Cracks Widen: East Germany D+16 (25 July, 1987) Part II

The motivations behind the bold action Heinz Kessler took early on D+16 stemmed largely from personal rivalry and a desire for personal political gain. To say the Ministries of Defense and State Security were rivals would be a gross understatement. The relationship between the two had been irrevocably severed for years, fueled by professional, as well personal antipathies. This was evident at the ministerial level as well. Kessler and his State Security counterpart Erich Mielke were bitter rivals and war had not placed a moratorium on their bitter feud. If anything, it only provided additional fuel to a growing conflagration.

Every setback for GDR military forces on the battlefield was transformed into a weapon for Mielke to use against Kessler. In daily briefings to his fellow Central Committee and National Defense Council members, Mielke went out of his way to exaggerate the casualty numbers and the amount of physical damage being inflicted on the GDR. Mielke was focused on undermining the Ministry of Defense wherever and however possible, and solidify the standing of himself and the Stasi in the eyes of the General Secretary. Erich Honecker was a hardline communist who had embraced Gregori Romanov’s ascent to power in the Soviet Union and had similar designs for East Germany in the future. His contemporaries had other ideas though. Among the hierarchy of the GDR political system           it was widely accepted that Honecker was the past and not the future of either the party or the nation. This is where the rivalry between Kessler and Mielke was destined to reach its apex. Both were set on being that future.

Kessler intended to use Pelkwitz to his advantage. He arrived at the general secretary’s office twenty minutes before Mielke. Enough time to make his initial report and make certain his initial arrangements were set in placed. The first part of his report to Honecker did not deviate from the truth: A Stasi officer was gunned down by a KdA (Combat Groups of the Working Class) NCO in the village of Pelkwitz. Following a failed search for a downed NATO pilot in the area, the Stasi officer decided to take a number of the village residents in for questioning. By chance, some of the citizens selected were family members of the KdA soldiers. When they refused to follow the officer’s orders, things grew tense. The Stasi officer, a lieutenant named Rausch, physically grabbed a teenager and dragged him to towards a waiting BTR. The teen resisted, naturally and Rausch shot him. A KdA soldier killed Rausch seconds after.

Next came the fabrications. Kessler told Honecker that word of the shooting was already spreading far and wide around the GDR. A number of KdA and reserve units were reportedly near revolt, having arrested or otherwise neutralized their Stasi liaisons.  As of 0100 four reserve motor-rifle regiments and three airbases were not answering radio calls from the Ministry of Defense. Kessler wasn’t certain if this was due to NATO air attacks or something more disquieting.

He laid the blame squarely on Mielke’s shoulders, telling the general secretary none of this would’ve happened if the Ministry of State Security had a handle on its officers. Keesler wanted to move fast to avoid this situation from worsening. He requested that the general secretary convene the National Defense Council at once to formulate a plan. Honecker was nonplussed and asked his defense chief to explain himself clearly.

“A plan to protect the government and make certain the military remains invulnerable for the time being. Comrade General Secretary,” he summed up carefully. “It is my belief that the Minister of State Security plans to use the Pelkwitz incident as a reason to seize control of the armed services and the government. If Mielke is not stopped, he will be sitting in your chair and giving orders by the time the sun rises.”

Author’s Note: Looks like a third entry will be required. Sorry about that, but there is a lot going on in the GDR. 😊

11 Replies to “Cracks Widen: East Germany D+16 (25 July, 1987) Part II”

  1. Very interesting how quickly the things are falling apart for the Warsaw Pact. In a question out of this… What is happening in El Salvador? I remember that in Red Dawn it fell along with Honduras against the Soviets.

    P.S.= Hello everyone in this blog :D, I have made a map in Google My Maps to help everyone to find every location mentioned in the blog. If you find an incorrectly positioned place, you can send me an email so I can correct it, I’m still editing it, adding the new places and correcting it. I hope that you like it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Two weeks of war added to the longstanding problems in the Soviet satellite states came together and are pushing things in the Pact nations.
      El Salvador is pretty quiet. Nicaragua was threatening Honduras earlier in the war but El Salvador has remained untouched!

      Alex, this map is awesome! Thanks so much. I’ll go through it and see if there are any issues that need to be changed. But so far, I don’t see any and its great!


        1. Yeah, when I readed the Nicaraguan threatenings and the A-37 that was shot down, I turned my head towards the country. At this year my father entered in service in the Salvadoran army so, you got my attention.

          Glad that you liked the map, and dont worry, I got enough fun doing it 😀

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yeah, when I read the Nicaraguan threatenings I turned my head to the country. My father entered military service in that year so, you really got my attention.

          Jaja, don’t worry, I’ve had enough funny making the map :D… and I’m still too young.

          Liked by 1 person

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