GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
 


 
National People's Army Flags & Standards  •  1949-90
 

Notes
 

The Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic or DDR) was formed in 1949 from the Soviet sector of occupied Germany. The historic black-red-gold tricolor of 1848, which had also been used by the Weimar Republic from 1919 to 1933, was adopted as the flag of the new state. In 1959, however, the arms of the DDR were added to distinguish it from the national flag of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).

The army of the DDR, the Nationale Volksarmee (National People's Army or NVA) was formally established on 1 March 1956. Its initial units, forming the 1st Mechanized Division (later the 1st Motorized Rifle Division) were raised from the Kasernierte Volkspolizei, the paramilitary arm of the Deutsche Volkspolizei. By the late 1960s, the NVA had grown to a force of eleven divisions. Six of these (two tank divisions and four motorized rifle divisions) were maintained at full strength. The remaining five, all motorized rifle divisions, had 100% of their equipment but were manned in peacetime by cadres only; upon mobilization they would be filled out by recalled reservists and personnel from the NVA's training establishments. All these divisions were organized and equipped along Soviet lines. In 1960, the paramilitary Border Guard (Grenztruppen der DDR) was also placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministerium für Nationale Verteidigung (Ministry of National Defense). Initially, the Border Guard was directly incorporated into the NVA; later it was made a separate branch of the armed forces.

The NVA maintained two Guard Regiments in the Berlin area. Wachregiment 1 Friedrich Engels was the NVA's ceremonial unit and was well know for its weekly parade and changing of the honor guard (Großer Wachaufzug) at the Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism in the Neue Wache. Wachregiment 2 Hugo Eberlein was charged with the security of the Ministry of National Defense and several other sites in the Berlin suburb of Strausberg-Nord.

The flags and standards of the NVA displayed the arms of the state within a laurel wreath. Standards (military colors) for the NVA and its units were similar to the service flags, but with the addition of gold fringe and of the motto Für den Schutz der Arbeiten und Bauern Macht ("For the Defense of the Workers' and Peasants' Power"). These standards were carried on a staff with a spearpoint finial and a red cravat with gold fringe. Unit standards bore the name of the unit in the hoist area of the black stripe, and the cravat could be inscribed with any honorary title or citation to which the unit was entitled. Standards for Luftstreitkräfte (Air Force) and Border Guard units were identical to those of the NVA.

The Chairman of the National Defense Council (Nationaler Verteidigungsrat) and the Minister of Defense had square standards. These were used mainly as vehicle flags.

All these flags were abolished in 1990 when the DDR collapsed and was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany.

Note on Nomenclature: Technically, the term Nationale Volksarmee covered all four branches of the GDR armed forces. The ground component of the NVA was called the Landstreitkräfte (Ground Forces). In common parlance, however, Nationale Volksarmee denoted the Ground Forces only.

Flag Proportions: Service flags were made in the traditional German 3:5 proportions. Standards had 4:5 proportions.
 



 

NVA SERVICE FLAG 


 

NVA BORDER GUARD TROOPS SERVICE FLAG

 

UNIT STANDARDS

 

STANDARD OF THE NVA

 

7th TANK DIVISION

 

4th MOTORIZED RIFLE DIVISION

 

1st TANK REGIMENT

 

27th MOTORIZED RIFLE REGIMENT

 

1st GUARD REGIMENT "FRIEDRICH ENGELS"

 

BORDER GUARD COMMAND SOUTH

 

7th BORDER GUARD REGIMENT

 

1st FIGHTER WING

 

APPOINTMENT FLAGS

 

CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL DEFENSE COUNCIL
 

 

 MINISTER OF DEFENSE
 



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