ORE 51-49

Published 26 May 1949


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1. This copy of this publication is for the information and use of the recipient designated on the front cover and of individuals under the Jurisdiction of the recipient's office who require the information for the performance of their official duties. Further dissemination elsewhere in the department to other offices which require the Information for the performance of official duties may be authorized by the following:

a. Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence, for the Department of State
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Office of the President
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ORE 51-49


[Note: The intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Army, Navy, and the Air Force have concurred in this report. The information herein is as of 5 May 1949]


The purpose of this paper is, first, to describe the mechanism of Soviet control in Germany, and secondly, to estimate the effectiveness of this mechanism.

Since the collapse of the Third Reich, the USSR has attempted to create in Germany—particularly in the eastern zone—a political and economic system through which it could exercise an indirect but complete control, even under conditions of nominal German independence. The components of this system are closely integrated, and function under the supervision of the Soviet authorities in East Germany. For convenience of discussion, however, the political and economic control organizations in eastern Germany, and the Communist organization in Western Germany are here considered separately.

The Soviet organization for political control of East Germany follows a pattern similar to that employed for that purpose by the Nazi regime, a combination of police forces and a dominant political party. It is estimated that the USSR would need a loyal security police force and party apparatus—as well as a number of Soviet personnel in plain clothes—in order to exert certain control of East Germany in the event of Soviet troop withdrawal. The training and organization of such a mechanism may be impossible to achieve in the immediate future. This does not mean, however, that the USSR would not withdraw troops from Eastern Germany because its control mechanism was not adequate, if other factors made such a withdrawal expedient. Even thereafter, the USSR would probably have to maintain under various guises close supervision of the mechanism to insure its reliability.

For economic control of the Soviet Zone, the Soviet Military Administration employs the German Economic Commission, a highly centralized authority. In the economic administrations of the various states in the Zone, each department is subordinated to its corresponding branch in the Commission, winch is thereby enabled to exert a vertical and generally close control over each element of economic activity in the area. The Commission's five main branches, being thus organized, could be adapted with a minimum of delay as economic ministries of an East German state. Although key positions in the German Economic Commission are held by Germans considered comparatively reliable by the Soviet administration, their actual loyalty to Soviet interests is questionable.

In Western Germany, Soviet controls can be exerted only within the relatively weak German Communist Party. This organization, however, is highly centralized and functions under the direction of the Soviet Military Administration and in close liaison with the Socialist Unity Party in the Soviet Zone. At present, the Communist Party in West Germany functions principally as a propaganda medium but possesses a strength disproportionate to its membership because most Germans are apprehensive of a future Soviet occupation of West Germany and the authority the German Communists would probably exercise thereafter. The Communist Party is closely integrated into the control organization which the USSR has established for the Soviet Zone and hopes to extend to all Germany.

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Because the organization for political control now being activated by the USSR follows a pattern similar to that formerly used by the Nazi Party and the Third Reich for control of the approximate area of what is now the Soviet Zone, a comparison of the two systems in that area provides an approximate estimate of the present stage of development of the Soviet organization. Such a comparative estimate is, however, conditioned by the fact that the Nazi organization in 1939 applied to an area not yet suffering the effects of World War II and enjoyed popular support in sharp contrast to the general dislike Germans still feel toward Communism and the USSR. Because of this dislike, the USSR is faced with special difficulties in its imposition of a puppet regime for control of Germany and can rely upon such control only so long as this regime is sustained by the presence of large numbers of Soviet personnel.

a. Devices for Political Control under Nazi Regime.

Under Hitler, the control organization for the area approximating the present Soviet Zone had two parallel and coordinated systems: the military and police organs, acting as the executive arm of the Third Reich, and the structure of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and its affiliated organizations.

Military and state police control of this area in 1939 was exerted through garrisons of troops, SS formations, and the regular police (including the Gestapo). The total strength of these police organs was approximately 180,000. In relation to the population, the ratio was about 1:83.

In addition to these governmental controls, the German population was supervised by the Nazi Party. All phases of German life were also organized by the various affiliates of this party, and no sizable element of the population could avoid regimentation in one or more of such organizations as the Hitler Youth and the Labor Front.

Spread throughout the Nazi Party and its affiliates were representatives of the party police (SD). These maintained close liaison with the Gestapo, to which they reported all subversion within the party for action by the official German police.

This joint control organization functioned with a high degree of efficiency from 1939 until the latter part of the war, organizing and guiding the German population to exploit its productive capacities to the utmost.


Nazi Organization

(1) Policing Organs

(a) Army garrisons of approximate total strength of 102,000 troops.
(b) Eight Allgemeine SS Abschnitte (zones) each controlling about three SS standarte of 1,600-2,000 men.
(c) About 30,000 members of the official police (Ordnungspolizei).

(Total strength of the policing organs was approximately 180,000. In relation to the population the ratio was about 1:83.)

(2) Party Organs

(a) The Nazi Party, a highly centralized political structure based on the Zell, whose strength was 40-60.
(b) The party affiliates such as German Labor Front (DAF), which successfully regimented the activities of all sizable elements of the population in the interests of the state.
(c) The party police (SD), whose representatives were spread throughout the party and its affiliates for the purpose of reporting subversion to the state police organs, chiefly the Gestapo.

Soviet Organization

(1) Policing Organs

(a) The Soviet Army of Occupation with a total strength of 345,700 as of 28 Feb. 1949.
(b) The German paramilitary police, operating under the Ministry of the Interior and including about 15,000 Bereitschaftpolizei and about 12,000 Border Police.
(c) Criminal police and their subsection, the political police, also under the Ministry of the Interior. (Total actual German police strength, including the para-military police, is estimated as of March 1949 at about 102,000. In relation to the population the ratio of German police is about 1:196. The ratio of German police plus Soviet Occupation personnel to the population is about 1:40.)

(2) Party Organs

(a) The Socialist Unity Party, a theoretically centralized political structure, with a basic unit slightly larger than the Nazi Zell, but with little popular support.
(b) The mass organizations, controlled by members of the SED, such as the Free German Trade-Union League (FDGB), have wide membership but slight actual support.
(c) For party police the USSR relies on various types of control commissions, which are set up on all but the most subordinate party level. In addition, other less conspicuous groups may also be used for surveillance. These control commissions probably have some connection with the Criminal Police Department of the German Ministry of the Interior.

Note: Estimates of police strength in the Soviet Zone are from the. L.D., Department of the Army.

b. Agencies of Soviet Political Control,

The organization for political control now being prepared by the USSR is in general similar to that employed by the Third Reich, as can be observed from the introductory chart. Two parallel and theoretically coordinated systems are being set up: (1) the German Administration of the Interior (GAI), which not only exerts quasi-governmental police controls but also controls the Central Administration for Justice, and (2) the Communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party (SED) and its affiliates.

In addition to its own army of occupation, with units stationed at all key points and Soviet personnel for surveillance of all German organizations (total strength 345,700 as of 28 February 1949) .the USSR employs the following as executive organs of the German Ministry of the Interior.

(1) The para-military German police, composed of the Border Police and the internal security components (Bereitschaftpolizei). As of March 1949, total Bereitschaftpolizei strength was estimated at 15,000 as a maximum. Total strength of the Border Police is believed to be about 12,000.

(2) The regular police (Ordnungspolizei). The present ratio of the Ordnungs-polizei to the population is not known. Total actual German police strength, however, including the para-military police, is estimated at about 102,000. In relation to the German population, therefore, the ratio of security control is about 1:196, as compared to the ratio of 1:83 under the Nazi regime. The ratio of German police plus Soviet occupation personnel to the population is about 1:40.

In addition to powers exercised by the Soviet. Army and the Interior Ministry, the USSR Is attempting, in order to supplement its control of the Soviet Zone, to make the Socialist Unity Party (SED) and its affiliates into a reliable Communist-controlled party structure similar to the Nazi Party. Theoretically the party structure is built on a basic unit slightly larger than the Nazi Party cell of 40-60 members. The SED has a wide membership but has failed to attract real popular support, and its rank and file are either apathetic or hostile to the party and its programs. Implementation of party policies is in the hands of a minority of Communists and pro-Soviet opportunists. Supplementary to the SED, the USSR is endeavoring to create mass organizations controlled by Communist or pro-Soviet elements, which would regiment the German population in support of Soviet-Communist policies, or at least reduce opposition to the present regime. Various front organizations, ostensibly non-political, have been employed, such as the Free German Trade Union Federation and the Free German Youth. In addition, the USSR has used the surviving remnants of non-Communist political parties and various Soviet-created political groups. Staffed by pro-Soviet elements, these organizations have a wide membership but have almost no actual support from the population.

(3) For close supervision of the SED and its affiliates, the USSR relies on various types of control commissions, having surveillance functions and set up on all except the most subordinate party level functioning as a cell within their respective party headquarters, these probably have direct or indirect connection with the Criminal Police Department of the Interior Ministry. Though the efficiency of this system of control commissions has been gradually improving, it does not appear to be very great.

c. Relative Difficulty of Soviet Political Control. 

The present control organization for the Soviet Zone, although designed to promote a concerted effort of the population, has been obliged to function for the repression of anti-Soviet elements. Lacking the loyalty and support of the German people, it has not yet even remotely approached the high degree of efficiency of the Nazi control organization.

Because of German hostility, it is estimated that the USSR would need a loyal security police force and party apparatus—as well as a number of Soviet personnel in plain clothes—in order to exert certain control of East Germany in the event of Soviet troop withdrawal The training and organization of such a mechanism may be impossible to achieve in the immediate future, at least during 1949. (This does not mean, however, that the USSR would not withdraw troops from Eastern Germany because its control mechanism was not adequate, if other factors made such a withdrawal expedient.) The "reliability" of para-military police forces, even if they were increased to more than double the present figure, would be doubtful in the event of a complete Soviet troop withdrawal. Because of nationalistic and anti-Soviet tendencies, already evident in the present control organization, it is doubtful that the USSR can, within the next few years, find sufficient "loyal" Germans to staff its control mechanism adequately or effectively. The Soviet control will, therefore, be ineffective unless the USSR maintains in Germany for an indefinite period the Soviet personnel presently believed to be infiltrated within the control mechanism at all levels.

At present the USSR keeps its control organizations almost entirely separated, except for high-level coordination and policy directives of the political bureau of the SED. By continuing this policy the USSR can forestall the integration of the administrative agencies in a future East German state which otherwise might be more likely to develop strong nationalistic tendencies.


In order to raise the level of industrial production in the Soviet Zone and thereby increase the volume of commodities which can be drained from the Zone for Soviet use, the USSR has imposed a master plan, known as the Two-Year Plan, whose production schedules are similar to those employed in the USSR itself. This plan was introduced through the SED, which, as has previously been pointed out, serves as a major vehicle for Soviet political control within the Zone. Execution of this plan, to which the entire economy of the Soviet Zone is subordinated, has been entrusted to the German Economic Commission (DWK).

The DWK, like the SED, is little more than a German appendage of the Soviet Military Administration. A highly centralized administrative agency, it controls almost all production and distribution of goods in the Soviet Zone. (The major exception is the SAG, or Soviet Corporation, which controls about twenty percent of the major Soviet Zone industries.)

The DWK is divided into five main branches, which are in turn subdivided into numerous departments covering ail aspects of economic activity within the Zone. Within each state of the Zone, the economic departments of the state government have been subordinated directly to their corresponding functional branches in the Commission. By reason of this direct subordination, the branches of the DWK are able to exercise a vertical control over all economic enterprises in the Zone.

Within the DWK, authority appears to be vested in two experienced (Communists: the chairman, Heinrich Rau, and the deputy chairman, Fritz Selbmann, whose decisions and acts, however, are subject to the approval of the Soviet Military Administration. Actually, internal policy Is probably made in a Secretariat composed of the chiefs of the five main branches of the DWK, together with representatives from the various front and party organizations. The German Administration of the Interior (GAT) has some measure of control over the DWK through the Central Control Commission of nine members appointed jointly by the chairman of the DWK and the president of the GAI. This commission has wide powers of Investigation and dismissal, ostensibly to eliminate bureaucracy and to counter economic sabotage. The commission probably functions as a surveillance agency within the DWK and appears to have close liaison with the Criminal Police Division of the Interior Ministry. In each Land, there is a similar Control Committee, subordinate to the Central Control Commission.

Key positions in the DWK bureaucracy are held by "reliable" Germans, most of whom belong to the SED. Continuing purges have greatly reduced the number of DWK personnel who were not also members of that party. Such purging, however, will probably not increase the loyalty of the DWK, either to the SED or to the USSR . Several cases of misappropriation of goods on a large scale by responsible DWK officials have occurred in consumer goods industries; production quotas have not been satisfactorily fulfilled; and raw material allocations have been diverted to non-scheduled consumers. Although available information on the efficiency of the DWK organization is limited, it is believed that because of the bureaucratic nature of the agency, and because of the opportunistic attitude of many of its officials, its over-all efficiency is not very great.

The primary significance of the DWK at present lies in its immediate availability as a government for the Soviet Zone. Because its five main branches are organized vertically, they could, without delay, become the economic ministries of an East German state. Together with the Interior Ministry and its satellite Central Administration for Justice, as well as the Central Administration for Education, the DWK already functions as a de facto government under Soviet supervision. Imposition of a pseudo-democratic legislative body at the top of the control organization and official recognition by the Eastern bloc are the only two factors not yet supplied by the USSR for the creation of an East German government.


The Communist Party (KPD) of Western Germany is closely integrated into the system which the USSR has set up for control of the Soviet Zone and hopes to extend over all Germany. The Dreizonenvorstand (DZV), the headquarters of the western Communist Party, has been given wide latitude in the field of policy-making during the past year. Previously, the DZV was definitely subordinated to the Central Secretariat of the SED in Berlin, which may still retain some final authority on fundamental issues. The DZV maintains rigid party discipline and enforces compliance with its instructions on all subordinate party levels. Its members are called to Berlin to confer on broad policy with the SED Politburo, and both presumably take their directives from the Soviet Military Administration. Communications between Berlin and the DZV are handled by a branch of the organization section of the SED Central Secretariat under the direction of an old-time Communist, Richard Stahlmann.

The KPD is a highly centralized organization of approximately 350,000 members. Since 1945 it has consistently sought to wrest from the Socialists the control of German labor in the hope of creating a revolutionary situation and obstructing German economic recovery, and has tried vigorously to win the support of the West German public by Communist propaganda. In neither effort have the Communists achieved marked success. German labor has remained predominantly Socialist, and, to a large extent, has withdrawn its support from the KPD. The numerous Communist propaganda campaigns have proved generally ineffective. The KPD has been the palpable tool of the USSR for too long to win over any sizable segment of the German public Paradoxically, however, fear of the USSR is the principal source of KPD strength. Although they are anti-Soviet and anti-Communist, most Germans, always apprehensive of a future Soviet occupation of Western Germany and consequent reprisals by the Communists, will go to considerable lengths to avoid antagonizing the KPD.

In an attempt to reduce distrust of the KPD and allow it to pursue policies divergent from those of the SED, the headquarters of both parties have published communiques announcing the formal dissolution of the KPD/SED working alliance. Each party is ostensibly to operate independently in the future. The top levels of the KPD now receive policy directives from the SMA in Berlin, although the lower echelons will probably continue to cooperate with their counterparts in the Soviet Zone.

The post-1945 KPD is much weaker than the pre-1933 party in membership, financial resources, and capability for illegal activities. Its pre-1933 clandestine organization, the Illegal or Kippenberger Apparat, was liquidated by the Gestapo, and few survivors have returned to Germany. As a result, the personnel needed to rebuild an efficient illegal organization would have to be trained and organized on a long-term basis. At present, some covert activity is conducted by the Organization and Personnel sections of the KPD at various party levels, but no organization similar to the old Apparat has appeared. The various measures now being taken by the Party to tighten control over the rank and file may be designed to form an organization which would be similar to the Apparat and capable of going underground.

Since the currency reform in June 1948, the KPD has had considerable difficulty in meeting Party expenses, previously covered by funds from the Soviet Zone. The Party's regular and dependable income results from the sale of its propaganda publications and from collection of party membership dues, on which great emphasis is now placed.

Other sources of KPD income are the sale of various commodities smuggled from the Soviet Zone, and donations from individuals desiring to insure themselves against the dangers inherent in a possible future Soviet occupation of the Western Zones. By the use of pamphlets and newspapers shipped or smuggled from the Soviet Zone, the KPD has been able to exceed any other political party in the volume of propaganda produced. In addition, the recent importation of a considerable quantity of printing equipment from the Soviet Zone is expected to increase materially the propaganda capabilities of the KPD.

The consolidation of the Communist Parties outside the USSR has been reflected in KPD programs to Increase centralization of the party structure and weed out unreliable elements. New party membership cards, reorganization of the basic party units, and checks on the personnel are all directed toward this goal Although the membership of the party is decreased by such measures, they tend to develop a disciplined and fairly reliable organization.

During coming months, KPD propaganda will be directed chiefly at the "interference" by the Western Powers in German affairs, as evidenced by the Ruhr Authority, the Occupation Statute, and the terms of trizonal fusion. All incidents of friction between the Occupation Powers and the Germans will be aggressively attacked. Presumably the KPD will have two objectives: exploitation of the general German resentment against occupation controls, and preparation for an eventual East German state claiming national sovereignty. Although KPD tactics may somewhat heighten German resentment against occupation controls, the KPD is not expected, under present conditions, to improve either its capabilities or its party strength.