No. 714
Editorial Note

No further unrest was reported in Berlin on June 16, but demonstrations and a general strike on June 17 resulted in the shooting and killing of several persons and many arrests. Martial law was declared the afternoon of June 17 and a curfew from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. was decreed. According to telegram 1686 from Berlin, June 18, civilian communications between Berlin and Leipzig and Magdeburg were ordered cut between the evening of June 17 and the morning of June 18. East Berlin workers were reported to have returned to work only in some cases, and city transportation operated irregularly. (762B.00/6–1853) All crossings between the Soviet and other sectors of Berlin were blocked by East Berlin police and Soviet troops. The British military mission reported that smashed windows and some burning had occurred in East Berlin during the riots. By June 19, 20,000 Soviet troops, 350 tanks, and many East Berlin police were patrolling the main areas of the city; however, shops were open, more workers were on the job, and all was generally quiet. (Telegrams 1697 and 1709 from Berlin, June 19, 762B.00/6–1953) Outside Berlin, British officers also reported their impression that Soviet troops in full battle dress had surrounded the major cities of Saxony, Saxon-Anhalt, Magdeburg, Halle, Leipzig, and Meissen, although it was not clear whether their purpose was to “quell riots or maintain order.” No mention was made of unrest in rural areas. (Telegram 1707 from Berlin, June 19, 762B.00/6–1953) Martial law was also declared in Potsdam, Magdeburg, and parts of Brandenburg, with violence reported in Halle, Chemnitz, Gera, Dresden, Leipzig, Erfurt, Cottbus, Rostock, and Warnemünde. The most crucial problems facing the authorities in the German Democratic Republic were food, communications, and transportation. (Telegram 1697 from Berlin, June 19, 762B.00/6–1953) According to telegram 1724 from Berlin, June 21, daily life in Berlin seemed to have returned to normal by June 21, although the situation remained uncertain in the rest of the Soviet Zone. (762B.00/6–2153)