Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany Minecraft Skin
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Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany

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JustAnNCRRanger05's Avatar JustAnNCRRanger05
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Erich Honecker (25 August 1912 – 29 May 1994) was a German politician who, as the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party, led the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1971 until the weeks preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. From 1976 onward he was also the country's official head of state as chairman of the State Council following Willi Stoph's relinquishment of the post. Honecker's political career began in the 1930s when he became an official of the Communist Party of Germany, a position for which he was imprisoned during the Nazi era. Following World War II, he was freed and soon relaunched his political activities, founding the youth organisation the Free German Youth in 1946 and serving as the group's chairman until 1955. As the Security Secretary of the Party’s Central Committee in the new East German state, he was the prime organiser of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and, in this function, bore responsibility for the "order to fire" along the Inner German border. In 1971, he initiated a political power struggle that led, with Soviet support, to his replacing Walter Ulbricht as First Secretary of the Central Committee and as chairman of the state's National Defense Council. Under his command, the country adopted a programme of "consumer socialism" and moved toward the international community by normalising relations with West Germany and also becoming a full member of the UN, in what is considered one of his greatest political successes. As Cold War tensions eased in the late 1980s under the liberalising reforms of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Honecker refused all but cosmetic changes to the East German political system, citing the continual hardliner attitudes of Kim Il-sung and Fidel Castro, whose respective regimes of North Korea and Cuba had been critical of reforms. As anticommunist protests grew, Honecker begged the USSR to intervene and suppress the protests to maintain communist rule in East Germany like the Prague Spring of 1968 and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; Gorbachev refused. Honecker was forced to resign by his party in October 1989 in a bid to improve the government's image before the public. Honecker's eighteen years at the helm of the soon-to-collapse German Democratic Republic came to an end. Following German reunification, he sought asylum in the Chilean embassy in Moscow in 1991 but was extradited back to Germany a year later to stand trial for his role in the human rights abuses committed by the East German government. However, the proceedings were abandoned due to illness and he was freed from custody to travel to join his family in exile in Chile, where he died in May 1994 from liver cancer.
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