30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Central/Eastern Europe

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.

Mar 24, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., March 24, 2005 - The CIA was surprised by Israeli agents' capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960, and a subsequent CIA file review uncovered extensive ties between Eichmann and men who served as CIA assets and allies (like Franz Alfred Six and Otto Von Bolschwing), according to the CIA's three-volume Directorate of Operations file and their Directorate of Intelligence file on Eichmann, posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Obersturmbannfьhrer (Lt.

Feb 4, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 4, 2005 - Today the National Security Archive posted the CIA's secret documentary history of the U.S government's relationship with General Reinhard Gehlen, the German army's intelligence chief for the Eastern Front during World War II. At the end of the war, Gehlen established a close relationship with the U.S. and successfully maintained his intelligence network (it ultimately became the West German BND) even though he employed numerous former Nazis and known war criminals.

Nov 17, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 17, 2004 - Fifteen years ago today, a modest, officially sanctioned student demonstration in Prague spontaneously grew into a major outburst of popular revulsion toward the ruling Communist regime. At that point the largest protest in 20 years, the demonstrations helped to spark the Velvet Revolution that brought down communism in Czechoslovakia and put dissident playwright Vбclav Havel in the Presidential Palace.

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