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.