EAST GERMANY: Crack in the Ice

While ideological thaw crept through the satellites in the wake of the 20th Party Congress, East Germany's Socialist Unity (Communist) Party remained the iceberg of the Communist world. Goat-bearded First Secretary Walter Ulbricht, 64, an old-line Stalinist, kept his party and his nation under tight control. Intellectuals or students showing signs of "liberalism" were summarily jailed.

Last week the iceberg suddenly cracked. Without warning, Ulbricht fired three of his top associates, labeled them members of "an opportunistic group trying to change the political line of the party." In short, the three...

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