Otto Braun

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Braun, Otto


(pseudonyms, K. O. Wagner, Li Te, and Hua Fu). Born Sept. 28, 1900, in the village of Ismaning, near Munich. Figure in the German and international communist movement.

Originally from an office worker’s family, Braun joined the Spartacus League in 1918. He participated in the creation of the Bavarian Soviet Republic. During the 1920’s he worked in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany (CPG) and was secretary of the underground regional committee of the CPG in Thuringia. Braun was arrested three times. After escaping from the prison in Moabit in 1928, he went to the USSR. From 1932 to 1939 he was a military adviser to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. After the formation of the German Democratic Republic, he returned to his homeland. Braun is a member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.

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Sun herself, born in the 1960s, was raised to believe that myth--of brave volunteers and battles unerringly won, the Party's few military blunders the fault of its Comintern sanctioned advisor, a young German named Otto Braun. As she travels 16,000 kilometres in the footsteps of the marchers, however, Sun finds herself slowly dismantling the story she was taught and replacing it with another narrative--that of the marchers that Sun meets along the way: from press-ganged teenage recruits to ardent Party believers, still keeping the faith after all these years.
Such seemingly diverse figures as Alfred Kerr and Erich Muhsam, the SPD leader Otto Braun, the liberal newspaper-owner Theodor Wolff, and the diarist and professor of Romance literature Victor Klemperer were united by the veneration of authority, hierarchy, and the Obrigkeitsstaat that had been instilled in them, often by violent means, in their youth.
On the way to Yan'an, at a Politburo gathering at Zunyi (Guizhou province) in January 1935, Mao's criticism of the above CCP policies (the Li Lisan line) prevailed over the opinions of prominent Soviet-trained Chinese communists and the Comintern representative Otto Braun (Li Te).