East Germany Table of Contents
It was during this same period, from 1950 to 1952, that the Ministry of State Security was established. Although set up on a much-reduced scale, the ministry was parallel to the Soviet security police in its general organization and functions. Its operations were more closely supervised and controlled by Soviet agents than those of any other branch of the East German government. Although the details of the ministry's work were shrouded in secrecy, in 1987 it was generally known that it ran East Germany's foreign intelligence network, especially the network in West Germany, in addition to conducting its own clandestine security operations against foreigners and East German citizens. The ministry also had uniformed units in the form of the Emergency Police and the Feliks Dzierzynski Guard Regiment (see Paramilitary Forces , this ch.). As in the case of the armed forces, the Ministry of State Security had its genesis as part of the Ministry of the Interior. However, the Ministry of State Security became a separate ministry on February 8, 1950, before the establishment of the Ministry of Defense.
By early 1953, the fundamental structure of the national security system, which followed the Soviet design, was in place and functioning. Although the system provided the external appearance of national sovereignty, its degree of autonomy was called into question in the uprising of 1953, when the disappointing performance of the People's Police in quelling the rebellion resulted in tightened Soviet control.
Data as of July 1987