The rise and fall of East German leader Erich Honecker
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Honecker emerged as an ambitious political player and became the shadowy mastermind behind the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, a crucial moment in twentieth-century history. Author Nathan Morley brings to life the story of the longtime leader of the German Democratic Republic. Drawing from a wealth of untapped archival sources – and firsthand interviews with Honecker’s lawyers, journalists, and contemporary witnesses – Morley paints a vivid portrait of how an uneducated miner’s son from the Saarland rose to the highest ranks of the German Communist Party. Having survived a decade of brutality in Nazi prisons, and frequently on the verge of being relegated to obscurity, he managed to overthrow strongman Walter Ulbricht at the height of the Cold War and reigned supreme over the GDR between 1971-1989. However, by 1980, the Honecker honeymoon was on the wane as a decade of economic and social difficulties blighted the GDR. Then, as tumultuous changes swept through the Soviet bloc, everything in and around him collapsed in 1989. His health, his certainties, his ideology, his apparatus of power, and his beloved SED party. Buy the book here The fight to preserve Cold War history continues and via a simple monthly donation, you will give me the ammunition to keep this podcast on the air. You’ll become part of our community and get a sought-after CWC coaster as a thank you and you’ll bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history. Just go to If a monthly contribution is not your cup of tea, We also welcome one-off donations via the same link. Book giveaway entry info here Episodes mentioned: History of East Germany Doping of East German athletes Polish strikes in 1980 Extra episode information Find the ideal gift for the Cold War enthusiast in your life! Just go to Support the project! Follow us on Twitter Facebook Instagram Youtube Radio GDR If you are interested in East Germany we can highly recommend our friends over at Radio GDR. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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