East Germany - Military


Because of East Germany's proximity to the West during the Soviet–American Cold War (1945–91), its four-branch military, the Nationale Volksarmee (National People's Army, NVA) was among the most advanced of the Warsaw Pact; its branches were:

  1. Army (Landstreitkräfte)
  2. Navy (Volksmarine – People's Navy)
  3. Air Force–Air Defence (Luftstreitkräfte/Luftverteidigung)
  4. GDR Border Troops (Grenztruppen der DDR)

Every man served eighteen months of compulsory military service; for the medically unqualified and the conscientious objector, there were the Baueinheiten construction units, established in 1964 in response to political pressure by the national Protestant Church upon the GDR’s government. The armed forces of the GDR also possessed paramilitary reserve forces, such as the Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse (Combat Groups of the Working Class), and from the Stasi, the Ministry for State Security (Mfs —Ministerium für Staatssicherheit), the “Schild und Schwert der Partei” (Shield and Sword of the Party).

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