Background: The following speeches were delivered by Erich Honecker
to congresses of the Free German Youth, the GDR’s youth organization, in
1984 and 1989.
The source: The first speech: Neues Deutschland,
9/10 June 1984, p. 1. The second: Neues Deutschland, 13/14
May 1989, p. 1.
Party and Revolutionary Young
Guard Firmly Allied
by Erich Honecker
Dear members of the Free German Youth!
Dear friends and comrades!
At the start of the Congress of the Free German Youth I bring to you
the heartiest greetings of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity
Party of Germany, and of the State Council and the Ministerial Council
of the German Democratic Republic. (Long-lasting enthusiastic applause,
cheers for the GDR) In this time of struggle you have come to this
impressive gathering in the center of Berlin. In Berlin, the city of peace,
your unshakable will now more than ever to do everything for the strengthening
of our socialist fatherland, the German Democratic Republic, and for the
safeguarding of peace, will be reinforced. (Enthusiastic applause,
chants: “We want peace!”) Through your splendid accomplishments
in the “Peace Campaign of the GDR” you have demonstrated unmistakably
that the love, the loyalty, and the deeds of the youth belong to German
Democratic Republic, the state of socialism and peace on German soil.
(Very long-lasting strong applause, chants: “GDR: Our Fatherland!”)
On this tradition-filled square, Karl Liebknecht proclaimed
the socialist republic from the balcony of the imperial palace.
Here the red sailors from the renowned people’s naval division
fought for a socialist Germany. Here on the banks of the Spree
Ernst Thälmann demanded on 1 May 1932, at one of the largest
mass meetings of that era, a united front against Fascism and
war. Down the historic Linden-Magistrale marched the heroes of
the Red Army and lifted over the cupola of the Reichstag the
banner of victory and liberation. (Enthusiastic applause,
Only four years later, the newly founded Free German Youth,
with its unforgettable torchlight procession, celebrated the
foundation of the German Democratic Republic and greeted its
first president Wilhelm Pieck. (Very long-lasting applause,
cheers for Wilhelm Pieck) On that fall evening 35 years ago,
the young generation of our republic pledged its loyalty to our
republic, because it “wanted to, and will, bring peace and
a better life.” This hope has been fulfilled in our land.
We are therefore all rightly proud. (Enthusiastic applause,
Today this square, the scene of so many historic events, carries
the names of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the founders of
scientific socialism. Also in the heart of Europe, on German
soul, their revolutionary ideas are becoming reality. Our German
Democratic Republic, a state of workers and farmers, proves this.
So does your powerful demonstration on the 35th anniversary of
its existence. (Long-lasting strong applause, chants: “FDJ-SEd”)
35 years of the German Democratic Republic have been 35 years
of hard struggle for peace and socialism. Our people, under the
leadership of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, has truly
done great things during these years. We are filled with joy
that you, under the sign of the rising sun, display the same
revolutionary spirit for the strengthening and defense of socialism.
(Enthusiastic applause, cheers for the SED)
Your national youth festival is part of a great tradition.
Gatherings of the Free German Youth were always festivals of
peace and anti-imperialist solidarity. Today too your call for
peaceful cooperation between the nations and the friendship of
the youth of all nations rings out. We are happy that the Free
German Youth is ever and always in the front ranks of the struggle
against imperialist war policies and for the happiness of the
nations. (Enthusiastic applause, shouts: “Peace- Friendship-Solidarity!”
Cheers for the FDJ) You are continuing the work of such revolutionary
predecessors as Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, Ernst Thälmann
and Wilhelm Pieck. You are the revolutionary young guard of fighters
for peace and socialism.
Dear members of the Free German Youth!
Today peace is seriously threatened by the aggressive striving for supremacy
of the United States and the growing armaments of NATO. First-strike weapons
in Europe, above all in the FRG [Federal
Republic of Germany], have created a dangerous situation.
There is nothing more important for us than to devote every energy to
stopping a nuclear catastrophe. We want to create peace in the face of
NATO’s weapons. (Long-lasting strong applause, chants: “Away with
the NATO rocket decision!”)
Before history we have accepted the responsibility of never
again permitting war to begin on German soil. That is how we
act. We do not want peace only for our and your generations.
We want peace for your children and your children’s children.
We want peace for all times, for ever! (Enthusiastic applause)
The German Democratic Republic supports all initiatives that
serve to reduce military confrontation, to reduce tension, and
to encourage mutually beneficial cooperation. Your peace campaign
has supported this policy, the constructive and flexible proposals
of the Soviet Union and the socialist nations. More clearly than
ever before it is plain: socialism means peace, and socialism
brings peace. (Very long-lasting enthusiastic applause)
Since we are firmly persuaded that more weapons do not mean
more security, we reiterate our proposal, supported by this appeal
of our youth, that the Pershing II and Cruise missiles stationed
in Western Europe, and particularly in the Federal Republic of
Germany, be removed. (Strong applause) That would also
open the possibility for the Warsaw Pact to immediately undo
the measures it has taken to maintain the military balance.
We are in favor of a treaty between the nations of the Warsaw
Pact and NATO that would prohibit the use of military force and
establish peaceful relations.
We are in favor of freezing the arsenal of nuclear weapons
and establishing nuclear-free zones, of freeing Europe from chemical
weapons, of stopping the growth of military budgets and reducing
The military and strategic balance must remain, with ever
lower numbers of weapons. The limitation and reduction of armaments
according to the principle of equality and equal security-that
is our goal. The return to detente-that is our task. (Very
long-lasting enthusiastic applause, shouts: “Down with the
NATO rocket decision!”)
We are for peaceful coexistence. There is no reasonable alternative.
Already decades ago our Free German Youth sang the song of
peace, “Bau auf, bau auf, Freie Deutsche Jugend, bau auf!”
Today you still are singing it. (Very long-lasting applause.
Some begin singing “Bau auf, bau auf,” and all join
The blue flag with the sun has been seen throughout the history
of the GDR. From the “Dam of Peace” in Sosa to the
“Route of Friendship” in the Soviet Union to the “FDJ
Berlin Initiative,” the accomplishments of the FDJ testify
to it as the fighting reserve of our party. (Enthusiastic
applause, cheers for the party and the youth organization).
Now, dear friends, you have come to this gathering with exemplary
results in your work and learning and in the defense of the homeland.
In Berlin too it is clear how the youth of our land help to realize
the program of our party for the prosperity of the people. Together
with the Berliners, members of the FDJ and workers from the entire
republic are working to rebuilt the capital. Berlin shall with
increasing persuasiveness incorporate the life force of our socialist
fatherland, the dynamic nature of its peaceful program of construction.
Your tremendous accomplishments in the 35th year of our workers’
and farmers’ state proves that only socialism can give the youth
a meaningful life and a sure future. Socialism and the young
generation, party and Free German Youth belong firmly and for
all times together. (Very long-lasting applause, cheers for
the SED and the GDR)
We thus successfully continue the course of political stability,
economic growth and the unity of economic and social policy established
by the X. Party Congress. We make our contribution to the strengthening
of socialism in the world and the maintenance of peace.
Dear friends of the Free German Youth!
I wish you exciting days and unforgettable impressions in
our friendly capital Berlin. (Enthusiastic applause, cheers
for the host).
I declare the opening of the National Youth Festival of the
GDR, the Congress of the Free German Youth.
-Onward to the 35th anniversary of our socialist fatherland!
(Very long- lasting applause)
-Long live the German Democratic Republic! (Very long-lasting
enthusiastic applause, cheers for the National Youth Festival,
the Central Committee of the SED and its General Secretary. Chants:
The FDJ A Reliable
Partner in Struggle of our Party
by Erich Honecker
Dear members of the Free German Youth!
Dear friends and comrades!
It is a pleasure for me to extend to you the heartiest greetings
of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany,
and of the State Council and the Ministerial Council of the GDR,
on the occasion of this powerful and joyous demonstration at
the opening of the Whitsun gathering of the Free German Youth.
(Enthusiastic applause, cheers for the GDR)
Your demonstration at this tradition-filled square in the
capital of the GDR is a persuasive affirmation of the youth of
our republic to peace and socialism. I can also say, I am sure,
that it is an affirmation by the delegates of the youth of the
German Democratic Republic to our party, the Socialist Unity
Party of Germany, the party of innovators (Neuerer), the
party of the youth. (Enthusiastic applause, cheers for the
SED) A party guided in its every action by the immortal teaching
of the great German scientists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,
by the knowledge of Vladimir Lenin, a party that defends their
teaching and creatively advances it. The teaching of the values
of socialism, to which the future of mankind belongs. (Long-lasting
Yes, dear friends, your presence at this festive hour is an
unmistakable sign of the victory of socialism in the heart of
Europe, for peace and anti-imperialist solidarity. (Enthusiastic
applause, chants of “Peace, Friendship, Solidarity!”)
Just a few days ago our people, among them the 1,700,000 younger
voters, gave an impressive and clear vote in the communal election
for the policies of our party, for the policies of our workers’
and farmers’ state. In such a turbulent time as today, that was
a decision of historic importance, of historic implications.
(Strong applause, chants: “GDR-Our fatherland!)
Here on this square before this powerful demonstration of
the young gener- ation I may say: Regardless of some speculation
in the West, we were confident that our people, on the basis
of their own experiences, could reach no other decision. Our
party, our government, will of course do everything in their
power, in cooperation with the forces united in the National
Front, to realize the election program of the National Front
of the GDR in the interest of the prosperity of the people, in
the interests of peace everywhere. (Enthusiastic applause)
We thereby fulfill at the same time the decisions of the XI.
Party Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. There
is no one in the world who can keep us from furthering the great
revolutionary process of transformation in the first socialist
state of the German nation. (Long-lasting strong applause,
chants: “GDR-Our fatherland!”)
We all know that the workers, the farmers, the members of
the intelligentsia, the young generation of our nation have hard
work and resolute struggle behind them. In the 40th year of the
existence of the GDR, we can proudly see that all the labor has
paid off. With the growth of our republic, socialism has taken
permanent footing on German soil. (Enthusiastic applause)
We are ready to work and to defend peace together to guarantee
that this process continues. (Long-lasting strong applause)
You, dear friends, have already accepted the torch from those
who in October 1949, on the occasion of the election of Wilhelm
Pieck as President of the republic, swore to stand by this republic,
because it is a republic of the working people, a republic of
the youth. Since then our republic has changed for the better,
thanks to the strength of our people, the strength of the youth.
On the ruins left us by the Second World War developed everything
that today surrounds us, what during the last forty years has
been accomplished everywhere in the GDR, what each who visits
us can see. You were part of it, and you will carry the banner
of the socialist revolution over the threshold of the year 2000.
(Long-lasting enthusiastic applause. Chants: “SED-FDJ!”)
With pride we see that our republic is among the ten major
industrial nations of the world, a nation mastering the demands
of the scientific-technological revolution. We have combined
the advantages of socialism with those of modern technology,
and consistent with the Schwedt Initiative, are day by day producing
more with less labor. Here there is no unemployment. Here the
scientific- technological revolution is carried out while maintaining
full employment. The best of it all is that here one can buy
something for one’s efforts, for one’s wages, and that the time
will soon come in which a good apartment will be available for
every young person who begins a family. (Strong applause)
Yes, dear friends, the socialism for which we struggled so
long, for which the German workers movement gave so many sacrifices
in the struggle against Fascism and war, has developed successfully
in the German Democratic Republic on a firm foundation. It has
proven itself a stable pillar of peace in the heart of Europe.
(Long-lasting, strong applause)
Naturally we are not content with what we have accomplished.
Our industrial and agricultural progress, our scientific potential,
our close friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union, the
People’s Republic of Poland, the Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic,
and the other socialist nations, enables us, step by step, to
move forward. The prosperity of the people will reach a level
that many today can scarcely imagine.
You, dear friends, with your upright support of the ideals
and values of socialism are a living guarantee that that which
has been accomplished cannot be destroyed by those in the world
who do not yet stand on the side of peace and cooperation, of
disarmament. We are not alone in the world. We have powerful
allies. We have them in the Soviet Union, in the People’s Republic
of China, in the People’s Republic of Poland, in the Czechoslovakian
Socialist Republic, and the other socialist nations, but also
in those states in the West that are working to prevent an atomic
inferno for humanity, who are working to abolish war forever
from the life of humanity. (Strong applause)
We keep in mind that there are people in this world who want
to hinder the first steps taken toward atomic disarmament, who
through the modernization of whole weapon systems are trying
to reverse the peace process begun through the great initiative
of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact states, lead by the great
international activity of Michail Gorbachev. The proposal of
the Soviet Union, in agreement with the other nations of the
Warsaw Pact, to withdraw all tactical nuclear weapons from the
territory of the allied states if the USA is willing to take
the same step, the one-sided withdrawal of 500 atomic warheads
from this territory and the further proposals for radical reductions
in armaments and troops strengths, speak for themselves and find
our total support. (Long-lasting, enthusiastic applause)
We are firmly persuaded that it will be possible to make this
disarmament process irreversible, because we set our full energy
toward strengthening socialism and holding a dialog with anyone
in the world who, like us, is ready to defend peace and disarmament,
both in the nuclear and the conventional arenas.
In solving these problems, we must never forget that the developments
in this or that socialist land may take different courses. That
is the result not only of different national conditions. The
socialist society is still young. It is at the moment in the
process of great transformations in the Soviet Union and other
socialist nations. Despite all the gloomy predictions of people
who understand nothing, absolutely nothing, about the laws governing
human society, those who would happily bury socialism, I want
to say clearly and firmly that the world is turning not in the
direction of capitalism, but in the direction of socialism. That
is unchangeable fact. (Enthusiastic applause)
The Free German Youth has constantly proven itself a reliable
comrade in struggle of our party, the party of Karl [Liebknecht],
Rosa [Luxemburg], of Ernst Thälmann, of Wilhelm Pieck, Otto
Grotewohl and Walter Ulbricht. So will it also be in the future.
The youth is an active participant in the developed socialist
society of our nation, a participant in the formation of a new
Germany. It will finish the work of socialism on German soil,
this noble work of creative labor for the benefit of the people
and for the happiness of humanity, for a secure peace.
Long live the Free German Youth! (Long-lasting strong applause,
Long live our socialist Fatherland, the German Democratic Republic! (Long-
lasting, enthusiastic applause. Cheers for the Party, the Central Committee
of the SED and its General Secretary. Chants: “SED-FDJ!”, “DDR-Our
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