December 8, 2017

1949. Soviet Union Expands Influence in East Germany

Soviet Foreign Minister Vyshinsky Visits Berlin
Rally in Halle, Germany in celebration of the founding of the German Democratic Republic, October 8, 1949 (Photo by Günther Paalzow - source)
Bill Downs

CBS Berlin

December 14, 1949

Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Vyshinsky and Russia's UN delegation are scheduled to arrive in Berlin at any moment. Although plans for the party's stay in Germany are unknown, the Communist Radio Berlin an hour ago began broadcasting orders to Berlin factories and civic offices to break out the red flags in honor of Vyshinsky's arrival.

It is reported that Vyshinsky will spend several days here conferring with Russian occupation officials and leaders of the East German satellite government.

He will have plenty to talk about. The German Communist party is in the midst of another purge. Eastern Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl and his wife attempted joint suicide after Russian authorities accused him of responsibility for failure to Sovietize the East German territory.

However, more interest now is centering on the extraordinary session of the Eastern People's Congress called for next Wednesday on the occasion of the seventieth birthday of Joseph Stalin.

This Communist holiday is receiving an unprecedented buildup in East Germany, and rumors are circulating that the Russians are planning to announce some sensational decision in another move to woo German public opinion eastwards.

These unconfirmed reports speculate that this Russian announcement may revise the East German territorial border—or revise Russia's official end of the war with Germany—or announce the withdrawal of occupation troops—or perhaps a separate peace treaty.

In Bonn this morning the West German parliament is investigating one of its extremist right-wing members for a speech he is alleged to have made in the province of Schleswig-Holstein last month.

The delegate, Wolfgang Hadler of the rightist Deutsche Party, is charged with endorsing the Nazi liquidation of German Jews as completely legal and said that Germany lost the war only because of the traitorous military underground movement against Hitler. Hadler denies making the statements, but he was barred from the floor of parliament today while the government studies a stenographic report of the speech.

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