The announcement tonight (Monday) that Herr Walter Ulbricht has resigned from his post as First Secretary of the Communist Party of East Germany was followed immediately by the announcement of his successor - Herr Erich Honecker.
The announcement tonight (Monday) that Herr Walter Ulbricht has resigned from his post as First Secretary of the Communist Party of East Germany was followed immediately by the announcement of his successor - Herr Erich Honecker. The appointment of Erich Honecker as the effective leader of Eat Germany comes as no surprise. Rumours that Herr Ulbricht would resign shortly have been rife for several years, and Honecker was the man most often named to succeed him.
Erich Honecker, 58-years-old, has been Ulbricht's chief lieutenant for many years. He rose to the second highest position in East Germany through administrative talents, orthodox views and unswerving loyalty to Herr Ulbricht. but little is known about him in the West. He is believed to have been personally responsible in the politburo for the state security service, police, army and party personnel.
Herr Honecker, like Ulbricht a life-long Communist, became a full member of the Politburo in 1958, and took charge of party organisation in 1963. He is known as a hard-line Communist likely to continue Ulbricht's close relationship with the kremlin. The immediate reaction of the West Germany spokesman Konrad Ahlers is that Honecker's succession will make no difference, in East-West German relations, or in East German-Soviet relations.
This library film shows Herr Honecker established as Ulbricht's right hand man, at his side this May Day, and with Dr. Gustav Husak and Brezhnev at the International Communist Congress in East Berlin in 1969.