THE EXPLOSION: The Uprising Behind the Iron Curtain by Rainer Hildebrandt

THE EXPLOSION: The Uprising Behind the Iron Curtain

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An involving account of the June 1953 rebellion in East Germany at once tells a story in personal terms and implies the failure of the West to take advantage of a situation to help the oppressed in an Iron Curtain area to freedom. The story of the author, whose ideal of Menschlichkait led him into political activity when Nazism revealed its intent, is a suitable prelude to that of the striker-rebels. The author presents the strike through a number of active participants: construction workers; a youth organization instructress; women prisoners at Goerlitz; an electrician and teacher in Bitterfeld; RIAS newsman Gerald Wagner and chief Gordon Ewing; a young Soviet officer vainly seeking freedom; a hated procurer for concentration camps killed by the crowd. We witness the strike as it forms when construction workers protest against raised quotas, as it gains momentum in the march on the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin- and the crowd demands free elections and a united Germany. Elsewhere, the issue of political prisoners arises and leads to the freeing of them, only to be jailed again for the most part. The call for general strike on June 17 was successful, but without long term planning and leadership, the rebellion necessarily subsided, leaving a tidemark in the battle against totalitarianism. There is an indignation at inhumanity here which reaches out to the reader.

Publisher: Little, Brown-D.S.P.