17th June 1953
Synonymous with the workers revolt in the GDR on 17th June 1953. In protest against increased working standards workers on the building sites of the Stalinallee in East Berlin began a strike. The demonstrations took hold of the entire Eastern part of Berlin. They proclaimed political objectives and called for a general strike for the following day which spread to large parts of the GDR. In more than 270 towns, primarily in industrial centres and larger cities such as Halle, Magdeburg and Erfurt walk-outs from work occurred and demonstrations took place. The demonstrators demanded the resignation of Walter Ulbricht and Otto Grotewohl, the reinstatement of the German unity and free elections.
The leadership of the SED itself was unable to cope with the revolt. Soviet troops brutally crushed the revolt with tanks, without the slightest consideration for human life. More than 1,000 people were sentenced because of their participation in the revolt which had allegedly been initiated by "fascist agents provocateurs" from the Federal Republic of Germany.