Conversation: Former GDR officers call for peace in Europe

Appeal: Soldiers for Peace

This photo shows the VIP-grandstand on Karl-Marx Allee during the official military parade in East Berlin on October 7, 1989. Soviet head of state and party leader Mikhail Gorbachev, East German head of state and SED general secretary Erich Honecker, Raisa Gorbacheva, and Willi Stoph, prime minister of the German Democratic Republic can be seen in the middle of the grandstand, among others. The banner in the background reads, “40 Years of the GDR.”

As officers who were in responsible positions in GDR we turn towards the German public in deep sorrow for the preservation of peace and the continuation of civilization in Europe.

In the years of the Cold War, when we experienced a long period of militarisation and confrontation below the threshold of an open conflict, we used our military knowledge and abilities to preserve peace and protect our socialist state, the GDR. The National People´s Army (NVA) didn´t participate in military combats for a single day, and it even played an important part that no weapons were used during the events in 1989/90. Peace was allways the central maxim of our actions. Therefore we decidedly take position against the military factor becoming the decisive instrument of politics again. It´s a confirmed experience that our time´s most urgent questions can´t be solved by military means.

It is needful to remind that the soviet army shouldered the heaviest part of the burden to wrestle down fascism in WW II. 27 million cititzens of the sovjet union gave their lives for this historic victory. They, as their allies, earned our gratitude on the 70th anniversary of liberation.

Now we state that war has reached Europe again. Obviously the US strategy is aimed at eliminating Russia as a competitor and weakening the European Union. During the last years NATO approached ever closer to Russia´s borders. The attempt to include Ukraine into EU and NATO should close the „cordon sanitaire“ from the baltic states down to the black sea, to isolate Russia from the rest of Europe. The American calculation was that this would prevent or impede a German-Russian connection.

To influence public opinion towards this, a media campaign was started that knows no precursor, and incorrigible politicians and corrupted journalists beat the drums of war. In this heated-up atmosphere the role of the Federal Republic of Germany should be to promote peace. This is demanded by it´s geopolitical position as much as by Germany´s historical experiences and the objecitve interests of it´s people. But the demands of the federal president for more military responsibility and the war hysteria and russophobia created by the media contradict that.

The forced militarisation of Eastern Europe isn´t playing with fire – it´s playing with war!

Knowing about the destructive powers of modern wars, and assuming our responsibilities as citizens we declare clearly: Here a crime against humanity has already started.

Have the many dead of WWII, the enourmous destruction all over Europe, the streams of refugees and the endless suffering of the people already forgotten? Haven´t the recent wars of the USA and NATO brought more than enough misery, claimed more than enough human lives?

Don´t they realize what a military confrontation would mean in the densely inhabited European continent?

Hundreds of fighter jets and armed drones, stuffed with bombs and rockets, thousands of tanks and armed vehicles and systems of artillery would be deployed. In the North, the Baltic and the Black Sea modern battle ships would meet, and in the rear nuclear weapons would be prepared. The border between front and rear would vanish. Millions of mothers and children would shed tears for their husbands, fathers and brothers. Millions of victims would be the consequence. Europe would turn into a desert of destruction.

Shall it get to that point? No, and no again!

Therefore we appeal to the German public:

Such a scenario must be prevented.

We don´t need a rhetoric of war, we need a polemic of peace.

We don´t need any deployment of Bundeswehr abroad, or an army of the European Union.

We don´t need more means for military aims, but more means for humanitarian and social needs.

We need no war propaganda against Russia, but we need more reciprocal understanding and a peaceful existence besides and with each other.

We need no military dependency on the US, but our own responsibility for peace. Instead of a „fast deployment force“ of NATO on it´s eastern borders we need more tourism, youth exchange and meetings for peace with our eastern neighbours.

We need a peaceful Germany in a peaceful Europe.

May our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember our generation in this sense.

Because we know very well the meaning of war, we raise our voice against war, for peace.

Army General (ret.). Heinz Keßler

Admiral (ret.) Theodor Hoffmann

Colonel General (ret) Horst Stechbarth; Fritz Streletz; Fritz Peter

Lieutenant General (ret.) Klaus Baarß; Ulrich Bethmann; Max Butzlaff; Manfred Gehmert; Manfred Grätz; Wolfgang Kaiser; Gerhard Kunze; Gerhard Link; Wolfgang Neidhardt; Walter Paduch; Werner Rothe; Artur Seefeldt; Horst Skerra; Wolfgang Steger; Horst Sylla; Ehrenfried Ullmann; Alfred Vogel; Manfred Volland; Horst Zander

Viceadmiral (ret.) Hans Hofmann

Major General (ret.) Olivier Anders; Heinz Bilan; Bernhard Beyer; Günter Brodowsky; Kurt Brunner; Heinz Calvelage; Sebald Daum; Willi Dörnbrack; Alfred Dziewulski; Johannes Fritzsche; Egon Gleau; Otto Gereit; Roland Großer; Peter Herrich; Karl-Heinz Hess; Günter Hiemann; Lothar Hübner; Siegmund Jähn; Günter Jahr; Manfred Jonischkies; Günter Kaekow; Johannes Kaden; Helmut Klabunde; Klaus Klenner; Raimund Kokott; Kurt Kronig; Manfred Lange; Bernd Leistner; Hans Leopold; Klaus Listemann; Heinz Lipski; Hans Georg Löffler; Rudi Mädler; Manfred Merkel; Günter Möckel; Dieter Nagler; Johannes Oreschko; Rolf Pitschel; Hans Christian Reiche; Fritz Rothe; Günter Sarge; Dieter Schmidt; Horst Schmieder; Gerhard Schönherr; Gerhard Seifert; Kurt Sommer; Erich Stach; Manfred Thieme; Wolfgang Thonke; Henry Thunemann; Walter Tzschoppe; Günter Voigt; Gerd Weber; Dieter Wendt; Klaus Wiegand; Heinrich Winkler; Heinz-Günther Wittek; Erich Wöllner; Werner Zaroba; Manfred Zeh; Alois Zieris

Counter Admiral (ret.) Herbert Bernig; Eberhard Grießbach; Hans Heß; Werner Henniger; Klaus Kahnt; Werner Kotte; Helmut Milzow; Gerhard Müller; Joachim Münch

In the name of a great number of ret. Colonels and Captains: Volker Bednara; Frithjof Banisch; Bernd Biedermann; Karl Dlugosch; Thomas Förster; Günter Gnauck; Günter Leo; Friedemann Munkelt; Werner Murzynowski; Gerhard Matthes; Lothar Matthäus; Friedrich Peters; Helmut Schmidt; Fritz Schneider; Heinz Schubert; Helmar Tietze; Wilfried Wernecke; Rolf Zander; Oberstleutnant a.D. Günter Ganßauge

Further soldiers of NVA, officers, ensigns, corporals and privys document their consent.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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