Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Liberal Studies

Major Professor

Graydon A. Tunstall, Ph.D.


East German crisis, Revolution, Socialism, Cold War, Communism


The end of World War II brought forth many problems for the allies that had not been completely resolved by the victors. One of the most important was what to do with the defeated Germany. Within the first decade after World War II, the division of the former German superpower had become the front line of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the first eight years after the war (1945-53) East Germany, the Soviet controlled sector, quickly became 'Stalin's unwanted child' and was the first communist country to rebel against the imposed Soviet style socialism. The post war build up and Sovietization of East Germany was the catalyst for the 1953 East German uprising, which became the model that other Soviet influenced countries followed (Hungary, Czechoslovakia). After viewing internal Soviet documents sent from East Germany to Soviet Foreign Ministers and reviewing interviews with eyewitnesses, it is clear that the 1953 East German uprising was a worker's revolt triggered by the ill treatment they received from the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It was not a popular uprising (a revolt where much of the population is represented by specific groups).