Soviet military administration in Germany

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Transfer of administrative powers of the SMAD to the government of the GDR by Vasily Chuikov

The Soviet Military Administration in Germany ( SMAD , Советская военная администрация в Германии, СВАГ) was after the Second World War , the top occupation authority and thus de facto -Regierung in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) Germany from June 1945 to the transfer of administrative powers to the government of the GDR on October 10, 1949.

Structure and history

Agreed bases and organization

SMAD officer for culture Alexander Dymschitz giving a speech, 1947
SMAD handover of the Großbeeren estate to the administration of the later GDR, June 1949

With the Berlin Declaration of June 5, 1945 (also known as the Berlin Declaration or June Declaration ), the four victorious powers of the Second World War took over the supreme power of government in the territory of the German Reich through their commanders-in-chief by virtue of occupation law .

The formal basis of the SMAD was Order No. 1 of the Supreme Commander of the Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany of June 9, 1945. It followed inter-allied agreements from the final phase of World War II, according to which each occupying power had to set up an autonomous military government within its zone of occupation . The SMAD was subordinate to the Council of People's Commissars (from 1946 Council of Ministers of the USSR ) and thus directly subordinate to Josef Stalin .

In terms of content and geography, the organizational structures of SMAD corresponded to the newly emerging German administrative structure in the Soviet Zone . In addition to the central authority in Berlin-Karlshorst, there were SMA facilities at the state level ( Mecklenburg (-Vorpommern) , Brandenburg , Saxony-Anhalt , Thuringia and Saxony ) as well as a network of various regional to local military commanderships. Special departments monitored the activities of the various German administrative authorities. At the head of the SMAD was its "Supreme Boss", from June 1945 to March 1946 Georgi Schukow , from March 1946 to March 1949 Vasily Sokolowski and finally until 1953 (since October 1949 as head of the Soviet Control Commission ) Vasily Tschuikow . These officers were in personal union the supreme commanders of the group of the Soviet armed forces in Germany .

As the most visible sign of its governmental sovereignty, the SMAD issued numerous written orders to its own and German agencies from 1945 to 1949. In addition, however, it also governed on a more informal level by means of verbal, rarely documented instructions and comments or only through the presence of its employees in the German administrative offices, which cannot be overlooked.

Although the SMAD had considerable creative potential, its competencies within the Stalinist system of rule were limited. The SMAD was subordinate to various Soviet agencies, which sometimes pursued competing concepts. In addition, individual SMAD employees such as Vladimir Semjonow (political advisor to SMAD) and Sergei Tjulpanow (head of the propaganda department ) had special relationships with the Soviet state apparatus or the CPSU . Moscow also became active on the personnel policy level: the popular Marshal Zhukov was replaced by his deputy Marshal Sokolowski after a few months at the top of the SMAD.

The relationship between the military government and the Soviet Ministry for State Security (MGB) and other Soviet organs, which often operated independently of it in the Soviet Zone, was ambivalent . On the one hand, senior crew officers knew how to skillfully use the existing potential threats in order to enforce their ideas in negotiations with German agencies. On the other hand, SMAD employees repeatedly complained that the Soviet secret services endangered the material and political reconstruction work of the military government in Germany.

It remains to be stated that the SMAD initially - like the other Allied military governments in Germany - tried to rebuild the country within the framework set by its own government. The apparently arbitrary mass arrests and the political persecution were not the result of the SMAD policy, although the military government knew how to use this reality for their interests and certainly not a few occupation officers of a general punishment of the "Germans", which was not tied to individual criteria, were positive.

The SMAD repeatedly criticized, out of factual self-interest, excesses in the persecution measures that clearly went beyond the punishment of Nazi and war criminals.

On October 10, 1949, the SMAD was dissolved and the Soviet Control Commission (SKK) was formed as its successor.

Legislation under occupation law

At the beginning of July 1945, the Soviet military government set up German provincial and state administrations. These received the right

"To enact laws and ordinances that have the force of law in the areas of legislative, judicial and executive power, if they do not contradict the laws and orders of the Control Council or the orders of the Soviet military administration."

However, this formal independence of the German administration was limited. On the one hand, the Soviet occupying power reserved an overriding legislative competence ; on the other hand, the provincial and state administrations were occupied by communists. When the legislative competence later passed to the newly elected state parliaments , the decision-making framework laid down by the Soviet authorities remained. From a formal point of view, Soviet approval of state laws was not required, but the military government was able to exercise political control via the SED and the “bloc committees of the anti-fascist-democratic parties”.

Central administrations

With order no. 17 of July 27, 1945, the SMAD ordered the establishment of so-called German central administrations (DZVs) within the Soviet Zone, "for the purpose of developing the economy and restoring traffic and communications, health care and public education". These central administrations should relieve the SMAD and at the same time prepare the construction of a socialist state on German territory; some of them, such as the Central Administration for Justice , passed seamlessly into ministries when the GDR was founded in 1949. Initially, eleven such central administrations were established by autumn 1945: for transport, communications, the fuel industry, trade and supply, industry, agriculture, finance, labor and social welfare, health care, public education , and justice . Through further SMAD orders, five more central administrations were formed by mid-1947: for German resettlers (dissolved in 1948), Central Statistical Office, Central German Commission for Sequestration and Confiscation, German Central Administration of the Interior, German Administration for Interzonal and Foreign Trade.

On June 11, 1947, these authorities were absorbed into the German Economic Commission . These authorities were "auxiliary bodies" of the SMAD.


Supreme bosses:

Propaganda Department (later renamed the Information Department):

Culture Department:

Deputy for the Soviet joint-stock companies in Germany :

Selection of important SMAD commands

In addition to commands ( Russian приказы prikazy ) from the respective boss, there were, among other things, Commands of the representative and other locations rod commands ( приказы по штабу Příkazy po STABU ), instructions ( приказания prikazanija ) and directives ( директивы direktivy ). All of these document groups were numbered separately for each year, if necessary again separately after the preceding zero for “secret” and double zero for “top secret”.

They are often cited according to where they were found (signature and sheet information) in the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF). For example, "GARF R-7317/8/1, Bl. 2–3" stands for inventory R-7317 (SMAD), directory 8 (staff), file 1 (commands 1–100 from 1945), sheets 2–3: Order No. 2 of the Supreme Chief of the Soviet Military Administration dated June 10, 1945.

number description date Illustration
number 1 About the organization of the military administration for the administration of the Soviet occupation zone in Germany June 9, 1945
No. 2 Permission to form and work for all anti-fascist parties and trade unions June 10, 1945
No. 3 Delivery of weapons June 15, 1945
No. 5 Organization of normal life in the provinces and countries, establishment July 9, 1945
No. 9 Production resumed July 21, 1945
No. 11 Return of valuables July 23, 1945
No. 13 Creation of administrative districts in the province of Brandenburg July 25, 1945
No. 17 Foundation of the German central administration July 27, 1945
Transport department No. 8: Transfer of rail traffic in the Soviet Zone and Greater Berlin to the German railways
on September 1, 1945
August 11, 1945
No. 40 Preparation of schools for school operations August 25, 1945
No. 49 Reorganization of the German courts; Removal of all NSDAP members from the judicial service September 4, 1945
No. 50 Preparing the universities for the start of lessons September 4, 1945
No. 51 Re-establishment and activity of the cultural institutions September 25, 1945
No. 069 Register securities in vaults October 15, 1945
No. 103 Preparation of economic plans for 1946 October 19, 1945
No. 105 Formation of the German Administration for Statistics October 19, 1945
No. 110 Legislative competence to state and provincial administrations and declaration that the land reform is legal October 22, 1945
No. 117 Equipping the German central administration for trade and supply with the right to issue instructions to the state administrations October 27, 1945
No. 124 Assets belonging to the German Reich are confiscated October 30, 1945
Order No. 124 of the Soviet Military Administration.pdf
No. 126 Assets of the NSDAP, its organs and its affiliated associations are confiscated October 31, 1945
Order No. 126 of the Soviet Military Administration SMAD.pdf
No. 160 About responsibility for acts of sabotage and diversion December 3, 1945
SMAD command no.160, December 3, 1945 - 1.pdf

SMAD command no.160, December 3, 1945 - 2.pdf
# 176 Restoration of the consumer cooperatives in the Soviet Zone December 18, 1945
No. 97 Confiscated property is handed over to German administration March 29, 1946
Appendix 8 Command of the SMAD N1.  97.pdf
No. 104 Asset declarations regarding foreign assets April 4, 1946
SMAD command # 104.pdf
to No. 104 Implementing provisions regarding the regulation of the administration of the
property of foreign nationals located in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany of November 17, 1947 (Dratwin's instructions)
November 17, 1947
Dratwinsche instructions.pdf
No. 154/181 regarding the use of goods sequestered and confiscated on the basis of Orders No. 124 and No. 126 May 21, 1946
Order No. 154-181 of the Soviet Military Administration SMAD.pdf
No. 167 Soviet state property took over the factories that were placed under military administration in 1945 June 5, 1946
Appendix 10 Command No. 167 of SMAD.pdf
No. 180 Dissolution of the state of Prussia and conversion of the provinces into states July 21, 1947
# 201 Guidelines for the application of Directives No. 24 and No. 38 of the Control Council on Denazification August 16, 1947
Document 27, Zentralverordnungsblatt Berlin 1947, p. 39.pdf
to No. 201 DWK Implementation Regulation No. 3 for SMAD Instruction No. 201 August 21, 1947
Document 30, Zentralverordnungsblatt Berlin 1948, pp. 139-140, .pdf
No. 209 Creation of new farms and elimination of German aristocratic residences September 9, 1947
No. 234 Measures to increase labor productivity and further improve the material situation of workers
and employees in industry and transport
October 9, 1947
No. 44 Increase in social pensions and expansion of rest homes and sanatoriums March 18, 1948
No. 64 Termination of the sequester proceedings in the SBZ April 17, 1948
Document 32, Constitution of the GDR, of October 7, 1949, Zentralverordnungsblatt, No. 15, 1948, p. 140.pdf
to No. 64 First ordinance for the execution of the SMAD command No. 64 (Guideline No. 1) April 28, 1948
Document 34, Zentralverordnungsblatt Berlin, No. 15, 1948, p. 141.pdf
to No. 64 Second Ordinance for the Execution of the SMAD Order, No. 64 (Guideline No. 2 - Exploitation of Company Assets) April 28, 1948
Document 35, Zentralverordnungsblatt Berlin, No. 15, 1948, p. 141.pdf
to No. 64 Guideline No. 3 for the Execution of SMAD Order No. 64/1948 - Expropriation of Other Property September 21, 1948
Document 37, Zentralverordnungsblatt Berlin, 1948, p. 449, guideline no. 3 for the execution of the SMAD command
No. 111 Currency reform for the territory of the Soviet occupation zone and Greater Berlin June 23, 1948
Decision of the DWK on the expropriation of the sequestered "other assets" September 21, 1948
Document 36, Zentralverordnungsblatt Berlin, 1948, p. 449.pdf

See also the SMAD orders 228/46, 28/47 and 92/47 as instruments for the rehabilitation of victims of National Socialism .

Further important SMAD orders and allied regulations are contained in the regulations of the GDR on property issues and expropriations, published by the German Institute, Bonn 1971.


  • Horst Möller , Alexandr O. Tschubarjan (ed.): SMAD manual. The Soviet military administration in Germany 1945–1949 . R. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-58696-1 . Online in German and Russian
  • Jan Foitzik: Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD). 1945-1949. Structure and function . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-05-002680-4 ( sources and representations on contemporary history 44). On-line
    • Review by Jörg Morré (January 13, 2000).
  • Jan Foitzik: Inventory of the orders of the Supreme Chief of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) 1945-1949. Open series . Compiled and edited on behalf of the Institute for Contemporary History. Saur, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-598-11261-0 ( texts and materials on contemporary history 8). Reprint 2015 online
    • Correction , in: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 49 (2001), pp. 685–690.
  • Detlev Brunner: Inventory of the orders of the Soviet military administration Mecklenburg (-Vorpommern) 1945-1949 . Saur, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-598-11621-7 . Reprint 2013 online
  • Klaus Geßner: Inventory of the open orders of the Soviet military administration of the state of Brandenburg . Lang, Frankfurt a. M. 2002, ISBN 3-631-39240-0 .
  • Jan Foitzik, Nikita W. Petrow : The Soviet secret services in the SBZ / GDR from 1945 to 1953 . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin [a. a.] 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-023014-7 ( texts and materials on contemporary history 17). On-line
  • Elke Scherstjanoi (Ed.): Winners live in Germany. On the everyday life of Soviet occupiers in East Germany 1945-1949. Edition Schwarzdruck, Gransee 2020, ISBN 978-3-96611-005-1 .

Web links

Commons : Soviet military administration in Germany  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Broszat , Gerhard Braas, Hermann Weber : SBZ manual . 1993, ISBN 3-486-55262-7 , p. 39.
  2. 1949–55: Two States - Two Ways: Soviet Control Commission . Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany ; Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  3. Quoted from Diemut Majer: Basics of Occupation Law 1945–1949 . In: Hans Erich Volkmann (Ed.): End of the Third Reich - End of the Second World War. A perspective review. Munich 1995, ISBN 3-492-12056-3 , p. 146.
  4. Martin Broszat, Hermann Weber (ed.): SBZ manual: State administrations, parties, social organizations and their executives in the Soviet zone of occupation . Oldenbourg, Munich 1993, ISBN 978-3-486-55262-1 , p. 201.
  5. SMAD Commands  - Internet Archive
  6. BVerfG, decision of the Second Senate of October 26, 2004 - 2 BvR 955/00 - Rn. (1-160), Rn. 7 (ECLI: DE: BVerfG: 2004: rs20041026.2bvr095500)
  7. to the whole Elke Scherstjanoi: Soviet Orders of the Occupation - a rarely used source in the Federal Archives (2019)
  8. Информационно-поисковая система ГА РФ online
  9. ^ Order No. 1 of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) on the Organization of the Military Administration for the Management of the Soviet Occupation Zone in Germany (June 9, 1945). In: Retrieved September 20, 2016 .
  10. ^ Order No. 2 of the Supreme Chief of the Soviet Military Administration (June 10, 1945). In: Retrieved September 20, 2016 . Also a Russian facsimile in .
  11. a b Commands No. 1/45, 2/45, 3/45, 17/45, 138/47, 32/48, 124/45, 183/48, 110/45, 209/47  - Internet Archive
  12. Order No. 17 of the Supreme Chief of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany concerning the establishment of German central administrations in the Soviet occupation zone of July 27, 1945. Retrieved September 13, 2008 .
  13. Bernd Kuhlmann: German State Railroad secret (2007), p. 14
  15. see e.g. B. Federal Administrative Court, judgment of June 30, 1994 - 7 C 58/93 - "Brambacher Sprudel" and Federal Administrative Court, judgment of April 13, 2016 - 8 C 10/15 -
  16. see judgment of the Federal Administrative Court of March 7, 2007 - 8 C 15/05 -
  17. SBZ from 1945 to 1954 (reprint 1964), p. 67
  18. ^ Regulations of the GDR on property issues and expropriation . ( Wikisource )
  19. Germany in the Cold War: 1948. DHM.
  20. ^ Regulations of the GDR on property issues and expropriations 1971. (PDF) Retrieved on September 20, 2016 . Regulations, 1984. (PDF) Retrieved September 20, 2016 .