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Chapter 3 History notes (It must look democratic but we must have everything in our
Who was Walter Ulbricht and what did he does in May 1945?
•A leader of the KPD who had been in the USSR for 12 years
•He was exiled back to Germany and obeyed every bizarre twist and turn of Stalin’s
•Spent years traveling on Comintern business
•After Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 he turned to political work with
German troops captured by the Red Army on the E. front trying to persuade POWs
to turn against Hitler and support a communist future for post war Germany.
•In 1945 he ranked second in the exiled German Communist hierarchy.
•Ulbricht told his 9 other German exile comrades that it was their task to build a
German self-gov’t in Berlin.
•He had a fantasy illusion in his mind of liberation and did not admit to be aware of
the horrific reality of the atmosphere in Berlin.
•Ulbricht and his band were tools of the occupiers and took orders from the corrupt
General Ivan Serov reporting directly to Stalin.
•Founded the new mayor for Berlin with a hardcore communist deputy on May 12 +
communist directors of education and personnel.
What did Berlin look like during the first weeks of occupation?
•Hitler had killed himself 24 hours previously and fighting was still going on.
•Previously it had 4 and a quarter million citizens but after the war the population
was almost half.
•40% of the buildings had been destroyed
•Berlin had no power, sewerage system, or functioning public transport
•Murder, looting and vengeful sexual violence sweeping through Berlin in the wake
of the Red Army’s advance.
•Communist Russians forced Berliners to keep silent but they still knew what they
•Two million abortions a year in the occupied immediate post war period, mostly in
the Soviet Zone and 150 000- 200 000 “Russian babies” born as result of rape.
•Surprisingly few Berliners actually starved.
How and when did this situation begin to improve?
•May 15: first stretch of subway reopened.
•May 17: Museums opened in temporary quarters
•May 19: city gov’t in Berlin reinstituted, citizens were told to “vote” for by the
•May 26: first post-war concert
•Soviets dragooned thousands of Berliners into labor gangs and cleared the streets.