Wilhelm Zaisser, Head of the Stasi since its formation in 1950, lost his post because he had ‘failed’ to see the uprising coming. As a matter of fact, there was not much he could have foreseen. What made the East German Uprising so extraordinary was that it was a rather spontaneous affair. After some construction workers had expressed their discontent with the working conditions on 16th June 1953, the news spread quickly – and on 17th all those who felt similarly discontent made their voices heard across the country and marched through the cities of the GDR.
After the second stage of women offering themselves to one soldier to save themselves from others, came the post-battle need to survive starvation. Susan Brownmiller noted "the murky line that divides wartime rape from wartime prostitution". Soon after the surrender in Berlin, Ursula von Kardorff found all sorts of women prostituting themselves for food or the alternative currency of cigarettes. Helke Sander, a German film-maker who researched the subject in great detail, wrote of "the grey area of direct force, blackmail, calculation and real affection".