Ernst Lehmann

Ernst Lehmann
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R1220-401, Erich Honecker (cropped).jpg
Lehmann's official potrait in 1964
Chairman of the Communist Party of Hytekojuznia
In office
17 March 1962 – 4 June 1964
Acting chairman from 15 March 1962
Preceded byTomass Andersons
Succeeded byIlgonis Krēsliņš
Personal details
Born(1895-06-12)June 12, 1895
Köpenick, Königsreh, Mascyllary Kingdom
DiedJune 4, 1964(1964-06-04) (aged 68)
Krasno, Hytekojuznia
Cause of deathHeart attack
CitizenshipMascylla (1895–1918)
Hytekojuznia (1917–1964)
Political partyCommunist Party of Hytekojuznia
Spouse(s)Emmeline Boll (m. 1929)
Children2
Military service
Allegiance Mascylla (1912–1916)
Red Partisans (1917)
Years of service1912–1916; 1917
Battles/warsContinental War:

Crimson Revolution:

Ernst Lehmann (12 June 1895 – 4 June 1964; aged 68) was a Mascyllary-born Hytekojuznik communist politician who briefly served as Chairman of the Communist Party of Hytekojuznia between 1962 and 1964. Lehmann was previously a high-ranking communist politician in the party, having been noted for his ability to speak fluent Hesurian, which made communication with neighbouring Mascylla easier. He assumed the position of Chairman upon the death of Tomass Andersens in 1962, setting out to increase cooperation with Königsreh in the midst of diplomatic warfare between the two countries, both having recently tested nuclear weaponry. Lehmann's attempts to establish good relations with Mascylla were successful, but were cut short by his death by heart attack in 1964.

Lehmann was born in Köpenick, a densely populated district of the Mascyllary capital Königsreh, in 1895. Drafted into the war aged 17, Lehmann saw extensive action throughout the war as a teenager, participating at the Battle of the Rohrn at 19. Discharged after the war's conclusion in 1916, Lehmann was dissatisfied with the post-war treatment of returning veterans of the war, with many not receiving proper treatment upon their return and many having lost their homes and possessions in their absence. As a result, Lehmann defected to the Red Partisans of Hytekojuznia, led by revolutionary Artjoms Viliks, in 1917. Participating in the late stages of the Crimson Revolution, Lehmann would become an influential Mascyllary member of the Partisans, being multilingual and able to communicate fluently to Mascylla. Lehmann would serve as a minor member of the party for most of his life, with multiple stints as Hytekojuznik envoy to Mascylla. In 1957 he was promoted to Secretary to Tomass Andersens, taking over from him upon his death on March 15, being sworn in officially two days later. Lehmann's tenure was marked by temporarily increased cooperation with Mascylla, with eventual peace and co-existence the aim of Lehmann in his Mascyllary relations plan. However, his death of a heart attack in 1964 and subsequent succession of Krēsliņš and later Aivars Muceniece saw his plans tarnished and rivalry restored.

Whilst Lehmann's tenure as Chairman was short-lived, he is remembered as the last Chairman who sought warm relations with Mascylla. His ethnicity and simultaneous high-ranking position within the ruling Communist Party was influential in the degradation of the decades-old Hytekojuznik–Mascyllary enmity throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Globally he is fairly well-received compared to other Hytekojuznik Chairmen, especially in Erdara. Lehmann was the only person born outside of Hytekojuznia to hold the position of Chairman.

Early life

Lehmann was born in the Mascyllary capital of Königsreh as the second of three children to father Martin Lehmann (1865–1940) and Elisa Lehmann (née Möhring; 1871–1959), on June 12, 1895. Born into a lower-middle class family in the city, Lehmann and his family, consisting of his father, his mother, and two siblings Karla (1893–1936) and Philip (1901–1979), suffered from large income equality present in the pre-war Mascyllary Kingdom. Born into a turbulent time of the kingdom, where Hytekojuznik influence over Erdara was at an all-time high after a series of successive Mascyllary defeats in the Saarow War, Elpsland War and Konreid Campaign, Lehmann was involved politically from an early age. Joining the Mascyllary Zentrum (Centre) party in 1909, aged only 14, Lehmann was a supporter of rapprochement between Mascylla and Hytekojuznia in the leadup to the Continental War (Gaia), which Lehmann recalls thinking "would be the end of a unified Mascyllary state". He was anti-war and took place, along with his family, in some of Mascylla's anti-war protests following the Edelweiss Crisis in Lilienburg.

Lehmann's membership of the Zentrum party was short-lived after they announced their support for the war in late 1910, arguing that the seizure of Lilienburg by Hytekojuznia severely limited the ability for the Hesurian people to self-determine their future. He cut short his membership in 1911, aged 16. By this time, Lehmann had dropped out of school, only attending high school in Köpenick for three years. Teaching himself from home by reading books on philosophy, Lehmann was particularly interested in the field of economics, and had read Edvin Brant's An Inquiry into the Moral Dilemma of Uneven Wealth Distribution, Lehmann's first exposure to early socialist literature. Despite his strong anti-war stance, Lehmann was forcefully conscripted into the war by the Mascyllary government under Ludwig I in 1912, aged 17, as Hytekojuznia advanced closer to the Mascyllary capital.

Lehmann with Hytekojuznik revolutionaries Teovils Blaus (left) and Visvaldis Steins (right) in 1917

Military career

Lehmann's involvement in the war saw him conscripted into the Mascyllary Third Army, under Crown Prince Joseph Ahnern, where he would stay for the entire duration of the war. He saw intermittent conflict as a backline infantryman but rarely reached the front lines. Lehmann's first front line combat experience was at the Battle of Lückwalde in December 1913, where Mascylla repulsed Hytekojuznia for the first time and began to enter the Elpsland region, previously conquered by Hytekojuznia in the 1860s. Lehmann was aware of conditions in the Hytekojuznik trenches, which were under-supplied for much of the war, and had heard stories of the experiences of Hytekojuznik soldiers in the trenches, which were in considerably poorer condition than their Mascyllary counterparts. The brutal winter conflict and the beginning of the Battle of the Rohrn began to form the basis of Lehmann's disdain for the monarchies of both Hytekojuznia and Mascylla for their lack of physical involvement in the conflict.

The invention of tanks by the Mascyllary forces and the beginning of trench bombardment by their armies only furthered Lehmann's dislike of the upper-class Mascyllary militaristic society, and sympathised with Hytekojuznik soldiers who were sent to fight in Mascylla. With Mascylla eventually emerging victorious at the Rohrn, and the Winter Offensive now beginning, coupled with Krumlavian advances in southern Hytekojuznia, Lehmann did not experience any prolonged fighting after the Rohrn, with the Third Army's role mainly reduced to conducting guerrilla warfare and capturing retreating Hytekojuznik armies in coordination with Friedrich Gabig's Fourth Army and Ruprecht von Belau's Eleventh Army, all of which participated at the Rohrn and were well-accustomed with each other. Lehmann also met Erich Möllen and Wilhelm Schellenberg, who were both members of Ahnern's Third Army, and would later go on to be pivotal leaders in the Mascyllary Revolution that curtailed the monarchy in 1923–24. Lehmann was officially discharged from the Mascyllary Army in 1916 after the surrender of Hytekojuznia.

Discontent completely with Mascyllary actions during the war, and now an open supporter of the socialist cause and sympathetic to Hytekojuznia's working-class, who were mistreated extensively by the country's large upper-class nobility during the war, Lehmann defected to Artjoms Viliks' Red Partisans in 1917, participating in the late stages of the Crimson Revolution, mostly in conflict in the north. Lehmann was pivotal in Hesurian communication with Hytekojuznia's monarchist forces, many of whom only spoke Hesurian. A veteran of the war like much of the Red Partisans, Lehmann was accepted into its ranks despite the post-war enmity between Hytekojuznia and Mascylla, who Lehmann believed was a result of conflict between its monarchies rather than its people, and was the main force behind the support of socialist underground groups in Mascylla in the late-1910s and supported the subsequent Mascyllary Revolution in 1923.

Political career

Minor member of the Communist Party (1920–1957)

Whilst Lehmann had joined the Red Partisans in 1917, and had defected to Hytekojuznia in the same year, he did not officially join the ruling Communist Party until 1920. He was made an early member of the party's Politburo in May 1920, and presided over Erdaran Affairs due to his Mascyllary heritage and his ability to speak fluent Hesurian - used to communicate with many of the other Erdaran states. While relations with neighbouring Krumlau and Mascylla were poor, Lehmann helped partially in bridging the gap between the Politburo and the Hesurian states. As Minister of Erdaran Affairs, Lehmann helped in encouraging then-Chairman Artjoms Viliks to put financial support towards the Mascyllary Revolution, which eventually relegated the role of the monarch to a figurehead and was seen a success in Hytekojuznia.

Lehmann also co-authored the Priede Plan with Politburo member Davis Priede in 1927, a series of underground networks, support delegations and logistical organisations intended to incite a revolution in Mascylla and turn it into a socialist republic, likely bringing it under the influence of Hytekojuznia. While Lehmann was a heavy contributor to the Priede Plan, he later took the side of the anti-interventionists of the Politburo in campaigning against direct involvement in Mascyllary affairs, for fear that Hytekojuznia would almost certainly lose a two-front war against the Dreibund. Lehmann also explicitly supported Viliks' and later Roms Talberg's series of five-year plans focused on increasing industrial production to out-produce Mascylla. Lehmann and the Communist Party were adament that the expansion and nationalisation of the country's industrial sector would provide more stable labour for the country's citizens, particularly in Krasno, where the 1931 unemployment rate stood at around 18%, which in turn would increase the standard of living within the country. In practise, the party failed to raise the standards of living in the country to a level comparable to that of the rest of Erdara, and suffered a popularity hit as a result, especially with large industrialisation now affecting residents of some of Hytekojuznia's largest cities.

By the 1940s, with the breakup of Cornicae, Lehmann favoured an ambitious plan to bring Hytekojuznia into great power status again. In favour of the development of nuclear weaponry, Hytekojuznia successfully tested its first nuclear bomb in 1948, prompting outrage from the Dreibund and was the first of many war scares that would occur in Erdara throughout the Great Game. Mascylla would later test its first nuclear weapon in the Dytika test in 1950, with Hytekojuznia eventually admitted to the Assembly of Nations Security Council in the 1950s.

Lehmann was also a significant early advocate for the development of spacecraft, and gave several influential speeches to the Hytekojuznik public and the party's Politburo on the ideological benefits of successfully sending a machine - and later a human - into space. Lehmann's advocacy secured the backing of the Politburo and Hytekojuznia's space development programs began in 1952, but was largely unsuccessful in its early years due to the reluctance of Chairman Osmars Voicis to delegate the program the funding it required throughout his tenure. When Voicis resigned from the position in 1957 due to concerns about his health, he was succeeded by Tomass Andersens, who promoted Lehmann to his Secretary in 1957, the first major position Lehmann had held in his political career.

Secretary of the Chairman (1957–1962)

Lehmann in Grobina with other members of the Politburo in 1958

As Secretary of the Chairman, Lehmann was eager to convince Andersens of his pro-Mascylla foreign policy, which had developed over the years as Mascylla emerged as a nuclear power and the idea of mutually-assured destruction took hold in both the Politburo of the Communist Party as well as the Mascyllary military and government. Lehmann contributed to Andersens' only five-year plan for the country's economy that lasted his entire tenure from 1957 to 1962, and oversaw cutbacks of industrial growth that had been seen under Viliks, Talbergs and Voicis, and was initially criticised by a significant faction within the Politburo who argued that it would reduce Hytekojuznia's wartime industrial capabilities, as well as limit the labour available to the general populace. Due to his Mascyllary heritage and Andersens' old age, Lehmann often conducted many foreign visits and represented Hytekojuznia at important events in Andersens' stead, allowing him to become well-recognised by world leaders and the international community before he took the position of Chairman. Lehmann's visits to Mascylla lay the framework for the brief period of warm relations and rapprochement policies enjoyed during the early 1960s, as well the proposed policies of the 1964 Langquaid Summit.

Continuing his advocacy of space exploration, Lehmann consolidated the independent aspects of space equipment manufacturing into the People's State of Hytekojuznia Cosmic Agency, later abbrieviated to HKOT, as Hytekojuznia's primary space agency in 1959, and was the first of its kind globally. Lehmann and Andersens invested healthily in HKOT, transforming Hytekojuznia into the world's leading state in space and cosmic research. In 1960 the agency launched the satellite probe Viliks-1 into orbit, marking the first man-made object to enter orbit in human history. The launch's success was monumental and Lehmann gained extremely favourable publicity among the Hytekojuznik public for his long-standing advocacy for the program and the benefits that came with it. The publicity increased further, especially in Juznia, when Juznik cosmonaut Aurelijus Navickas became the first human to enter orbit in the Zobens spacecraft, broadcast live on television to millions of onlookers in Hytekojuznia, in the same year.

Lehmann announcing the death of Tomass Andersens to party members in 1962

Lehmann eventually became the interim ruler of the country in 1961 when Andersens was struck with heart problems and general poor health due to his age. His interim leadership consisted mainly of continuing the policies and five-year plan they both had laid out earlier, as well as preparing for the transition of rule in the event of Andersens' likely death. On November 6, 1961, Andersens named Lehmann as his successor in the event of his death, tradition in the death of a Hytekojuznik Chairman. Lehmann assumed the acting role of Chairman on March 15, 1962, when Andersens died, however was not officially in the position until March 17.

Chairman of the Communist Party (1962–1964)

Lehmann with Mascyllary Prime Minister Wolfgang Behrest in May 1962

Lehmann rose to the position of Chairman of the Communist Party of Hytekojuznia when Andersens died on March 15, but was not officially sworn into the post until March 17. He had secured the role by verge of being Andersen's secretary at his death, which is constitutional procedure at the event of a Chairman's death. Lehmann's platform of Mascyllary rapprochement was laid out quickly by Lehmann himself and his administration, and he looked to signal quick change in Hytekojuznia, which had been falling behind Mascylla and the rising Erdaran states such as Krumlau and to an extent Lilienburg. The 1960s saw the first sprouts of mainstream Juznik independence talks after years of Mascyllary rivalry disconnected the border communities that had shifted around so much in the various wars of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Lehmann's ethnic background saw cooperation with Mascylla established quickly as he embarked on the first Hytekojuznik state visit to Mascylla since the 1930s, delivering his famous "Leute sind Leute" at the Rotbergfried in Königsreh on May 14, 1962. The speech greatly bolstered his popularity in Mascylla and the Erdaran Union, but began to divide the population of Hytekojuznia, particularly through its age demographic.

He was also quickly remarked for his comparatively moderate politics compared to his predecessors. Lehmann supported the idea of further economic integration in Erdara, as evidence by the later Langquaid Summit in 1964, and was an advocate for more free trade between Hytekojuznia and the rest of Erdara, a controversial opinion in Hytekojuznia at the time. However he is also noted for his consistent scathing critique of capitalism. While delivering an address to the nation in September 1962, he remarked "Capitalism is the disdain of mankind. It is a stain on peace and de-escalation. Capitalism requires such an ardent disregard of human brotherhood, the introduction of such a needless competitiveness, and an abject certainty that men close to one are merely a tool to be used, exploited, capitalised upon for one's personal benefit. I cannot stress the impasse between my administration and the idea of capitalism." This quote, one of his most famous, was used by Lehmann and the party to encourage national unity and was widely used as propaganda, although the excerpt gained a popularity in other nations, particularly among aspiring socialist parties. Lehmann was a supporter of the HKOT programs and approved increased funding to the program during its supposed rivalry between the Mascyllary MAOA during the Gaian space race. He visited Königsreh for the second time in October 1962, when the first hopes of rapprochement between Hytekojuznia and Mascylla began to circulate in the two nations. On October 30, Lehmann gave the order to allow Hytekojuzniks and Mascyllaries to travel between the border provided they have a "compelling reason" to do so. In most cases travel to and from the border was to reunite with family that had been separated by the long-standing split between the two countries, but application for residency was still prohibited and Lehmann was aware that idea would almost certainly be shot down by Hytekojuznia's Politburo. Lehmann attracted criticism from more hardline socialists, who argued Mascylla was housing Hytekojuznik refugees without notifying the state. Lehmann dismissed these criticisms as "ill-founded lies" and commended Mascylla's efforts to cooperate with Hytekojuznia in allowing families to temporarily re-unite.

The first instances of successful cross-border cooperation massively increased Lehmann's popularity with the Hytekojuznik populace but saw him lose favour of some of the older sections of the Politburo in 1963. Lehmann began to be explicitly critical of the hardliner sections of the Politburo and greater Communist Party, arguing that their stances "prevented Hytekojuznia from embracing a reasonable future". His tenure in 1963 saw increased cooperation with Mascylla, and the two enjoyed a period of relatively warm relations for the first time in recent history. Lehmann congratulated Mascyllary astronaut Lukas Brennzer, who became the second man to enter space after Aurelijus Navickas completed his trip into space in 1960. Most of 1963 was spent by Lehmann negotiating in Mascylla for the plans of integration between the two states he later laid out in the Langquaid Summit, which were unprecedented in their extent, especially considering the countries' major rivalries. He also met Mascyllary King Maximilian I in September 1963 at Hochkronstein Palace in the Mascyllary capital, further signalling the success Lehmann was having in de-escalation between the two powers.

Lehmann (centre) surrounded by Mascyllary diplomats during the Langquaid Summit in 1964

Langquaid Summit

The Langquaid Summit was a scheduled summit between Hytekojuznia and Mascylla that took place between January 3 and January 10, 1984. In the summit Lehmann laid out his plans for economic integration between Hytekojuznia and the Erdaran Union, founded two months after the summit but having been drafted for years prior. At the summit Lehmann emphasised the importance that both Mascylla and Hytekojuznia were not isolated from each other's economies, and proposed free trade agreements that linked Hytekojuznia's cheaper industrial sector, particularly its manufacture of day-to-day equipment, such as cars, with Mascylla's emerging technological sector, which Hytekojuznia had been falling behind on. Lehmann admitted the Mascyllary economy was modernised to an extent "far exceeding" that of Hytekojuznia, and added that their cooperation could bring massive economic benefits for both states. Among other topics discussed at the summit were the Hytekojuznik–Mascyllary border and its future, travel between the two countries and exclusive economic zones. Whilst Lehmann regarded the summit as a success, and broadcast to Hytekojuznia as though it had been, the summit achieved very little in further integrating the two steps, with skepticism from the Mascyllary government Lehmann's main obstacle to forming a cohesive joint economy between the two states.

The summit had achieved Lehmann global popularity, however, for his willingness to disregard the two countries' rivalries and attempt to re-conciliate with Mascylla after decades of animosity between the two. Behrest's reluctance to cooperate with Hytekojuznia saw subtle shifts in Erdaran politics over which country was the main obstacle to peace on the continent. Despite positive response from a lot of the world, the summit proved to be disastrous for Lehmann's popularity in Hytekojuznia, now being openly shunned by the party's Politburo and having defections in his administration. The general public often regarded his statements regarding the state of Hytekojuznia at the Langquaid Summit as borderline insulting and his popularity plummeted to an approval rate of an estimated 10% in April 1984. The fallout from the summit coupled with an increase in health problems for Lehmann marked the final months of his tenure, as he became increasingly unable to lead by himself and delegated tasks to his surrounding staff and administration, before eventually dying of a heart attack at his residence in Krasno on June 4, 1984.

Death

Lehmann's premature death came as no surprise to the Hytekojuznik populace, who had been informed of his declining health for weeks prior. However, it still signaled a change in Erdaran geopolitics and particularly Hytekojuznik–Mascyllary relations, which had increased mainly due to the personal opinion of Lehmann rather than the ruling party. His funeral service was held at the Vilikskaps in Pekrasta, the usual resting place of former Chairmen. Lehmann's funeral was attended by a number of international guests, including:

The funeral service lasted around an hour, before guests delivered speeches and eulogies in Lehmann's honour. His funeral was by far the most-attended funeral for a Hytekojuznik Chairman. His designated secretary, Ilgonis Krēsliņš, succeeded Lehmann upon his death, but would only administer the country for a year before he too died and was succeeded by hardliner Aivars Muceniece, who disavowed Lehmann and criticised his ideology.

Legacy

Mural of Lehmann in Krasno, depicting him in a fraternal kiss with SDP leader Ronald Würther, one of many anti-Lehmann propaganda pieces created by Aivars Muceniece

Lehmann's legacy around the world was generally viewed as positive for his transparency and willingness to cooperate with the outside world, especially Mascylla, after decades of Hytekojuznik diplomatic isolation. He is commended for his efforts in repairing relations between Hytekojuznia and the Dreibund and achieved favourable opinions of many influential figures in these countries, most notably King Maximilian I, who shared a long-standing friendship with Lehmann and attended his state funeral at the Vilikskaps on March 26, along with Mascyllary Prime Minister Wolfgang Behrest, the first Mascyllary state visits in any official capacity to Hytekojuznia in around forty years. However, his legacy in Hytekojuznia is generally viewed in a less positive light. Particularly amongst the older, more hardline socialist community in Hytekojuznia, which included many members of the 1960s Politburo, Lehmann was viewed as a weak leader who lacked a spine when it came to dealing with Mascylla, and his favourable policies towards the nation were criticised and reversed after his death. The Langquaid Summit was portrayed as a national embarrassment by subsequent Chairmen, especially due to its failure to achieve anything of note, despite Lehmann's criticisms of the Hytekojuznik economy and state.

Later into the 1960s, throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, Chairman Aivars Muceniece led a brutal propaganda campaign that sought to completely tarnish Lehmann's legacy. Muceniece was a scathing critic of Lehmann, and was staunchly against his policies of cooperation with Mascylla, which he swiftly reversed in the late 1960s, leading into the height of the Great Game between the two states in the 1970s. Muceniece utilised government budget to fund the propaganda campaign, which saw posters, leaflets, books, television shows, and in one famous case, a mural painted by a hired painter in Krasno which depicted Lehmann in a fraternal kiss with Ronald Würther, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Mascylla throughout the 1960s. The mural sought to convey the idea that Lehmann was a pro-Mascylla centre-left politician rather than an ardent socialist based upon Viliks' vision for the state. The campaign was extremely successful and greatly lowered public opinion in Lehmann. Despite being popular elsewhere, he remains one of the least popular Chairmen within Hytekia to this day.