Ulbricht came from a social democratic family (both of fathers and mothers side). In 1908 he became a member of the Socialist Labour Youth (SAJ) and in 1912 of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). From 1913 to 1914 he visited the party school in Leipzig. During the first world war , he fought on the front. At the end of 1918 he became a member of the Workers and Soldiers Council (see Soviet) of the nineteenth Army Corps.
After the first world war he returned to Leipzig and he joined the Spartakusbund (from 1919: Communist Party of Germany). In 1919 he was leading in the KPD in Leipzig and in various other German areas. From 1924 to 1925, he visited the party school in Moscow and he was Assistant in the Executive Committee (EKKI) of the Communist International. From 1926 to 1933, he was a member of the Saxon Landtag and from 1928 to 1930 he was a member of the Reichstag for the KPD. In 1935 he went into exile and settled in Moscow.
After the German invasion of the Soviet Union Ulbricht was member of the National Committee for a free Germany (NKFD), a Soviet Union and created by the Communists-dominated anti-fascist organization. On 30 april 1945, he returned to Germany as leader of the Group of Ulbricht: a group of former officials of the NAP who returned from exile in the Soviet Union to the Red Army to assist in the reconstruction of the Board of Berlin and to the creation of political parties and organizations to prepare. "Es muss, aber wir müssen democratic aussehen haben in der Hand everything" was a ruling by Ulbricht in the implementation of that command, to which he meticulously kept. 
In 1950, Ulbricht was chosen as Secretary General of the SED. In fact, he was then the main man of East Germany. After suppressing the popular uprising of 1953 he was Supreme. In 1955 he became Vice-President of the Council of State (Deputy Head of State) and thus he managed to impose in the country's administration. In 1960 he became President of theCouncil of State and of the National Defense Council (NVR).
Under the reign of Ulbricht was on 13 August 1961 began construction of the Berlin wall. The most famous was his pronunciation that at a press conference two months before the construction of the wall: "nobody Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten that hat".
Ulbricht Moscow in the early 1970s a strictly followed to faithful line. When he went, he had to sail a more national rate on 3 May 1971 are post of Secretary-General of the SED filing. Until his death at the age of 80, he remained Chairman of the Council of State.
Walter Ulbricht was married twice: from 1920 with Martha Schmellinsky and from the end of June 1953 with Lotte Kühn. In 1946 he adopted an orphan (Beate, 1944 – 1991): a daughter of a Leipzig at a air raid killed on Ukrainian penal labour.
The nickname of Ulbricht was "Spitzbart" ("sik"), because of his beard. Ulbricht used indiscriminately in his speeches the interrogative stop word "Yes?". This, "now, now" (a Saxon assent phrase), its high voice and its Leipziger dialect were often imitated.