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Failure To Command: The Political Underpinnings Of The Failure Of The Nationale Volksarmee As A Social Institution

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the policies of the &t;Leading Role&t; and Einzelleitung as causes of command problems within the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA). It makes some observations from the snapshots of political life within the NVA, observations that raise further questions about the role of the party in the more pervasive civilian structures of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) itself. The party knew the extent of their problems in the NVA and continued to try to solve them until the fall of the Berlin Wall. The author argues that similar processes were going on in parallel in every social and political structure in the GDR. The use of party organizations and political officers within the units of the NVA, along with their exploitation through independent chains of command direct to the Politbüro, had a significant constraining effect on the development of commanders, professional officers, and non-commissioned officers (NCOs).

Keywords: German Democratic Republic (GDR); Nationale Volksarmee (NVA); non-commissioned officers (NCOs); Politbüro; political structure



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