National Peoples Army

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German Democratic RepublicGerman Democratic Republic (land of war flag) National Peoples Army
National People's Army coat of arms
Commander in Chief
de jure :
in peacetime: Minister for National Defense ,
in case of defense: National Defense Council
Commander in chief de facto : National Defense Council
Defense Minister: Willi Stoph (1956–1960)
Heinz Hoffmann (1960–1985)
Heinz Keßler (1985–1989)
Theodor Hoffmann (1989–1990)
Rainer Eppelmann (1990)
Headquarters: Strausberg near Berlin
Military strength
Active soldiers: Last 155,319
Conscription: 18 months, later 12 months
Eligibility for military service: 18 to 60
Share of soldiers in the total population: Last 0.95%
Founding: March 1, 1956
Factual foundation: July 10, 1952
Resolution: October 2, 1990

The National People's Army ( NVA ) was the armed force of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1956 to 1990 .



The founding of the NVA in 1956 was the result of a development that began on July 10, 1952 with the proclamation of the "National Armed Forces" by the People's Chamber of the GDR. In the course of this, the Barracked People's Police (KVP) and the basic structures of a military organization were established. The construction took place from 1955 under the guidance of the Soviet Union . The NVA was founded by law on January 18, 1956 (after the Bundeswehr ). The establishment took place in several stages, whereby the staffs and administrations should be operational by March 1, 1956. Until shortly after the Wall was built in 1961, the NVA was, in marked contrast to the Bundeswehr, a volunteer army . In ideological terms, the leadership of the new army did not see itself in the tradition of Prussian-German militarism, despite the takeover of some external structural elements from the Wehrmacht .

Honor guard of the NVA
1975 East Berlin
Neue Wache

As with the Bundeswehr, former members of the Wehrmacht were used. Most of them came from a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp , where they had received ideological training and were selected from anti-fascist front schools. The best-known former Wehrmacht general who also served in the NVA was Vincenz Müller , who committed suicide after his release in 1961.

As of January 1, 1958, the NVA's 20,399 men comprised around 2,600 former crew and around 1,600 non-commissioned officers and 400 officers - a total of around 23 percent - former members of the Wehrmacht. The former officers were mainly used in the ministry, schools and command posts in the armed forces and military districts. Of the 82 higher command posts in the army, 61 were occupied by former members of the Wehrmacht. However, by resolution of the Politburo of the SED on February 15, 1957, almost all former Wehrmacht officers were gradually released from the NVA and retired by the end of the 1950s. This also included the four Wehrmacht generals von Lenski , Müller , Walther and Wulz , who were still taken over by the NVA . Nevertheless, on January 1, 1960, of a total of 653 NVA officers in the nomenclature cadre, 338 members of the armed forces had previously belonged to the Wehrmacht, now almost exclusively as a team or non-commissioned officer.

Positioning and Development

After its founding, the NVA was - in contrast to the other armies of the Warsaw Pact - a volunteer army, which was emphasized as a priority in the propaganda discussion with the Bundeswehr . The rearmament discussion had left its mark on the GDR; the popular uprising of June 17, 1953 had considerably unsettled the leadership of the GDR. A clear distrust of the Eastern European allies towards the East Germans persisted for a long time. The introduction of conscription in 1962 after the construction of the Berlin Wall , prepared by the FDJ's combat mission and the 1961 Defense Act, was seen by many as a defeat. With the introduction of compulsory military service, the NVA was able to achieve the target number of approximately 170,000 soldiers.

Delegation of the NVA to the 8th party congress of the SED in 1971
Generals Stechbarth (left) and Keßler (right) in their GAZ-13 Tschaika parade vehicles in 1988 at the NVA parade on the 39th anniversary of the GDR

The NVA initially served to secure the SED's internal power and was itself subject to considerable control by the SED. The party had secured its leading role in the NVA through the establishment of the Political Headquarters (PHV) in the army and through a special structure of party organizations. The officers and ensigns (since 1973) and professional non-commissioned officers were, with a few exceptions, members of the SED. The aim was to have a high proportion of SED members among the NCOs. According to Giese, this resulted in a considerable potential for conflict between political claim and military professionalism. The political influence initially had a very negative effect on the military decision-making processes. The Ministry for State Security was also present in the NVA: in 1987 there were around 12,700 unofficial employees within the NVA, which means that there was one " spy " for every 16-17 soldiers, border guards or civilian employees .

The 1970s and 1980s were characterized by a process of professionalization and a stronger independent foreign policy role for the NVA. In the ongoing conflict between the GDR and the Federal Republic for recognition abroad, the armed forces were also deployed. In Africa and the Middle East in particular, the NVA was active in supporting and accompanying various armaments and (military) infrastructure projects for friendly governments and liberation movements and maintained a high foreign presence that was only surpassed by the Soviet Union and Cuba. In the early 1980s, the military microelectronics sector was expanded, particularly in the south of the GDR. After Gorbachev's election as general secretary of the CPSU in the mid-1980s, however, the Soviet Union failed as the main buyer of high-quality arms exports, which caused considerable economic difficulties.

Military experience and presence abroad

Honor guard of the guard regiment Friedrich Engels of the NVA at the memorial for the victims of fascism and militarism ( Neue Wache ) in Berlin during a drill step, 1990
Visit of the Deputy Minister for National Defense Siegfried Weiß to the troops who were involved in the actions of the crackdown on the Prague Spring.
Erich Honecker visiting the troops, 1972
Socialist brotherly kiss between officers of the NVA and the Red Army

In 1968 parts of the NVA were intended for military operations to suppress the Prague Spring , but the NVA was not involved in the invasion of Czechoslovakia for political reasons. The 7th Panzer Division and the 11th Motorized Rifle Division were originally planned to participate in the intervention. Because of the expected foreign policy effects - it would have been the first foreign and possibly combat deployment of German troop units after the Second World War - these large units were not used. They provided logistical assistance during the invasion and were available near the border to support the Soviet Army when the situation B. escalated by a general popular uprising in the neighboring country. Liaison officers, NVA news soldiers and also MfS officers were directly in the ČSSR in covert or corresponding deployment.

The NVA found itself in a state of increased combat readiness several times over a longer period of time . After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, in which she helped logistically and absichernd, 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis , and in 1968 in the suppression of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia by troops of four Warsaw Pact countries, and recently in the time of turning in autumn 1989 .

In the run-up to the imposition of martial law in Poland , smaller NVA units were prepared in 1981 to intervene against the Polish trade union movement Solidarność together with Soviet and Czechoslovak troops . At the end of 1980 increased combat readiness for the NVA was declared. However, the planned military operation was not carried out.

The NVA's performance in major Warsaw Pact maneuvers was considered good. The NVA was one of the most powerful armies of the Warsaw Pact because of its high standard of training and good discipline. Standing directly at the Iron Curtain , all active associations were fully present. However, the NVA was not always able to obtain the most modern technology from the Soviet Union, as the available financial possibilities were often exhausted, there were delivery bottlenecks or no exports were planned for reasons of confidentiality. In addition, the Soviet military leadership and the armaments industry refused to make state-of-the-art technology immediately available to allies. The National People's Army was also not permanently at the cutting edge of technology and occasionally waited for years for various technical innovations that were already considered out of date by the “Soviet brothers in arms” .

Despite its initially minor importance, the National People's Army grew into one of the most important allies of the Soviet armed forces until the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. This contributed to the GDR gradually gaining the respect of the Soviet leadership and being able to take on a more independent foreign policy role.

Unlike most Western armies and similar armies of other socialist countries, the NVA had itself extensively on the production process of the economy involved, what the typical deficiencies of CMEA was -Ökonomie. Numerous soldiers were temporarily employed as harvest workers, in lignite mining and for construction tasks. This was sometimes viewed critically by the military themselves because it resulted in failures in military training.

Presence in the third world

Since the mid-1960s, the NVA was also present in Africa and the Middle East , where they provided military advisors and experts for a number of governments and revolutionary movements. In the foreign presence of the socialist states, it was only surpassed by Cuba and the Soviet Union.

At the end of the 1970s, also in connection with the deaths of high-ranking ZK members Werner Lamberz and Paul Markowski on a trip to Libya, GDR military aid and economic projects in developing countries became known and discussed in the Western public. Massive combat operations were not intended on the part of the GDR, but in 1980 Der Spiegel suggested this in its cover story "Honecker's Africa Corps".

According to Joachim Nawrocki, until 1980 in Angola and Mozambique , Algeria , Libya , Iraq , Syria , South Yemen , Ethiopia , Guinea-Bissau , Benin , Nigeria , in the then People's Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Tanzania and Zambia between 100 (Nigeria) and about 2000 (Angola) officers and soldiers of the National People's Army and the Stasi were stationed. Gordon A. Craig cites reports (1978) about the stationing of over 1200 NVA soldiers in the artillery, communications and logistics sector in Algeria and 450 soldiers in Libya. Winrow lists between 1,550 and 1,700 (1978) and just over 1,925 (1988) GDR military advisers stationed in Africa.

Contemporary assessments of over 30,000 NVA soldiers abroad did not correspond to reality. To this day, however, traces of earlier military engagements by the GDR in the so-called Third World can be found around the world. The NVA concentrated on advisory and training missions and in that sense was not an army in combat.

The missions concerned in particular the training and support of friendly governments and resistance movements parallel to arms exports, the development of military logistics and infrastructure and the accompaniment and safeguarding of economic projects, for example in the field of raw materials development, as in Mozambique. Due to the risk of flight, civilian operations for construction projects and infrastructure were often dependent on paramilitaries from other armed bodies , such as the Feliks Dzierzynski guard regiment , who were seen as reliable and did not appear in uniform.

The GDR did not respond to several requests for the provision of combat troops and pilots of the air force. The Ministry for National Defense of the GDR signed contracts for the training of military personnel much more readily. Several thousand soldiers and security forces from, among others, Afghanistan , Ethiopia, the Yemeni People's Republic , Cambodia , People's Republic of the Congo, Cuba , Laos , Libya, Mozambique, Nicaragua , North Korea , the PLO , Tanzania, Guinea, Syria, Vietnam trained. The officer training of corresponding cadres took place from 1981 to 1990 in the officers college for foreign military cadres "Otto Winzer" in Prora on Rügen .

Dissolution of the NVA and integration into the Bundeswehr from 1990

In January 1990, soldiers demonstrated in the Albert Zimmermann barracks in Cottbus for a shortening of military service and military reform

During the crisis-ridden 80s, NVA soldiers were more and more often used as closed labor in the economy. In May 1987, the NVA adopted the new defensive military doctrine of the Warsaw Pact. The GDR leadership planned to reduce the armed forces by around 6% in 1989. During the political turning point of 1989 , hundreds of NVA soldiers were deployed in around forty cases for use in locking chains and in property protection. A violent use of NVA soldiers against demonstrators did not take place.

On January 20, 1990, the Association of Professional Soldiers of the National People's Army was founded, an independent advocacy group for NVA soldiers. On April 18, 1990, Rainer Eppelmann became Minister for Disarmament and Defense of the GDR and on April 27, Eppelmann met with Federal Defense Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg in Cologne. Both agreed that a united Germany should be a member of NATO . On May 2, 1990, the commanders' meeting of the NVA took place. Minister Eppelmann stated that, in his opinion, the NVA will continue to exist as long as two military alliances exist in Europe. The end of the NVA was sealed when Federal Defense Minister Stoltenberg published the formula “One State - One Army!”. On July 20, 1990, the professional soldiers of the NVA took a new oath . On August 23, 1990, the People's Chamber decided to join the Federal Republic of Germany under Article 23 of the Basic Law on October 3. On August 23, 1990, the Ministry of Disarmament and Defense issued an order to demunition combat vehicles, ships and aircraft by September 28.

With the signing of the Unification Treaty on August 31, 1990, military training and further education for members of the NVA at Soviet, Polish, Czechoslovak and other educational institutions also came to an end. On September 9, 1990, 280 NVA officers began preliminary training at the Air Force Officers' School (OSLw) in Fürstenfeldbruck in order to be prepared for their duties as Bundeswehr officers. On September 12, the Two-Plus-Four Treaty was signed in Moscow. The State Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic as well as France, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States paved the way for the reunification of Germany and entered into an official ceremony on March 15, 1991, the day the last instrument of ratification was deposited in force. The provisions of the treaty include the renunciation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the reduction and limitation of the troop strength of the German armed forces to 370,000 soldiers, the withdrawal of the Soviet Western Group of Troops (WGT) by 1994 and the ban on the stationing of nuclear and foreign weapons Troops on East German territory. On September 24, 1990, the GDR signed a protocol to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact . German reunification took place on October 3, 1990 , at which time the Bundeswehr, including the NVA, comprised almost 600,000 men. Federal Defense Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg took over command of the troops of the disbanded NVA. The Bundeswehrkommando Ost (BwKdo Ost) based in Strausberg took over the military command on October 4th under the command of Lieutenant General Jörg Schönbohm . On October 19, 1990, the first public solemn pledge was made by recruits in the area of ​​the Bundeswehr Command East on the market square in Bad Salzungen .

With the demobilization of the NVA, the locations, facilities and equipment were handed over to the Bundeswehr , which carried out the processing. Most of the existing stores were closed and the equipment either initially continue to be used, scrapped, sold or small parts to other countries given away, such as by the Bundeswehr armored personnel carriers to Turkey , pioneering vehicles to Sweden , air defense systems to Greece or ship units to Indonesia . A selection of all weapon systems was transferred to the USA for testing and as an internal maneuver opponent. Part of the corps of non-commissioned officers and the majority of the officer corps were dismissed. 3,200 of the most recently 36,000 people counting officer - squad were taken, with about 11,000 officers submitted a request for transfer. The former NVA members were taken on with one or two ranks lower in the Bundeswehr, as the promotions in the NVA took place earlier than in the Bundeswehr and therefore the transfer rank was calculated as if the former NVA member had been in served in the Bundeswehr. On October 2, 1992, former members of the NVA were appointed professional soldiers in the Bundeswehr for the first time. Today around 20% of the soldiers in the Bundeswehr come from the eastern German states. The only unit taken over is today's technology base Camouflage and Deceiving in Storkow .

In general, until March 1, 2005, the period of service in the NVA was considered “served in foreign armed forces”. Today the term is "served outside of the Bundeswehr". According to the unification agreement , former members of the NVA - in contrast to former members of the Wehrmacht - are not allowed to add their last rank in the Federal Republic with the addition “a. D. “(out of service). The use of the addition for former NVA members failed in spring 2005 in the Defense Committee of the Bundestag due to the votes of the representatives of the SPD and the Greens against the votes of the CDU and FDP . The abbreviation is sometimes used for former members of the NVA, such as the Deutsches Museum in Munich, which uses the abbreviation in its depiction of German space travel for the East German research cosmonaut Sigmund Jähn .

The NVA did not participate in the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations .

Realization of the military properties of the NVA

In 1993 the Treuhand Liegenschaftsgesellschaft took over the exploitation and sale of the properties of the former NVA that had been taken over by the federal government.


The NVA had to guarantee the safeguarding of the territorial integrity and the fulfillment of all military alliance obligations through the Warsaw Treaty. The officers in the officer corps were usually members of the SED. Furthermore, as an armed organ , it was responsible for protecting the socialist form of government and the leadership role of the SED against internal enemies at all times, according to GDR terminology. The combat mission of the NVA was:

“To secure the necessary external conditions for the construction of socialism and communism in unshakable cooperation with the Soviet Army and the other socialist brother armies, to reliably protect the state border, the territory, the airspace and the coastal area of ​​the GDR as well as the allied socialist states, the combat strength and combat readiness to constantly improve qualitatively and to counter any imperialist aggression with determination. "

According to their self-image, the NVA in the GDR was the power instrument of the working class to protect the socialist form of government from attacks from outside and inside. Accordingly, it served the defense of the GDR and the other socialist states allied with it in the Warsaw Treaty . It also had the political mandate to protect the socialist achievements and the supremacy of the SED in the event of an internal attack.

However, basic anti-militarist attitudes were also widespread in the GDR. The introduction of a socialist military education in the school plans around 1968 as well as an additional introduction of a regular subject military instruction in 1978 were intended to counteract this attitude. The Evangelical Church of the GDR protested against the associated "education to hate".

According to a study presented in the NZZ on September 13, 2008 , the Warsaw Pact had provided for the widespread and preemptive use of tactical nuclear weapons in West Germany in the event of war since the 1960s. In addition to the radiation and devastation of large areas of West Germany, the radiation and consequent incapacity of the first wave of its own conventional troops, including the NVA, would have been accepted. Under Gorbachev, these war plans were changed in 1986. In the GDR, however, the use of 76 nuclear weapons, some of which were large-caliber, had been played out in the NVA exercise "Staff Training 1989", which would have devastated areas of Schleswig-Holstein near the border.

During the fall of 1989, a bloody “Chinese solution” was feared, as had recently been the case with the massacre on Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. The already ordered dissolution of the Monday demonstration in Leipzig on October 9, 1989 did not take place and the already mobilized NVA units withdrew for reasons that have not yet been fully clarified.


Structure of the NVA around 1985
Army flag of the NVA
Flag tip troop flag - National People's Army

The NVA was subordinate to the Ministry of National Defense , based in Strausberg . The SED's claim to leadership was guaranteed by its National Security Commission , the National Defense Council and the security department of the SED's Central Committee .

Political education, so-called social science further education, comprised about two days a month for officers. The officers were usually party members and were subject to constant surveillance by the Ministry of State Security . The Erich Weinert Ensemble served as the “cultural flagship” of the NVA .

The NVA was divided into:

The NVA was closely connected to the troops of the Group of the Soviet Armed Forces in Germany (GSSD) - renamed "Western Group of Troops" (WGT) since June 1989. The commander of the Soviet troops, with headquarters in Wünsdorf , exercised operational control over the armed forces of the GDR. In the 1980s, around 365,000 men, 6,000 battle tanks, 9,500 armored personnel carriers, 650 combat aircraft and 700 helicopters were subordinate to it.

The structures and equipment, vehicles and combat technology were almost entirely of Soviet origin.

Land Forces

National emblem of the land forces

The land forces of the NVA were divided into:

Chiefs of the Land Forces

(Note: The command of the land forces was established on December 1, 1972)

  • Colonel General Horst Stechbarth December 1, 1972 to December 31, 1989
  • Lieutenant General Horst Skerra January 1, 1990 to September 14, 1990
  • Major General Hans-Christian Reiche September 15, 1990 to October 2, 1990; entrusted with the leadership

Pioneering construction

An order of the National Defense Council of the GDR dated September 7, 1964 (Journal of the GDR Part I No. 11 of September 16, 1964 [issue date], p. 129) formed the basis for the establishment of the NVA's construction pioneer units . Originally, the units should mainly to accommodate construction soldiers serve and provide a way to escape the armed service for reasons of conscience, although there is no in the GDR conscientious objection was. In the last few years of the GDR in particular, many members of these units worked in large companies that suffered from a labor shortage, for example in the chemical industry or in lignite opencast mining.

The land forces initially received four construction pioneer battalions, the air force and the navy one each. They offered space for 256 unarmed conscripts. The other members were regular soldiers of the engineer force. However, the teams of the companies each consisted either entirely of unarmed construction pioneers or of conventional armed pioneers. Until 1973 these units were also used to build military installations. Later, at least those who refused to do arms were given comparatively “civil” tasks in military facilities as gardeners , nurses in military hospitals or kitchen helpers.

Shortly after the building units were founded, the need for this type of workforce grew rapidly. In 1966 four more battalions were set up. In these units, however, no weapons conscientious objectors served. Rather, they worked partly in secrecy on the construction of rocket positions for the Soviet army and on the heavily bunkered headquarters of the People's Navy near Rostock.

On December 1, 1975, five new construction battalions were formed, including the Pionierbaubataillon 22, which was active on almost all major construction sites in East Berlin in the following years. Two battalions were permanently assigned to the chemical combines Leuna, Buna and Bitterfeld. In 1978 Waldemar Seifert became the new head of construction pioneering in the NVA. Under him, all construction units were increasingly entrusted with the construction of military installations, the work for the manufacturing industry declined significantly. In addition, the units were assigned to reservists and practiced building barriers and bridges in the event of war.

In 1982 there was a renewed surge of unit foundations. In this and the following year, road construction units and troops were created, the members of which were mainly used in material stores and in auxiliary services for the armed NVA units, as well as a ferry port construction unit with a nominal 480 members in Prora on Rügen. Some units worked on the maintenance of the track network of the Deutsche Reichsbahn .

In the mid-1980s, the range of tasks of the NVA building units changed again. From this point on, residential and commercial construction, partly as a contractor for state-owned companies, became the focus. At the same time, the construction forces continued to build military material stores, command facilities and rocket ramps. From this time on, construction regiments instead of battalions were increasingly set up. In 1988, among other things, a regiment was established that specialized in cable laying and plant construction for the Ministry of Post.

There were also a few military units in the GDR's Ministry of Construction.

Shortly before the end of the GDR there were eight construction regiments and ten heavy battalions. With the increasing economic crisis from 1988 all soldiers in the third half of the year had to work for the civilian economy. In 1989 around 10,000 soldiers were deployed in this way.

Air Force

National emblem of the NVA aircraft

When the NVA was founded, two commandos were formed. Major General Zorn became chief of the LSK and chief of the LV Colonel Bauer. On May 31, 1957, the joint command LSK / LV was formed from the previously independent commands for air forces and air defense .

The air force / air defense were divided into:

People's Navy

Flag of the People's Navy
Speedboats at a parade

The naval forces, renamed the People's Navy in 1960, were divided into (as of 1985)

There was also a naval helicopter squadron (MHG-18) in Parow , a naval aviation squadron ( MFG-28 ), a naval engineer battalion (MPiB-18), a combat swimmer command (KSK-18), a coastal missile regiment (KRR-18), a coastal defense regiment ( KVR-18, formerly Mot.-Schützenregiment-28) (from 1988), a naval supply depot (VL-18), a central ammunition depot (ML-18), a maintenance company (WK-18), the Sea Hydrographic Service of the GDR (SHD) and other training, testing and special facilities. The main command post in Ticino was prepared for the command of the People's Navy in the event of war .

Chiefs of the Naval Forces / People's Navy

  • 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
  • Rear Admiral Heinz Neukirchen August 1, 1961 to February 24, 1963; entrusted with the leadership
  • Admiral Wilhelm Ehm February 25, 1963 to November 30, 1987
  • Admiral Theodor Hoffmann December 1, 1987 to November 17, 1989
  • Vice Admiral Hendrik Born December 11, 1989 to October 2, 1990

Border troops

Members of the border troops in the protective strip on the border with the Federal Republic of Germany, 1979

Founded as the border police in 1946, the border troops of the NVA were formed in 1961 , which since then have de facto formed an independent military force. Their main task in the state of peace was the military safeguarding of the territorial integrity of the GDR. In the event of a defense, the border troops would have been used primarily as motorized shooters . In connection with the establishment of upper limits for the troop strengths of the European states, the border troops were outsourced de jure from the NVA in 1971 and, as border troops of the GDR (GT) with command in Pätz, were directly subordinate to the Ministry of National Defense, which in fact had no further effects pulled. With the political upheavals that began in 1989, the number of border troops was gradually reduced and finally disbanded on September 30, 1990.

Military reconnaissance

In accordance with the Soviet military tradition, when the NVA was founded, a military intelligence service (military reconnaissance service) was set up, to which the GRU was the godfather. Suspiciously viewed by the young MfS as an unpleasant competitor, the Soviet military prevailed and formally ensured a relative independence of the Enlightenment Administration , which reported directly to the minister's office. The service had its headquarters in Berlin-Treptow (camouflage designation at the object entrance: Mathematical-Physical Institute of the NVA) and was largely unknown in the GDR. Although legally an independent intelligence service, it was in fact subject to the control of Main Department I of the MfS, which had infiltrated it with “unofficial employees” as well as placing officers in special operations (OibE) in key management positions . Nevertheless, there were official agreements between the two responsible ministries, which regulated the recruitment of sources among each other (no double recruitment, shared use of sources only in exceptional cases) and gave the Enlightenment administration all rights to work independently as an intelligence service ( legends , agency work, keeping own sources in the Operation area Federal Republic of Germany).

Recruitment and training


Military service ID of the NVA

The general conscription law of January 24, 1962 stipulated a basic military service of 18 months. Almost every man between the ages of 18 and 26 was drafted. The age limit for calling unused men was December 31 of the year in which they turned 26. A conscription for basic military service beyond this age and up to the age of 35 could only take place if the conscript had willfully withdrawn from performing the basic military service or was temporarily excluded from performing the military service. Even after their de jure spin-off from the NVA, military service could still be completed with the border troops of the GDR .

A call-up to the barracked units of the People's Police ( VP readiness and other units and units), civil defense and the guard regiment of the Ministry for State Security was possible as alternative military service. In fact, albeit unofficially (without a decision by the Defense Council), members of the working class combat groups were also excluded from military service.

A civilian alternative service was not possible in the GDR until 1990. However, under pressure from the churches, the GDR introduced so-called construction units within the NVA in 1964 , in which military service as a construction soldier was possible without a weapon . Although this possibility existed, the construction soldiers were viewed critically by the NVA and systematically disadvantaged in their training and career choices in the GDR society. On duty, the regular soldiers were strictly separated from the construction soldiers, as it was feared that the construction soldiers would have a morally harmful influence on the troops. The working conditions of the construction soldiers were often unreasonable. In addition to construction tasks, the men were employed in open-cast lignite mining, in the chemical industry, in track construction or in nursing. Between 1964 and 1990 around 12,000 to 15,000 men served as construction soldiers. With this regulation, the GDR took an exceptional position among the Warsaw Pact states.

Longer-serving non-commissioned officers ( UaZ ) with a regular service period of three years, career career NCOs ( BU ) with a regular service period of ten years, ensign (since 1973) with a regular service period of 15 years, officer on time ( OaZ ) with a regular service period of three, later four years or a career officer ( BO ) with a regular service period of 25 years.

In the floating units of the People's Navy, the service time was three years for sailors, four years for mates and three years for parachute jumping units. As a rule, these were temporary volunteer soldiers .

Conscripts who were aiming for a place at university were often urged by military officers in schools, due to the increasing need for qualified NCOs in the NVA, to become NCOs for temporary or officer for temporary. However, apprentices in vocational training and those doing basic military service were also addressed in the same way . Incentives were the prospect of promoting professional development and the possibility of a special scholarship. In these recruitment talks, disproportionate pressure was often exerted on the young people, as the “recruiters” in the schools and military district commandos were required to recruit every second to third conscript as long-term service.

Women could voluntarily pursue careers in the rear and medical services as non-commissioned officers on time, professional non-commissioned officers, ensign or from 1984 as professional officers, as far as this was permissible for reasons of physical stress. The highest rank achieved by a woman there was a colonel .

From 1988 there was a shortened period of service in the basic military service for applicants for certain subjects. The cause was the shortage of labor in some branches of the national economy, especially engineers in key technologies and the railways, so that the government endeavored to speed up access to studies. For prospective students in the information technology, electrical engineering and computer science courses, if the requirements were not always transparent, the period of service was officially reduced to nine months without any further consequences, which was announced to the conscripts when the study admissions were issued. The shortened basic military service with an intensified education, training and guard program was completed in Stahnsdorf , Oranienburg and Mühlhausen / Thuringia , whose total number of soldiers was reduced with a few exceptions in order to suppress any manifestations of the EK movement . The shortened military service also applied to prospective students who had voluntarily committed themselves to three years as non-commissioned officers.

Also due to a lack of manpower, soldiers with corresponding professional training in the national economy were deployed from 1988, specifically in the areas of key technologies and as train drivers or signalman and dispatcher for the railroad. These soldiers initially went to regular operations in uniform, but returned to their barracks after work. After this turned out to be inexpedient due to the shift work and the ways in which to walk, accommodation was set up in single dormitories of the companies. The attempt to maintain a military organization there had to be largely given up after a few weeks because of the workload and again the shift work. One company that employed soldiers, for example, was the TV electronics plant (WF) in Berlin-Oberschöneweide.

Officers and NCOs

Graduates of the NVA military academy and Soviet military academies are received by Erich Honecker on October 19, 1981 in the official seat of the State Council of the GDR

The officer training took place in the officers' colleges :

For the training of medical officers in Greifswald there was the Military Medical Section at the University of Greifswald from 1955 and the Military Medical Academy Bad Saarow from 1981 . There was also a cadet school in Naumburg (Saale) from 1956 to 1960 to prepare for officer training .

There were also several NCO schools , mostly for NCOs on time (UaZ).

From 1959, selected cadres could also be delegated to various officers' colleges in the Soviet Union to study directly.

Management cadre

Awards, promotions and appointment of generals by Erich Honecker

The further training of the leadership cadre from regiment upwards took place at:

In 1989, 120,000 of the 2.7 million members or candidates of the SED served in the NVA and the border troops of the GDR . Among the common soldiers and private corps, the SED share was 6 to 7 percent, among the non-commissioned officers 14 percent, in the entire corps of non-commissioned officers, however, around 35 percent, because the proportion among the professional non-commissioned officers was around 60 percent. Of the total number of officers (over 40,000 in 1989, 36,000 in 1990) and ensigns, the socialist comrades made up 94 percent (including temporary officers 90 percent), and another 4 to 5 percent belonged to the bloc parties. Political officers, however, were all SED members.

Among the career officers, however, the SED share was 96 percent, from the rank of major upwards 98 to 99 percent, from the rank of lieutenant colonel upwards then 100 percent. Until 1989 every defense minister was a member of the Politburo.

Reserve officers

Reservist medal of the NVA

Unlike in the Federal Republic of Germany, the NVA could only fall back on a small contingent of reserve officers . This was due in particular to the comparatively poor reputation of the armed forces in the East German public and the organizational deficits that existed in some cases and the troops' lack of equipment.

Other sources speak of a militarization of GDR society, which is also based on the fact that around 27 percent of civil college and university graduates have completed training as reserve officers (RO) and have at least the rank of lieutenant dR. For this purpose, central training facilities in Seelingstädt and the training center in Burg near Magdeburg were maintained. Around 11 percent of these ROs are said to have served as reservists as officers of the NVA and border troops.


BMP-1 armored personnel carrier on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the founding of the GDR, 1988
Troop parade on the 30th anniversary of the founding of the GDR with a formation of anti-aircraft missiles of the type S-75 / SA-2 Guideline , 1979

Most of the NVA's weapons came from the USSR. Among them were z. B .:

The rest of the equipment was produced in the GDR itself, often under license from other Warsaw Pact states. z. E.g .: clothing; Ships; light military vehicles (trucks and cars).

Procurement and Defense

Many of the purely state-owned GDR armaments companies specialized in the production and repair of armaments almost entirely without a civilian “mainstay”. In 1989, the direct armaments industry in the GDR consisted of 74 companies with predominantly or partially armaments production, in which around 42,000 employees were employed. In addition, there were a number of supplier companies, so that a total of around 130 companies and parts of companies (final producers and suppliers) were commissioned with the production of military goods and around 285 companies and parts of companies (including 25 special repair companies) were commissioned with the repair of military goods and employed around 100,000 people .

All companies in the armaments industry (in the Comecon comparison) had modern facilities with highly productive technologies and equipment. The workers and engineers employed in the company had a high level of qualification and a pronounced quality awareness. The armaments companies were classified as independent operations or parts of operations in the combines, with the exception of the special technology combine in Dresden, which only included arms companies. Accordingly, they were subordinate to the economic management of the industry ministries and later the Ministry of Economics of the GDR and were thus (unlike in the PR China) clearly separated from the army. The initiative for armaments projects came from the relevant bodies in the SED. The share of arms production in the industrial goods production of the combines varied depending on the product range. The following combines had the largest share of arms production in 1986:

The total volume of defense technology goods and services produced in 1989 totaled 3.7 billion marks, of which defense technology was exported to a value of 1.4 billion marks. The main customer was the Soviet Union. This included machine guns of the Kalaschnikow series, which were actually manufactured under license at VEB Gerät- und Werkzeugbau Wiesa . There were also exports to the NSW . Around 1980 arms deliveries to African countries amounted to around 200 million marks annually. In addition, repairs of fighter planes ( VEB Flugzeugwerft Dresden , today Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH) were carried out for friendly countries, as well as for Iran and Iraq during their war against each other.

The total volume corresponded to about one percent of the industrial production of goods in the entire GDR. The main services included the repair and modernization of Soviet defense technology and the production of defense technology based on Soviet licenses and own developments for the National People's Army and for the armies of the Warsaw Pact states. The GDR carried out 86 percent of all repairs to military goods for its own armed forces.

Main products and services were in particular:

a) Repairs, especially of Soviet armaments
b) production of
  • Rifle weapons and rifle ammunition,
  • Hand grenades, mines and pyrotechnics,
  • Anti-tank missile complexes and fire control systems,
  • Combat and auxiliary ships,
  • Bridge-laying tanks
  • mobile special structures and installations on motor vehicles,
  • mechanical and electronic security technology,
  • Education and training equipment
  • Service and protective clothing and camouflage materials;
c) Scientific and technical achievements in the fields
  • Basic technologies of microelectronics and manufacturing of components for fiber optic communication
  • High performance and infrared optics
  • digital and optically parallel image processing
  • optoelectronic sensors
  • Laser technology
  • Camouflage means
  • Technologies for the repair of defense technology.

In the wake of the NATO double resolution of December 1979 and the Strategic Defense Initiative SDI announced by US President Ronald Reagan in 1983, armaments efforts in the GDR were also intensified, with a focus on military electronics. A Politburo resolution of May 24, 1983 planned to increase the military production shares of the Carl Zeiss Jena Combine from 15.7 percent in 1983 to 28 percent in 1990. The core projects were the development and production of a homing head for air-to-air missiles, an optoelectronic homing head for sea target missiles and remote sensing systems for war in space . The militarization of microelectronics affected the entire industrial sector. By 1990, military exports were planned to almost triple compared to 1981/85 - which was no longer relevant when Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary of the CPSU on March 11, 1985.

As a result of its policy of détente , the armaments industry of the GDR suddenly lost its largest buyer, the Soviet Union, as well as the raw materials it had traded for. As early as mid-1986, the general director of Carl-Zeiss Jena, Wolfgang Biermann, had a concept drawn up for the actual termination of the military projects on Honecker's personal instruction. A switch to civilian production led to unsustainable cost structures due to the high proportion of in-house production of microelectronic components (in 1989 by 70 percent, Germany around 40 percent).

Nuclear weapons

The NVA had no nuclear weapons of its own , but it had the means of delivery with which Soviet nuclear warheads could have been deployed, including the SS-23 short-range missile system introduced in 1985 . The armed forces of the Soviet Union kept u. a. in the special weapons camps in Himmelpfort and Stolzenhain and similar facilities, nuclear warheads that were to be issued to units of the NVA in the event of war. The nuclear role of the NVA was subject to the strictest secrecy and was unknown to many high-ranking NVA officers. It was only published after the NVA archives were opened in 1990. According to a study published in 2008, the massive use of tactical nuclear weapons was a central element of the strategy in a war on the German-German border and was played out in a staff exercise in the GDR in 1989.

Utilization of defense material of the NVA from 1990

Dozer BAT-M of the NVA

The NVA's legacy of equipment and military material was very extensive. In addition to numerous large equipment, the Bundeswehr took over large quantities of equipment, spare parts and consumables from active and non-active units. A material handover with corresponding documentation in accordance with the federal budget regulation and military regulations was not carried out, rather a takeover took place on site as found.

There was a division into three categories, which were based, among other things, on requirements, suitability for the all-German armed forces and functional and operational safety as measured by the regulations of the Bundeswehr. Classification in category I meant permanent or temporary use, category II meant temporary use to maintain operation until the transition to category III, which marked the exclusion of use and recycling.

Examples of Category I devices were the MiG-29 combat aircraft , the Mi-8 helicopter, and the BMP-1 . Category III material was brought together in so-called “concentration points” in order to minimize the effort required to guard and operate the properties. For this purpose, the federally owned "Material Depot Service Gesellschaft mbH (MDSG)" was commissioned with the guarding and storage of the material and the VEBEG with the recycling. MDSG employed 1,820 people, most of whom were taken over by the Bundeswehr . In 1994 the company was privatized. Insofar as the defense material could not be given free of charge to authorized persons in the new federal states, to other departments, to museums, to friendly countries and as part of humanitarian aid to third countries or sold to them for profit, it was destroyed. (see: Panzer Affair ). Before it was sold, civil engineering was demilitarized . L-39 Albatros aircraft , for example, have been sold to private individuals in the United States and still fly there today.

FROG-7B rocket (Luna-M) on a ZIL-135 truck of the NVA

The following were left behind:

  • 767 aircraft (helicopters, planes)
  • 208 ships and boats
  • 2,761 main battle tanks
  • 9,467 armored (combat) vehicles
  • 133,900 wheeled vehicles (cars, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, etc.)
  • 2,199 artillery weapons
  • 1,376,650 small arms
  • 303,690 tons of ammunition
  • 62,535 tons of liquid critical substances (rocket propellants, cleaning agents, hazardous substances)


Field service suit paratroopers with personal weapon AKS-74U

The first military units of the Headquarters Training (HVA) were clad in police blue. With the restructuring of the Barracked People's Police (KVP) in 1952, khaki-colored uniforms were introduced that were very similar in cut and color to those of the Soviet Army. In search of its own “German” and “socialist” military tradition, however, the government soon decreed a change in appearance. As a result, new uniforms were introduced again when the NVA was founded in 1956. These were very similar to those of the Wehrmacht . They were made of stone gray cloth and were of a similar cut, but from 1974/79 onwards, high-necked dark collars were dispensed with (except on the coats). The peculiarly flattened NVA helmet corresponded to the test model "B / II" of the German Wehrmacht developed by Fry and his colleague Hansel from the Institute for Wehrtechnische Materialkunde, Berlin, which had been in testing since 1943 but was no longer introduced. The GDR magazine “NBI” wrote in 1956 about the newly introduced steel helmet: “The members of the National People's Army of our GDR are better protected by the new steel helmet made of first-class material with the sloping shape. It was created based on the earlier German steel helmet, taking into account the latest experience, and guarantees freedom of observation and freedom of movement ”.

According to Willi Stoph and Walter Ulbricht , it was important to emphasize the German “national character” of the NVA with the traditional appearance, which critics criticized also came close to that of the Wehrmacht . The NVA should deliberately differentiate itself in its appearance from the "US mercenaries" of the German Armed Forces , whose uniforms, since its founding in 1955, initially closely resembled the appearance of the US troops, which Stoph called "overhanging capitalist costume" and "abandoning the patriotic." Honor ”.

Rank badge

The design of the rank badges was traditional (according to Walter Ulbricht's instructions: "... the rank can still only be recognized by the shoulder pieces ..." ), but with some modifications. Thus, the arm angle of were corporal and Corporal replaced by one to two transverse braid on the shoulder straps. The trimmings on the collar and armpit flaps of the NCOs and sergeants , however, remained unchanged compared to their last use in the Wehrmacht, as were the star divisions for sergeants , sergeants and staff sergeants . The officers' shoulder pieces represented a compromise solution. The basic shape of flat cord or wickerwork, as well as the shape of the star rankings, matched those of the Reichswehr. However, the arrangement of the rank stars followed the pattern of the Soviet Army - as in all other Warsaw Pact states.

With the introduction of the Soviet rank structure for officers, the rank of sub-lieutenant was reintroduced (in Germany the term sub-lieutenant was no longer used after 1898). In return, the rank of general of the branch of arms (general of the infantry, artillery, etc.), who was previously the next higher above the lieutenant general, was dropped. This was immediately followed by the Colonel General, followed by the Army General.

Also the Soviet model was followed by the introduction of the rank group of cadets 1974 (1979 added to the ranks midshipman , stabsfähnrich and stabsoberfähnrich). These ranked between the sergeants and the officers. Their rank badges consisted of a clasp made of flat silver cord placed on the base cloth of the armpit flaps. One to four star rankings, arranged vertically on top of each other, were used to differentiate, initially silver, but since 1979 gold-colored. As a special identification, the ensigns wore a sleeve badge on the left upper arm of the uniform. Initially, this star depicted each completed five years of service. With the introduction of the ranks of senior ensign and staff ensign, these ceased to exist. The ensigns wore the officers' uniforms and equipment, but the silver field armband , the honor dagger and, from 1977, the armpit cord were reserved for them.

The shoulder pieces of the lieutenants and captains were made of simple silver flat cord. The second lieutenant was distinguished by a star of rank, the lieutenant two stars placed next to each other, and the first lieutenant three stars of rank formed into an even triangle. The captain had another star above the triangular formation.

Staff officers had silver braided shoulder boards with one star for the major , two stars for the lieutenant colonel , three stars for the colonel .

In the gold-colored general badges (consisting of two gold cords on the outside and a silver cord on the inside) for major general, lieutenant general, colonel general and army general, the rank stars were placed vertically on top of each other. In contrast to the stars of the lower rank groups, the general stars were pentagonal and had a diameter of 15 mm. The appointment of a Marshal of the GDR would only have taken place in the event of a defense or for special military services. His rank would be a five-pointed star Order star with ruby inlay been.

According to the old Prussian tradition, the military music service wore the characteristic swallow nests on both sleeves .

Service career badge

Overview of the service career badges of the NVA

Members of the NVA who had undergone special training as part of their service or who, alternatively, belonged to a special unit and who did not wear the same color as their weapons, were entitled to wear a service badge on their uniforms corresponding to their special training. The service career badge was attached to the left jacket sleeve, 12 cm from the sleeve hem. However, the authorization to wear only extended to the duration of the membership in the relevant career. Furthermore, only one badge could be worn at a time. This had to reflect the current main function of the executing agency, even if the entrusted person had several qualifications.

Gun colors

10-mark commemorative coin 25 years of the National People's Army (NVA) of the GDR from 1981

The weapon colors were displayed on the back of the shoulder pieces and until 1974/79 on the cantilla filling of the collar tabs, as well as on colored piping for the air forces and the border troops . The land forces had been piped in uniform white since 1961. Before that, the piping was in gun color here too.

The weapon colors were originally also shown on the collar tabs. Later there were only collar patches for the land forces, the air forces / air defense , the paratroopers and the border troops .

In all units of the land forces, the collar tabs showed two narrow (men) or wide bar gauzes (officers) made of web , later (for officers) also made of metal , which were possibly filled in with the respective weapon color. Until 1981, two similarly designed sleeve flaps were also attached to the cuffs .

The collar tabs of the LSK / LV as well as the paratroopers were designed differently: The former had a simple wing on a blue cloth for the crews, for the officers this cloth was surrounded by a silver braid and the wing with a half or whole (staff officers) open wing Wreath of oak leaves surrounded, the paratroopers' cloth was orange-red. A swing arm was shown on an open parachute. In the case of ensigns and officers, the collar tab was entwined with a silver braid.

The weapon colors of the individual weapon branches were:

  • Blue: People's Navy
  • Dark green: Reverse services (replenishment)
  • Yellow: news
  • Gray: air defense
  • Green: border troops (including coast border brigade)
  • Light blue: Air Force
  • Orange: paratroopers
  • Rosa: tanks
  • Schwarz: Pioneer Techn. Troops (military transport, technical units, chemical services)
  • Purple: civil defense
  • White: Motorized shooters
  • Brick red: Artillery ( rocket troops / artillery , missile and weapons technology service, air defense )

The naval forces, named Volksmarine from 1960 onwards, have been using uniforms based on those of the former German navy since they were founded, namely made of dark blue cloth with a row of golden double buttons, without a collar tab, the weapon color was also dark blue. The naval aviators were an exception, because they had light blue collar tabs and light blue piped shoulder pieces on the dark blue naval uniform skirt.

The border troops wore uniforms that corresponded to those of the NVA since they were part of the NVA. The band of the hat and the piping of the uniform were green to match the color of the weapon. Accordingly, the tucks and bonnets of the members of the air force were designed in blue.

There were also unique combinations of uniform parts, for example the pilots of the Coastal Border Brigade: they had light green collar tabs with the insignia of the air force on the conventional naval uniforms.

The members of the Ministry for State Security (especially the guard regiment ) wore the uniforms of the NVA. The color of the weapon was burgundy.

Computer technology

A Robotron A 5120 such as B. was used in administration

Modern EDP systems such as computers, the software required for this, etc. did not find their way into it until the mid-1980s - albeit hesitantly. Most of these were to be found in ESER data centers or in administration. For example, office computers such as the PC 1715 or A 5120 were used. A special computer was DORAM ( D isketten o rien-oriented Ra tionalisierungs m edium) or ballistic computer UBM . Small computers such as the KC 85 and KC 87 were also used for training and further education .

Military tradition

Badge of achievement of the National People's Army 1956–1959 (left), 1959–1989 (right)

The NVA saw its military role models in the fighters of the peasant wars 1524/1525, the anti-Napoleonic liberation wars in 1813 and the revolutions of 1848 and 1918 . In addition, the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and the "Rescue of Peace by the NVA on August 13, 1961" ( construction of the wall ) served as models. The Prussian tradition was cultivated in the form of the great tattoo and in keeping the goose step (modified as "exercise step "). The Yorcksche March was also the honor march of the NVA.

Some orders and decorations of the NVA were oriented towards the Prussian military, such as the Blücher Order and the Scharnhorst Order . The Blücher medals, produced in reserve, were to be given to soldiers who would have distinguished themselves in a war through particular bravery. The Scharnhorst Order was an order of the GDR that was awarded for services to strengthen the GDR militarily or otherwise. He was also the highest military order.

Especially for the naval forces (from 1960 Volksmarine), the concentration on the Kiel sailors' uprising of 1918 and the Volksmarinedivision as the sole basis of the official military naval customs proved to be of little help for a self-confident understanding, further attempts, also other scenes of German naval history or individual fates Seizing German marines for this was always rejected by the political leadership as "politically inopportune".

From 1957 onwards, the day of the National People's Army was celebrated annually on March 1st in the GDR .

Tribute to the NVA on the 30th anniversary

Commemorative Medal of Honor 30 Years NVA 1956–1986 - The 1st Regiment

For the 30th anniversary of the NVA, an honorary commemorative medal was created and awarded in 1986. The military ceremony - "Handover of the NVA troop flag" - can be seen on the front. The text, "1956 - 1986 - 30 years NVA - Dem 1 Regiment" circles the figure. A quote from JR Becher is stamped on the back : “Be aware of the power! The power has been given to you so that you will never, NEVER give it away from your hands! ”In the Prora barracks on the island of Rügen , the construction soldiers refused to accept the coin.

Traditional associations

The traditional association Nationale Volksarmee e. V. was founded in December 2008. In March 2011, on the 55th anniversary of the NVA, around 100 former members of the NVA, some in their discarded uniforms, met in the cafeteria of the municipal zoo in Friedrichsfelde. The former GDR Defense Minister Heinz Keßler gave a speech. The management of the zoo warned the cafeteria operator and distanced themselves from the celebration "From the mission statement and statutes of the zoo and zoo it is clear that the system supporters of a dictatorship should not have a place for their events here". The Union of Victims' Associations of Communist Tyranny and several state politicians criticized the event. The district mayor of Treptow-Köpenick Oliver Igel described a similar event in May 2013 as "shameful". The memory of the Soviet soldiers will be damaged. “NVA and Stasi did not liberate us from the Nazis.” In January 2013, under the then president of the traditional association Nationale Volksarmee e. V. cut about 120 people from the association and founded the association to maintain the traditions of the National People's Army and the border troops of the GDR e. V.


  • Always be ready for action. Combat readiness in the NVA. Publishing house of the Ministry for National Defense, Berlin 1957.
  • The advanced military traditions of the German people. Publishing house of the Ministry for National Defense, Berlin 1957.
  • The superior and the subordinate. On some issues of military education. Ministry of National Defense, Berlin 1957.
  • Fricke, Hans: Our air force. German military publisher , Berlin 1962.
  • Military Academy of the NVA (HGB): German Military Lexicon. German military publisher, Berlin 1962.
  • Author collective: Army for Peace and Socialism the history of the NVA. Military publishing house of the GDR, Berlin 1984.
  • Author collective: Dictionary of German military history. Military publishing house of the GDR, Berlin 1985.
  • Collective of authors, lecturer Captain Peter Dempewolf: Handbook for Weapons NCOs. German military publisher, Berlin 1967.
  • Responsible lecturer Lieutenant Colonel Dipl.-Pedagogue Manfred Ritter: Handbook for Schirrmeister Ch and Instructors Ch. Military Publishing House of the GDR, Berlin 1979.
  • Editor Marlene Wilhelm: Handbook of basic military knowledge. Military publishing house of the GDR, Berlin 1980.


  • Walter Jablonsky: NVA - claim and reality, according to selected documents. Berlin / Bonn / Herford 1994.
  • Daniel Niemetz: The field-gray legacy. Influences of the armed forces in the military of the Soviet Zone / GDR. Ch. Links , Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86153-421-5 .
  • Stephan Fingerle: Weapons in workers' hands? Ch. Links, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-86153-243-3 .
  • Hans Ehlert : Army without a future. 2nd edition, Ch. Links, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-86153-265-4 .
  • Gunnar Digutsch: The end of the National People's Army and the establishment of the Bundeswehr in the new federal states. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-631-53071-4 .
  • Winfried Heinemann : The GDR and its military (=  contributions to military history, military history compact. Volume 3). Oldenbourg, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-486-70443-3 .
  • Ove Ovens: The NVA between turnaround and dissolution . Dissertation, Regensburg 2004.
  • Klaus Froh , Rüdiger Wenzke : The Generals and Admirals of the NVA: A biographical manual. Published by the Military History Research Office , 5th reviewed edition, Ch. Links, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-86153-438-9 .
  • Hans Werner Deim, Hans-Georg Kampe, Joachim Kampe, Wolfgang Schubert: The military security of the GDR in the Cold War. Meißler, Hönow 2008, ISBN 978-3-932566-80-6 .
  • Theodor Hoffmann : The last command. A minister remembers. Mittler-Verlag , Berlin / Bonn / Herford 1994, ISBN 3-8132-0463-4 .
  • Dieter Farwick (ed.): One state - one army. From the NVA to the Bundeswehr. Report Verlag, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 1992, ISBN 3-9802828-2-1 .
  • Bernhard Chiari and Magnus Pahl (eds.): Foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr, here: Klaus Storkmann: Historical legacy: The National People's Army of the GDR and the 'Third World'. Verlag Bernhard Schöningh, Paderborn 2010, ISBN 978-3-506-76914-5 .
  • Winfried Heinemann: The GDR and its military. Edited by the Military History Research Office. Oldenbourg, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-486-70443-3 .
  • Stefan Kahlau: People's Army in Transition? The depiction of the NVA in the DEFA feature film from the 1950s to the 1970s , Munich (AVMpress) 2015. ISBN 978-3-86924-627-7
  • Peter Joachim Lapp : The second chance. Wehrmacht officers in the service of Ulbricht. Helios, Aachen 2010, ISBN 978-3-86933-023-5 .
  • Peter Joachim Lapp: One state - one army. From the NVA to the Bundeswehr. Published by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung , Bonn 1992, ISBN 3-86077-027-6 .
  • Marco Metzler: National People's Army. Military policy and political military in the socialist defense coalition 1955/56 to 1989/90. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2012, ISBN 978-3-8329-6669-0 .
  • Christian Th. Müller : A thousand days with the ashes. NCOs in the NVA. Ch. Links, Berlin 2003, ISBN 978-3-86153-297-2 .
  • Matthias Rogg : Army of the People? Military and Society in the GDR. Ch. Links, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86153-478-5 .
  • Wilfried Copenhagen : The land forces of the NVA. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-613-02297-4 .
  • Klaus Storkmann: Secret solidarity. Military relations and military aid of the GDR in the »Third World«. Ch. Links, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86153-676-5 .
  • Rüdiger Wenzke: Ulbricht's soldiers. The National People's Army 1956 to 1971 (=  military history of the GDR. Vol. 22). Published by the Military History Research Office, Ch. Links, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86153-696-3 .
  • Rüdiger Wenzke: National People's Army. The history. Bucher, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-7658-2048-9 .
  • Rüdiger Wenzke (Ed.): Public enemies in uniform? Resistant behavior and political persecution in the NVA (=  military history of the GDR. Vol. 9). Commissioned by the Military History Research Office, Ch. Links, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-86153-361-8 .


Web links

Commons : National People's Army  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: NVA  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Detlef Samberg: The National People's Army Status: 1989 ( Memento of the original from March 26, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. September 25, 2008
  2. ^ Wilfried Copenhagen: The land forces of the NVA. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-613-02297-4 , p. 20.
  3. Brockhaus Calendar Adventure Story. Brockhaus 2008, ISBN 3-7653-3177-5 .
  4. Brockhaus Calendar Adventure History, July 10, 2008
  5. ^ Law on the Creation of the National People's Army and the Ministry of National Defense of January 18, 1956
  6. Stephan Fingerle : Weapons in workers' hands - The recruitment of the officer corps of the NVA and their forerunners. Berlin 2001, p. 137 f.
  7. Daniel Niemetz: The field-gray legacy. Influences of the armed forces in the military of the Soviet Zone / GDR. P. 274.
  8. Hans Ehlert, Armin Wagner: Comrade General! The GDR military elite in biographical sketches. Ch Links Verlag, Berlin 2003.
  9. Daniel Niemetz: The field-gray legacy. Influences of the armed forces in the military of the Soviet Zone / GDR. P. 275.
  10. ^ Rüdiger Wenzke: Compulsory military service and military service in the GDR
  11. in: Hans Ehlert, Matthias Rogg (ed.): Military, State and Society in the GDR. Research fields, results, perspectives. (= Military history of the GDR; vol. 8), Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-86153-329-4 , p. 15.
  12. ^ R. Wenzke: Between Prague Spring 1968 and Autumn 1989. In: ders. (Ed.) Staatsfeinde. P. 322 f., Cit. after M. Kutz: German soldiers. Darmstadt 2006, p. 334.
  13. ^ In the service of the party, manual of the armed organs of the GDR. Ed .: Diedrich u. a., on behalf of the Military History Research Office, March 1998, p. 488f.
  14. ^ Rüdiger Wenzke: The National People's Army (1956 - 1990) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke: In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998, p. 489.
  15. ^ A b c Gareth M. Winrow: The Foreign Policy of the GDR in Africa. (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies), Cambridge University Press, 1990, ISBN 978-0-521-38038-6 .
  16. So it looks u. a. Hans-Georg Löffler: NVA soldier from beginning to end. Berlin 2006, p. 219.
  17. a b c Gordon A. Craig , About the Germans, p. 281 ff .; CH Beck 1982
  18. “We sent you arms and bread. With extensive military and economic aid for liberation movements and left-wing governments in Africa, the GDR has advanced to become a successful partner in the Soviet power strategy in the Third World. At the same time, East Berlin uses its commitment for its own economic and Germany policy - to the disadvantage of Bonn. ”In: We sent you arms and bread . In: Der Spiegel . No. 10 , 1980, pp. 42 ( Online - Mar. 3, 1980 ).
  19. Joachim Nawrocki : Honeckers People's Armists in Africa and the Middle East , Die Zeit No. 8/1980.
  20. a b c Klaus Stork man excerpt from The National People's Army of the GDR and the "Third World". (PDF; 406 kB)
  21. Matthias Voss: We have left traces! The GDR in Mozambique. Experiences, experiences and knowledge from three decades. LIT Verlag, Berlin – Hamburg – Münster 2005, ISBN 3-8258-8321-3 .
  22. ^ Federal Archives - Military Archives, holdings DVW 1, MfNV, Volume: Contracts, edited by Albrecht Kästner, Freiburg 1999
  23. ^ Rüdiger Wenzke: The National People's Army ( 1956-1990 ) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke: In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR , Berlin, 1998, pp. 493-511.
  25. ^ Kutz, M .: German soldiers - a history of culture and mentality, Darmstadt 2006, p. 146.
  26. ^ RJ Schlaffer: "Army of Unity". The transformation of the German armed forces in the course of reunification. Published in the Defense Policy dossier of the Federal Agency for Civic Education 2014. Available online at: .
  27. ibid.
  28. Uwe Heßler: "Camouflaging and deceiving" - the last unit of the GDR army. In: November 15, 2010, accessed October 16, 2016 .
  29. Decision recommendation and report of the Defense Committee
  30. ^ Conference report of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung 1994 5.1 Tasks of the trust property company
  31. a b Hans Rühle and Michael Rühle: The Warschaupakt planned the nuclear attack on Western Europe , Neue Zürcher Zeitung of September 13, 2008, p. 9 (The authors Hans and Michael Rühle are the former heads of the planning staff in the Bonn Ministry of Defense and the Head of the Planning Staff of NATO's Political Department in Brussels.)
  32. Klaus Froh and Rüdiger Wenzke: The generals and admirals of the NVA. Christoph-Links Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3-8289-0542-0 , p. 51
  33. Cf. Matthias Rogg: Army of the People? Military and Society in the GDR. Ch. Links Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-86153-478-5 , pp. 167f.
  34. Rüdiger Wenzke: The National People's Army (1956 - 1990) in Hans Ehlert, Rüdiger Wenzke (Ed.): In the service of the party - Handbook of the armed organs of the GDR, Berlin, 1998 p. 444f
  35. Christian Th. Müller: A thousand days with the ashes. NCOs in the NVA. Ch. Links, Berlin 2003, ISBN 978-3-86153-297-2 .
  36. ^ Matthias Rogg: Army of the People? Military and Society in the GDR. Ch. Links, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86153-478-5 .
  37. ^ Website of the German graduates of the Caspian Red Banner Officers College of the Naval Forces SM Kirov
  38. Matthias Rogg (Ed.): Army of the People? Military and society in the GDR (= military history of the GDR, vol. 15), Links, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86153-478-5 , p. 515.
  39. a b Werner Hänsel, Heinz Michael: Armaments conversion in the new federal states.
  40. Today special tools and hydraulics GmbH Wiesa
  41. Sigurd Hess: NVA exercised nuclear weapons operations still 1990. In: Marineforum 7 / 8-1999, p. 3 f.
  42. Harald Nielsen: The GDR and the nuclear weapons - The nuclear role of the National People's Army in the Warsaw Pact. Nuclear History Program (NHP). (= International Politics and Security; Vol. 30/6), ed. from the Foundation for Science and Politics Ebenhausen, Nomos, Baden-Baden 1998.
  43. Helge Bandow, Sylvester von Rudzinski-Rudno: Almost lost orientation in new territory. In: Truppenpraxis 1/1993, pp. 86ff.
  44. Das Erste / Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg: What happened to the GDR army NVA? A film by Reinhard Joksch (2015) ( Memento from November 4, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  45. ^ Report of the Federal Government on the completion of the recycling of the surplus material of the former NVA of July 30, 1997
  46. ^ Ludwig Baer: The history of the German steel helmet: from 1915 to 1945; his story in words and Image. L. Baer (self-published), Eschborn 1977.
  47. Neue Berliner Illustrierte, No. 10/1956, p. 3.
  48. Handbook of basic military knowledge. 10th edition NVA edition 1980, Chief Inspector of the National People's Army, Military Publishing House of the GDR, pp. 462–463.
  49. ^ The history of computer technology in the GDR: Computer DORAM ,, September 19, 2015.
  50. ^ Retrieved November 24, 2016
  51. Stefan Wolter: That doesn't work! A wall painting as a symbol of resistance , in: Prora-Zentrum (ed.): Waffenverweigerer in Uniform , conference proceedings (Wissenschaftliche Reihe, Vol. 2), 2011, pp. 49–66, here p. 57.
  52. - Berlin - Verfassungsschutz - NVA association is harmless. Accessed on November 23, 2016
  53. - Berlin - outrage over NVA celebration in the zoo. Accessed on November 24, 2016
  54. - Berlin - Traditionsverband - NVA Retrieved on November 24, 2016
  55. ^ Website for the film