Chapter Eleven - West German Imperialism
ON THE 29TH JANUARY 1953, Otto Lenz, State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery, boasted in the official Bonn government information bulletin that it would be a "small matter" to dispose of the GDR government. In furtherance of this aim, Ernst Reuter, the first Mayor of West Berlin, described his part of the divided city as a "handle" which could be used to "push open the door to the east." He said: "We are the thorn in the flesh of the Soviet zone, and we shall force the occupation power there to retreat." He also described Berlin (by which he meant West Berlin) as the "cheapest atom bomb."
Behind the scenes, the heads of trusts like AEG and Siemens (which had lost property through nationalisation in the GDR) began to manipulate the West German stock market with the object of creating a demand for the worthless shares in enterprises that had been taken over in the GDR. A lively demand for these so-called "east shares" developed and reached a peak on the 13th June when there was a genuine boom. In an article headed "strong Upward Trend," in the Dusseldorf Industriekurier, an "expert" wrote:
"Along with the reduction in discount, news about announcing a drastic change in east-zone policy also had a stimulating effect. Shares of firms with east-zone property, for example, Siemens, AEG, Dessau Gas and so on, were much in demand and exchange rates went up three points."
The campaign was basically designed to produce a favourable atmosphere in which investors would have a personal stake in the re-unification of Germany under a capitalist government, but there is no doubt that the millionaires who controlled the trusts involved were also dreaming of turning the nationally-owned enterprises of the GDR into private property once more, for their own enrichment.
On the 14th June, Otto Lenz arrived in West Berlin and set to work with A. W. Dulles, chief of the US secret service, who had arrived in West Berlin two days earlier with his sister, Eleanor Dulles, head of the German Division of the State Department. Their plan was to produce a counter-revolutionary situation in the GDR and then move in regular troops to take control of the resultant situation.
West Berlin, 160 kilometres away from West Germany, had been built up for just such an operation from the very beginning. Thousands of millions of marks a year from Bonn and Washington had been invested in the project. There were no fewer than eighty secret service offices in West Berlin; and as early as 1949 Gustav Klingelhofer, Social Democratic Party leader and Senator for Economic Affairs in West Berlin, had stated that the "task of the coming years" was to see that West Berlin "can not only be defended but can also be a bastion from which to sally forth."
On the 16th and 17th June, US tanks moved up to the GDR state frontier in Bavaria and Hesse and in West Berlin. At the same time, large numbers of secret agents, diversionists and provocateurs crossed the open frontier under directions given out by West German radio stations and especially by the US RIAS radio station in West Berlin. The character of this counter-revolutionary putsch was soon revealed as its followers started setting fire to buildings, plundering shops and murdering socialist workers.