Ministry of National Defense

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Germany Democratic Republic 1949GDR Ministry for National Defense of the GDR
- MfNV -p1
Motor vehicle stand MfNV
position Ministry
Consist January 18, 1956 to
October 2, 1990
Headquarters Strausberg

The Ministry for National Defense ( MfNV ) was a ministry in the Council of Ministers of the GDR .

The Ministry of National Defense was created by the "Law Establishing the National People's Army and Ministry of National Defense" of January 18, 1956. The paramilitary units previously known as the Barracked People's Police were now taken over directly into the army. By taking over these troops, an immediate strength of over 100,000 soldiers could be established. On March 1, 1956, all areas of the National People's Army (NVA) should be operational. This day was celebrated from 1957 as "Day of the National People's Army". In January 1962, in the East , the military introduced.

The seat of the ministry was in Strausberg North near Berlin in the Struzberg barracks (today von Hardenberg barracks) . The guard regiment Hugo Eberlein was responsible for guarding all service objects in Strausberg and outside .

From spring 1990 until its dissolution in the course of reunification, the ministry was called the Ministry of Disarmament and Defense with the abbreviation MfAuV .

The ministry also ran the state military publishing house .

Tasks and structure of the ministry

The Ministry was the central state organ of the GDR's Council of Ministers in the field of defense. However, its competencies were limited in practice, since the Politburo of the Central Committee of the SED reserved all important decisions. Its resolutions were implemented by the National Defense Council of the GDR and the Ministry. The ministry was responsible de jure for the management of the National People's Army as well as the planning, coordination, organization and implementation of national defense . It was responsible for both the military and civil areas. At the head of the ministry was the Minister of National Defense. Below this was a main staff for the narrow military area as well as various administrations and departments. The main political administration of the NVA, which was subordinate to the Central Committee of the SED or the Secretary General , was also located in the ministry.

The main staff included subdivisions such as the operational administrations (responsible for operational plans), reconnaissance (responsible for obtaining information about foreign armed forces), military substitutes as a higher-level authority for military district and military district commands. The ministry was also responsible for the branches of the armed forces. These were headed by a head of administration and were responsible for training and arming the respective branch of service. The use of the associations, on the other hand, was ordered by the chiefs of the military districts who report directly to the minister. The management of the Ministry used the main intelligence center of the Ministry of National Defense and an Operational Command Center as instruments of guidance .

In addition, the Ministry was responsible for the administration of the Military Prosecutor's Office, the Society for Sports and Technology and the Friedrich Engels Military Academy . The address of the Ministry of National Defense was (1960) Berlin-Niederschöneweide, Schnellerstraße 1/4.

Minister 1956–1990

No. image Surname Life dates Political party Beginning of the term of office Term expires
Minister for National Defense
1 Federal archive Image 183-R0430-0305A, Willi Stoph.jpg Willi Stoph 1914-1999 SED March 1, 1956 July 14, 1960
2 Federal archive Image 183-P0113-318, Heinz Hoffmann.jpg Heinz Hoffmann 1910-1985 SED July 14, 1960 2nd December 1985
3 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1988-0704-410, Heinz Keßler.jpg Heinz Keßler 1920-2017 SED 3rd December 1985 November 18, 1989
4th Admiral-T.Hoffmann.jpg Theodor Hoffmann 1935-2018 SED November 18, 1989 March 18, 1990
Minister for Disarmament and Defense
5 Rainer Eppelmann 2008.jpg Rainer Eppelmann * 1943 THERE April 12, 1990 October 2, 1990

Organization of the Ministry

The following governing bodies were subordinate to the Ministry of National Defense:

Land Forces Command

The Land Forces Command (KdoLaSK) was created on December 1, 1972 as a command body for the land forces . The seat was in Wildpark-West near Potsdam .

Air Force / Air Defense Command

The predecessors of the LSK / LV command of the NVA Air Force were the Air Force Administration and Air Defense Administration, created in 1956 . A year later, the previously independent administrations were combined to form the joint LSK / LV command based in Strausberg .

Heads of the LSK / LV command

People's Navy Command

The Volksmarine Command (KdoVM), based in Rostock- Gehlsdorf, emerged from the administration of the naval forces . It was created in the spring of 1957. After the award of the title "People's Navy" on November 3, 1960, the command was renamed Command People's Navy.

Chiefs of the Naval Forces / People's Navy Command
  • Rear Admiral Felix Scheffler March 1, 1956 to December 31, 1956; as commander of naval forces
  • Vice Admiral Waldemar Verner January 1, 1957 to July 31, 1959; as commander of naval forces
  • Rear Admiral Wilhelm Ehm August 1, 1959 to July 31, 1961 / February 25, 1963 to November 30, 1987
  • Rear Admiral Heinz Neukirchen August 1, 1961 to February 24, 1963; entrusted with the leadership
  • Vice Admiral Theodor Hoffmann December 1, 1987 to November 17, 1989
  • Vice Admiral Hendrik Born December 11, 1989 to October 2, 1990

Border troops command of the GDR

After the subordination of the German border police to the Ministry of National Defense on September 15, 1961, the units were designated as border troops of the GDR . The command of the border troops (KdoGT) was based in Pätz .

Heads of the GDR Border Troops Command

Central Administration of Civil Defense

Head of the Central Administration of Civil Defense
  • Colonel General Fritz Peter December 1, 1976 to April 30, 1990

The governing bodies in the ministry also included the main staff , the main political administration and the areas of rear services as well as technology and armament.

Main staff

Chiefs of the Chief Staff

Political Headquarters

Heads of the Main Political Administration

Technology and armament

Heads of technology and armament

Rear Services area

Heads of Rear Services

As a rule, the heads of the commandos and other management bodies were also deputies to the Minister for National Defense.

The MfNV has so-called secret agreements with almost all other ministries in the GDR. This agreement marked the prominent position of the NVA. The content of these agreements was the preferential treatment of the army in the distribution of food, driving on and using forests and open spaces in the GDR.

Subordinate associations, units, units and facilities


  • Christian Adam , Martin Erdmann (ed.): Restricted areas in the GDR. An atlas of locations of the Ministry of State Security (MfS), the Ministry of the Interior (MdI), the Ministry of National Defense (MfNV) and the Group of Soviet Armed Forces in Germany (GSSD) (= BF . 34). Developed by Horst Henkel and Wolfgang Scholz, Federal Commissioner for Stasi Records, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-942130-77-6 .
  • Klaus Naumann (Ed.): NVA - Claim and Reality. Mittler, Hamburg / Berlin / Bonn 1996, ISBN 3-8132-0506-1 .
  • Klaus Froh, Rüdiger Wenzke : The generals and admirals of the NVA. A biographical manual. 4th edition. Ch. Links, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-86153-209-3
  • GDR manual , vol. 2. 3rd edition. Federal Ministry for Internal German Relations , Cologne 1985, p. 908
  • Hans-Werner Deim, Hans-Georg Kampe, Joachim Kampe, Wolfgang Schubert: The military security of the GDR in the Cold War . Projekt + Verlag Dr Erwin Meißler, Hönow 2008, ISBN 978-3-932566-80-6

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The German military system - German Democratic Republic 1949 - 1990 ( Memento from January 16, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) , article on the homepage of the German Federal Archives
  2. ^ GDR manual , Vol. 2. 3rd edition. Federal Ministry for Internal German Relations , Cologne 1985, p. 908
  3. ^ Handbook for Customs Service (GDR) - Office for Customs and Control of Goods Movement; Verlag Die Wirtschaft Berlin (1960); Permit number 195/133/60

Coordinates: 52 ° 35 ′ 27 "  N , 13 ° 55 ′ 11"  E