East German uprising of 1953
17 June 2023 - 70th anniversary
The East German uprising of 1953, began with a strike action by East Berlin construction workers on 16th June, and turned into a widespread uprising against the communist German Democratic Republic government the next day. It involved more than one million people in about 700 localities.
The dramatic increase of emigration in the early 1950s constituted a serious economic and social problem. Military expenditures rose and already made up around 11 percent of the national budget in 1952. Another factor that contributed to an already complicated political situation was the high number of political prisoners in the GDR.
The decision by the state to raise work quotas was perceived as an added provocation and on 16 June, 300 East Berlin construction workers went on strike and marched towards government buildings in Berlin.
On 17 June, 40,000 protesters gathered in East Berlin, with many protests held throughout East Germany.
Major clashes occurred in Berlin, where Soviet troops and Volkspolizei opened fire killing around 125 people.