Walter Ulbricht

1893- 1973

East German Statesman


Walter Ulbricht was born in Leipzig. He was a Social Democrat who joined the Communist Party in Germany on its founding in 1918. He was a member of the Reichstag from 1928 to 1933. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Ulbricht fled Germany. He spent much of his time during that period in the Soviet Union. He returned to Germany with the conquering Soviet troops, and in 1949 became the Deputy Premier of the newly created German Democratic Republic (East Germany). In 1950, Ulbricht became the leader of the Socialist Unity Party.

Ulbrich ruled East Germany with an iron fist. He pressured Khrushchev into building the Berlin War in 1961 to counter the exodus of East Germans to the West.

In the iconoclastic 1960's, many considered Wayne an anachronism, and his later films were critical failures. Nevertheless, he won his only Academy Award in 1969 for his performance in True Grit.