April 3: Colonel-General Fritz Streletz, who is the Chief of Staff of the National People’s Army (NVA) and the Secretary of the National Defence Committee, informs top-ranking officers that Erich Honecker has informally revoked the order to shoot. He quotes Honecker as saying: "Shooting at people escaping is not allowed when there is no order to shoot. (…) It should be noted that, in the present political situation, it is better for a person to be allowed to run away than to use a firearm." – This revocation of the order to shoot is passed on by word of mouth among the GDR border troops in the following days, but does not leak out to the public.
April 3: At the synod of the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg, participants demand a more just organisation of travel regulations by the GDR government. One participant gives examples of the attempts young people are making to be able to travel to the West.
April 4: With one month to go till local elections, the supply situation in the GDR is precarious. RIAS reports on the situation in the country ahead of the elections.
April 5: In Poland, the government and the opposition sign a Round Table Agreement on political and economic reforms. The independent trade union "Solidarity” and the "Farmers’ Solidarity" are legalised once more. – In an internal analysis, the SED sees the results of these negotiations as meaning a loss of power and weakening of the Polish communists.
The paper considers the reasons for this politics of compromise to be the severe supply crisis in Poland and the country’s debt to the West of 39 billion US dollars. It goes on to say, "In this situation of growing worries and helplessness, as well as increasing ideological confusion, the idea took root that a legalisation of ‘Solidarity’ could open up new sources and possibilities for a gradual consolidation.
These hopes were based above all on the anticipation of economic concessions from the West and the acquisition of broad-based political support from the Catholic Church, and the presumption that there was a chance of splitting the opposition, neutralising it and integrating parts of it. The Polish United Workers’ party banked on being able to cope with the risks attached to this path of action."
The paper continues by saying that the scope of action for the Party leadership and government in Poland "has now been restricted even further. Some Polish comrades are of the opinion that, if things come to the worst, there is still the possibility of declaring a state of emergency again. They point out that the cadres in the armed forces can still be relied upon, that the state apparatus is still functioning, and that the alliance with friendly parties and organisations has survived up to now.
At the same time, they emphasise that such a step would be much more problematic now than in 1981, could lead to unforeseen consequences, even to civil war, and that, even if things went as favourably as they could, it would not make coping with many of the main difficulties, particularly in the economic sector, any easier." As far as consequences for SED policies go, the paper comes to the conclusion that the real situation has to be taken into consideration and all efforts need to be made "to give the PUWP and other progressive forces in People’s Poland support in defending the socialist social order, to ensure our security and economic interests and to ward off any avoidable damage to the GDR."
April 12: During nationalistic unrest in Georgia - where Abkhazians demand that their republic secede from the Georgian Socialist Soviet Republic, while Georgians call for Georgia to leave the Soviet Union - the Soviet Army intervenes and creates a bloodbath: at least 19 demonstrators are killed.
April 13: German Chancellor Helmut Kohl reacts to the sinking ratings of the CDU in opinion polls and criticism from fellow party members by reshuffling the Cabinet. The former ministers Oskar Schneider (Construction) and Rupert Scholz (Defence) lose their posts. Rudolf Seiters becomes the new minister in the Chancellery, his predecessor Wolfgang Schäuble becomes Interior Minister, Finance Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg moves to the Defence Ministry, while the CSU chairman Theo Waigel takes over the Finance Ministry.
A commentary in the newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" shows how critically the CDU/FDP government under Chancellor Kohl is viewed. It says that the "present manoeuvring inside the government building" recalled attempts at the end of April 1982 by Kohl’s predecessor, Helmut Schmidt, "to restore the battered façade of his government (…)."
April 14: At a meeting of the council of the Eastern International Bank for Economic Cooperation from 11-14 April in Moscow, the GDR representatives learn that both the Soviet Union and the CSSR are holding informal contact talks and exploratory discussions on entering the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
April 22: Mass demonstrations in China: in Beijing, students demand the freedom to criticise state and Party leaders, and the right to form independent interest groups.
April 26: SED General Secretary Erich Honecker sends a telex to the 1st Secretaries of the SED district leaderships, telling them that the Hungarian Party leadership obviously no longer has the will "to defend its political power. The process of a noticeable erosion of socialist power, achievements and values has accelerated, affecting all social fields." However, he says, the GDR will do all in its power "to help defend the socialist social order in Hungary."
April 28: At a "central staff meeting" of the Ministry for State Security, minister Erich Mielke announces the abolition of the order to shoot, but at the same time gives vent to his feelings: "I want to say something, comrades. If someone shoots in the first place, then he should do it so that the person doesn’t get away, but stays with us. What’s the point of shooting 70 times if he runs across to the other side and they make a huge fuss there? They’re right to do so. If someone shoots so badly, they should make a fuss."
The Stasi head seems to be unwilling to comply with the new demands: "When the times were a bit more revolutionary, it wasn’t so bad. But now, in these new times, we have to take the new times into account."
In April, 5887 GDR citizens manage to flee to the West; 4,996 are given permission to leave the GDR.