Having grown up as the son of a crate maker in Leipzig, Walter Uhlmann joined the metal workers federation at the age of 16 and became a member of the Freie Sozialistische Jugend (Free Socialist Youth) after the November Revolution. In 1923 he became a member of the Kommunistische Jugendverband Deutschlands (Communist Youth Federation of Germany) and from the mid-1920s on he was district head, in Cologne initially and then in Leipzig from 1928 on. He was expelled from the German Communist Party and joined the German Communist Party/Opposition. As the editor of its newspaper Junge Kämpfer, he was hated by the National Socialists. Walter Uhlmann managed the production and photomechanical reproduction of the periodical Der Metallarbeiter, Organ des Aktions-Ausschusses Gruppe Metall, which had a weekly circulation of 600 copies in 1933 and 1934. Uhlmann was able to engage in underground resistance activities until 1937, when he was finally arrested and sentenced to eight years in a penitentiary. He served his sentence in the Brandenburg penitentiary until 1945. Uhlmann survived the end of the war.