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Chronicle 1984

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    • 11 August


      Another setback for Soviet-American relations: US President Reagan, believing he is speaking off the record, warms up for a radio address with the following remarks, which are however recorded by the sound engineers: "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
    • 17 August


      CPSU leaders summon the SED leadership to Moscow. Honecker, Hager, Axen and Mielke are confronted by Konstantin Chernenko as interim General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, who is still the agriculture secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, Defence Minister Dmitri Ustinov and KGB head Viktor Chebrikov.

      Chernenko severely condemns Honecker’s remarks about "damage limitation" and the "coalition of rationality", which he says are used by those "who try to disguise their policies and to deceive people with phrases that show no class awareness."

      Chernenko attacks the travel concessions made in return for the billion-DM loans. He says they are "dubious from the point of view of the inner security of the GDR and represent unilateral concessions to Bonn. You [Honecker and his companions – Author’s note] receive financial benefits, but these are really only apparent benefits. This creates additional financial dependencies of the GDR on the FRG. The events in Poland are a serious lesson from which one should draw conclusions."

      Chernenko gives the SED leadership a parting "request" as a warning by the CPSU: Honecker should refrain from visiting West Germany, for "if there is a rapprochement with the FRG based on a weakening of socialist positions caused by the unintentional encouragement of Bonn’s claims on the GDR, it would do us all great damage."

      On 4 September Honecker cancels his visit to West Germany. Transcription of talks between SED and CPSU Politburo members in Moscow headed by Erich Honecker and Konstantin Chernenko, 17 August 1984 (in German) less
    • 18/19 August


      In an interview with the SED’s central mouthpiece, "Neues Deutschland", Erich Honecker takes a stand on alleged "revanchists and extremists" in West Germany: "Socialism in the GDR is irrevocable. Merging socialism and capitalism is as impossible as merging fire and water."
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