30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Political Movements

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.

May 12, 2006 | Briefing Book
May 12, 2006 - Thirty years ago today, the physicist Yuri Orlov gathered a small group of human rights activists in the apartment of prominent Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov in Moscow to establish what today is the oldest functioning human rights organization in Russia - the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group (MHG) - thus serving as an inspiration for a new wave of human rights activism in the Soviet Union and around the world.

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.

May 31, 2004 | Briefing Book
The Cuban revolution was a shock to the Mexican system. On the international stage, Mexico was forced to negotiate a position toward Cuba that allowed it to preserve some independence from the United States, which by 1960 had already declared itself the bitter enemy of Fidel Castro, while avoiding serious conflict with its powerful neighbor. [See Proceso No. 1374 and National Security Archive electronic briefing book No.

Jun 10, 2003 | Briefing Book
This new Electronic Briefing Book on elections in Mexico is the fifth to appear based on a collaboration between Proceso magazine and the National Security Archive and launched on March 2, 2003. The collaboration grew out of a shared desire to publish and disseminate to a wide audience newly-declassified documents about the United States and Mexico. Each month, Proceso magazine will publish an article by the Archive's Mexico Project director, Kate Doyle, examining new documentary evidence on a chosen topic. The series - called Archivos Abiertos (or, Open Archive), will draw from U.S.

Nov 4, 2002 | Briefing Book
Forty-six years ago, at 4:15 a.m. on November 4, 1956, Soviet forces launched a major attack on Hungary aimed at crushing, once and for all, the spontaneous national uprising that had begun 12 days earlier. At 5:20 a.m., Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced the invasion to the nation in a grim, 35-second broadcast, declaring: "Our troops are fighting.

Jun 13, 2001 | News
Newly published documents on the landmark worker-led uprising of June 1953 in East Germany show that the crisis was far more widespread and protracted than previously believed. The documents, obtained from the files of the former ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) of East Germany, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), as well as other former Soviet bloc and American archives, also prove that the scale of the crackdown was much larger than official sources had indicated.

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