The History of the Soviet Bloc 1945–1991


Associate editors

 Assistant editors
Gabriella HERMANN
Jasper NOOIJN,

Babak ARZANI, Diego BENEDETTI, Martyna BOJARSKA, Ádám BALOGH, Shira BORZAK, Florian BRINK, Vanessa BUFFRY, David CATALAN, Sonya COWELL, Susan COOPER, Lauren CRYSTAL, Laura CSEKE, Botond CSELLE, Péter DARÁK, Nico DEGENKOLB, Kati DEPETRILLO, Emanuele DI BELLO, Jacob FEYGIN, Lilla FÖDŐS, Katarina GABIKOVA, Kristyna GABIKOVA, Evelina GELEZINYTE, Laura GOUSHA,Zsófia GÖDE, Brianna GREENWALD, Gyöngyi GYARMATI, Zoltán HERKUTZ, Ágnes HEVÉR,Neala HICKEY, Jennifer OLLAND, Connie IP, Alin IVASCU, Kitti Eszter JAKAB, Dean JOLLY, Victoria JONES, Annastiina KALLIUS, István KASZTA, Tomas KOLAR, Roman KOZIEL,Annamária KÓTAY-NAGY, Réka KRIZMANICS, Andrej KROKOS, András Máté LÁZÁR, Karina LEGRADI, Thomas KOLLMANN, Sára LAFFERTON, Marja LAHTINEN, Joseph LARSEN, Zsófia MADÁCSI, Cynthia MANCHA, Mike MANTZAVINOS, Csaba Zsolt MÁRTON, Anikó MÉSZÁROS, Viktor NAGY, Tímea OKOS, Balázs OLTVÖLGYI, Jennifer OTTERSON, Roland PAPP, Orsolya PÓSFAI, Dominika PROSZOWSKA, Rashid RAHIMLI, Linda RICHTER, Martin ROMAIN, Lili SIKLÓS, Bobbie SCHOEMAKER, Anett SZŰCS, Sabine TOPOLANSKY, Dóra VERESS, Aniello VERDE, Zita Bettina VASAS,  Patrick Stephen WAGER, Jonathon WOODRUFF, Maciek ZAWADA, Kristóf ZSIDI

© Cold War History Research Center, Budapest 2013

At the Cold War History Research Center we have been working on an extensive chronology of the Soviet Bloc for a number of years. The second part of the timeline contains information dealing with the period from 1953 to 1968. The years 1969–1980 will be available by the end of 2014.

The entries were compiled using mainly secondary sources so far, nevertheless, we are determined to further improve and continuously extend the chronology by including information from archival documents in the years to come. The chronology also presents data dealing with Austria, Finland and Yugoslavia. Although these countries were obviously not part of the Soviet Bloc, we still wanted to involve them since they maintained special relations with the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies.

1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968


List of Sources


© Cold War History Research Center, Budapest 2013

Chronology 1961

Soviet Union – 1961 (KCA)
A fundamental reorganization of scientific research is carried out in the Soviet Union, involving the creation of a State Committee for the Coordination. The primary aim of the reshuffle is to avoid the duplication of effort that characterized the former system.

Soviet Union / Japan – 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet and Japanese Premiers, Khrushchev and Hayato Ikeda, correspond regarding the U.S.-Japanese Security Treaty, the legal ownership of South Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands (formerly part of Japan, Soviet territory since 1945) and Japanese claims over sovereignty over the two southernmost islands of that group. Khrushchev declares that the Soviet Union will not transfer to Japan her rights over the islands.

Soviet Union / Albania / China – November–December 1961 (KCA)
The denunciation of Stalin and of the Albanian leaders by the Soviet leaders at Soviet Communist Party Congress produces widespread repercussions in the Communist countries. In December 1961, diplomatic relations between Soviet Union and Albania break off; the Chinese Communist Party decides against overtly breaking with Soviet Union, but adopts a sympathetic attitude towards “Stalinist” views of the Albanian leaders.  It emphasizes, however, the importance of maintaining the “the unity of the socialist camp” including Albania. In the other eastern European countries the Soviet de-Stalinization movement launched in 1956 is greatly intensified after the 22nd congress.

Romania / Italy – 1961 (ABR)
Economic agreement is signed between Italy and Romania.

Romania – 1961 (RFN)
Romania is elected to the East European seat on the Security Council for a split term of one year.

Yugoslavia / Hungary – 1961 (HC)
Based on data from the Yugoslavian census, the number of Hungarians living in the country is 504, 368.


January 1961

Bulgaria – January 1, 1962 (KCA)
A monetary reform providing for the replacement of the lev by the “new lev” comes into effect. One new lev will be the equivalent of ten old levs. The reform has been made necessary by the development of the country’s productivity.

Soviet Union / U.S. – January 1, 1961 (LBC)
Soviet prime minister Khrushchev announces: the U.S. people voted against Cold War when it elected Kennedy president. – January 6. The U.S. proposes to the Soviet Union to start talks on the “partial relaxation” of travel controls involving each other’s citizens. – January 12. Eisenhower’s state of the union address: The U.S. has contained “communist imperialism,” but the world problems created by communism continue to exist and threaten peace in Berlin, Cuba and Laos.

Yugoslavia / U.S. – January 5, 1961 (MOL)
Yugoslavia receives $27,7 billion from the United States as development loan.

Hungary – January 5, 1961 (HC)
According to a publication by the Ministry of Agriculture, collective farms make up 82% of the country’s arable land.

Soviet Union – January 6, 1961 (CWC)
Khrushchev expresses the Soviet support for wars of national liberation as they result from Western imperialism and colonialism.

Soviet Union / Indonesia – January 6, 1961 (KCA)
New material essential to the Indonesian armed forces is sold by Soviet Union to Indonesia. Indonesian personnel will go to the Soviet Union to learn how to operate the new military material.

Soviet Union / U.K. – January 9, 1961 (KCA)
A new Anglo-Soviet agreement, on scientific, technical, educational and cultural relations which will run for over two years, is signed in Moscow. It is an expanded version of a similar agreement signed one year before. The agreement also allows Britain to publish a Russian-language magazine in the Soviet Union.

Soviet Union / Ethiopia – January 13, 1961 (KCA)
A Soviet-Ethiopian agreement on cultural cooperation is signed in Addis Ababa.

Yugoslavia – January 20, 1961 (KCA/MOL)
Milovan Djilas, former Yugoslavian Vice-President is released from prison after serving half of the seven year sentence imposed on him. He has assured that he would not persist with “activities” that has led him to prison.

Soviet Union / U.S. – January 20, 1961 (LBC/KCA)
Chairman of the Presidency of the Supreme Soviet Leonid Brezhnev and party first secretary Khrushchev congratulate on the inauguration of President Kennedy and express their hope that “by joint efforts we shall be able to attain a radical improvement of relations between our countries”. Soviet leaders are confidentthat “moving step-by-step it is possible to remove the existing suspicion and distrust” between the USSR and the U.S. President Kennedy expresses appreciation of the Soviet congratulations. – Kennedy’s inauguration address: “Finally to those nations which would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. By neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course – both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.”

Soviet Union / U.S. – January 25, 1961 (LBC/KCA)
The Soviet Government, “guided by a sincere desire to usher in a new stage in a relations between USSR and the U.S.,” decides to release two American airmen shot down over the Barents sea in July 1960 and since detained in the USSR. The Soviet Union and the U.S. affirm that neither country demands the payment of compensation. President Kennedy warns American aircraft against violating the airspace of the Soviet Union. - February 8. The Kennedy administration begins the high level revision of U.S.-Soviet relations after the ambassador in Moscow was called home to report.

Hungary – January 29, 1961 (HC)
Népszabadság reports a statement by the Central Statistics Office about the completion of the second three-year plan.


February 1961

COMECON – February-March 1961 (CEC)
The 14thsession of COMECON is held in Berlin. Specialization in chemicals is envisaged. Trade agreements are concluded. The work on plan coordination up to 1980 is reviewed.

Poland – February 3-5, 1961 (HC)
A meeting of the East-West roundtable takes place in Warsaw.

Soviet Union / Italy – February 5, 1961 (KCA)
In response to Italy’s granting a military base for West German units in Sardinia, the Soviet embassy sends a Note to the Italian government which expresses concern for “helping to restore the armed forces of the West German revenge-seekers.”

Soviet Union – February 12, 1961 (KCA)
A Soviet interplanetary rocket is launched towards Venus.

Albania / Greece / Yugoslavia – February 13, 1961 (KCA)
At the Fourth Albanian Communist Party Congress, First Secretary of Communist Party, Enver Hoxha, accuses Yugoslavia and Greece of having organized an attack on Albania, with the assistance of Albanian “traitors”, and NATO. The attack has completely failed. The Yugoslav government utterly rejects these allegations, and claims that the Albanian government is “intent on further poisoning relations with Yugoslavia.”  Hoxha, who supported Chinese theories in a recent Moscow conference, declares that “friendship with the Soviet Union has been and will be the cornerstone of our policy.” However, the conference hall in which the Congress was held was decorated with Stalin portraits, a practice abandoned in the other Communist countries (but for China) since Khrushchev’s attack on Stalin’s policy at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1956.

Yugoslavia / Africa – February 13-April 27, 1961 (MOL)
Tito makes a more than 70-day long journey in certain states of Western Africa. He visits Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Mali, Guinea, Morocco and Tunisia where he meets the President of the Provisional Algerian Government Ferhat Abbas. At the end of his journey, he spends five days in Egypt and meets Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of the United Arab Republic.

Hungary / Mongolia – February 16, 1961 (HC)
A Mongolian government delegation arrives in Budapest for a friendly 10-day visit.

Soviet Union – February 17, 1961 (KCA)
The Venus rocket launched February 12 ceases to transmit or to respond to command signals.

Hungary – February 18, 1961 (HC)
A government declaration condemns the January assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minster of the Congo. Demonstrations in solidarity with the Congolese are held nationwide. 

Hungary – February 19, 1961 (HC)
The Hungarian Socialist Workers Party program is published: The program specifies the domination of agriculture by Socialist production. 

Soviet Union – February 20, 1961 (KCA)
As a result of widespread shortcomings in food production, a number of major changes in Soviet agricultural policy and organization are announced. Changes are intended to promote wider use of scientific methods, to decentralize agricultural administration and to offer collective farmers new incentives to increase production.

Hungary – February 20, 1961 (KCA)
The Hungarian government announces that the campaign for the collectivization of agricultural land has been completed. Cooperative farms account for 90% of arable land.

Hungary / Czechoslovakia February 20, 1961 (HC)
Antonín Novotný, the President of Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia makes a four-day visit to Hungary.

Soviet Union / India – February 21, 1961 (KCA)
An economic cooperation agreement between India and the Soviet Union is signed in New Delhi. New Soviet credits should help to implement six industrial projects under the agreement of August 1960.

Soviet Union – February 21, 1961 (KCA)
A new Soviet press agency, called Novosti (News), is founded in Moscow.

Soviet Union / U.S. – February 22, 1961 (KCA)
The U.S. ambassador in Moscow, Thompson, leaves Washington with a personal message for Khrushchev from President Kennedy, the contents of which are not disclosed.

Soviet Union – February 26, 1961 (KCA)
A State Procurement Committee is set up to reorganize redistribution in Soviet agriculture. Following these shortcomings in agriculture, new appointments are made, such as the replacement of Ukraine's and Kazakhstan’s Prime Ministers.


March 1961

Hungary / Czechoslovakia – March 1, 1961 (HC)
According to a census held on this day, the number of Hungarian inhabitants living in Czechoslovakia is 533.934.

Albania / Yugoslavia – March 2, 1961 (KCA)
The Yugoslav government announces that the staff of its diplomatic mission in Albania will be reduced to a minimum since conditions under which the Yugoslav delegation has lived are too hard to accomplish their duties.

Yugoslavia / Soviet Union – March 3, 1961 (MOL).
A barter agreement for 1961-1965 is signed between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

Soviet Union / Pakistan – March 4, 1961 (KCA)
Pakistan and the Soviet Union sign an agreement on Soviet cooperation in searching for oil in Pakistan in Karachi. However, this does not imply that Pakistan will shift toward neutrality.

Romania – March 5, 1961 (KCA)
A new Grand National Assembly of 465 members is elected in Romania for a four-year term after a single list of candidates was presented by the People’s Democratic Front.

Cyprus – March 14, 1961 (PLC)
Cyprus is admitted to the Commonwealth.

Yugoslavia / Hungary – March 18, 1961 (MOL)
Hungarian Deputy Foreign Minister Jenő Kállai criticizes Yugoslavia with a campaign against the Socialist countries. The Yugoslavs refute the charges in a note of protest.

Soviet Union / U.S. – March 19, 1961 (KCA)
Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who was attending the resumed 15thsession of the General Assembly of the United Nations, meets with U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk; no statement is issued.

Soviet Bloc – March 20-22, 1961 (MMS)
Meeting of the representatives of Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary in Budapest. on civc aviation.

Soviet Union – March 21, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet delegate at the Geneva Nuclear Test Negotiations, Tarapskin, proposes that the control organization should be headed not by a neutral administrator, but by a three-man administrative council, or a triumvirate, representing the Socialist, Western and neutral countries.

Romania – March 21, 1961 (KCA)
The Romanian Constitution has been modified: a Council of State is created elected by the Assembly. It will consist of a President, three Vice-Presidents and 13 members.

Romania / Soviet Union – March 21, 1961 (KCA)
During its session the Romanian Assembly passes a bill, imitating Soviet Union’s pattern of regional economic coordination, providing for the establishment of Economic Councils in each region. The aim is economic decentralization.

Yugoslavia / Guinea – March 21-27, 1961 (MOL)
Yugoslav President Tito meets President of Guinea Ahmed Sékou Touré.

Soviet Union – March 23, 1961 (KCA)
Kharlamov, head of the Press Department of the Soviet Ministry, announces the end of censorship of outgoing press dispatches by Foreign Correspondents in the USSR. It is noted that the word “censorship” is never outright mentioned in his announcement. However, the relaxation of the censorship is not announced in Soviet newspapers.

Finland – March 27, 1961 (PLC)
Finland joins EFTA as an associate member.

Soviet Union / U.S. – March 27, 1961 (KCA)
Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko visits the White House for a meeting with President Kennedy. No statement is issued, but Gromyko tells reporters that the conversation was useful and that the two discussed the Laos question.

Warsaw Pact – March 28-29, 1961 (CAC/KCA/MMS/HC/KDG)
The Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty holds a meeting in Moscow to discuss the German problem, disarmament and other international questions. Enver Hoxha of Albania is absent. Party leader Walter Ulbricht of East Germany presided. Ulbricht urges the sealing-off of East Berlin. The meeting also deals with the growing crisis over the Vlorë naval base in Albania. The Committee condemns Albania for its harassment of Soviet sailors, but the subsequent worsening of the situation leads Moscow to withdraw its ships from the port. At the conclusion of the meeting, a communiqué is issued which reaffirms the members’ support for a policy of peaceful coexistence and renews the demand for a peace treaty with both Western and Eastern Germany
Soviet Union / Yugoslavia – March 30, 1961 (KCA)
In Belgrade, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia sign a five-year trade agreement that aims for a 100% increase in mutual trade exchanges.

Soviet Union – March 31, 1961 (KCA)
It is reported in Moscow that 145 people have been killed and many homes demolished through the collapse of a dyke in the suburbs of Kiev on March 13.


April 1961

Yugoslavia / Albania – April 1961 (MOL)
The Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes a White Book on Yugoslav-Albanian relations.

Soviet Union / Nigeria – April 3, 1961 (KCA)
Nigeria and the Soviet Union establish diplomatic relations.

Poland – April 5, 1961 (KCA)
Bohdan Winiarski is elected president of the International Court of Justice. For the first time the court has a president from a Communist country.

Soviet Union / China – April 7, 1961 (KCA)
China and the Soviet Union sign a trade protocol for 1961 in Moscow.

Hungary / Japan – April 11, 1961 (HC)
Hungary and Japan sign an economic trade agreement, the first since the end of World War II.

East Germany – April 12, 1961 (KGD)
The People’s Chamber passes a “Code of Labor Laws”, (Gesetzbuch der Arbeit) which declares that everyone is entitled to a job. However, the right to strike is not included.

Soviet Union – April 12, 1961 (PLC/HC)
Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in outer space. Krushchev describes the flight of the Vostok 1 as a service to whole mankind. Gagarin is given the honorable title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

Soviet Union / Yugoslavia – April 15-19, 1961 (KCA)
In a message sent to the Belgrade Conference of Non-aligned Countries, Khrushchev argues that the tense international situation has been “created by the increasingly active forces of aggression and revenge,” the USSR approves every attempt “aimed at cramping the forces of war.”

Poland – April 16, 1961 (KCA)
General elections for a new Sejm are held in Poland. The distribution of seats in the new Sejm is as follows: Polish United Workers party, 255, United Peasant Party 117, Democratic Party 39, non-party candidates 38, others 11. According to the New York Times Warsaw correspondent, “the elections were run off with a measure of secrecy …unique in this part of the world.” The Roman Catholic Church adopts a strictly neutral attitude toward the vote, reflecting the deterioration in relations which has taken place during the previous years.

Hungary – April 16, 1961 (HC)
Decree no. 1961/7 from the Presidential Council rescinds decree no. 1957:34 on the people’s courts.

Cuba / U.S. – April 17.
Start of the „Bay of Pigs invasion” by American forces against Cuba intended to overthrow the Castro regime. 

Soviet Union / Cuba / U.S. – April 18, 1961 (CWC/KCA)
In a message sent to President Kennedy, Khrushchev declares that the USSR will give the Cuban government and people “all necessary assistance in beating back the armed attack on Cuba” and calls on U.S. to halt the aggression against Cuba. Kennedy restates the Monroe Doctrine. On April 22 Khrushchev sends another letter to President Kennedy, stating that the USSR seeks no advantages in Cuba and does not intend to establish any bases. He then adds “the USSR cannot concede to the United States any right to control the destinies of other countries.”

 Poland – April 19, 1961 (CAC)
A separate Polish Front within the Warsaw Pact established.

Soviet Union / U.S. – April 20, 1961 (KCA)
In a Note to the Soviet Union, the U.S. Government asserts that the Soviet demands for a triumvirate at the head of the control organization to be established by the Geneva Nuclear Test Negotiations are unacceptable to Western Powers. The heightening of the Berlin crisis during the spring brings the Geneva negotiations to a complete impasse.

Yugoslavia / Egypt – April 22, 1961 (RYN)
Because of the Bay of Pigs invasion, Yugoslav President Tito and UAR President Gamal Abdel Nasser issue a joint communiqué, in which they express, inter alia, their anxiety at the ominous international situation and call for consultations among uncommitted countries, “in order to strengthen world peace, preserve the independence of all nations, and remove the danger of intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.”

Yugoslavia / Switzerland – April 24, 1961 (MOL)
The representatives of Yugoslavia and Switzerland conclude an agreement in Bern. According to the agreement, Switzerland offers a loan of 22 million Swiss franc to Yugoslavia.

Soviet Union / U.K. – April 24, 1961 (KCA)
The British and Soviet Foreign Ministers at the Geneva Conference issue three statements appealing for a cease-fire in the civil war in Laos. A de facto cease-fire comes into effect on May 3.

Soviet Union – April 24, 1961 (KCA)
Izvestia releases further details of Major Yuri Gagarin’s orbital flight, including that Major Gagarin maintained continuous radio and telephone contact with Earth. It was reported that during the flight he felt well and everything was functioning correctly.

Yugoslavia / Egypt – April 26, 1961 (RYN)
Yugoslav President Tito and UAR President Gamal Abdel Nasser send a joint letter to the heads of the twenty-one nonaligned states setting forth their mutual problems and suggesting that a conference be convened prior to the next session of the UN General Assembly. On May 4 the decision to hold preparatory talks in June is announced.

Soviet Union / Albania – April 26, 1961 (PLC)
USSR ceases support for Albania.

Albania / China – April 27, 1961 (KCA)
The Chinese Government announces that China will supply Albania with grain and
other foodstuffs.


May 1961

Soviet Union / U.K. – May 1961 (KCA)
Contacts between Great Britain and Soviet Union are enhanced by an agreement on the exchanges of television programs, a five-year agreement for exchanges of information on the peaceful uses of atomic energy, and the opening in Moscow of a British fair trade.

Hungary – May 4-6, 1961 (HC)
The International World Congress takes place in Budapest.

Soviet Union – May 6, 1961 (KCA)
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet decides to extend the death penalty.

U.S. / NATO – May 8, 1961 (LBC)
At the Oslo meeting of NATO U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk repeats the U.S. offer to provide NATO with five Polaris submarines. His plan differs from the previous one. The submarines would be subordinated to NATO units which are under U.S. command and which carry out NATO defense missions. The new plan does not contain the original proposal on the submarines’ joint NATO command nor the one hundred missiles Europe was supposed to purchase and use. – The rethinking of nuclear doctrine is announced: the conventional forces of NATO will be significantly raised so that NATO could be able to repel a non-nuclear attack with conventional forces; a decision is made not to use nuclear arms until the Soviet conventional attack can be contained by similar NATO forces.

Soviet Union / U.K. – May 19-June 4, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet exhibition in London at Earl’s Court stresses import and export possibilities in Anglo-Russian trade. Talks to further improve economic relations are held, and a cultural agreement is concluded.

Eastern Bloc / U.S. – May 21, 1961 (LBC)
The U.S. secretary of commerce Luther H. Hodges announces that American export to the Eastern bloc went up from 89.3 million dollars in 1959 to 193.4 million dollars in 1960, the highest value for 13 years. The U.S. import from these countries in 1960 remained on the previous year’s level of 80.9 million dollars. Almost 75% of the export went to Poland, the large part of the rest to the USSR.

Soviet Union – May 29, 1961 (KCA)
The Economic Gazette announced that the Soviet Union has been divided into 17 large economic areas instead of 13 as hitherto.

Hungary / Indonesia – May 29, 1961 (HC)
Sukarno, the President the Republic of Indonesia makes a three-day visit to Budapest. A delegation representing Polish agricultural concerns makes a three-day visit to Budapest. 

East Germany / Soviet Union – May 30, 1961 (KGD)
Moscow ensures a loan of two billion German marks DM and the delivery of machines and food supplies to the GDR.

Soviet Bloc – May 30-June 2, 1961 (MMS)
Meeting of the COMECON’s Committee on Atomic Energy Cooperation in Moscow.


June 1961

Soviet Union / U.S. – June 3-4, 1961 (LBC)
U.S. President Kennedy and Soviet party first secretary Khrushchev meet in Vienna. In the course of the talks they review nuclear tests, disarmament and the question of Germany. No solution is found to the Berlin crisis. Both reaffirm their support for a neutral and independent Laos under a democratic government.

 Soviet Union / U.S. – June 3–4, 1961 (CAC)
President Kennedy and Khrushchev meet in Vienna. The U.S. president refuses to yield to Soviet demands on Berlin.

Soviet Union / Italy – June 7, 1961 (KCA)
A four-year trade agreement is signed by Italy and the Soviet Union for 1962-1965.

Soviet Union – June 8, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet Government protests against Western powers since several committees of the West German Bundestag have been meeting from the beginning of June. These deeds are deemed “major provocations” by the Soviets.

Soviet Union – June 12, 1961 (LBC)
A Soviet disarmament proposal is put forward in Geneva. The Soviet Union does not accept the international observation of atomic tests without the right of veto, but aims for general and full disarmament.

Czechoslovakia / U.S. – June 15, 1961 (LBC)
The U.S. expels a member of the Czechoslovak U.N. mission in New York on charge of espionage. - October 3. The U.S. expels the third secretary of the Czechoslovak embassy in Washington. This is in response to the fact that the second secretary of the U.S. embassy in Prague was expelled.

 East Germany – June 15, 1961 (KGD/KCA)
The Chairman of the Council of State of the German Democratic Republic Walter Ulbricht declares at a press conference in East Berlin: “Nobody has the intention of building a wall.” He expresses his confidence that the Berlin question will be settled within a year. Ulbricht states that a peace treaty will come and will make West Berlin a neutral free city with access guaranteed by East German authorities, and that the GDR will control all communications with West Berlin.

Soviet Union / East Germany / U.S. – June 15, 1961 (KCA)
Khrushchev, in a televised broadcast to the Soviet people, addresses the disarmament problem, in particular with the protracted Geneva talks on the banning of nuclear weapons. He declares himself ready to accept international control on disarmament if U.S. accepts general and complete disarmament. He says that the control on the ban on nuclear experiments should be exercised by a three-person commission representing Socialist, Western and neutral states. Khrushchev declares that a peaceful settlement to the Berlin and German question should be attained within 1961, adding that USSR will sign a separate treaty with East Germany if such a treaty is not signed by all the powers that were at war with Germany. Three questions are raised: first, any attempt to change the Oder-Neisse frontier between Germany and Poland would involve the risk of thermo-nuclear war. Second, in the event of a peace treaty between the USSR and the GDR , the Western powers should negotiate their access to West Berlin by road, air, water. Third, West Berlin should be a free city under a regime of its choosing, with guaranteed access to and contacts with the rest of the world.

Soviet Union / China – June 19, 1961 (KCA)
China and the Soviet Union sign agreements on economic, scientific and technical cooperation in Moscow.

Hungary / Bulgaria – June 23, 1961 (HC)
A Bulgarian government delegation led by Todor Zhivkov, First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party and Prime Minister Anton Yugov, travel to Hungary. 

Czechoslovakia – June 24, 1961 (KCA)
A reorganization of leading posts in the Czechoslovak government is announced in Prague.

Poland – June 26-30, 1961 (HC)
The Postmasters Generals of the Socialist countries meet in Warsaw.

Czechoslovakia – June 26, 1961 (KCA)
The National Assembly introduces and adopts a bill to ensure stricter supervision of the work of Czechoslovak Government and industrial establishments.

Soviet Union / U.K. – June 30, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet Union decides to terminate fishing agreements with the United Kingdom.


July 1961

Yugoslavia / Soviet Union – July 1961 (LUY)
A long-range treaty on economic cooperation is signed by Yugoslavia with the Soviet Union to help achieve the objectives of the new five year plan. The Soviet Union provides approximately 800 million dollars over the next five years through 1965.

Eastern Europe / Ghana – July-August 1961 (KCA)
Ghana’s President Kwame Nkrumah makes an extensive tour of Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union. He stresses that the Soviet experience and progress has ”been an important lesson for all of us” and the “African liberation movement would have suffered the most brutal persecution” had it not been for the Soviet Union.

Yugoslavia / U.S. – July 1, 1961 (LBC)
The U.S. department of agriculture announces that Yugoslavia is buying 33.6 million dollars worth of agricultural commodities from the U.S. for its own currency.

Soviet Union / Pakistan – July 3, 1961 (KCA)
In Karachi, Pakistan and Soviet Union sign a contract for the supply of Soviet equipment and expert services for oil and gas exploration.

Yugoslavia – July 4, 1961 (RYN)
At a mass meeting commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the Yugoslav uprising at Užice, Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito underscores two of his motivations for arranging the Belgrade Conference of the nonaligned nations: first, to prevent the United Nations from going the way of the League of Nations and becoming an instrument of one or another group of great powers; second, since the nonaligned countries, acting individually, cannot accomplish “anything really effective with regard to the improvement of the international climate regarding of how correct and just their attitudes Yugoslavia may be,” it is essential that “united, resolute action by the greatest possible number of countries that do not belong to either bloc” be taken.

Hungary – July 4-8, 1961 (HC)
The Rail Ministers of the Socialist countries meet in Budapest.

East Germany – July 6, 1961 (KCA)
After months of tension with West Germany because of the Berlin situation, Chairman Walter Ulbricht presents a “German Peace Plan” and accuses West Germany of violating the terms of Potsdam Conference. Ulbricht expresses his vision of a Confederation, free from foreign influence, that will achieve German reunification. Moreover, he envisages the holding of general, free and secret democratic elections for an all-German parliament and the formation of an all-German government with Berlin as its capital.

Soviet Union / U.S. – July 7, 1961 (KCA)
In response to a U.S. note, Khrushchev proposes that the questions of ending nuclear tests should be jointly dealt with the question of general and complete disarmament. Khrushchev reaffirms that the troika principle, which envisages that the control functions should be exercise by a three-man commission representing the Socialist, Western and neutral states, is the only one capable of ensuring just and objective control over compliance with a test-ban agreement.

Yugoslavia / Soviet Union – July 8, 1961 (MOL)
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Koča Popović visits the Soviet Union. The aim of his visit is to improve relations between the two countries.

Soviet Union / Germany / U.S. – July 8, 1961 (LBC)
Khrushchev halts Soviet troop reductions and raises military expenditures by 25%. The reason: the East-West crisis around the German question and the status of Berlin. – July 25. U.S. President Kennedy announces that America will defend Berlin even at the cost of force. – July 26. The US President asks Congress to call in the reserves. – August 7. Khrushchev once again threatens to sign a separate peace treaty with the GDR, which would terminate the West’s occupation rights in Berlin. – August 13. The eastern part of Berlin is closed off in order to avert the further migration of its inhabitants to West Berlin. The construction of the Berlin wall begins. The U.S. accuses the USSR of breaking the 1949 Paris agreement. – August 15. Formal British-French-American protest is given to the Soviet command in Berlin. – August 27. Because of the Berlin crisis France deploys troops from Algeria to France.

EC / Greece – July 9, 1961 (PLC)
The European Community and Greece draw up a treaty of association (which enters into force on November 1, 1962). Greece becomes a full member of the EC in 1981.

Soviet Union – July 9, 1961 (KCA)
A large scale demonstration of Soviet military aircrafts is marked by the appearance of a number of new types of fighters and bombers. The display of Soviet air strength is staged the day after Khrushchev‘s announcement that Soviet defense expenditure would be increased by one third.

Soviet Union / North Korea – July 10, 1961 (KCA)
An agreement on joint technical assistance with North Korea is signed. In addition,
the Soviet Union grants long-term credit on favorable terms.

Italy – July 11, 1961 (PLC)
A series of terrorist attacks begin in South Tirol, lasting till 1965.

Soviet Union / U.K. – July 11-16, 1961 (LBC)
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s visit to the U.K. He is received by the British foreign secretary and the Queen.

Poland – July 15, 1961 (HDP)
A new law on education withdraws religious instruction from schools and adds an eighth grade to the elementary school curriculum.

Yugoslavia / China / North Korea – July 15, 1961 (MOL)
A joint declaration of the People’s Republic of China and the People's Republic of Korea accuses the policy of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia of revisionism.

Soviet Union / East Germany / Western Bloc – July 17, 1961 (KCA)
Western Powers emphatically reject any attempt by the USSR to alter unilaterally the status quo in West Berlin or to conclude a valid peace treaty with East German authorities. They reiterate their willingness to reach an agreement on the German question, and to uphold the rights of the Western allies in Berlin.

U. S. / Europe – July 25, 1961 (CAC)
President Kennedy announces a troop buildup in Europe.

Hungary – July 28, 1961 (HC)
The President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah makes a four-day visit to Budapest.

Soviet Union – July 30, 1961 (KCA)
Pravda publishes a new draft program for the Soviet Communist Party. It is the third program to be issued in the history of the party—the previous two in 1903 and in 1919. The program consists of two parts: a general statement of Communist theory, and the second puts forward the party proposals for economic and political developments in USSR for the next 20 years. These include an increase of 500 per cent in industrial output and the free provision of many public services. The program condemns the personality cult and, in order to avoid excessive concentration of power, proposes that the period for which party officials may hold office should be limited; the new rules, unlike the party program often revised, emphasize the necessity of maintaining party unity but also affirm the right of every party member to criticize any other Communist.

Bulgaria / Greece – July 31, 1961 (KCA)
Greco-Bulgarian relations further deteriorate after the Bulgarian Prime Minister strongly attacks the Greek government by stating that it does not represent the Greek people. Bulgarian press and radio attacks on Greece had intensified after a high-level NATO conference near the Greek-Bulgarian border.


August 1961

East Germany / West Germany – August 1961 (KCA)
In the first days of August, the amount of refugees seeking asylum in West Berlin sharply increases, in an unprecedented scale since the 1953 uprising in East Germany. Throughout July 1961, the total figure is 30,444. The people who fled are chiefly young and skilled, which is a source of main concern for the future of the East German economy. Heightening this is the issue of Grenzgänger, people living in East Germany but working and earning their money in West Germany.

Soviet Union / East Germany / West Germany – August 3, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet government, in response to Western Powers expressing that they would not accept any unilateral Soviet attempt to end their existing rights in Berlin, accuses West Germany of “militarism” and “revanchism.” The Soviets demand the early conclusion of a German peace treaty with both German states and threaten again to sign a peace treaty with the GDR. However, the Soviets also stress that a change in the position of Western Powers will be welcomed by the USSR.

Soviet Bloc / West Germany – August 3–6, 1961 (CAC/HC/KGD/MMS/PLC)
Meeting of the First Secretaries of the Communist and Workers’ parties of the Warsaw Pact in Moscow. They discuss the economic-and foreign policy questions related to the German peace treaty., The Soviets agree to the closing of the borders between East and West Berlin, The decision to build the Berlin wall – with Romania’s minority report – is made. Its construction is intended to avert the economic collapse of the GDR.

Soviet Union / Italy – August 3-5, 1961 (KCA)
Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani visits Moscow for discussions with Khrushchev on the international situation, with special reference to the Berlin problem. Talks have proceeded in a favorable atmosphere.

Soviet Union / Western Bloc – August 7, 1961 (KCA)
In a televised broadcast, Khrushchev says that the USSR may have to call up reservists and move troops to her Western borders in reply to the American measures. However, he calls upon Western Powers to “sit down sincerely at the conference table” and negotiate.

Soviet Union – August 7, 1961 (KCA)
Major Gherman Titov, a Soviet Air Force officer, lands safely after orbiting the Earth for over 25
hours in the Soviet spaceship Vostok II.

Soviet Union / U.S. – August 9, 1961 (KCA)
In response to a U.S. note, which denounces the troika proposal as making “a mockery of effective international control” the Soviets accuse the U.S. of “standing by its former positions” and of “showing no readiness to solve the problem of ending nuclear weapon tests on a mutually acceptable basis.”

Soviet Union / Italy – August 11, 1961 (KCA)
Khrushchev warns Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani and the Greek ambassador of the potential dangers to their countries from the presence of NATO bases there.

East Germany / West Germany – August 13, 1961 (HC/KCA/KGD)
The East German authorities close the border between East and West Berlin, and also between Berlin and the surrounding East German territory, leaving only 13 official crossing-points open. A special broadcast says that these measures have been taken in agreement with a decision by the Political Consultstive Committee of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and they would remain in force until the conclusion of a peace treaty. As a result the flood of refugees diminishes but does not cease.— August 14. A declaration by the Warsaw Pact governments approves the checkpoint system.

Soviet Union / Japan – August 14-22, 1961 (KCA)
Anastas Mikoyan, Soviet first Deputy Prime Minister, visits Japan. His warnings about the alleged danger which Japan might face if she does not withdraw from the security treaty with U.S. are strongly contrasted.

Hungary – August 15, 1961 (HC)
A delegation of the Hungarian government, led by Ferenc Münnich, Chairman of the Council of Ministers travels to Indonesia and India.

 East Germany / West Germany – August 16, 1961 (KSG)
The borders between the GDR and the FRG are closed to all citizens of the GDR.

East Germany / West Germany – August 17, 1961 (KCA)
Concrete barriers topped with barbed wire are erected by East German authorities to fill in existing gaps between the crossing points.

Hungary – August 19, 1961 (HC)
The first astronaut, Yuri Gagarin makes a four-day visit to Budapest.

East Germany / West Germany – August 22, 1961 (KCA)

East German authorities create the following with regards to the newly established Berlin wall: a “no-man’s land” of 100 meters’ width on both sides of the border, reduction of the number of crossing points to six, and forbidding West Berliners to enter East Berlin without special visas in order to prevent the entry of “spies” into the Eastern sector.

Soviet Union / Laos – August 22, 1961 (KCA)
The Geneva Conference approves a draft declaration on Laotian neutrality.

East Germany / Soviet Union / West Germany – August 23, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet Government alleges that “revanchists… and spies” are being allowed to travel along the air corridors linking West Germany with West Berlin and calling on the U.S., Britain and France to stop what are described as” unlawful and provocative” activities by West German politicians in West Berlin.

 East Germany / West Germany – August 24, 1961 (JWG)
The Council of Ministers of the GDR restricts the rights of settlement in specific areas of the GDR. Citizens, who have their homes within a five kilometer border area with the FRG, must move elsewhere by September (“Action Cornflower”).

 East Germany – August 25, 1961 (JWG)
For the first time a refugee, Günter Litwin, is shot at the Berlin wall while attempting to flee to West Berlin.

Soviet Union / East Germany – August 25, 1961 (KCA)
East German party leader Walter Ulbricht says that Allied traffic to Berlin will remain subject to Soviet control until a peace treaty is signed. However, this does not change the fact that Berlin is the capital of the GDR, and after the signing of a peace treaty all traffic will be taken over.

East Germany / Western Bloc – August 26, 1961 (KCA)
Western powers protest against restrictions introduced in by the East German
authorities and threats to the Berlin air corridors.

Soviet Union – August 31, 1961 (CWC)
The Soviet Union announces that is resuming nuclear testing in the atmosphere because of the “aggressive policies of the NATO nations and their preparations for a new war”. It thereby ends the self-imposed moratorium from 1958.

Soviet Union – August 31, 1961 (HC)
After reviewing the position of the Western powers, the Soviet Union announces the resumption of nuclear military experiments.


September 1961

Bulgaria / Soviet Union – September 1961 (KCA)
Bulgaria’s first atomic reactor, built by Soviet Union for research and industrial purposes, goes into operation.

Soviet Union – September 1961 (KCA)
Khrushchev expresses his agreement for many of the conference points, including the need for general and complete disarmament and the abolition of colonialism. Moreover, he argues that “it would be a good thing if other countries which have not recognized both German states…would recognize them de jure and establish relations with them.”

Yugoslavia / Non-Aligned Movement – September 1-6, 1961 (PLC/LUY/RYN/MOL)
The Conference of Non-aligned Nations opens in Belgrade. It is the first conference of the heads of state of the non-aligned countries. Coincidental with the opening of the conference, the Soviet Union resumes nuclear testing in the atmosphere. In his welcoming address President Tito avoids the subject. On September 3, however, he speaks on the substantive issues of international concern: disarmament, Berlin, colonialism, economic development, and coexistence. First flailing France for not complying with U.N. resolutions on the discontinuance of nuclear testing, he then blandly observes that „matters have not reached a point where the Soviet Government has published a statement on the resumption of nuclear weapons tests.” Far from even attempting a dispassionate assessment of the dangers of French and Soviet testing, Tito denounces the French, but has nothing severe to stay about the Soviets: „We are not surprised so much by the communiqué on the resumption of atomic and hydrogen weapons tests, because we understand the reasons adduced by the Government of the USSR. We are surprised more by the fact that this was done on the day of the opening of this Conference of Peace.” Yugoslavia de jure recognizes Algeria. The conference ends with a 400-word „Statement on the Danger of War and Appeal for Peace” drafted by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Hungary – September 1, 1961 (HC)
A delegation of the Romanian government, led by First Secretary Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej travels to Hungary for a ten-day visit.

Soviet Union / Western Bloc – September 2, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviets reply to the August 26 Western protest by calling upon the Western powers to end the unlawful and provocative actions of West Germany. They maintain that there is no intention to restrict links between West Berlin and West Germany.

Soviet Union / U.S. – September 5, 1961 (CWC)
The United States announce that they are resuming underground nuclear testing because the Soviet Union did so.

 East Germany – September 5, 1961 (JWG)
FDJ (Frei Deutsche Jugend – Free German Youth) action begins in order to remove TV aerials that were used to receive broadcasts from Western TV stations.

Soviet Union / U.S. – September 7, 1961 (LBC)
Khrushchev announces that he is ready to meet Kennedy to solve the outstanding international problems. He warns that the USSR would not renounce the first use of the A bomb; in case of aggression the Soviet Union would defend Yugoslavia. He proposes the signing of peace treaties with the two German states. – September 25. The U.S. President states in the U.N.: the United States is ready to fulfill its obligations in Berlin “with any means”. – The new U.S. disarmament program: test ban treaty before the disarmament talks; terminating the production of fissionable materials for military use and stopping other countries from acquiring fissionable materials; nuclear non-proliferation agreement; the preservation of outer space from nuclear arms; gradual disarmament and the transformation of existing nuclear arms for peaceful use; cessation of production and testing of nuclear delivery vehicles and their gradual liquidation.

Soviet Union / India – September 7-11, 1961 (KCA)
Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru pays a five days visit in Soviet Union to hand Khrushchev in person the peace appeal which has been unanimously adopted at the Belgrade conference. Khrushchev and Nehru note with satisfaction that friendly relations and cooperation between the Soviet Union and India have been developing.

Warsaw Pact – September 8-9, 1961 (CAC/HC/MMS)
The Warsaw Pact’s ministers of defense meet in Warsaw. and agree to increase military preparedness and to proceed with “Buria,” the first military exercise to involve all the Warsaw Pact armies as a coalition.

Warsaw Pact – September 28-October 10, 1961 (CAC)
The “Buria” exercise takes place, the first of its kind to model a massive invasion of Western Europe.

Soviet Union / Western Bloc – September 8, 1961 (KCA)
Western powers refute the September 2 Soviet arguments, recalling the four-power agreements governing air access to Berlin. They repeat the warnings against any interference with Allied flights.

Soviet Union / Western Bloc – September 9, 1961 (KCA)
In response to Western appeals, Khrushchev says that the Soviet government has decided to resume nuclear tests because it could not “disregard the possibility of aggression” against the USSR. The Geneva Conference goes into recess. With the exception of other Communist countries, the resumption of nuclear tests is a source of great concern in the rest of the world.

Soviet Union – September 10, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet Union announces that tests of “more powerful and improved versions of multi-stage carrier rockets of space vehicles” would be carried out in the central Pacific.

Soviet Union – September 10, 1961 (KCA)
A new hydro-electric power station is inaugurated in Stalingrad.

Hungary – September 12, 1961 (HC)
Personnel changes to the government and Party leadership are suggested in a session of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party taking place in Budapest. 

Hungary – September 13, 1961 (KCA/HC)
The Hungarian government undergoes a major reorganization. The Presidential Council elects János Kádár as Chairman of Council of Ministers. Kádár remains First Secretary of the Socialist Workers’ Party. János Péter becomes foreign minister.

Hungary – September 14, 1961 (HC)
The session of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth Alliance takes place in Budapest. It elects Árpád Pullai as First Secretary.

Soviet Union / Belgium – September 19, 1961 (KCA)
Spaak, Belgian Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, visits Moscow for a discussion with Khrushchev.

East Germany – September 20, 1961 (JWG)
Erich Honecker, the Central Committee’s Secretary for Security approves the use of firearms against “border infringers”.
The People’s Chamber passes the “Law for the Defense of the GDR”, which invests the State Council with nearly unlimited emergency powers.


October 1961

Yugoslavia / Soviet Union – October, 1961 (ACY)
The Serbian Orthodox patriarch travels to Moscow for a fortnight visit. He and his suite are received by Brezhnev.

Hungary – October 5, 1961 (HC)
Hungary is admitted to the governing body of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Hungary – October 7-12, 1961 (HC)
The Parliament approves the laws number 1961: II and III addressing the second five-year economic development plan, the education system and the age limit for mandatory education.

Soviet Union – October 10, 1961 (KCA)
Tuva, a region in Siberia, becomes an autonomous republic of the Soviet Union. Tuvans are a Turkic people.

Hungary – October 13, 1961 (KCA)
György Marosán has been appointed Vice-chairman of the Presidential Council of Hungary.

Yugoslavia / U.S. – October 13, 1961 (LBC)
At an NSC meeting Kennedy stated that the U.S. must reevaluate its relations with Yugoslavia. This came when Congress attacked the sale of 13 fighter planes to Belgrade. According to the Pentagon the sale is in the best interest of the U.S., since Yugoslavia is denying strategically important territory to the USSR in South-East Europe. – November 23. The U.S. embassy in Belgrade informs the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry that the US is willing to negotiate the sale of further agricultural products to Yugoslavia. The sale of 500 thousand tons of grain has been already agreed upon, Yugoslavia wants one million tons more.

Soviet Union – October 17-31, 1961 (PLC/CAC/HC)
Marking the second wave of destalinization, the CPSU’s 22nd congress’ new party program sets Communism (to be achieved within two decades) as one of its goals. In his October 17 speech, Khrushchev attacks China through referencing Albania’s anti-Soviet policies. Chou En-Lai responds in kind. A major cleavage within the international Communist movement thus becomes public. Khrushchev rescinds his decision to sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany. The Congress condemns the political methods used in the period of the personality cult and the divisive positions of Chinese leaders during that period.

 East Germany / Soviet Union / U.S. – October 27, 1961 (JWG)
American tanks face Soviet tanks at the sector crossing “Checkpoint Charlie”. Both sides are given the order to fire if fired upon.
The Justice Ministers of the West German federal states decide to establish a Central Investigation Point with the task of recording acts of violence committed by GDR authorities.

Soviet Union / East Germany – October 27, 1961 (KCA)
Khrushchev reaffirms the Soviet’s Government desire to enter into discussions with Western Powers on the German question and its willingness to postpone signing a peace treaty with East Germany until after December 31.

 Soviet Union / U.S. – October 27–28, 1961 (CAC)
A confrontation between U.S. and Soviet tanks at the Checkpoint Charlie crossing into West Berlin takes place.

Soviet Union – October 28, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet series of rocket tests in the mid-Pacific end; all tests are said to be successful.

Soviet Union / Finland – October 30, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet government presents a note to Finland proposing consultations “on measures to ensure the defense of both countries from the threat of a military attack by Western Germany and allied states.”

Warsaw Pact / China – October 31, 1961 (CAC)
Chinese observers are excluded from Warsaw Pact meetings.


November 1961

Soviet Union / Eastern Europe – November 1961 (KCA)
Many cities and towns in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe which were renamed in honor of Stalin are again renamed.

Soviet Union – November 1, 1961 (PLC)
Stalin’s body is removed from Lenin’s Mausoleum.

Yugoslavia / Poland – November 2, 1961 (MOL)
Yugoslavia signs a treaty on economic cooperation with Poland.

Soviet Union / U.S. – November 2-4, 1961 (KCA)
After numerous nuclear tests in September by the United States, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission announces 15 more tests. No announcements are made by Soviet government. Except in the Communist countries, these arouse world-wide indignation.

Soviet Union – November 4, 1961 (KCA)
The Secretariat of the Fourth International (a pro-Trotskyist organization) in a letter sent to Soviet Communist Party demands the rehabilitation of Trotsky and other prominent Bolsheviks leaders who were executed in 1936-1938.

Soviet Union / Albania – November 7, 1961 (KCA)
Enver Hoxha accuses Khrushchev of abandoning Marxism-Leninism and of delaying a settlement of the German question through fear.

Soviet Union / Finland – November 8, 1961 (KCA)
A Finnish representative meets Gromyko for explorative talks to get further explanations on the October 30 Soviet note regarding defense from a possible attack by West Germany and allied states. The Soviet note causes surprise and concern throughout Scandinavian Governments.

Soviet Union – November 9-11, 1961 (PLC)
All cities named after Stalin renamed. Among others, Stalingrad is renamed Volgograd on November 10.

Soviet Union / Finland – November 11-12, 1961 (KCA)
Finnish Foreign Minister Karjalainen visits Moscow to discuss with Gromyko the Soviet Note to Finland of October 30 which has asked for joint military consultation “in view of the threat from Western Germany.”

Soviet Union – November 12, 1961 (KCA)
Molotov, the former Soviet Foreign Minister and a member of the “anti-party” group returns to Moscow. He refuses to comment on the charges against him.

Soviet Union / Ethiopia – November 15, 1961 (KCA)
It is announced in Addis Ababa that a contract has been signed for the Soviet government to build an oil refinery in the Red Sea.

Czechoslovakia / Albania – November 15-17, 1961 (KCA)
At its meeting, the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party decided that the late President Gottwald should be removed from his mausoleum in Prague. President Antonín Novotný spoke of Gottwald’s personality cult and legal abuses. This was part of broader de-Stalinization measures across the Eastern bloc. In addition, PresidentNovotný recalled the failure of Albanian leaders to respond to notes from the Czechoslovak Communist Party, and in response, Czechoslovakia should limit its contact with Albania.

Yugoslavia / India / Egypt – November 18-19, 1961 (MOL/RYN)
A conference between Yugoslav President Tito, UAR President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru takes place in Cairo. During their meeting, Tito persuades Nehru and Nasser to sign a joint communiqué urging the developing countries to examine the dangers threatening their vital economic interests. This course of action is a response to economic pressure exerted by the United States against Yugoslavia for its unwillingness at the Belgrade Conference to criticize the Soviet Union for having unilaterally broken the informal nuclear test ban moratorium that has been in effect since 1958.

Soviet Bloc / Western powers – November 21, 1961 (LBC)
The London based Institute for Strategic Studies reports that the Western powers are superior to the Soviet bloc in almost all important indicators of military strength. The estimated data for 1962:


The West

China and the East bloc


7.9 million

8.2 million







Atomic submarines



Conventional submarines



Medium and long range bombers



Aircraft carriers



Poland / Albania – November 22, 1961 (KCA)
Gomułka accused Albanian leaders of “senseless political adventurism” with regard to the German question and questioned the Chinese view on the German question.

Soviet Union / Finland – November 25, 1961 (KCA)
Finnish President Urho Kekkonen confirms Finland’s neutrality which is “an essential part of Soviet Union’s security policy” and says that the concern of the Soviet Union over German rearmament is understandable. A protocol covering trade exchanges in 1962 between Finland and Soviet Union is signed in Moscow.

East Germany – November 28, 1961 (PLC)
According to the Socialist Unity Party’s leadership, no personality cult evolved in East Germany, therefore there is no need to correct any errors.

Bulgaria / Soviet Union – November 28-29, 1961 (HC/PLC) à November 29.
After some hesitation, the Bulgarian Communist Party’s leadership sides with the USSR in the Sino-Soviet dispute. This also marks Todor Zhivkov’s final victory within the Party: former secretary general secretary Vulko Chervenkov is excluded from the Party’s leadership (subsequently from the party at the November 1961 8th Congress). Traicho Kostov is rehabilitated. The USSR honors the decision with economic benefits. Also, the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party expels Vulko Chervenkov from its Politburo on the grounds that he “did not draw all the necessary conclusions from the liquidation of the personality cult.” This was part of broader de-Stalinization measures across the Eastern bloc.

Soviet Union / U.S. – November 28, 1961 (LBC)
Izvestia publishes an interview with U.S. President Kennedy, although the text, according to the State department, is distorted. – Secretary of State Dean Rusk expresses hope in the continuation of East-West talks. In his view East-West talks must involve four points: arms control, particularly agreements to prevent of “war by accident or miscalculation”; resolution of “ specific crises which reached the point of clear and present danger”; prevention of “future crises” by “continuous communication between ourselves and the communists”; mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of health, science space research and atomic energy. – November 29. According to Kennedy there can be no harmonic relationship between the two blocs until the German and the Berlin questions are solved.

Romania – November 24-December 1, 1961 (KCA)
At a meeting of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers’ Party, the Soviet measures against Stalin’s personality cult were approved. In addition, the Central Committee condemned the Albanian Party of Labor, and persons who were responsible for the Stalin cult in Romania. This was part of broader de-Stalinization measures across the Eastern bloc.


December 1961

Czechoslovakia – December 1961 (HC)
The Central Committee of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party condemns the methods used in 1946-48 Czechoslovakian-Hungarian exchange of inhabitants called “re-Slovakization” - and other anti-Hungarian discriminatory policies.

 East Germany – December, 1961 (HWD)
The Politburo of the SED issues a communiqué ‘The Woman – the Peace and the Socialism”. The provision of equal rights for women is declared as “an indispensable principle of Marxism-Leninism” and “concerns the whole society”. The speeding up of qualifications for women is proposed.

COMECON / Albania – December 1961 (CEC)
The 15th session of COMECON is held in Warsaw. The basic principles of ISDL are adopted. Joint exploitation of raw materials and fuels is envisaged, along with specialization in agriculture and shipbuilding and transport coordination. Albania does not attend this meeting.

East Germany – December 1, 1961 (KCA)
West German sources reported that people who had been imprisoned in the GDR for insulting Stalin were released. In addition, Walter Ulbricht fielded charges that he was creating a personality cult akin to that of Stalin. This was part of broader de-Stalinization measures across the Eastern bloc.

Soviet Union – December 4-15, 1961 (HC)
The World Alliance of Labor Unions holds its 5th Congress in Moscow.

Bulgaria – December 9, 1961 (KCA)
The Presidium of the Bulgarian National Assembly relieves Vulko Chervenkov from his duties as Deputy Premier on accusations that he fostered a personality cult. This was part of broader de-Stalinization measures across the Eastern bloc.

Soviet Union / Albania – December 10, 1961 (PLC)
The Soviet Union terminates diplomatic relations with Albania following the Albanian support of China in the Sino-Soviet dispute. Albania leaves the COMECON on December 12. Other Socialist countries do not follow the Soviet example.

Hungary – December 10, 1961 (HC)
The government reduces prices of coffee, tea, sweets, citrus fruit, spices and a few industrial goods, and increases prices of tobacco and beer.

Soviet Union / U.S. – December 12, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet Government requests the U.S. Government to extradite Gen. Heusinger to the Soviet Union to stand trial for war crimes allegedly committed by him while a member of the German General Staff. The U.S. does not accept.

Soviet Union / U.S. / U.N. – December 13, 1961 (KCA)
The United States and the Soviet Union present a joint resolution in the General Assembly to resume disarmament negotiations “as a matter of urgency”, which is unanimously adopted.

Hungary – December 15-16, 1961 (HC)
The Parliament approves 1961:V law on the penal code, the VI law on the protection of land, and then VII law on the forest and wild areas.

Poland / U.S. – December 15, 1961 (KCA)
A new agreement on sale of U.S. surplus farm products to help to meet urgent Polish needs is signed in Washington.

 Soviet Union / Albania – December 19, 1961 (CAC)
The Soviet Union and Albania sever diplomatic relations after a stormy period that included disputes with China, a covert Soviet attempt to oust Albanian leader Enver Hoxha, and the expulsion of Soviet vessels from the Vlorë naval base.

Soviet Union / Hungary / U.N. – December 20, 1961 (KCA)
The General Assembly adopts a 16-Power resolution deploring “the continue disregard by the USSR and the present Hungarian regime of the General Assembly resolutions concerning the situation in Hungary”.

U. N. – December 20, 1961 (HC)
The 16th session of the General Assembly of the United Nation puts the “Hungarian question” on its schedule.

Soviet Union / Belgium – December 21, 1961 (KCA)
The Soviet Government warns the Belgian Government of the “dangerous consequences” of granting military bases for the Bundeswehr on Belgian territory.

Soviet Union / Greece – December 21, 1961-January 4, 1962 (KCA)
The Soviet Government asks the Greek Government for “an explanation “ of “recent reports about the installation of foreign nuclear weapons in Greece” in December 21. On January 4, the Greek Government describes the Soviet Note as an “unacceptable interference.”

Hungary / Albania – December 21, 1961 (HC)
The Foreign Ministry of Hungary re-calls its Albanian Ambassador from Tirana after accusing the Albanian Ambassador of engaging in propaganda activates against the People’s Republic of Hungary. The Albanian counselor is subsequently expelled from Hungary.

Soviet Union / U.S. – December 26, 1961 (KCA)
It is announced in Washington that Anatoly Dobrynin has been appointed new Soviet Ambassador for the U.S.

Hungary – December 30, 1961
Government resolution 1027/1961approves the establishment of a Carrier Center.

1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968


© Cold War History Research Center, Budapest 2013