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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Civil Defense

The minister of defense is responsible for Civil Defense, through Lieutenant General Fritz Peter, chief of Civil Defense. As of 1987, there were about 3,000 Civil Defense officers and NCOs, who work on the Civil Defense Staff that exists in each of the country's 15 districts, under military command. These forces take an oath of allegiance that differs only slightly from that of the NVA. The words "of Civil Defense" are added to all rank designations except those for generals. The highest-ranking field-grade officer, for instance, is a colonel of Civil Defense.

In addition to the regular personnel, in 1987 the civil defense program included several hundred thousand civilian volunteers, most of them women, who could be called upon if needed. Training was conducted for three to four hours per year, in five-year cycles, outside working hours. Basically the mission of Civil Defense is to support the armed forces and ensure their ability to operate in the territory of East Germany. In official terms, the principal mission is defined as protection of the public, the economy, vital facilities, and cultural values against the effects of military aggression, agents of mass destruction, and natural catastrophes.

Data as of July 1987