From Confrontation to Cooperation

The Takeover of the National People's (East German) Army by the Bundeswehr

by Frederick Zilian, Jr.


An indepth analysis of the Takeover of the National Peoples (East German) Army by the West German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr).

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Cover image for From Confrontation to Cooperation

September 1999


Pages 256
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/General

At midnight on October 2, 1990, the West German armed forces took over the approximately 90,000 men comprising the National People's (East German) Army (NVA) and assumed control of its substantial arsenal. This study is an analysis of that unification from its beginning in July 1990 to the end of summer of 1993 when all applications for future service of former NVA officers and non-commissioned officers had been processed. Using numerous un-published sources and interviews, the author addresses the following areas: the organization used by the Bundeswehr and the political control exerted in the Takeover, the key decisions reached and the explanation of these decisions, the relationship of the Takeover to the new Army Structure 5 being implemented at the time, and the effect of the Takeover on the Bundeswehr's operational readiness, especially its ability to perform its new tasks identified in the spring 1991.

The first scholarly study of the Takeover, this study focuses on 11 key decisions, made not only for military reasons, but also for political, economic, social, and psychological purposes. Overall, the Takeover was a success in light of the numerous goals it achieved while avoiding the outbreak of violence. The Bundeswehr achieved this success mainly because it relied on liberal democratic principles, including those comprising the unique German concept of Innere F^Duhrung (civic education and moral leadership). This book also provides an overall evaluation of the Takeover and contributes to theory-building on army amalgamations.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Lieutenant General Werner von Scheven (Retired)PrefaceAbbreviationsIntroductionAmalgamation Case Studies and TheoryThe Political SettingThe Military SettingOrganization and Political ControlManagement and Force Structure DecisionsPersonnel DecisionsTraining and Education DecisionsEquipment and Facilities DecisionsThe Takeover and the "New Tasks" of the BundeswehrConclusionAppendix A: Key Figures in the TakeoverAppendix B: Army Structure 5Appendix C: Peacetime Organization of the German Army in 1994Selected BibliographyIndex



Zilian's book is especially strong when it comes to explaining the structural modifications that were introduced by the West Germans in taking over the NVA....that does such an excellent job of explaining the process from the West German standpoint....Zilian writes well, explains intricate changes without putting the reader to sleep, and has clearly done his homework. All in all, this is an indispensable book for anyone seriously interested in understanding the problems involved in taking officers and NCO's from a totalitarian military and introducing them to the norms and policies of a democratic polity.—The Journal of Military History

A well-researched, thoughtful piece of contemporary history about the unique amalgamation of two disparate armies.—Foreign Military Studies Office Book Reviews

...this is the story of remarkable event, which is admirably described.—The Historian


The presentation is balanced and forceful.—General (Retired) J^Dorg Sch^Donbohm^LFormer Commanding General^LEastern Federal Armed Forces Command

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