National People's ArmyTo nominate someone else as a Quality Contributor, message the mods. Did the East German army armt see combat? We all know the security role they played, but did they ever see combat? Possibly like a support role with Soviet units, or as advisors to friendly east german army vs west germany. East German officers and soldiers played support va advisory roles in several conflicts in the 70s and 80s, but never officially served in combat this is not to say they never saw combat, just that it wasn't official if they did.
Did the East German army ever see combat? : AskHistorians
To nominate someone else as a Quality Contributor, message the mods. Did the East German army ever see combat? We all know the security role they played, but did they ever see combat? Possibly like a support role with Soviet units, or as advisors to friendly countries. East German officers and soldiers played support and advisory roles in several conflicts in the 70s and 80s, but never officially served in combat this is not to say they never saw combat, just that it wasn't official if they did.
The size of the military contingents in these nations ranged from about troops to some including accompanying agents from the Ministry for State Security.
German-language newspaper Die Zeit. And to add the question I've always had: Were they former nazi soldiers? Were they the solders of states nazi Germany defeated? How many people could there have possibly been in east Germany who could serve and weren't already conscripted. From an earlier answer.
For the most part, the officer corps of both the Bundeswehr and the Nationale Volksarmee NVA drew from former Wehrmacht officers when it came to staffing their establishments.
Although the size of both militaries was considerably smaller than its wartime predecessor, these veterans possessed both experience and authority that would be necessary for the tasks that could face a military within the Cold War.
Within the FRG, most senior Wehrmacht veterans that went on to serve in the Bundeswehr has to be cleared through the Personalgutachterausschuss PGA , a committee set up in for vetting these applicants for a correct political mentality. Lower-level officer candidates were to be cleared by the Annahmeorganization Accepting Organization , which had much less stringent criteria for denazification. Adenauaer tasked von Schwerin to prepare the blueprints for a swift FRG rearmament and the ZfH began to sound out prospective officers trough the various veterans' organizations.
As this was a politically sensitive topic, these preparations violated Allied disarmament regulations and rearmament was not terribly popular within the FRG electorate, von Schwerin was tasked to proceed with great discretion. In this task he failed, and coupled with his close association with the prior regime, Adenauer found grounds to fire him and replace him with Theodor Blank in October Although Blank was a Wehrmacht veteran, he was a low-level officer and was not a career soldier.
The now renamed Amt-Blank worked closely with German generals like Hans Speidel Rommel's chief of staff and Adolf Heusinger to lay the foundations for a German rearmament. The GDR went through much a similiar process of covert process of preparation for rearmament and then a public announcement of a large defense establishment. The NVA grew out of the various paramilitary police and border patrol formations that the Soviets had created at the end of the s. Like their Western counterparts, the Volkspolizei and later the NVA set up a screening process for vetting officers to ensure that no NSDAP ideologues made their way into the new military.
The Eastern screening process departed from the FRG's in two very important ways though. Firstly, it operated through existing structures for Soviet reeducation and indoctrination of German POWs. The Soviets placed great stock in the conversion of POWs to communism, both to prevent unreformed fascists from reentering the German body politic and to present such conversions as a public propaganda coup both to their fellow Germans and abroad.
Soldiers who were never captured or captured by the Western powers were too politically unreliable. Many of the Volkspolizei and NVA's flag officers were brought directly back from Soviet captivity to once again wear the uniform. Secondly, while the Bundeswehr prided itself in the creation of an apolitical German soldier, the NVA's ranks were to be composed of explicitly SED party loyalists.
Many Wehrmacht veterans found it very difficult for the SED state to accept their claims of loyalty. This meant that after the initial establishment of the NVA, the SED quickly replaced these veterans with its own domestic cadres in the early s, whereas in the FRG, Wehrmacht veterans in the Bundeswehr became part of the FRG political establishment. Reforging the Iron Cross: Princeton University Press, Grift, Liesbeth van de.
Securing the Communist State: University of North Carolina Press, Though they nominally did take care to not take in former Nazis, there was never a clear distinction who was a "Nazi". Was is a member of the NSDAP, was it someone who reported someone else to the police, was it someone who took part in the Nazi rallys but did not do any "crimes"? The question of who was compromised or not used to be one of the most complex ones in the decades after the war.
Not to veer too much on a tangent question, but the founding of the DDR was in and the war ended in These interim years involved Soviet occupation so there was about four years of transition before the matter of an East German military had to be settled. From my reading on it the west seemed more willing to integrate reformed Nazis into the social order while the East was more harsh, owing to the strong ideological conflict with communism.
Soldiers and Nazi party members seemed to prefer to be captured by the west. I just want to ask an extra question myself, here: Also from an earlier answer. Although the new Bundeswehr accepted some NVA personnel for the Armee der Einheit Army of Unity , most of them were specialists or other individuals that could maintain the little Soviet equipment that Bundeswehr elected to keep.
NVA officers above Oberstleutnant were particularly not welcome in the new German army as the Bundeswehr felt that these individuals had been ideologically compromised by the regime. Evidence of Stasi collaboration also became grounds for dismissal and the end of their careers. The NVA was very top-heavy in terms of officers, with an officer to enlisted ratio of 1: By about , only about 5 percent of the Bundeswehr consisted of former NVA personnel.
This rather unceremonious dismissal of the GDR's armed forces had a good deal of support within Europe as Germany rushed to reunification. One of the preconditions for Soviet acceptance of German unification and Germany's continued NATO membership was that the new German state's armed forces would not exceed men under arms.
In theory, combining the NVA and Bundeswehr created one of the largest armies on the European continent, and this was unpalatable Germany's neighbors as the memory of the Second World War still remained a sharp political issue in countries like France and the UK.
There was also considerable pressure within the FRG establishment to drastically draw back Germany's military strength. Maintaining a large heterogeneous military of Western and Soviet equipment would have been an expensive prospect when Germany was facing the serious issue of economic reunification. Aside from some advanced equipment like the MiG, the Kohl government saw little advantage in keeping this hardware and most of it was scrapped or sold to other states. Within the Bundeswehr there was a perception that the NVA operated on principles completely different than their Western counterpart.
The Bundeswehr officer was to be a citizen-soldier who would not mechanistically obey the orders of a superior and instead defend the Federal constitution. The idea that the typical NVA soldier lacked a democratic ethos also reinforced the general condescension the Bundeswehr establishment held for their Eastern counterparts. The Bundeswehr was one of the strongholds of anticommunism within the FRG and its leadership did not really consider the NVA to be true German soldiers.
The NVA's tutelage under the Soviets and its generally poor standards of hygiene and soldierly bearing among its conscripts made the NVA seem decidedly un-German soldiers in the eyes of the Bundeswehr. In the end, the soldiers of the NVA were among the losers of reunification. This was a source of much grumbling for NVA veterans as it was a status that explicitly claimed they were not German soldiers. The Ministry of Defense reclassified them as "soldiers serving not in the Bundeswehr ", a status that still implies they were serving a foreign power, not Germany.
Beyond the sting of official non-recognition, NVA pensions in the Berlin Republic are usually less than their counterparts and many NVA officers were forced to retire several ranks lower. Nor did the NVA have many vocal advocates in the reunified Germany. The NVA's unsavory association with the Grenztruppen and the Soviets in the public eye meant that it was much more difficult to apply Ostalgia to the East German military experience as it was for other aspects of East German life in two decades after unification.
Especially for the NVA officers, reunification has been a bitter pill to swallow. Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany. Requiem for an Army: The Demise of the East German Military.
The Ministry of Defense reclassified them as "soldiers serving not in the Bundeswehr", a status that still implies they were serving a foreign power, not Germany. Although it is more than a bit churlish, especially after twenty-five years of reunification, it is a bit understandable given the Cold War background of the FRG bureaucrats setting these policies. It was pretty much taken as a given among a number of Bundeswehr officers that the NVA was an auxiliary force of both the SED and Soviet Union instead of an institution fighting for German interests, and there is more than little truth to this charge.
The NVA's predecessor, the Volkspolizei actually did do just that in the uprisings and there was little indication that the NVA had fundamentally changed from being an instrument for SED rule.
Although there was some unrest in the ranks during the events of , the NVA leadership remained committed to following the line towed by the SED. Strikes from the lower ranks of the NVA for better conditions and other grievances in confirmed the suspicions of the Bundeswehr that the NVA's officer corps' loyalty was to the departed regime and not Germany.
A number of NVA officer veterans have not exactly helped their case. This exculpatory depiction of their place in the GDR glosses over the fact that the NVA officers were a state elite in a country characterized by perennial shortages of goods and services.
Furthermore, the NVA was one of the buttresses for an unpopular regime and the threat of military armed force to quell dissent, even if never used in a major fashion after , was one of the realities of life in the GDR. Comparing themselves to Jews is especially unsettling given the NVA officers' former elite status was real and verifiable and very much unlike the interwar antisemitic claims of Jewish wealth and influence.
No Racism, Bigotry, or Offensive Behavior. No Tertiary Sources Like Wikipedia. Serious On-Topic Comments Only: No Jokes , Anecdotes , Clutter , or other Digressions. Ashley Farmer , author of 'Remaking Black Power: Black Women's History April 19th Dr. The current rotation is: Welcome to Reddit, the front page of the internet. Become a Redditor and subscribe to one of thousands of communities. Want to add to the discussion? Thank you so much.
Wow, that's absolutely horrible.