November 27, 2017

1950. East Berlin Announces the Creation of the Stasi

The Ministry of State Security is Formed
Minister of State Security Erich Mielke during the naming ceremony of the Felix Dzerzhinsky Guards Regiment, December 15, 1967 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

January 27, 1950

The "90 percent blockade" of truck traffic into Berlin ends its second week today. At the Helmstedt checkpoint some 300 vehicles, some of which have been standing 36 hours, are lined up awaiting clearance by Russian transport authorities. Another 150 vehicles are queued on the Eastern side of the border for clearance out of the Soviet zone.

Only two to three trucks are cleared each hour, cutting traffic to about 10 percent of normal. Russia's General Kotikov has not replied to a protest against the traffic restrictions delivered last night by the three Western Berlin commandants.

The actions here in Germany—one on each side of the Iron Curtain—serve to illustrate the schizophrenic nature of this divided country.

In Bonn yesterday two right-wing deputies staged a fistfight in the lobby of the parliament building. A Bavarian representative attacked a member of the Economic Reconstruction Party, which claims representation for more than a million German refugees from the East. The Bavarian said it was inappropriate that a delegate claiming to represent these poor people should be driving around Bonn in a luxurious automobile. Since the accused man struck the first blow, he was excluded from the federal diet for the next 20 sessions.

In East Berlin, the Communist puppet government announces that it finds it necessary to establish a Ministry of Security. The decision was taken after a police survey which revealed widespread resistance and sabotage against the Communist regime. A lengthy resolution against incendiarism and widespread anti-government pamphlets was adopted by the Eastern parliament.

The East German government also pays tribute to Democratic propaganda methods. They attack RIAS, the American-controlled radio station in Berlin, as the main agitator for resistance in the Soviet zone. The official Soviet newspaper, Tägliche Rundschau, promises sensational disclosures of espionage and sabotage tomorrow.

West Berlin's Socialist party, the most aggressive political organization here, has been staging a series of meetings on the borders of the Russian sector of the city calling for ouster of the Communists and free elections for the entire city. As is to be expected, each meeting produces its share of trouble.

Last night, the Socialists got more than they bargained for. The Communists packed the meeting and succeeded in breaking it up the moment it started. Today both Socialists and Communists are wearing black eyes and bumps on their heads.

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.

Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

January 28, 1950

Russian transport authorities today have relaxed somewhat their slowdown of truck transport into Berlin. However, more than 150 trucks are lined up at Helmstedt as East Berlin police continue harassing tactics in handling permits and bills of lading in what they call a "document education campaign."

But the most interesting news in Germany today comes from the German Communist satellite government of the East.

Yesterday it was announced that the East Berlin government is establishing a Ministry of Security—in other words, formalizing the establishment of another Gestapo to protect their government and keep the Communists in power.

To justify this most important and final move in their creation of a police state, the official Russian newspaper, Tägliche Rundschau, publishes a full-page report of sabotage and other incidents over the past year which have been overt attacks on the regime. All of these incidents have been inspired by American and British espionage services behind the Iron Curtain, the paper declares.

Under the headline "Gangster, Robbers and Murderers," the article lists four explosions in powder factories in the Soviet zone that resulted in 18 deaths. Other crimes against the state include the distribution of anti-Communist pamphlets, attacks against Communist officials, and the collection of economic data for sale to British and American intelligence. 27 persons have been arrested.

The story is significant for two reasons. First, it is an official admission of widespread opposition from a large section of the East German population. Secondly, it touches off a new campaign of repression which probably will result in a series of treason trials and further consolidation of political parties around the Communist core.

There has been surprisingly little reaction from the East on the signing of the Atlantic Pact arms aid treaties. It has been expected that when American arms deliveries begin arriving in Europe, it will be a most critical time in the East-West Cold War.

However, in Berlin today only one Communist paper comments with the usual vehemence. "Arms deliveries are a new attack on the peace...The United States is getting Europe under complete military control."

This is Bill Downs in Berlin. Now back to CBS in New York.