Two Armies and One Fatherland: The End of the Nationale Volksarmee

By Jörg Schönbohm; Peter Johnson et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
AN INTERIM BALANCE SHEET -- BETWEEN HOPE AND RESIGNATION

Thursday, 15 November 1990

At a meeting of commanding officers in Basepol, north of Berlin; the atmosphere is tense, questions are aggressive, particularly those on social security. When I say that officers whose units are to be disbanded on 31 March are still needed after 31 December, I'm faced with the following question: 'General, why should I stay until 31 March to disband my unit? If I leave already on 31 December I get an additional 7,000 Deutschmarks thanks to the increased remuneration which is valid only until then!' My attempt at a counter-argument which is perhaps mathematically correct hardly convinces anyone. Some officers prefer to receive the 7,000 Deutschmarks even if they then become unemployed. 'Why should we go on making an effort,' they add, 'when we're going to be dismissed soon anyway?' Now that they don't know what they are serving for, money is becoming the decisive factor.

In the break several commanders, who have been transferred from the West, talk to me. They fear that they alone will have to ensure the functioning of their units from 1 January as it is totally uncertain which of the former NVA officers will still be there. More and more want to leave on 31 December, although I find considerable readiness to continue. It appears imperative that we superiors talk to the men concerned, direct their attention to their future chances and underline our joint responsibility for the future. Some worries come from lack of knowledge and faulty 94 or belated 94 infor-

-93-

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