- Leader of the Hamburg Uprising of 1923
- KPD Chairman from 1925 to 1933
- Murdered in 1944 after eleven years’ imprisonment
Ernst Thälmann joined the SPD in 1903. However, after the November Revolution, he turned to the USPD, only to leave it later on to join the KPD. He became famous during the “German October” of 1923 when leading the Hamburg Uprising, which was supposed to serve as a torch lighting a revolution in Germany. The attempt failed miserably. From 1925, he served as the KPD’s chairman and transformed it, step by step, into an organization dependent on Moscow. He stood for Reichspräsident in 1925 and his adversaries accused him of having made Hindenburg’s electoral win possible by participating in the second round. Ernst Thälmann fervently advocated the “social fascism” thesis, thereby deepening the division within the workers’ movement. He did not recognize the danger of the NSDAP until a late stage. In March 1933, he was arrested and in 1944 he was shot in the Buchenwald concentration camp per Hitler’s orders, after eleven years of imprisonment.