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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Creation of the National Defense Forces under the Ministry of the Interior

In the initial stages of reorganization, the nonmilitary units of the People's Police, the Border Police, and the Transport Police were subordinated to the Main Administration of the People's Police within the Ministry of the Interior. The Alert Units of the KVP were assigned to the Main Administration of Training as the first step toward creation of the NVA and the Ministry of Defense.

In the spring of 1950, the process of dividing the Alert Units into separate branches of the armed services was initiated. The first pilot training occurred at an aviation club at Lausitz, and shortly thereafter Special Section 2 of the KVP was created as the nucleus of the East German air force. In 1952 Special Section 2 was redesignated Main Administration for Air Police.

A similar process established East Germany's navy. On June 15, 1950, the existence of the Main Administration of Sea Police (Hauptverwaltung Seepolizei) was announced formally. Headquartered at Berlin-Niederschöneweide, the Sea Police initially were responsible for protection of fisheries and for antismuggling activities. A school for sailors established at Kühlungsborn, a school for petty officers at Parow, and an officer training school at Stralsund--all on the Baltic Coast--provided the basis for the future navy. By 1952 the Sea Police had assumed the additional duties of minesweeping in coastal waters and, in cooperation with the Border Police, surveillance of the sea. Until shipyards--which began operation in 1952--could launch new ships, the Sea Police were limited to a few German World War II patrol boats and minesweepers turned over to them by the Soviets.

The ground forces were structured on the light infantry battalions of the KVP and subordinated to the Main Administration of Garrisoned People's Police. Except for resubordination of the Border Police, the KVP changed the least of the three services.

Organization and training for all services closely adhered to the Soviet model, and Soviet advisers were present at all levels down to battalion. Although much of the equipment and most of the weapons were initially of German World War II vintage, there was an increasingly rapid introduction of newer Soviet matériel. In a move to assert a separate identity, the East German leadership introduced unique uniforms, similar to the Soviet field uniforms, to differentiate the armed forces from the police forces.

Data as of July 1987