Ulbricht on measures against the activities of the Junge Gemeinde, 13 January 1953, SAPMO, NL 182/1097, p.154. The MfS campaign against the Junge Gemeinde was codenamed KAPPE. Instruction Nr. 23/52, 23 November 1952, BStU, ZA, GVS, #100853.

110. Wolf, "Die "Bearbeitung" der Kirchen in der SBZ und der DDR," p.183.

111. Ibid., p.181.

112. Hermann Wentker, "'Kirchenkampf' in der DDR 1950-1953," Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Vol. 42, No. 1 (January1994), p.110. The Volkspolizei also aided in the campaign against the Junge Gemeinde.

113. Klessmann, Die Doppelte Staatsgründung, p.267.

114. Usually the CDU members in question were accused of being in contact with the CDU Ostbüro. See the MfS report on CDU members in Moosbach, Bezirk Erfurt, 5 December 1952, SAPMO, DY 30 IV 2/15/5. In the Erfurt show trial seven CDU members were sentenced for their contacts with the CDU Ostbüro.

115. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.40.

116. Richter, "Vom Widerstand," pp.48-52; and Agethen, "Die CDU in der SBZ/DDR 1945-53," p.60. The case of Dertinger is still unclear. It is likely that he was not involved in a plot to bring down the GDR but that his desire for German unity became inexpedient in the wake of the failed "Stalin note" of 1952. See also Joachim Franke, "Der Fall Dertinger und seine parteiinternen Auswirkungen: Eine Dokumentation," Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 25, No. 3 (March1992), pp.286-298.

117. Richter, "Vom Widerstand," p.49.

118. Kowalczuk and Mitter, "Die Arbeiter," p.46.

119. Ibid., p.46.

120. Ibid., p.47.

121. Gerhard Wettig, "Sowjetische Wiedervereinigungsbemühungen im ausgehenden Frühjahr 1953?" Deutschland Archiv, Vol. 25, No. 9, (September1992), p.945.

122. For a detailed analysis of the Soviet Union's German policy during this transition period, see Mark Kramer's three-part article, "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle and Upheavals in East-Central Europe: Internal-External Linkages in Soviet Policy Making," Journal of Cold War Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter 1999), pp.3-56; Vol. 1, No. 2 (Spring 1999), pp.3-39; and Vol. 1, No. 3 (Fall 1999), pp.3-66.

123. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.55. On the role of the interim leadership in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death, and in particular Beria's role in implementing the "New Course" in East Germany, see Kramer, "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle," Parts 1-3; Mastny, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity, pp.178-190; and Amy Knight, Beria, Stalin's First Lieutenant (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

124. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.57. The Soviet resolution prepared for the SED members in Moscow is reprinted in Rolf Stöckigt, "Ein Dokument von grosser historischer Bedeutung vom Mai 1953," Beiträge zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, Vol. 30, No. 5 (October1990), pp.649-663.

125. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.78.

126. Manfred Hagen, DDR Juni '53: Die erste Volkserhebung im Stalinismus (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1992), p.33.

127. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.63.

128. "Kommunique des Politbueros des Zentralkomitees der SED vom 9. Juni 1953," Neues Deutschland, 11 June 1953, p.1.

129. For descriptions of the uprising, see Gerhard Beier, Wir wollen freie Menschen sein (Cologne: Bund Verlag, 1993); Hagen, DDR-Juni '53; Torsten Diedrich, Der 17. Juni in der DDR (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1991); and Bruce, Resistance with the People. For a full discussion of the period before and after the uprising, see Mitter, Kowalczuk, and Wolle, eds., Der Tag X. For an earlier treatment, consult Arnulf Baring, Uprising in East Germany: June 17, '53 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972). An excellent documentary collection on the uprising, featuring Western and translated East-bloc archival items, is now available in Christian Ostermann, ed., Uprising in East Germany, 1953 (New York: Central European University Press, 2001).

130. Arnulf Baring, Der 17. Juni 1953 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1983), p.108; and ArminMitter, "Die Ereignisse im June und Juli 1953 in der DDR," Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Vol.41, No. 5 (25 January 1991), p.32. Mitter emphasizes the complete surprise on the part of the MfS.

131. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.95; and Diedrich, Der 17. Juni, p.66.

132. Report from Bezirk Halle Volkspolizei on the events of 17 June 1953, 1 July 1953, BA-P, DO 1/11/305, p.243. At least six people were shot by the Volkspolizei. On Oelssner, see Diedrich, Der 17. Juni, p.170; and Hagen, DDR-Juni '53, p.76. In Brandenburg the MfS was completely silent, in other places it undertook some token arrests. In Görlitz and Niesky the MfS clearly received orders not to shoot. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.103. In a memorandum of 9 January 1954, SAPMO, IV 2/12/119 Bestand SED: ZK: Sicherheitsfragen, officials from the SED apparatus complained that the Volkspolizei were not politically and morally educated enough.

133. Update report from Bezirk Dresden police, 29 June 1953,BA-P, DO 1/11/305, p.67. MfS buildings in Niesky and Görlitz were stormed. In Niesky the demonstrators pushed into the building, disarmed the MfS officers still there, and locked up four of the officers, including the leader of the branch, in dog cages located in the building. MfS buildings in Jena, Bitterfeld, and Merseburg also were stormed. See the report on the situation in Berlin and the GDR on 17 June 1953, SAPMO, JIV 2/202/14. Report from Bezirk Hall Volkspolizei on 17 June 1953, 1 July 1953, BA-P, DO1/11/305, pp.245-247. The fact that certain Volkspolizei branches clearly received orders not to fire suggests the same was true for the MfS. See the personal report of Vopo commander Koch, n.d., BA-P, DO 1/11/304, p.307; and Instructor Report, 23 June 1953, BA-P, DO 1/11/304, p.283.

134. Land Thuringia Volkspolizei office report on the events in Saalfeld through 19 August 1951, by König, head of Thuringian Volkspolizei, 19 August 1951, BA-P, DO 1/11/08, p.57.

135. On the Soviet intervention, see Kramer, "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle," Part 1, pp.50-55.

136. Mitter, "Die Ereignisse," p.33.

137. Mitter, Kowalczuk, and Wolle, Der Tag X.

138. Torsten Diedrich, Der 17. Juni 1953 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1991), p.184.

139. An overview of the struggle within the SED in and around the June uprising, complete with reproduction of archival documentation is found in Nadja Stulz-Herrnstadt, Das Herrnstadt Dokument (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1990). See also Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.144.

140. Mitter and Wolle, Untergang auf Raten, p.144.

141. Christian Ostermann, "This Is Not a Politburo but a Madhouse," Cold War International History Project Bulletin, No. 10 (March 1998), p.68; and Kramer, "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle," Part 3, p.14. See also Ostermann, ed., Uprising in East Germany (New York: Central European University Press, 2001), p.20. The post-Stalin succession struggles and their effect on Ulbricht's fortunes are also explored in Peter Grieder, The East German Leadership 1946-1973 (Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 1999).

142. Whether or not Beria's German strategy, if indeed he had one, was one of the main factors in hisarrest remains controversial. See Kramer, "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle," esp. Parts 2 and 3.

143. Ostermann, "This Is Not a Politburo," p.69.

144. Kramer, "The Early Post-Stalin Succession Struggle," Part 3, p.15.

145. Instructions by head of information branch Tilch, BStU, ZA, AS, 43/58, Vol. 9, p.384.

146. Quoted in Mitter and Wolle, Untergand auf Raten, p.146.

147. Instructions by Tilch, BStU, ZA, AS, 43/58, Vol. 9, p.388.

148. Ibid., p.388.

149. Resolution of the SED Politbüro, 23 September 1953, Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im Bundesarchiv SAPMO-BA, Zentrales Parteiarchiv (ZPA), JIV 2/202/62, pp.2-3.

150. Directive 30/53 from Mielke, 5 September 1953, BStU, ZA, GVS 2920/53, #100874. The SED leadership complained: "The MfS information net is badly organized, with regard to both the people and their deployment and allocation." See Resolution of the 15th Plenum of the Central Committee, 26 July 1953, SAPMO-BA, ZPA, DY30 IV 2/12/101, p.8.

151. Gieseke, Mielke-Konzern, p.60.

152. Gieseke, Mielke-Konzern, p.63.