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Erich Honecker on the 40th Anniversary of the GDR (October 6, 1989)

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In sharp contrast to our politics stand the revanchist demands of FRG politicians, spurring concern and protest throughout the world. There is talk of the “reestablishment of the German Reich within the 1937 borders.” The post-war settlements are being questioned, the theory of the supposedly open German question is stated more loudly than it has been previously. The revival of the claim of sole representation, from the 1950s and 1960s, has culminated in a claim to so-called responsibility for all Germans. In this regard, there is obviously a considerable amount of common ground between revanchist politicians in Bonn and the increasingly strong neo-Nazis.

The emergence of neo-Nazis on the political stage in the FRG is food for thought. In light of the fact that attempts are being made to deny or downplay the existence of neo-Nazism, I would like to remind you that during the Nazi regime, two other comrades and I were turned over to the prison of Hitler’s personal guards for “treatment,” at the same time as the present head of the Republikaner was active there as an SS leader. There is no doubt that such elements of FRG politics which cause concern among the peoples of the world are in urgent need of reform.

The relentless, internationally coordinated slander campaign currently being led against the GDR aims to confuse the people and sow doubt regarding the strength and advantages of socialism. This can only serve to strengthen our resolve to continue in the future to do everything possible for a peaceful European house. The ability for states with different social orders to live and work together in such a house should be allowed to develop to the fullest. A solid foundation for this is provided in the final act of the Helsinki Conference as well as other CSCE documents. But we will not allow anyone to abuse these agreements for the purpose of destabilizing socialism. Strict respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, and non-intervention in internal affairs are indispensable.

The GDR has paved its way with achievements serving to strengthen our people in the knowledge of their power and of the worth of all efforts to establish a new, humane, complete life. Socialism and peace are, and remain, key words for that which we have achieved up to now, as well as that which we will continue to accomplish. We tackle the task with vigor and confidence. In its fifth decade, the socialist workers’ and peasants’ state on German soil will continue to prove – through its actions for the good of its people and through its efforts for peace, security and international cooperation – that its founding in October of 1949 was a turning point in the history of the German people and of Europe. [ . . . ]

Source of English translation: "Erich Honecker on the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the GDR" (October 6, 1989), in Konrad H. Jarausch and Volker Gransow, eds., Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944-1993. Translated by Allison Brown and Belinda Cooper. Berghahn Books: Providence and Oxford, 1994, p. 51-53. © Berghahn Books.

Source of original German text: Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik [Readings in German and International Politics], 1989, p. 1401 f.

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