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The Man Who Built the Berlin Wall (Hardback)

The Rise and Fall of Erich Honecker

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Cold War P&S History WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Berlin 1945 World History > Europe > Germany

By Nathan Morley
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781399088824
Published: 20th July 2023

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In The Man Who Built the Berlin Wall, 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, 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.

Although 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.

Terminally ill, he was literally kidnapped from Russia to answer for his crimes in a Berlin court.

A controversial figure, Honecker’s notorious philandering, his difficult relationship with his wife Margot, penchant for porn, addiction to hunting, and gilded lifestyle at a forest settlement north of Berlin are all brought into sharp focus.

Although haunted by the fall of the Berlin Wall, Erich Honecker died in 1994, still believing the GDR was the envy of the world.

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About Nathan Morley

Nathan Morley was born in Lincolnshire in 1974 and raised in West Germany. As a journalist, he has reported for Deutsche WelleORF Österreichischer RundfunkVatican RadioThe Voice of America and CBC. In 2001 he was the recipient of a ‘New York Festivals Radio Award’.
His other books include the critically acclaimed Radio Hitler: Nazi Airwaves in the Second World War and Disney’s British Gentleman: The Life and career of David Tomlinson.
He divides his time between Nicosia and Berlin.

Construction of the Berlin Wall begins in East Germany

13th August 1961

Construction of the Berlin Wall begins in East Germany


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