Why did the uprising fail?

"We want to be free people!" June 17, 1953: popular uprising in the GDR

"In accordance with the proposals from the working class [...] the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party decided [...] that socialism should be built up in the German Democratic Republic according to plan." "So the minutes noted the words of Walter Ulbricht at the Second Party Conference of the SED in July 1952. But Ulbricht and comrades had no idea that their" planned construction "would lead to a popular uprising.

SED raises labor standards

The "intensified class struggle" resolved at the party conference led the GDR into a supply crisis within a few months. The absolute priority of heavy industry, the collectivization of agriculture, compulsory tax measures against craftsmen and private entrepreneurs and, last but not least, the establishment of the barracked People's Police depressed production and the mood. To avert a supply disaster, the SED increased labor standards by 10.3 percent on May 28, 1953.

After Stalin's death on March 5, 1953 and after tens of thousands had left the country due to the repression, the SED defused the class struggle again. The "New Course" - once again decreed by the Soviet Union - corrected the hard line, but the increase in norms was not withdrawn.

The republic is on fire

On June 16, the union newspaper "Trib√ľne" published an article by the FDGB deputy chairman who defended this decision. Provoked by this article, a march of construction workers formed in the morning in Berlin's Stalinallee, the center of the national development program.