How socialistic is your country

Socialism in its course ... Erich, ox and donkey

Erich Honecker is visibly proud of that August 14th, 1989. In the VEB Kombinat Mikroelektronik "Karl Marx" in Erfurt, a newly developed 32-bit microprocessor is ceremoniously handed over to him on that day. The development of this microprocessor is indeed an enormous achievement for the GDR - internationally, however, the small socialist republic is almost a decade behind in this area. But that in no way disputes Honecker. For him, the microprocessor is visible evidence of the superiority of socialism and, moreover, a worthy contribution to the upcoming republic's birthday in October: "All in all, the development of microelectronics in the German Democratic Republic underscores the correctness of the path we have chosen," he emphasizes wacker in his short acceptance speech.

Expression of a strange remoteness

Then Honecker, who had to leave the Comecon Summit in Bucharest a week earlier because of illness, takes a look at the Western states, above all the Federal Republic of course: "And at the same time we prove that the triumphant shouts of the Western media over the failure socialist conceptions of society is not worth what it is spent on. " Quite the opposite, because Honecker continues: "Socialism, as we always say, in its course, does not stop neither ox nor donkey. This old realization of the German labor movement is currently confirmed by the great initiative of the working people in the GDR. " In fact, the sentence, which is also reminiscent of the biblical scene in Christmas Bethlehem, is a winged word of German social democracy. In any case, Honecker's defiant speech with that famous quote is immediately interpreted by Western commentators as an expression of a strange remoteness, a loss of reality or simply a stubborn old age.

Thousands are leaving the country

In those months in the summer of 1989, the GDR was already in a state of erosion. Thousands of people are leaving the country. Many of them seek refuge in the embassies of the Federal Republic in Prague and Budapest in order to force them to leave for the West. In the GDR itself, an opposition movement that calls for the restructuring of the socialist system is growing stronger every day. Honecker's bizarre words only trigger bitter laughter from most GDR citizens.

Gorbachev's answer

Erich Honecker used the good old quote from the Social Democrats again later - at the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the GDR in October 1989 in the "Palace of the Republic". And Mikhail Gorbachev's answer, "Dangers await only those who do not react to life", then becomes the even more popular phrase: "Whoever comes too late is punished by life."

05/26/2019 | 8:15 pm