Intelligence and the Uprising in East Germany 1953: An Example of Political Intelligence

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In 1950, the leader of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Walter Ulbricht, began a policy of connecting foreign threats with domestic policy failures as if the two were the same, and as if he was not responsible for either. This absolved him of blame for those failures and allowed Ulbricht to define his internal enemies as agents of the western powers. He used the state's secret police force, known as the Stasi, to provide the information that supported his claims of western obstructionism and to intimidate his adversaries. This resulted in a politicization of intelligence whereby Stasi officers slanted ... continued below

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Collins, Steven Morris August 2017.

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  • Collins, Steven Morris

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In 1950, the leader of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Walter Ulbricht, began a policy of connecting foreign threats with domestic policy failures as if the two were the same, and as if he was not responsible for either. This absolved him of blame for those failures and allowed Ulbricht to define his internal enemies as agents of the western powers. He used the state's secret police force, known as the Stasi, to provide the information that supported his claims of western obstructionism and to intimidate his adversaries. This resulted in a politicization of intelligence whereby Stasi officers slanted information so that it conformed to Ulbricht's doctrine of western interference. Comparisons made of eyewitness' statements to the morale reports filed by Stasi agents show that there was a difference between how the East German worker felt and the way the Stasi portrayed their attitudes to the politburo. Consequently, prior to June 17, 1953, when labor strikes inspired a million East German citizens to rise up against Ulbricht's oppressive government, the politicization of Stasi intelligence caused information over labor unrest to be unreliable at a time of increasing risk to the regime. This study shows the extent of Ulbricht's politicization of Stasi intelligence and its effect on the June 1953 uprising in the German Democratic Republic.

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  • August 2017

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  • Oct. 9, 2017, 11:44 a.m.

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Collins, Steven Morris. Intelligence and the Uprising in East Germany 1953: An Example of Political Intelligence, thesis, August 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1011823/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .