- Madame Tussauds Berlin, Berlin 100!
Facts about Walter Ulbricht
Walter Ulbricht was born in 1893 and initially trained as a cabinetmaker. His parental home was already actively social democratic, so Ulbricht joined the SPD in 1912. During the First World War he served as a soldier on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans.
In 1920 he transferred from the USPD to the KPD and was successful there as secretary of the Politburo and in the Central Committee. In 1933 Ulbricht fled from the Nazis with his wife and daughter, first to Prague and then to Paris. In 1945 he returned to Germany and organised the KPD in the Soviet occupation zone. As First Secretary of the Central Committee, he convinced the Soviet leadership of the necessity of building the Wall. Publicly he denied this intention with the famous sentence: "Nobody has the intention to build a wall." In fact, the construction of the Wall began only 2 months later.
He went on to support the policy of détente with the FRG, which he hoped would bring economic benefits to the GDR. However, this was not supported by the other members of the Central Committee, which is why Ulbricht resigned from almost all his posts in 1971 "for health reasons". He remained politically active until his death in 1973 and was given a state funeral.
At Madame Tussauds Berlin, Ulbricht is depicted with his fingers crossed behind his back because of his lie about building the Wall.
The uncharimastic politican
Did you know that Walter Ulbricht...
... was only 1.65 metres tall?
... had a falsetto voice, i.e. a very high voice, with a Saxon dialect?
... was not particularly gifted rhetorically and tended to end sentences with "yes?"?
He was therefore not generally regarded as a particularly charismatic politician, unlike John F. Kennedy, for example.