The Eighth East German Communist Party Congress opened in East Berlin today (June 15) with an attack on West Germany by Party leader Erich Honecker, successor to long-serving Walter Ulbricht who resigned the leadership last month.
The Eighth East German Communist Party Congress opened in East Berlin today (June 15) with an attack on West Germany by Party leader Erich Honecker, successor to long-serving Walter Ulbricht who resigned the leadership last month. Ulbricht, who is aged 77 and resigned through old age, although still remaining Head of State, was not at the opening meeting. His speech was read by a member of the country's ruling Politburo, and the reason for his unexpected absence was officially announced as ill health. Among delegates at the Congress (shown in this film) were Soviet Party leader Leonid Brezhnev, East German Prime Minister Willi Stoph, Czechoslovakian Communist Party leader Dr. Gustav Husak and Hungarian Communist Party leader Janos Kadar.
SYNOPSIS: The Eighth East German Communist Party congress opened in East Berlin on Tuesday. Among delegates at the opening were East German Premier Willi Stoph, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, and East German leader Erich Honecker. Unexpectedly absent was Walter Ulbricht, the 77-year-old former East German Communist Party leader who resigned last month through old age, although remaining as formal Head of State. Hermann Axen, a member of the country's ruling Politburo, told the Congress that Herr Ulbricht was ill, although he had welcomed delegates at the airport the previous day.
Main speech of the day came from new East German leader Erich Honecker, who stressed his country's close ties with the Soviet Union. He followed with a sharp attack on West Germany, accusing its Government of refusing to give up what he called "destructive attitude" towards a settlement of the Berlin situation.
Czechoslovak leader Dr. Gustav Husak -- on the left -- and Hungarian leader Janos Kadar were among the delegates who applauded Herr Honecker's attack, though he added that East Germany was always ready to negotiate.