A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 148: East German Statement at
the Committee of Ministers of Defense Meeting
in Budapest, November 27–29, 1989

The statement below, delivered by East Germany's Defense Minister Adm. Theodor Hoffmann to his fellow Warsaw Pact defense ministers shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, shows that the East German army had become paralyzed by events and was in danger of disintegrating. His call for reform in order to draw the army closer to the people and confirm its loyalty to the Pact alludes to the delicacy of the situation, but he clearly still believes that the GDR and the alliance can and should be preserved. Gorbachev, too, held to this view at the time.

"…"

As you know, my appointment as minister of national defense occurred in a difficult situation for our country and our armed forces. It is the result of a deep crisis of our party and is linked to the renewal of our whole society.

"…"

We are currently designing a thorough military reform. Its main goal is to better emphasize the character of the National People's Army as an army of the entire people, and to address the new defense adjustment to the new conditions.

In the course of all this, many general problems are still under discussion.

However, it is absolutely clear that we will remain loyal to our duties to the alliance, and that we will further develop close cooperation with the Soviet army and the other armies of the Warsaw Treaty member-states.

"…"

We also agree "with Army General Petr G. Lushev, supreme commander of the Unified Forces" that the political initiatives and practical measures by the memberstates of the Warsaw Treaty have succeeded in improving the dialogue between the Warsaw Treaty and NATO, and the international atmosphere, to a certain extent.

However, it cannot be ignored that the ongoing process of military détente in Europe is not yet irreversible and remains complicated.

"…"

Also, NATO continues to realize its programs for expanding forces and equipment with highly modern technology and armaments, although it had indicated a certain readiness for disarmament in Vienna.

We have to take this contradictory attitude into account in preparing the concept of the development of our forces from 1991 to 1995, and on to the year 2000.

"…"

"Source: DVW 1/71052, BA-MA. Translated by Karen Riechert."

-664-

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