30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Central/Eastern Europe

Nov 9, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, November 9, 2014 – The iconic fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago today shocked international leaders from Washington to Moscow, London to Warsaw, as East German crowds took advantage of Communist Party fumbles to break down the Cold War's most symbolic barrier, according to formerly secret documents from Soviet, German, U.S., Czechoslovak and Hungarian files posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
Aug 12, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 12, 2011 - Fifty years ago, when leaders of the former East Germany (German Democratic Republic) implemented their dramatic decision to seal off East Berlin from the western part of the city, senior Kennedy administration officials publicly condemned them. Nevertheless, those same officials, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, secretly saw the Wall as potentially contributing to the stability of East Germany and thereby easing the festering crisis over West Berlin. Indeed, U.S.
Nov 8, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 8, 2009 - Just before the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago, even the hardline Czechoslovak Communist leaders called for the opening of the German border, according to documents from high-level archives in Berlin, Bonn and Prague published for the first time in English and posted on the Web today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
Nov 7, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 7, 2009 - The fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago generated major anxiety in capitals from Warsaw to Washington, to the point of outright opposition to the possibility of German unification, according to documents from Soviet, American and European secret files posted on the Web today by the National Security Archive.
Oct 9, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 9, 2009 - Twenty years ago today, crowds of East German demonstrators took to the streets in Leipzig starting their own October revolution that would bring down the Berlin Wall a month later. Ironically, these massive peaceful crowds of about 70,000 people gathered in the streets and squares of Leipzig just two days after the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic and the visit by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Berlin.
Jan 26, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 26, 2009 - The brutal suppression by Czechoslovak Communist authorities of commemorative ceremonies for "Palach Week" 20 years ago this month marked the beginning of the end of the regime in the annus mirabilis 1989, according to secret police, Communist Party, and dissident documents posted today on the Web by the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre (Prague) and the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.).
Jan 6, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., January 6, 2007 - The Czechoslovak human rights activists who launched the landmark Charter 77 movement secretly gathered their first 240 signatures on handwritten cards without leaving copies with the signatories, but were arrested 30 years ago today by the secret police on charges of "subversion" and "hostility to the socialist state and social system" before they could deliver the original Charter to the Federal Assembly, according to Charter 77 and Czechoslovak secret police documents published in English for the first time on the National Security Archive Web site (www
Dec 11, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 11, 2006 - Twenty-five years ago this week, at 6:00 a.m. on December 13, 1981, Polish Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski appeared on national TV to declare that a state of martial law existed in the country. Earlier in the night, military and police forces had begun securing strategic facilities while ZOMO special police rounded up thousands of members of the Solidarity trade union, including its celebrated leader, Lech Walesa.
Oct 31, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., October 31, 2006 - Fifty years ago today the Soviet Presidium overturned its earlier decision to pull its troops out of Hungary in the face of a popular uprising, yet the CIA--with only one Hungarian-speaking officer stationed in Budapest at the time--failed to foresee either the uprising or the Soviet invasion to come, according to declassified CIA histories posted on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
Nov 21, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 21, 2005 - Every work of history is not just a statement about the past, but a reflection of the era -- if not the precise year -- during which it was written. This is certainly the case with the now-declassified 1997 U.S. State Department study of the American effort to end the Bosnian war, the original version of which is now available. On November 21, 1995, the world witnessed an event that for years many believed impossible: on a secluded, wind-swept U.S. Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, the leaders of Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia agreed to end a war.

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