Ulbricht, Walter väl´tər o͝ol´brĭkht [key], 1893–1973, Communist leader in the German Democratic Republic. A founder of the German Communist party, he fled Germany in 1933 and went to Moscow, where he was a member of the politburo of the exiled German Communist party. Ulbricht entered Germany with the Russian troops in 1945. In 1949 he became deputy premier of the German Democratic Republic and in 1950 was named secretary-general of the Socialist Unity party, successor to the Communist party. Leader of East Germany from that time, he became chairman of the council of state in 1960. A hard-line Communist who was opposed to normalizing relations with West Germany, Ulbricht was responsible for the building (1961) of the Berlin Wall. He strongly supported close ties with the USSR and sent troops to join the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1971 he was replaced as secretary-general by Erich Honecker.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See biography by C. Stern (tr. 1965).
See more Encyclopedia articles on: German History: Biographies
Browse By Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-