19 October 2009

East Germany Removes Honecker And His Protege Takes His Place

From the New York Times, 19 October 1989

Confronted with increasing demands for change, the East German Communist Party today ousted Erich Honecker, its hard-line leader of 18 years, and named his 52-year-old protege to replace him. The new leader, Egon Krenz, had been the Politburo member charged with security and youth affairs. He was named to Mr. Honecker's three positions - party chief, head of state and chairman of the Defense Council -granting him the broad powers Mr. Honecker spent years accumulating. Though the youngest member of the Politburo, Mr. Krenz is generally regarded as a tough and conservative leader in Mr. Honecker's mold but 25 years younger, more sophisticated and probably better aware of the scope and sources of popular discontent. Mr. Honecker, in his message of resignation, said that his illness and gall-bladder surgery ''no longer allow me to devote the power and energy demanded today,'' and he proposed Mr. Krenz as his successor, describing him as ''able and decisive.' Mr. Krenz underscored his difference in style from Mr. Honecker, who usually restricted his public appearances to stiff, formal rituals, with an appearance on television shortly after his appointment. Smiling, Mr. Krenz said: ''My motto remains work, work, work and more work, but work that should be pleasant and serve all the people.'' 'A Great Loss of Blood'. More >>


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