7 March 1950

Cold War: The Soviet Union issues a statement denying that Klaus Fuchs served as a Soviet spy.

Klaus Fuchs
Klaus Fuchs - police photograph.jpg
Police photograph of Klaus Fuchs (c. 1940)
Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs

(1911-12-29)29 December 1911
Died28 January 1988(1988-01-28) (aged 76)
CitizenshipGermany, United Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Leipzig
University of Kiel
University of Bristol
University of Edinburgh
Spouse(s)Grete Keilson (1959–1988)
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics
InstitutionsLos Alamos National Laboratory
Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment
Institute for Nuclear Research in Rossendorf
Doctoral advisorNevill Mott

Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs (29 December 1911 – 28 January 1988) was a German theoretical physicist and atomic spy who supplied information from the American, British, and Canadian Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union during and shortly after World War II. While at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fuchs was responsible for many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons and, later, early models of the hydrogen bomb. After his conviction in 1950, he served nine years in prison in the United Kingdom and then moved to East Germany where he resumed his career as a physicist and scientific leader.

The son of a Lutheran pastor, Fuchs attended the University of Leipzig, where his father was a professor of theology, and became involved in student politics, joining the student branch of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, the SPD's paramilitary organisation. He was expelled from the SPD in 1932, and joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). He went into hiding after the 1933 Reichstag fire, and fled to the United Kingdom, where he received his PhD from the University of Bristol under the supervision of Nevill Mott, and his DSc from the University of Edinburgh, where he worked as an assistant to Max Born.

After the Second World War broke out in Europe, he was interned in the Isle of Man, and later in Canada. After he returned to Britain in 1941, he became an assistant to Rudolf Peierls, working on "Tube Alloys"—the British atomic bomb project. He began passing information on the project to the Soviet Union through Ursula Kuczynski, codenamed "Sonya", a German communist and a major in Soviet military intelligence who had worked with Richard Sorge's spy ring in the Far East. In 1943, Fuchs and Peierls went to Columbia University, in New York City, to work on the Manhattan Project. In August 1944, Fuchs joined the Theoretical Physics Division at the Los Alamos Laboratory, working under Hans Bethe. His chief area of expertise was the problem of implosion, necessary for the development of the plutonium bomb. After the war, he returned to the UK and worked at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell as head of the Theoretical Physics Division.

In January 1950, Fuchs confessed that he was a spy. A British court sentenced him to fourteen years' imprisonment and stripped him of his British citizenship. He was released in 1959, after serving nine years, and emigrated to the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), where he was elected to the Academy of Sciences and became a member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) central committee. He was later appointed deputy director of the Institute for Nuclear Research in Rossendorf, where he served until he retired in 1979.

Early life

Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs was born in Rüsselsheim, Grand Duchy of Hesse, on 29 December 1911, the third of four children of a Lutheran pastor, Emil Fuchs, and his wife Else Wagner.[1][2] He had an older brother Gerhard, an older sister Elisabeth, and a younger sister, Kristel. The family moved to Eisenach, where Fuchs attended the Gymnasium, and took his Abitur. At school, Fuchs and his siblings were taunted over his father's unpopular political views, which they came to share. They became known as the "red foxes", Fuchs being the German word for fox.[3]

Fuchs entered the University of Leipzig in 1930,[4] where his father was a professor of theology. He became involved in student politics, joining the student branch of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), a party that his father had joined in 1912, and the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, the party's paramilitary organisation.[5] His father took up a new position as professor of religion at the Pedagogical Academy in Kiel, and in the autumn Fuchs transferred to the University of Kiel, which his brother Gerhard and sister Elisabeth also attended. Fuchs continued his studies in mathematics and physics at the university.[6] In October 1931, his mother committed suicide by drinking hydrochloric acid. The family later discovered that his maternal grandmother had also taken her own life.[3][2]

In the March 1932 German presidential election, the SPD supported Paul von Hindenburg for President, fearing that a split vote would hand the job to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) candidate, Adolf Hitler. However, when the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) ran its own candidate, Ernst Thälmann, Fuchs offered to speak for him, and was expelled from the SPD. That year Fuchs and all three of his siblings joined the KPD.[3] Fuchs and his brother Gerhard were active speakers at public meetings, and occasionally attempted to disrupt NSDAP gatherings.[6] At one such gathering, Fuchs was beaten up and thrown into the river.[7]

When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, Fuchs decided to leave Kiel, where the NSDAP was particularly strong and he was a well-known KPD member. He enrolled at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin. On 28 February, he took an early train to Berlin for a KPD meeting there. On the train, he read about the Reichstag fire in a newspaper. Fuchs correctly assumed that opposition parties would be blamed for the fire, and quietly removed his hammer and sickle lapel pin.[6][7]

The KPD meeting in Berlin was held in secret. Fellow party members urged him to continue his studies in another country. He went into hiding for five months in the apartment of a fellow party member. In August 1933, he attended an anti-fascist conference in Paris chaired by Henri Barbusse, where he met an English couple, Ronald and Jessie Gunn, who invited Fuchs to stay with them in Clapton, Somerset. He was expelled from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in October 1933.[6][7]

Refugee in Britain

Fuchs arrived in England on 24 September 1933. Jessie Gunn was a member of the Wills family, the heirs to Imperial Tobacco and benefactors of the University of Bristol. She arranged for Fuchs to meet Nevill Mott, Bristol's professor of physics, and he agreed to take Fuchs on as a research assistant.[8] Fuchs earned his Ph.D. in physics there in 1937. A paper on "A Quantum Mechanical Calculation of the Elastic Constants of Monovalent Metals" was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in 1936.[9] By this time, Mott had a number of German refugees working for him, and lacked positions for them all. He did not think that Fuchs would make much of a teacher, so he arranged a research post for Fuchs, at the University of Edinburgh working under Max Born, who was himself a German refugee. Fuchs published papers with Born on "The Statistical Mechanics of Condensing Systems" and "On Fluctuations in Electromagnetic radiation" in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. He also received a Doctorate in Science degree from Edinburgh. Fuchs proudly mailed copies back to his father in Germany.[10]

In Germany, Emil had been dismissed from his academic post, and, disillusioned with the Lutheran Church's support of the NSDAP, had become a Quaker in 1933.[7] He was arrested for speaking out against the government, but was held for only one month. Elisabeth married a fellow communist, Gustav Kittowski, with whom she had a child they named Klaus.[11] Elisabeth and Kittowski were arrested in 1933, and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, but were freed at Christmas. Gerhard and his wife Karin were arrested in 1934, and spent the next two years in prison. Gerhard, Karin, Elisabeth and Kittowski established a car rental agency in Berlin, which they used to smuggle Jews and opponents of the government out of Germany.[11]

After Emil was arrested in 1933, Kristel fled to Zurich, where she studied education and psychology at the University of Zurich. She returned to Berlin in 1934, where she too worked at the car rental agency. In 1936, Emil arranged with Quaker friends in the United States for Kristel to attend Swarthmore College there. She visited Fuchs in England en route to America, where she eventually married an American communist, Robert Heineman, and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She became a permanent resident in the United States in May 1938.[12][13][14] In 1936, Kittowski and Elisabeth were arrested again, and the rental cars were impounded. Gerhard and Karin fled to Czechoslovakia. Elisabeth was released and went to live with Emil, while Kittowski, sentenced to six years, later escaped from prison and also made his way to Czechoslovakia. In August 1939,[15] Elisabeth committed suicide by throwing herself from a train, leaving Emil to raise young Klaus.[14][13]

Second World War

Fuchs applied to become a British subject in August 1939, but his application had not been processed before the Second World War broke out in Europe in September 1939. There was a classification system for enemy aliens, but Born provided Fuchs with a reference that said that he had been a member of the SPD from 1930 to 1932, and an anti-Nazi. There matters stood until June 1940, when the police arrived and took Fuchs into custody. He was first interned on the Isle of Man and then, in July, he was sent to an internment camp in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. During his internment in 1940, he continued to work and published four more papers with Born: The Mass Centre in Relativity, Reciprocity, Part II: Scalar Wave Functions, Reciprocity, Part III: Reciprocal Wave Functions and Reciprocity, Part IV: Spinor Wave Functions, and one by himself, On the Statistical Method in Nuclear Theory.[16]

Poynting Physics building at the University of Birmingham

While interned in Quebec, he joined a communist discussion group led by Hans Kahle.[17] Kahle was a KPD member who had fought in the Spanish Civil War. After fleeing to Britain with his family, Kahle had helped Jürgen Kuczynski organise the KPD in Britain.[18] Kristel arranged for Israel Halperin, the brother-in-law of a friend of hers, Wendell H. Furry, to bring Fuchs some magazines. Max Born lobbied for his release. On Christmas Day 1940, Fuchs and Kahle were among the first group of internees to board a ship to return to Britain.[17]

Fuchs returned to Edinburgh in January, and resumed working for Born.[19] In May 1941, he was approached by Rudolf Peierls of the University of Birmingham to work on the "Tube Alloys" programme – the British atomic bomb research project. Despite wartime restrictions, he became a British subject on 7 August 1942 and signed an Official Secrets Act declaration form.[19][20] As accommodation was scarce in wartime Birmingham, he stayed with Rudolf and Genia Peierls.[21] Fuchs and Peierls did some important work together, which included a fundamental paper about isotope separation.[22]

Soon after, Fuchs contacted Jürgen Kuczynski, who was now teaching at the London School of Economics. Kuczynski put him in contact with Simon Davidovitch Kremer (codename: "Alexander"), the secretary to the military attaché at the Soviet Union's embassy, who worked for the GRU (Russian: Главное Разведывательное Управление), the Red Army's foreign military intelligence directorate. After three meetings, Fuchs was teamed up with a courier so he would not have to find excuses to travel to London. She was Ruth Kuczynski (codename: "Sonia"), the sister of Jürgen Kuczynski. She was a German communist, a major in Soviet Military Intelligence and an experienced agent who had worked with Richard Sorge's spy ring in the Far East.[23]

In late 1943, Fuchs (codename: "Rest"; he became "Charles" in May 1944)[24] transferred along with Peierls to Columbia University, in New York City, to work on gaseous diffusion as a means of uranium enrichment for the Manhattan Project.[25] Although Fuchs was "an asset" of GRU in Britain, his "control" was transferred to the NKGB (Russian: Народный Kомиссариат Государственной Безопасности), the Soviet Union's civilian intelligence organisation, when he moved to New York. He spent Christmas 1943 with Kristel and her family in Cambridge.[26] He was contacted by Harry Gold (codename: "Raymond"), an NKGB agent in early 1944.[27]

Los Alamos ID badge

From August 1944, Fuchs worked in the Theoretical Physics Division at the Los Alamos Laboratory, under Hans Bethe. His chief area of expertise was the problem of imploding the fissionable core of the plutonium bomb. At one point, Fuchs did calculation work that Edward Teller had refused to do because of lack of interest.[28] He was the author of techniques (such as the still-used Fuchs-Nordheim method) for calculating the energy of a fissile assembly that goes highly prompt critical,[29] and his report on blast waves is still considered a classic.[30] Fuchs was one of the many Los Alamos scientists present at the Trinity test in July 1945.[31] In April 1946 he attended a conference at Los Alamos that discussed the possibility of a thermonuclear weapon; one month later, he filed a patent with John von Neumann, describing a method to initiate fusion in a thermonuclear weapon with an implosion trigger.[32] Bethe considered Fuchs "one of the most valuable men in my division" and "one of the best theoretical physicists we had."[30]

Fuchs, who was known as "Karl" rather than "Klaus" at Los Alamos, dated grade school teachers Evelyn Kline and Jean Parker. He befriended Richard Feynman. Fuchs and Peierls were the only members of the British Mission to Los Alamos who owned cars, and Fuchs lent his Buick to Feynman so Feynman could visit his dying wife in hospital in Albuquerque.[33]

Klaus Fuchs's main courier was Harry Gold. Allen Weinstein, the author of The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999), has pointed out: "The NKVD had chosen Gold, an experienced group handler, as Fuchs' contact on the grounds that it was safer than having him meet directly with a Russian operative, but Semyon Semyonov was ultimately responsible for the Fuchs relationship."[34]

Gold reported after his first meeting with Klaus Fuchs:

He (Fuchs) obviously worked with our people before and he is fully aware of what he is doing. … He is a mathematical physicist … most likely a very brilliant man to have such a position at his age (he looks about 30). We took a long walk after dinner. … He is a member of a British mission to the U.S. working under the direct control of the U.S. Army. … The work involves mainly separating the isotopes... and is being done thusly: The electronic method has been developed at Berkeley, California, and is being carried out at a place known only as Camp Y. … Simultaneously, the diffusion method is being tried here in the East. … Should the diffusion method prove successful, it will be used as a preliminary step in the separation, with the final work being done by the electronic method. They hope to have the electronic method ready early in 1945 and the diffusion method in July 1945, but (Fuchs) says the latter estimate is optimistic. (Fuchs) says there is much being withheld from the British. Even Niels Bohr, who is now in the country incognito as Nicholas Baker, has not been told everything.[35]


At the request of Norris Bradbury, who had replaced Robert Oppenheimer as director of the Los Alamos Laboratory in October 1945, Fuchs stayed on at the laboratory into 1946 to help with preparations for the Operation Crossroads weapons tests. The US Atomic Energy Act of 1946 (McMahon Act) prohibited the transfer of information on nuclear research to any foreign country, including Britain, without explicit official authority, and Fuchs supplied highly classified U.S. information to nuclear scientists in Britain and to his Soviet contacts.

As of 2014, British official files on Fuchs were still being withheld.[36][37] As of 2020, the National Archives listed one dossier on Fuchs, KV 2/1263, including the "Prosecution file. With summary of early interrogations ... and details of the scientifical/technical information passed to the Russians". The date of release of this material was not stated.[38] According to an October 2020 book review, author Nancy Thorndike Greenspan "appears to have had access to some of the Fuchs files that have been withheld at Kew, such as the AB/1 series, which has been closed for access for most human beings".[39]

Fuchs was highly regarded as a scientist by the British, who wanted him to return to the United Kingdom to work on Britain's postwar nuclear weapons programme.[40] He returned in August 1946 and became the head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell.[41] From late 1947 to May 1949 he gave Alexander Feklisov, his Soviet case officer, the principal theoretical outline for creating a hydrogen bomb and the initial drafts for its development as the work progressed in England and America. Meeting with Feklisov six times, he provided the results of the test at Eniwetok Atoll of uranium and plutonium bombs and the key data on production of uranium-235.[42]

Also in 1947, Fuchs attended a conference of the Combined Policy Committee (CPC), which was created to facilitate exchange of atomic secrets at the highest levels of governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Donald Maclean, another Soviet spy, was also in attendance as British co-secretary of CPC.[43]

Detection and confession

By September 1949, information from the Venona project indicated to GCHQ that Fuchs was a spy,[44] but the British intelligence services were wary of indicating the source of their information. The Soviets had broken off contact with him in February.[45] Fuchs may have been subsequently tipped off by Kim Philby. In October 1949, Fuchs approached Henry Arnold, the head of security at Harwell, with the news that his father had been given a chair at the University of Leipzig in East Germany.[46]

After a great deal of research for his 2019 biography, Trinity, Frank Close confirmed that while MI5 suspected Fuchs for over two years, "it was decrypters at GCHQ who supplied clear proof of his guilt ... not the crack American team that is normally given all the credit", according to a review of the book.[47]

Under interrogation by MI5 officer William Skardon at an informal meeting in December 1949, Fuchs initially denied being a spy and was not detained.[48] In January 1950, Fuchs arranged another interview with Skardon and voluntarily confessed that he was a spy.[49] Three days later, he also directed a statement more technical in content to Michael Perrin, the deputy controller of atomic energy within the Ministry of Supply.[50] Fuchs told interrogators that the NKGB had acquired an agent in Berkeley, California, who had informed the Soviet Union about electromagnetic separation research of uranium-235 in 1942 or earlier.[51] Fuchs's statements to British and American intelligence agencies were used to implicate Harry Gold,[52] a key witness in the trials of David Greenglass and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the United States.[53]

Fuchs finally confessed on 27 January 1951, stating that "The last time when I handed over information [to Russian authorities] was in February or March 1949".[54][55]

Fuchs later testified that he passed detailed information on the project to the Soviet Union through courier Harry Gold in 1945, and further information about Edward Teller's unworkable "Super" design for a hydrogen bomb in 1946 and 1947.[56]

In her 2020 book, Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs, Nancy Thorndike Greenspan concluded that "Fuchs sought 'the betterment of mankind' [when sharing secrets with the Soviets] ... because "his goal became to balance world power and to prevent nuclear blackmail" according to a New York Times review by the conservative historian Ronald Radosh. Radosh wrote that "this was a post facto justification. The reason Fuchs spied was simply that he was a Communist and a true believer in Stalin and the Soviet Union".[57]

Value of data to Soviet project

Hans Bethe once said that Klaus Fuchs was the only physicist he knew to have truly changed history.[42] Because the head of the Soviet project, Lavrenti Beria, used foreign intelligence as a third-party check, rather than giving it directly to the scientists, as he did not trust the information by default, it is unknown whether Fuchs's fission information had a substantial effect. Considering that the pace of the Soviet program was set primarily by the amount of uranium that it could procure, it is difficult for scholars to judge accurately how much time was saved.[58]

According to On a Field of Red, a history of the Comintern (Communist International) by Anthony Cave Brown and Charles B. MacDonald, Fuchs's greatest contribution to the Soviets may have been disclosing how uranium could be processed for use in a bomb. Fuchs gave Gold technical information in January 1945 that was acquired only after two years of experimentation at a cost of $400 million. Fuchs also disclosed the amount of uranium or plutonium the Americans planned to use in each atomic bomb.[59]

Whether the information Fuchs passed relating to the hydrogen bomb would have been useful is still debated. Most scholars agree with Hans Bethe's 1952 assessment, which concluded that by the time Fuchs left the thermonuclear program in mid-1946, too little was known about the mechanism of the hydrogen bomb for his information to be useful to the Soviet Union. The successful Teller-Ulam design was not devised until 1951. Soviet physicists later noted that they could see as well as the Americans eventually would that the early designs by Fuchs and Edward Teller were useless.[60]

Later archival work by the Soviet physicist German Goncharov suggested that Fuchs's early work did not help Soviet efforts towards the hydrogen bomb, but it was closer to the final correct solution than anyone recognised at the time. It also indeed spurred Soviet research into useful problems that eventually provided the correct answer. In any case, it seems clear that Fuchs could not have just given the Soviets the "secret" to the hydrogen bomb since he did not actually know it himself.[61]

In his 2019 book, Trinity: The Treachery and Pursuit of the Most Dangerous Spy in History, Frank Close asserts that "it was primarily Fuchs who enabled the Soviets to catch up with Americans" in the race for the nuclear bomb.[62] The author of the 2020 book Atomic Spy gives his efforts less value. Nancy Thorndike Greenspan suggests that the Soviets would have developed their bomb even without his help, "though probably not until 1951". On the other hand, the earlier development of the Soviet bomb may have had one significant benefit to the world, a balance of power; the author is convinced that this prevented the United States from using their bomb on North Korea.[63]

Trial and imprisonment

It is likely that Fuchs's espionage led the U.S. to cancel a 1950 Anglo-American plan to give Britain American-made atomic bombs.[64] He was prosecuted by Sir Hartley Shawcross[65] and was convicted on 1 March 1950 of four counts of breaking the Official Secrets Act by "communicating information to a potential enemy."[66] After a trial lasting less than 90 minutes that was based on his confession, Lord Goddard sentenced him to 14 years' imprisonment, the maximum for espionage, because the Soviet Union was classed as an ally at the time.[67] In December 1950, he was stripped of his British citizenship.[68] The head of the British H-bomb project, Sir William Penney, visited Fuchs in prison in 1952.[69]

While imprisoned, he was friendly with the Irish Republican Army prisoner Seamus Murphy with whom he played chess and helped to escape.[70][71] It was suggested by some that Fuchs had turned IRA leader Cathal Goulding into a Marxist, but Murphy denied it by saying, "Fuchs never tried to turn anyone – it was hard to get a word out of him!"[72]

Fuchs was released on 23 June 1959 after he had served nine years and four months of his sentence (as was then required in England where long-term prisoners were entitled by law to one third off for good behaviour in prison) at Wakefield Prison and promptly emigrated to the German Democratic Republic (GDR).[73]

Career in East Germany

On arrival at Berlin Schönefeld Airport in the GDR, Fuchs was met by Grete (Margarete) Keilson, a friend from his years as a student communist. They were married on 9 September 1959.[74]

In the GDR, Fuchs continued his scientific career and achieved considerable prominence as a leader of research. He became a member of the SED central committee in 1967, and in 1972 was elected to the Academy of Sciences where from 1974 to 1978 he was the head of the research area of physics, nuclear and materials science; he was then appointed deputy director of the Institute for Nuclear Research in Rossendorf, where he served until he retired in 1979. From 1984, Fuchs was head of the scientific councils for energetic basic research and for fundamentals of microelectronics. He received the Patriotic Order of Merit, the Order of Karl Marx and the National Prize of East Germany.[75]

The grave of Klaus Fuchs in Berlin

A tutorial Fuchs gave to Qian Sanqiang and other Chinese physicists helped them to develop the first Chinese atomic bomb, the 596, which was tested five years later—according to Thomas Reed and Daniel Stillman, the authors of The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation (2009).[76] Three historians of nuclear weapons history, Robert S. Norris, Jeremy Bernstein, and Peter D. Zimmerman, challenged this particular assertion as "unsubstantiated conjecture"[77] and asserted that The Nuclear Express is "an ambitious but deeply flawed book".[78]


Fuchs died in Berlin on 28 January 1988. He was cremated and his ashes buried in the "Pergolenweg" of the Socialists' Memorial in Berlin's Friedrichsfelde Cemetery.[79][80]

In popular culture

A documentary film about Fuchs, Väter der tausend Sonnen (Fathers of a Thousand Suns) was released in 1990.[81]


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  2. ^ a b Flowers, Mary. "Fuchs, (Emil Julius) Klaus (1911–1988)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/40698. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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Further reading

  • Brinson, Charmian; Dove, Richard (2014). A Matter of Intelligence. MI5 and the Surveillance of Anti–Nazi Refugees 1933–50. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-9079-0. (discusses the case of Fuchs, based on now available MI5 'Personal Files')
  • Friedmann, Ronald (2006). Klaus Fuchs. Der Mann, der kein Spion war. Das Leben des Kommunisten und Wissenschaftlers Klaus Fuchs (in German). Rostock: Koch. ISBN 3-938686-44-8. OCLC 153884248.
  • Greenspan, Nancy (2020). Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs. New York: Viking. ISBN 978-0593083390.
  • Kojevnikov, Alexei (2004). Stalin's Great Science: The Times and Adventures of Soviet Physicists. London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 1-86094-420-5. OCLC 539098325. (discusses use of Fuchs's passed on information by Soviets, based on now-declassified files)

External links

14 January 1950

The first prototype of the MiG-17 makes its maiden flight.

MiG-17 Takes to the Sky (cropped).jpg
A restored MiG-17
Role Fighter aircraft
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Mikoyan-Gurevich
First flight 14 January 1950
Introduction October 1952
Status In limited service.
Primary users Soviet Air Forces (historical)
People's Liberation Army Air Force (historical)
Polish Air Force (historical)
Vietnam People's Air Force (historical) Kampuchean Revolutionary Army (historical)
Number built 10,649 including Polish, Czech and Chinese variants
Developed from Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
Variants PZL-Mielec Lim-6
Shenyang J-5
Developed into Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-17; NATO reporting name: Fresco)[1] is a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952 and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. It is an advanced development of the similar-looking MiG-15 of the Korean War. The MiG-17 was license-built in China as the Shenyang J-5 and Poland as the PZL-Mielec Lim-6.

MiG-17s first saw combat in 1958 in the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis and later proved to be an effective threat against more modern supersonic fighters of the United States in the Vietnam War. It was also briefly known as the Type 38 by U.S. Air Force designation prior to the development of NATO codes.[2]

Design and development

While the MiG-15bis introduced swept wings to air combat over Korea, the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau had already begun work on its replacement in 1949 (originally the MiG-15bis45) in order to fix any problems found with the MiG-15 in combat.[3] The result was one of the most successful transonic fighters introduced before the advent of true supersonic types such as the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 and North American F-100 Super Sabre. The design would ultimately still prove effective into the 1960s when pressed into subsonic dogfights over Vietnam against much faster planes which were not optimized for maneuvering in such slower speed, short-range engagements.

While the MiG-15 used a Mach sensor to deploy airbrakes because it could not safely exceed Mach 0.92, the MiG-17 was designed to be controllable at higher Mach numbers.[4] Early versions which retained the original Soviet copy of the Rolls-Royce Nene VK-1 engine were heavier with equal thrust. Later MiG-17s would be the first Soviet fighter application of an afterburner which offered increased thrust on demand by dumping fuel in the exhaust of the basic engine.

Though the MiG-17 still strongly resembles its forebear, it had an entirely new thinner and more highly swept wing and tailplane for speeds approaching Mach 1. While the F-86 introduced the "all-flying" tailplane which helped controllability near the speed of sound, this would not be adopted on MiGs until the fully supersonic MiG-19.[5] The wing had a "sickle sweep" compound shape with a 45° angle like the U.S. F-100 Super Sabre near the fuselage (and tailplane), and a 42° angle for the outboard part of the wings.[6] The stiffer wing resisted the tendency to bend its wingtips and lose aerodynamic symmetry unexpectedly at high speeds and wing loads.[3]

Other easily visible differences to its predecessor were the addition of a third wing fence on each wing, the addition of a ventral fin and a longer and less tapered rear fuselage that added about one meter in length. The MiG-17 shared the same Klimov VK-1 engine, and much of the rest of its construction such as the forward fuselage, landing gear and gun installation was carried over.[6] The first prototype, designated I-330 "SI" by the construction bureau, was flown on the 14 January 1950, piloted by Ivan Ivashchenko.[7]

MiG-17 at the Aviation Museum of Central Finland in Jyväskylä. The paintscheme is from 2006 and is based on the idea of Luonetjärvi primary school student Anni Lundahl.
Tail section showing insignia, camouflaged MiG-17s were often referred to as "snakes" by NVAF pilots.[8]

In the midst of testing, pilot Ivan Ivashchenko was killed when his aircraft developed flutter which tore off his horizontal tail, causing a spin and crash on 17 March 1950. Lack of wing stiffness also resulted in aileron reversal which was discovered and fixed. Construction and tests of additional prototypes "SI-2" and experimental series aircraft "SI-02" and "SI-01" in 1951, were generally successful. On 1 September 1951, the aircraft was accepted for production, and formally given its own MiG-17 designation after so many changes from the original MiG-15. It was estimated that with the same engine as the MiG-15's, the MiG-17's maximum speed is higher by 40–50 km/h, and the fighter has greater manoeuvrability at high altitude.[7]

Serial production started in August 1951, but large quantity production was delayed in favor of producing more MiG-15s so it was never introduced in the Korean War. It did not enter service until October 1952, when the MiG-19 was almost ready to be flight tested. During production, the aircraft was improved and modified several times. The basic MiG-17 was a general-purpose day fighter, armed with three cannons, one Nudelman N-37 37 mm cannon and two 23 mm with 80 rounds per gun, 160 rounds total. It could also act as a fighter-bomber, but its bombload was considered light relative to other aircraft of the time, and it usually carried additional fuel tanks instead of bombs.

Although a canopy which provided clear vision to the rear necessary for dogfighting like the F-86 was designed, production MiG-17Fs got a cheaper rear-view periscope which would still appear on Soviet fighters as late as the MiG-23. By 1953, pilots got safer ejection seats with protective face curtain and leg restraints like the Martin-Baker seats in the west. The MiG-15 had suffered for its lack of a radar gunsight, but in 1951, Soviet engineers obtained a captured F-86 Sabre from Korea and they copied the optical gunsight and SRD-3 gun ranging radar to produce the ASP-4N gunsight and SRC-3 radar. The combination would prove deadly over the skies of Vietnam against aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom whose pilots lamented that guns and radar gunsights had been omitted as obsolescent.[3]

The second prototype variant, "SP-2" (dubbed "Fresco A" by NATO), was an interceptor equipped with a radar. Soon a number of MiG-17P ("Fresco B") all-weather fighters were produced with the Izumrud radar and front air intake modifications.

In early 1953 the MiG-17F day fighter entered production. The "F" indicated it was fitted with the VK-1F engine with an afterburner by modifying the rear fuselage with a new convergent-divergent nozzle and fuel system. The afterburner doubled the rate of climb and greatly improved vertical maneuvers. But while the plane was not designed to be supersonic, skilled pilots could just dash to supersonic speed in a shallow dive, although the aircraft would often pitch up just short of Mach 1. This became the most popular variant of the MiG-17. The next mass-produced variant, MiG-17PF ("Fresco D") incorporated a more powerful Izumrud RP-2 radar, though they were still dependent on Ground Control Interception to find and be directed to targets. In 1956 a small series (47 aircraft) was converted to the MiG-17PM standard (also known as PFU) with four first-generation Kaliningrad K-5 (NATO reporting name AA-1 'Alkali') air-to-air missiles. A small series of MiG-17R reconnaissance aircraft were built with VK-1F engine (after first being tested with the engine).

5,467 MiG-17, 1,685 MiG-17F, 225 MiG-17P and 668 MiG-17PF were built in the USSR by 1958. Over 2,600 were built under licence in Poland and China.

License production

MiG-17F on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California
Lim-5 in Polish Air Force markings
A privately owned JJ-5 (MiG-17) at JeffCo Airport

In 1955, Poland received a license for MiG-17 production. The MiG-17F was produced by the WSK-Mielec factory under the designation Lim-5 (an abbreviation of licencyjny myśliwiec – licence-built fighter). The first Lim-5 was built on 28 November 1956 and 477 were built by 1960. Apart from Poland, a number were exported to Bulgaria, designated as MiG-17F.[9] An unknown number were built as the Lim-5R reconnaissance variant, fitted with the AFA-39 camera. In 1959–1960, 129 MiG-17PF interceptors were produced as the Lim-5P. WSK-Mielec also developed several Polish strike variants based on the MiG-17: the Lim-5M, produced from 1960; Lim-6bis, produced from 1963 (totalling 170 aircraft). Additionally some Lim-5Ps were converted in the 1970s into attack Lim-6Ms whereas other Lim-5, Lim-6bis and Lim-5P aircraft were modified for reconnaissance role as the Lim-6R, Lim-6bis R and Lim-6MR.

In the People's Republic of China (PRC), an initial MiG-17F was assembled from parts in 1956, with license production following in 1957 at Shenyang. The Chinese-built version is known as the Shenyang J-5 (for local use) or F-5 (for export). Similarly the MiG-17PF was manufactured there as the J-5A (F-5A for export). Altogether 767 of these single-seater variants were built.

Operational history

An Egyptian MiG-17

MiG-17s were designed to intercept straight-and-level-flying enemy bombers, not for air-to-air combat (dogfighting) with other fighters.[10] This subsonic (Mach .93) fighter was effective against slower (Mach .6-.8), heavily loaded U.S. fighter-bombers, as well as the mainstay American strategic bombers during the MiG-17's development cycle (such as the Boeing B-50 Superfortress or Convair B-36 Peacemaker, which were both still powered by piston engines). It was not however able to intercept the new generation of British jet bombers such as the Avro Vulcan and Handley Page Victor, which could both fly higher. The USAF's introduction of strategic bombers capable of supersonic dash speeds such as the Convair B-58 Hustler and General Dynamics FB-111 rendered the MiG-17 obsolete in front-line PVO service, and they were supplanted by supersonic interceptors such as the MiG-21 and MiG-23.

MiG-17s were not available for the Korean War, but saw combat for the first time over the Straits of Taiwan when the Communist PRC MiG-17s clashed with the Republic of China (ROC, Nationalist China) F-86 Sabres in 1958.

MiG-17s downed a reconnaissance aircraft in the 1958 C-130 shootdown incident over Armenia, with 17 casualties.[11]

Vietnam War

In 1960, the first group of approximately 50 North Vietnamese airmen were transferred to the PRC to begin transitional training onto the MiG-17. By this time the first detachment of Chinese trained MiG-15 pilots had returned to North Vietnam, and a group of 31 airmen were deployed to the Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) base at Son Dong for conversion to the MiG-17. By 1962 the first North Vietnamese pilots had finished their MiG-17 courses in the Soviet Union and the PRC, and returned to their units; to mark the occasion, the Soviets sent as a "gift" 36 MiG-17 fighters and MiG-15UTI trainers to Hanoi in February 1964. These airmen would create North Vietnam's first jet fighter regiment, the 921st.[12] By 1965, another group of MiG pilots had returned from training in Krasnodar, in the USSR, as well as from the PRC. This group would form North Vietnam's second fighter unit, the 923rd Fighter Regiment. While the newly created 923rd FR operated only MiG-17s, and initially these were the only types available to oppose modern American supersonic jets before MiG-21s and MiG-19s were introduced into North Vietnamese service (the 925 FR regiment was formed in 1969, flying MiG-19s).[13]

An F-105D shoots down a MiG-17 during the Vietnam War, 1967.

American fighter-bombers had been in theatre flying combat sorties since 1961,[14] and the U.S. had many experienced pilots from the Korean War and World War II, such as World War II veteran Robin Olds.[15][16] Untried MiGs and pilots of the VPAF would be pitted against some of the most combat experienced airmen of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Navy. On 3 April 1965 six MiGs took off from Noi Bai Air Base in two groups of two and four respectively, with the first acting as bait and the second being the shooters. Their target were U.S. Navy aircraft supporting an USAF 80-aircraft strike package trying to knock out the Thanh Hóa Bridge. The MiG-17 leader, Lt. Pham Ngoc Lan, attacked a group of Vought F-8 Crusaders of VF-211 from USS Hancock and damaged an F-8E flown by Lt. Cdr. Spence Thomas, who managed to land the aircraft at Da Nang Air Base. A second F-8 was claimed by his wingman Phan Van Tuc, but this is not corroborated by USN loss listings.[17]

On 4 April 1965, the USAF made another attempt on the Thanh Hóa Bridge with 48 Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) loaded with 384 x 750 lb (340 kg) bombs. The Thunderchiefs were escorted by a MIGCAP flight of F-100 Super Sabres from the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron (416th TFS). Coming from above, four MiG-17s from the 921st Fighter Regiment bypassed the escorts and dove onto the Thunderchiefs, shooting two of them down; the leader Tran Hanh downed F-105D BuNo. 59-1754 of Major F. E. Benett, and his element leader Le Minh Huan downed F-105D BuNo. 59-1764 of Captain J. A. Magnusson.[18][19] The Super Sabres engaged; one AIM-9 Sidewinder was fired and missed (or malfunctioned),[20] and another F-100D flown by Captain Donald Kilgus fired 20 mm cannons,[21] scoring a probable kill. Tran Hanh's wingman Pham Giay went down and was killed.[22] No other U.S. airmen reported any confirmed aerial kills during the air battle; Tran Hanh stated that three of his accompanying MiG-17s had been shot down by the opposing USAF fighters.[23]

Three F-100s from the MiGCAP, piloted by LtCol Emmett L. Hays, Capt Keith B. Connolly,[20] and Capt Donald W. Kilgus, all from the 416th TFS, had engaged the MiG-17s.[24] The four attacking MiGs from the 921st FR were flown by Flight Leader Tran Hanh, Wingman Pham Giay, Le Minh Huan and Tran Nguyen Nam.[25] Flight Leader Tran Hanh was the only Vietnamese survivor from the air battle and believed that the others in his flight were "... shot down by the F-105s."[23] Based upon the report, the USAF F-100s could have been mistaken for F-105s, and the loss of three MiG-17s was attributed to Super Sabres,[18] the first aerial victories of any American aircraft in the war. The F-100s themselves would never again encounter MiGs, being relegated to close air support. They were replaced in the MiGCAP role by faster and longer range but less manoeuvrable McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms.

USAF Chief of Staff General John P. McConnell was "hopping mad" to hear that two Mach-2-class F-105s had been shot down by Korean War-era subsonic North Vietnamese MiG-17s.[26]

In 1965, the NVAF had only 36 MiG-17s and a similar number of qualified pilots, which increased to 180 MiGs and 72 pilots by 1968. The Americans had at least 200 USAF F-4s and 140 USAF F-105s, plus at least 100 U.S Navy aircraft (F-8s, A-4s and F-4s) which operated from the aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin, plus scores of other support aircraft. The Americans had a multiple numerical advantage.[27]

The MiG-17 was the primary interceptor of the fledgling VPAF in 1965, responsible for their first aerial victories and seeing extensive service during the Vietnam War. Some North Vietnamese pilots preferred the MiG-17 over the MiG-21 because it was more agile, though not as fast; three of the 16 VPAF Aces of the war (credited with shooting down five or more opposing aircraft) were from MiG-17s. Those were: Nguyen Van Bay (seven victories), Luu Huy Chao and Le Hai (both with six).[28] The rest gained ace status in MiG-21s.

MiG-17/J-5 aerial combat victories in the Vietnam War 1965–1972

This table lists VPAF[29] and Chinese air-to-air kills. Sources include Hobson p. 271 and Toperczer (#25) pp. 88–90.

Date/year MiG-17 unit Aircraft weapon used Aircraft destroyed Destroyed aircraft unit/comments
4/4/1965 VPAF 921st Fighter Regiment 23 mm/37 mm (2) Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs USAF 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron
4/9/1965 Unknown 23 mm/37 mm F-4B Phantom II VF-96/Downed by Chinese MiGs
6/20/1965 Unknown 23 mm/37 mm F-4C USAF 45th TFS
4/12/1966 Unknown 23 mm/37 mm KA-3B Skywarrior USN VAH-4 Aerial Re-Fueller (Air Tanker)/Downed by Chinese MiGs
4/19/1966 Unknown 23 mm/37 mm A-1E Skyraider USAF
6/21/1966 923rd Fighter Regiment 23 mm/37 mm Vought F-8E Crusader[30] USN VF-211
1966 923rd FR 23 mm/37 mm (4) F-105Ds, (2) F-8Es, (2) F-4Cs, (1) RC-47D USAF 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, 354th TFS, 421st TFS, 433rd TFS, 555th TFS, 606th ACS. USN VF-111, VF-162. (3) F-105s and (2) F-4s were downed by unknown MiG units.
4/19/1967 921st FR 23 mm/37 mm F-105F USAF 357th TFS
1967 923rd FR 23 mm/37 mm (1) A-1E, (3) F-4Cs, (1) A-4C Skyhawk, (1) F-4D USAF 390th TFS, 433rd TFS, 602nd ACS; USN VA-76. F-4D downed by unknown MiG unit. (1) F-4C downed by Chinese MiGs.
1968 Unknown 23 mm/37 mm (2) F-4Ds, (1) F-105F USAF 357th TFS, 435th TFS
2/14/1968 Unknown 23 mm/37 mm A-1H USN VA-25/Downed by Chinese MiG
7/10/1972 923rd FR 23 mm/37 mm F-4J USN VF-103
Total other: 6
Total F-4s 11
Total F-8s 3
F-105s 8
Total aircraft downed: 28
Technical data: The VPAF made no distinction between their MiG-17s and J-5s.[31] Both mounted two 23 mm and one 37 mm cannons with enough ammunition for 5 seconds of continuous firing for all three guns. However the MiG-17 guns at a range of 1,500 m (5,000 ft) and with a two-second burst could strike an American jet with nearly 23 kg (50 lb) of metal. This contrasted to a two-second burst from US M61 Vulcan and Colt Mk 12 cannon 20 mm cannons which hit with an approximate 27 and 16 kg (60 and 35 lb) of metal respectively.[32]
Luu Huy Chao and , VPAF MIG 17 pilots, each credited with six aerial combat victories against U.S planes in the skies over North Vietnam.

VPAF flew their interceptors with guidance from ground controllers, who directed the MiGs to ambush American formations. The MIGs made fast attacks against US formations from several directions (usually the MiG-17s performed head-on attacks and the MiG-21s attacked from the rear). After shooting down a few American planes and forcing some of the F-105s to drop their bombs prematurely, the MiGs did not wait for retaliation, but disengaged rapidly. This "guerrilla warfare in the air" proved very successful[33]

The MiG-17 was not originally designed to function as a fighter-bomber, but in 1971 Hanoi directed that United States Navy warships were to be attacked by elements of the VPAF. This would require the MiG-17 to be fitted with bomb mountings and release mechanisms. Chief Engineer of the VPAF ground crews, Truong Khanh Chau,[34] was tasked with the mission of modifying two MiG-17s for the ground attack role; after three months of work, the two jets were ready. On 19 April 1972, two pilots from the 923rd FR took their bomb laden MiG-17s and attacked the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Higbee and light cruiser USS Oklahoma City. Each MiG was armed with two 250 kg (550 lb) bombs. Pilot Le Xuan Di managed to hit the destroyer's aft 5" gun mount, destroying it, but inflicting no fatalities, as the crewmen had vacated the turret earlier due to a malfunction with the gun system.[35]

From 1965 to 1972, MiG-17s from the VPAF 921st and 923rd FRs would claim 71 aerial victories against U.S. aircraft: 11 Crusaders, 16 F-105 Thunderchiefs, 32 F-4 Phantom IIs, two A-4 Skyhawks, seven A-1 Skyraiders, one C-47 cargo/transport aircraft, one Sikorsky CH-3C helicopter and one Ryan Firebee UAV.,[36] while VPAF lost 63 MiG-17s in air combat[37] According to Russian, from 1965 to 1972, MiG-17s from the VPAF shot-down 143 enemy aircraft and helicopters, while VPAF lost 75 MiG-17s through all causes and 49 pilots were dead[38]

The American fighter community was shocked in 1965 when elderly, subsonic MiG-17s downed sophisticated Mach-2-class F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers over North Vietnam. As a result of these experiences the U.S. Air Force initiated project "Feather Duster" aimed at developing tactics that would enable the heavier American fighters to deal with smaller and more agile opponents like the MiG-17. To simulate the MiG-17 the U.S. Air Force chose the F-86H Sabre. One pilot who participated in the project remarked that "In any envelope except nose down and full throttle", either the F-100 or F-105 was inferior to the F-86H in a dogfight.[39][40] The project was generally successful in that the resulting tactics effectively minimised the disadvantages of the F-105, F-100 and other heavy American fighters while minimising the advantages of slower but more manoeuvrable fighters such as the F-86 and the MiG-17.[40]

Other MiG-17 users

East German MiG-17F.

Twenty countries flew MiG-17s. The MiG-17 became a standard fighter in all Warsaw Pact countries in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They were also bought by many other countries, mainly in Africa and Asia, that were neutrally aligned or allied with the USSR. The MiG-17 still flies today in the air forces of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Mali, Madagascar, Sudan, and Tanzania, and by extension through the Shenyang J-5, North Korea. JJ-5s trainers are still in limited use in China as well.

Middle East

The Egyptian Air Force received its first MiG-17s in 1956, deploying them against the Israeli invasion of the Sinai during the early stages of the Suez Crisis. When Britain and France launched air attacks against Egyptian air bases on 1 November 1956, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the Egyptian Air Force not to oppose the Anglo-French air strikes, and where possible to evacuate its aircraft to Syria or Saudi Arabia, so while Egypt lost large numbers of aircraft, including MiG-17s, losses of pilots were relatively low. The losses were quickly replaced after the end of the war, and by June 1957 Egypt had about 100 MiG-17s.[41][42] Syria also operated the MiG-17, receiving 60 MiG-17Fs in 1957.[42] The two air forces gradually switched the MiG-17 to ground-attack duties in the early 1960s, as the MiG-21 supplemented it in the interceptor role.[42] From 1962, Egyptian forces became involved in the North Yemen Civil War, supporting the republican government, with Egyptian MiG-17s flying ground attack operations.[43]

The MiG-17 formed a major part of the Arab air strength during the Six Day War in June 1967.[44][45] The war started with a massive airstrike by Israel against Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi airbases, with more than 150 Egyptian aircraft destroyed or damaged. Egypt's surviving MiG-17s were heavily deployed in ground attacks against Israeli forces in the Sinai.[44][46] The Soviet Union again replaced Egypt's losses after the war, and Egypt was soon involved in the War of Attrition, a sustained series of armed clashes on and over Sinai, with Egypt's MiG-17s continuing to be used in the ground attack role. While the MiG-17 was slower and shorter-ranged than the Sukhoi Su-7 that was the other main component of Egypt's ground-attack forces, the MiG-17 was more manoeuvrable and sustained lower losses.[47] From 1970, Egypt deployed detachments of MiG-17s to Sudan to support government forces during the First Sudanese Civil War.[48] The MiG-17 continued in use in the Yom Kippur War. Mig-17s were used during the Ofira Air Battle by Egypt. Egyptian and Syrian Mig-17s retired shortly after these wars.


At least 24 of them served with the Nigerian Air Force and were flown by a mixed group of Nigerian and mercenary pilots from East Germany, Soviet Union, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Australia during the 1967–70 Nigerian Civil War.


Four were hurriedly supplied by the USSR to Sri Lanka during the 1971 insurgency and were used for bombing and ground attack in the brief insurgency.

Soviet Union

In 1958, a US Air Force Lockheed C-130 was shot down by four MiG-17 fighters when it flew into Soviet airspace near Yerevan, Armenia while on a Sun Valley Signal intelligence mission, with all 17 crew killed.

United States

Two 64th Fighter Weapons Squadron F-5s with a 4477th TEF MiG-17 (leading) and MiG-21 (trailing) in 1979. Note the Tactical Air Command badge applied to the vertical fin of the MiG-21 on the right.

A number of U.S. federal agencies undertook a program at Groom Lake to evaluate the MiG-17 to help fight the Vietnam War, as the kill ratio against North Vietnamese MiG-17s and MiG-21s was only 2:1. The program was code-named HAVE DRILL (see also Have Doughnut), involving trials of two ex-Syrian MiG-17F Frescos, acquired and provided by Israel, over the skies of Groom Lake.[49] These aircraft were given USAF designations and fake serial numbers so that they may be identified in DOD standard flight logs.

In addition to tracking the dog fights staged between the various MiG models against virtually every fighter in U.S. service, and against SAC's B-52 Stratofortresses and B-58 Hustlers to test the ability of the bombers’ countermeasures systems, they also performed radar cross-section and propulsion tests that contributed greatly to improvements in U.S. aerial performance in Vietnam.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are 17 privately owned MiG-17s in the US.[50] Several MiG-17s have been seized due to questions over the legality of their import into the country.[51]


A MiG-17PF "Fresco D" all-weather fighter with Izumrud radar.
MiG-17 ("Fresco A")
Basic fighter version powered by VK-1 engine ("aircraft SI").
Fighter version powered by VK-1A engine with longer lifespan.
Multirole conversion, fitted to carry unguided rockets and the K-13 air-to-air missile.
MiG-17P ("Fresco B")
All-weather fighter version equipped with Izumrud radar ("aircraft SP").
MiG-17F ("Fresco C")
Basic fighter version powered by VK-1F engine with afterburner ("aircraft SF").
MiG-17PF ("Fresco D")
All-weather fighter version equipped with Izumrud radar, 3 x 23 mm NR-23 cannons and VK-1F engine ("aircraft SP-7F").
MiG-17PM/PFU ("Fresco E")
Fighter version equipped with radar and K-5 (NATO: AA-1 "Alkali") air-to-air missiles ("aircraft SP-9").
Reconnaissance aircraft with VK-1F engine and camera ("aircraft SR-2s")
Experimental variant with twin side intakes, no central intake, and nose redesigned to allow 23mm cannons to pivot to engage ground targets. Not produced.
Czechoslovak variant of MiG-17
Shenyang J-5

Some withdrawn aircraft were converted to remotely controlled targets.



A former Indonesian Lim-5 on display in the United States in North Korean markings

Current operators

 North Korea

Former operators

  • Afghan Air Force received its first MiG-17s in 1957, and operated at least 50 in 1979. Remained in service in 1982.[55]
  • Algerian Air Force - operated 60 MiG-17Fs from the 1960s. Some remained in service as trainers in the late 1980s.[56]
 Burkina Faso
 Republic of the Congo
 East Germany
East German MiG-17
MiG-17 of the Malagasy Air Force.
 North Yemen
 Soviet Union
 Sri Lanka
Syrian MiG-17 at the Israeli Air Force Museum
 United States
Soviet MiG-17F in USAF use
  • Formerly used for evaluation in the United States Air Force, however in January 2014 a camouflaged example was seen operating near Edwards AFB, possibly as a training vehicle at the USAF Test Pilot School where MiG-15s are routinely operated.

Specifications (MiG-17F)

Twin 23 mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon winched down from the nose of a Polish-built Lim-6 (MiG-17F; a third 37 mm Nudelman N-37 cannon was also fitted.

Data from Combat Aircraft since 1945,[74] MiG: Fifty Years of Secret Aircraft Design[75]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 11.264 m (36 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.628 m (31 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 22.6 m2 (243 sq ft)
  • Airfoil: root: TsAGI S-12; tip: TsAGI SR-11[76]
  • Empty weight: 3,919 kg (8,640 lb) [77]
  • Gross weight: 5,340 kg (11,773 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,069 kg (13,380 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Klimov VK-1F afterburning centrifugal-flow turbojet engine, 26.5 kN (6,000 lbf) thrust dry, 33.8 kN (7,600 lbf) with afterburner


  • Maximum speed: 1,100 km/h (680 mph, 590 kn) M0.89 at sea level
1,145 km/h (711 mph; 618 kn) / M0.93 at 3,000 m (9,800 ft) with reheat
  • Range: 2,020 km (1,260 mi, 1,090 nmi) at 12,000 m (39,000 ft) with 2 × 400 l (110 US gal; 88 imp gal) drop-tanks
  • Service ceiling: 16,600 m (54,500 ft)
  • g limits: +8
  • Rate of climb: 65 m/s (12,800 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 268.5 kg/m2 (55.0 lb/sq ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.63


See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. ^ Parsch, Andreas and Aleksey V. Martynov. "Designations of Soviet and Russian Military Aircraft and Missiles." Non-U.S. Military Aircraft and Missile Designations, revised 18 January 2008. Retrieved: 30 March 2009.
  2. ^ Parsch, Andreas and Aleksey V. Martynov. "Designations of Soviet and Russian Military Aircraft and Missiles: 5.1 "Type" Numbers (1947-1955)." Non-U.S. Military Aircraft and Missile Designations, revised 18 January 2008. Retrieved: 30 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Davies, Peter. USN F-4 Phantom II Vs VPAF MiG-17: Vietnam 1965-72. London: Osprey, 2009. ISBN 978-1-84603-475-6.
  4. ^ Sweetman 1984, p. 11.
  5. ^ Aungst, Dave. " Hobby Boss' 1/48 scale MiG-17F Fresco C." HyperScale, 19 August 2010. Retrieved: 15 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b Crosby 2002, p. 212.
  7. ^ a b c Goebel, Greg. "The Mikoyan MiG-17." Air Vectors, 1 September 2011. Retrieved: 15 September 2012.
  8. ^ Toperczer 2001, p. 48.
  9. ^ Łuczak, Wojciech (1991), "Limy w Bułgarii" [Limy in Bulgaria], Militaria (in Polish), 1 (2): 10.
  10. ^ Michel 2007, p. 79.
  11. ^ "The Shootdown of Flight 60528." National Vigilance Park- NSA/CSS via nsa.gov, 15 January 2009. Retrieved: 15 September 2012.
  12. ^ Toperczer 2001, p. 12.
  13. ^ Toperczer 2001, pp. 13, 58.
  14. ^ Anderton 1987, p. 57.
  15. ^ Olds (2010), back cover
  16. ^ USAF Historical Study 85: USAF Credits for Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II (PDF)
  17. ^ Toperczer 2001, pp. 27–29.
  18. ^ a b Toperczer 2001, pp. 30–31.
  19. ^ Zampini, Diego. "Víboras Mortales" (Deadly Snakes) (in Spanish). Defensa. Nº 345, January 2007, pp. 58–59.
  20. ^ a b Anderton 1987, p. 71.
  21. ^ Olynyk 1999, p. 55.
  22. ^ Zampini 2007, p. 59.
  23. ^ a b Toperczer 2001, p. 31.
  24. ^ Davies 2003, pp. 87, 88.
  25. ^ Toperczer 2001, p. 30.
  26. ^ "Armed Forces: How It Happened." Time, 16 April 1965.
  27. ^ http://acepilots.com/vietnam/viet_aces.html
  28. ^ Toperczer 2001, p. 88.
  29. ^ Michel 2007, p. 40.
  30. ^ Hobson p. 62-63
  31. ^ Toperczer (#25) p. 34
  32. ^ Michel 2007, pp. 13, 16.
  33. ^ "Vietnamese Aces – MiG-17 and MiG-21 pilots". Acepilots.com. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  34. ^ Toperczer 2001, pp. 85, 86.
  35. ^ Toperczer 2001, pp. 54, 55.
  36. ^ Toperczer 2001, pp. 88, 89, 90.
  37. ^ Migs over North Vietnam: The Vietnam People's Air Force in Combat, 1965-75, Stackpole Military History
  38. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140203010754/http://old.vko.ru/pictures/2006_26/42_01.jpg
  39. ^ Michel 2007, p. 333.
  40. ^ a b Davis, Larry H. "We interview Les Waltman." Archived 2012-03-27 at the Wayback Machine Sabre-pilots.org. Retrieved: 19 July 2011.
  41. ^ Nicolle 1995, pp. 12–13
  42. ^ a b c Gordon 2002, p. 67
  43. ^ Nicolle 1995, pp. 15–16
  44. ^ a b Gordon 2002, p. 72
  45. ^ Nicolle 1995, pp. 16–17
  46. ^ Nicolle 1995, pp. 17–18
  47. ^ Nicolle 1995, pp. 18–23
  48. ^ Nicolle 1995, p. 23.
  49. ^ Michel III p. 75, 76
  50. ^ "Registry: MiG-17" FAA. Retrieved: 15 September 2012.
  51. ^ Civil Airworthiness Certification: Former Military High-Performance Aircraft By Miguel Vasconcelos, United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. Page 3-10
  52. ^ a b c "Trade Registers". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  53. ^ "World Air Forces 2021". flightglobal.com. Archived from the original on 10 Jan 2021. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  54. ^ "The AMR Regional Air Force Directory 2012" (PDF). Asian Military Review. February 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.[permanent dead link]
  55. ^ a b Gordon 2002, p. 74
  56. ^ a b c Gordon 2002, p. 75
  57. ^ Conboy 1989, p. 20.
  58. ^ Gordon 2002, p. 79
  59. ^ Gordon 2002, pp. 79, 81
  60. ^ Gordon 2002, pp. 81–82
  61. ^ Gordon 2002, p. 82
  62. ^ a b c Gordon 2002, p. 86
  63. ^ http://forms.flightglobal.com/WorldAirForces2015?product=PREM&mode=DOWNLOAD&DMDcode=FGWC4&fcid=%7B05ceef25-b72e-4bea-9a83-a7ab7d02e55a%7D_FC078_PREM_201412&fcfileext=pdf
  64. ^ "Guinea-Bissau Air Force". GlobalSecurity.org. Archived from the original on 2019-03-29. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  65. ^ a b c d Gordon 2002, p. 87
  66. ^ "African Aerospace - Aircraft boost for Madagascar". www.africanaerospace.aero. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  67. ^ a b c d Gordon 2002, p. 89
  68. ^ "FT-5 Retired by Pakistan". Air International. March 2012, p. 16.
  69. ^ a b Gordon 2002, p. 90
  70. ^ http://en.difesaonline.it/news-forze-armate/storia/la-guerra-dellogaden-tra-etiopia-e-somalia-1977-1978-le-premesse-storiche-e
  71. ^ http://aces.safarikovi.org/victories/ethiopia-1977-1978.html
  72. ^ "Arab Air Power > Somalia". arabairpower.com. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  73. ^ "Trade Registers". Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  74. ^ Wilson 2000, p. 98.
  75. ^ Belyakov and Marmain, pp. 172–176.
  76. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". m-selig.ae.illinois.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  77. ^ Gunston 1995, p. 193.
  78. ^ "MiG-17 Fresco." Global Security. Retrieved: 15 September 2012.


  • Anderton, David A. North American F-100 Super Sabre. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Limited, 1987. ISBN 0-85045-662-2.
  • Belyakov, R.A. and J. Marmain. MiG: Fifty Years of Secret Aircraft Design. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1-85310-488-4.
  • Butowski, Piotr (with Jay Miller). OKB MiG: A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft. Leicester, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1991. ISBN 0-904597-80-6.
  • Conboy, Kenneth. The War in Cambodia 1970-75(Men-at-Arms series 209). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Ltd, 1989. ISBN 0-85045-851-X.
  • Crosby, Francis. Fighter Aircraft. London: Lorenz Books, 2002. ISBN 0-7548-0990-0.
  • Davies, Peter E. North American F-100 Super Sabre. Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press, 2003. ISBN 1-86126-577-8.
  • Gordon, Yefim. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17: The Soviet Union's Jet Fighter of the Fifties. Hinckley, UK: Midland Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-85780-107-5.
  • Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London: Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-405-9.
  • Hobson, Chris. Vietnam Air Losses, United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia 1961-1973. Midland Publishing (2001) England. ISBN 978-1857801156.
  • Koenig, William and Peter Scofield. Soviet Military Power. Greenwich, Connecticut: Bison Books, 1983. ISBN 0-86124-127-4.
  • Michel III, Marshall L. Clashes: Air Combat Over North Vietnam 1965-1972. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press, 2007, First edition 1997. ISBN 1-59114-519-8.
  • Nicolle, David. "Bearing the Brunt: Thirty Years if MiG-17 Service with the Egyptian and Syrian Air Forces". Air Enthusiast, November–December 1995, No. 60. pp. 12–27. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Olynyk, Dr. Frank. US Post World War 2 Victory Credits. Self-published, 1999.
  • Olds, Christina and Rasimus, Ed. Fighter Pilot; Robin Olds, Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds. 2010, St. Martin's Griffin, New York. ISBN 978-0-312-56023-2.
  • "Pentagon Over the Islands: The Thirty-Year History of Indonesian Military Aviation". Air Enthusiast Quarterly (2): 154–162. n.d. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Robinson, Anthony. Soviet Air Power. London: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN 0-86124-180-0.
  • Sweetman, Bill. Modern Fighting Aircraft: Volume 9: MiGs. New York: Arco Publishing, 1984. ISBN 978-0-668-06493-4.
  • Sweetman, Bill and Bill Gunston. Soviet Air Power: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Warsaw Pact Air Forces Today. London: Salamander Books, 1978. ISBN 0-517-24948-0.
  • Toperczer, István. MiG-17 And MiG-19 Units of the Vietnam War (Osprey Combat Aircraft #25). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Limited, 2001. ISBN 978-1841761626.
  • Wilson, Stewart. Combat Aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications, 2000. ISBN 1-875671-50-1.

External links

9 October 1950

The Goyang Geumjeong Cave massacre in Korea begins.

Goyang Geumjeong Cave massacre
Gyeonggi map.png
LocationSouth Korea
DateOctober 9, 1950 (1950-10-09) - October 31, 1950; 70 years ago (1950-10-31) [1]
TargetIndividuals and their family members for being suspected of being communists or communist sympathizers[2]
Attack type
Deaths150[2] or over 153[3][4]
PerpetratorsSouth Korean Police[2]
Goyang Geunjeong cave, Goyang, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

The Goyang Geumjeong Cave massacre (Korean: 고양 금정굴 민간인 학살[1][4] Hanja: 高陽衿井窟民間人虐殺[1][4] Goyang Geunjeong Cave civilian massacre[1][4]) was a massacre of over 153 unarmed civilians conducted between 9 October 1950 and 31 October 1950 by police in Goyang, Gyeonggi-do district of South Korea.[1][4][5] After the victory of the Second Battle of Seoul, South Korean authorities arrested and summarily executed several individuals along with their families on suspicion of sympathizing with North Korea.[4] The killings in Goyang coincided with the Namyangju massacre in nearby Namyangju.[6]

In 1995 the bodies of the 153 victims were excavated by their families.[7] In June 2006 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission demanded that the South Korean government apologize and erect a monument for the victims.[7] However, the government did not show any intention of following through on the TRCK recommendation.[7] In 2007 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission again demanded that the government apologize, provide compensation, and erect a memorial for the victims; however, the government still refused.[8][9][5] The Truth and Reconciliation Commission also clarified most of the victims, including 8 teenagers and 7 women, had no relation to rebels.[5]

On November 28, 2011, the Seoul central court ordered the South Korean government to apologize, pay reparations and fund a memorial to the victims' families.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hwang Chun-hwa (2011-11-29). "고양 금정굴 민간인 학살…법원 "유족에 국가배상을"". Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  2. ^ a b c "Goyang Geumjeong Cave Massacre memorial service". Hankyoreh. February 9, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  3. ^ In 2007 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clarified the number of victims was 153. -Hankyoreh 2011-11-29
  4. ^ a b c d e f "'고양 금정굴 민간인 학살사건' 유족에게 1억원 국가 배상 판결 "헌법에 보장된 기본권인 신체의 자유와 적법절차에 따라 재판받을 권리 등 침해"". CBS. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  5. ^ a b c Song Gyeong-hwa (2010-07-05). "'금정굴 학살사건' 국가상대 소송". Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  6. ^ Charles J. Hanley (December 6, 2008). "Children 'executed' in 1950 South Korean killings". San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
  7. ^ a b c Park Gyeong-man (2011-09-19). "고양 금정굴 민간인 학살…법원 "유족에 국가배상을"". Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  8. ^ "'고양 금정굴 사건' 유족에 1억 배상". Dong-a Ilbo; Yonhap News Agency. 2011-11-29. Archived from the original on 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  9. ^ "'고양 금정굴 사건' 유족에 1억 배상". Chosun Ilbo. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2011-11-29.

External links

14 January 1950

The first prototype of the USSR’s MiG-17 makes its maiden flight.

Another prototype of Mikoyan Gurevich fighter I-330 SI made its first flight on the 14th of January 1950 piloted by Ivan Ivashchenko. The aircraft, the improved version of the I-310 or the first prototype of MiG-15, was developed to be the advanced version of MiG jet fighter, the MiG 17.

The MiG-17 was a single-seat, single engine fighter armed with cannon, and capable of high subsonic and transonic speed.

The prototype’s wings were very thin and this allowed them to flex. The aircraft suffered from “aileron reversal,” in that the forces created by applying aileron to roll the aircraft about its longitudinal axis were sufficient to bend the wings and that caused the airplane to roll in the opposite direction.

The first prototype I 330 SI developed “flutter” while on a test flight, 17th of March 1950. This was a common problem during the era, as designers and engineers learned how to build an airplane that could smoothly transition through the “sound barrier.” The rapidly changing aerodynamic forces caused the structure to fail and the horizontal tail surfaces were torn off. The prototype went into an unrecoverable spin. Test pilot Ivashchenko was killed.

Two more prototypes, SI 02 and SI 03, were built. The aircraft was approved for production in 1951.

More than 10,000 MiG 17 fighters were built in the Soviet Union, Poland and China. The type remains in service with North Korea.

Ivan T. Ivashchenko was born at Ust-Labinsk, Krasnodar Krai, Russia, 16th of October 1905. He served in the Red Army from 1927 to 1930. Ivashchenko was trained as a pilot at the Lugansk Military Aviation School at Voroshilovgrad, and a year later graduated from the Kachin Military Aviation College at Volgograd.

In 1939, he fought in The Winter War. During the Great Patriotic War, Ivan Ivashchenko flew with a fighter squadron in the defense of Moscow.

From 1940 to 1945, Ivan Ivashchenko was a test pilot and flew the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik fighter bomber extensively. In 1945 Ivashchenko was reassigned to OKB Mikoyan, where he worked on the development of the MiG 15 and MiG 17 fighters. He participated in testing ejection seat systems and in supersonic flight.

Ivan T. Ivashchenko was a Hero of the Soviet Union, and was awarded the Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner and Order of the Patriotic War. He was killed in at the age of 44 years.

17 November 1950

Lhamo Dondrub is officially named the 14th Dalai Lama.

The 14th Dalai Lama religious name: Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso; born Lhamo Thondup, 6 July 1935 is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism which was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Amdo, Tibet, and was selected as the tulku of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama at a public declaration near the town of Bumchen in 1939. His enthronement ceremony as the Dalai Lama was held in Lhasa on 22 February 1940, and he eventually assumed full temporal duties on 17 November 1950, at the age of 15, after the People’s Republic of China’s incorporation of Tibet. The Gelug school’s government administered an area roughly corresponding to the Tibet Autonomous Region just as the nascent PRC wished to assert control over it.

During the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he currently lives as a refugee. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Time Magazine named him one of the “Children of Mahatma Gandhi” and his spiritual heir to nonviolence. He has traveled the world and has spoken about the welfare of Tibetans, environment, economics, women’s rights, non-violence, interfaith dialogue, physics, astronomy, Buddhism and science, cognitive neuroscience, reproductive health, and sexuality, along with various topics of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings.

7 October 1950

Mother Teresa sets up the Missionaries of Charity.


Missionaries of Charity is a Roman Catholic Latin Rite religious congregation established in 1950 by Mother Teresa. It consists of over 4,501 religious sisters and is active in 133 countries. Members of the order designate their affiliation using the order’s initials, “M.C.” A member of the Congregation must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and the fourth vow, to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.”

Today, the order consists of both Contemplative and Active Branches of Brothers and Sisters over several different countries. In 1963, both the Contemplative branch of the Sisters and the Active branch of the Brothers were founded, Brothers being co-founded by then Australian Jesuit (who became Brother Andrew, M.C.) Fr Ian Travers-Ball S.J. In 1979 the Contemplative branch of the Brothers was added and in 1984 a priest branch, the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, was founded by Mother Teresa with Fr. Joseph Langford, combining the vocation of the Missionaries of Charity with the Ministerial Priesthood. As with the Sisters, the Fathers live a very simple lifestyle without television, radios or items of convenience. They neither smoke nor drink alcohol and beg for their food. They make a visit to their families every five years but do not take annual holidays. Lay Catholics and non-Catholics constitute the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa, the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, and the Lay Missionaries of Charity.

27 June 1950

The USA decides to send troops to fight in the Korean War.


On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea. The United States was undertaking the major military operation, he explained, to enforce a United Nations resolution calling for an end to hostilities, and to stem the spread of communism in Asia. In addition to ordering U.S. forces to Korea, Truman also deployed the U.S. 7th Fleet to Formosa (Taiwan) to guard against invasion by communist China and ordered an acceleration of military aid to French forces fighting communist guerrillas in Vietnam.

At the Yalta Conference towards the end of World War II, the United States, the USSR, and Great Britain agreed to divide Korea into two separate occupation zones. The country was split along the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces occupying the northern zone and Americans stationed in the south. In 1947, the United States and Great Britain called for free elections throughout Korea, but the Soviets refused to comply. In May 1948 the Korean Democratic People’s Republic–a communist state–was proclaimed in North Korea. In August, the democratic Republic of Korea was established in South Korea. By 1949, both the United States and the USSR had withdrawn the majority of their troops from the Korean Peninsula.

8 April 1950

Pakistan and India sign the Liaquat–Nehru Pact.

 photo large-p-30-a_zpskquujeci.jpg

On April 8, 1950, the Delhi Pact was signed. It was the outcome of six days of talks between India and Pakistan. The Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan wanted to ensure the rights of minorities in both countries. Most importantly, they wanted to avert another war, which seemed to be brewing since the partition in 1947.

A wave of fear spread among the people. The then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan decided to solve the issue. He issued a statement stating the need for an immediate solution and also proposed that his Indian counterpart hold a meeting to look into the problem. The two Prime Ministers met in Delhi on, April 2, 1950. They signed an agreement to safeguard the rights of the minorities. This pact, came to be known as the Liaquat-Nehru Pact. Some of the objectives of this pact were to lessen the fear of religious minorities, to put an end to communal riots and to create an atmosphere of peace.

It was agreed that both governments would ensure complete and equal right of citizenship and security of life and properties to their minorities. Ensuring full fundamental human rights which included the rights of freedom of movement, freedom of thoughts and expression and the right of religion, was part of the deal. A minorities commission was to be set up to make sure that they would be represented. They vowed to not violate the rules of the pact and to make all efforts to reinforce it. If the minorities faced any problem, it would be the duty of both the governments to redress their problems without delay. In short, this pact agreed to guarantee full right to their minorities and to accord them the status of citizens.

8 February 1950

The secret police of East Germany, the Stasi, is established.

The Ministry for State Security, commonly known as the Stasi, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic, colloquially known as East Germany. It has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies to have ever existed.The Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several smaller facilities throughout the city.  Erich Mielke was its longest-serving chief, in power for thirty-two of the GDR’s forty years of existence.

One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents. Its Main Directorate for Reconnaissance was responsible for both espionage and for conducting covert operations in foreign countries. Under its long-time head Markus Wolf, this directorate gained a reputation as one of the most effective intelligence agencies of the Cold War.

Numerous Stasi officials were prosecuted for their crimes after 1990. After German reunification, the surveillance files that the Stasi had maintained on millions of East Germans were laid open, so that any citizen could inspect their personal file on request; these files are now maintained by the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records.