Former GDR top brass slam US-NATO policy, anti-Russian rhetoric in open letter

Participants of a rally against NATO's policy by Munich's Rathaus (Town Hall). Several hundred people gathered in the center of the city requiring to put an end to NATO's aggressive police and stop a confrontation with Russia.(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Pesnya)
Former top military commanders of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) penned an open letter on the eve of WWII Victory Day celebrations calling for the US and NATO to refrain from Cold War policies and cooperate with Russia to solve the Ukrainian crisis.

More than 100 top brass of the ex-GDR, which dissolved after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, slammed American and North Atlantic alliance leaders for using military power in the resolution of conflicts. Titled “Soldiers for Peace,” the open letter was presented in Berlin on Tuesday.

“We witness War becoming a permanent companion of humanity once again. The new world order that the USA and their allies have been trying to establish has recently led to nothing but new wars – in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, in Iraq, Yemen and Sudan, in Libya and Somalia. These wars claimed the lives of more than two million people and forced even more out of their homes,” the letter said.

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Former German generals pointed to NATO’s “intensive militarization of Europe” saying that war “has returned” to the continent.

“The United States as well as the other NATO members have recently returned to the policy of the Cold War and they justify it by imaginary Russian aggression,” said former GDR defense minister Theodor Hoffmann during the presentation of the open letter on Tuesday.

"For decades we ensured peace together with our brothers in arms in the Warsaw Pact, and we are proud that we managed to keep the peace this time, only to see it dismantled," said Manfred Graetz, former Deputy Minister of Defense to RT.

“The aim of the American strategy consists in defeating Russia as a competitor to the US as well as in weakening the EU. The US hopes to isolate Russia and to corrode its ties to Europe and particularly to Germany by admitting Ukraine to NATO,” the letter reads.

"They are surrounding Russia from all sides - even today there are already bases just several hundred kilometers from Moscow and St.Petersburg,"Manfred Volland, Lieutenant-General in GDR armed forces told RT.

"Ukraine will be the launching ground for the complete encirclement," said Graetz.

The East German commanders also blamed the US and their allies for launching an “unprecedented media campaign,” which aims to “to win the trust of people in western countries over to their cause.”

“And those taking part in this campaign are just irredeemable politicians and corrupt journalists that stir up hostility, hatred and war hysteria,” the letter states.

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“We are set against military power becoming a key instrument in modern international politics. We are absolutely sure that urgent political problems cannot be resolved by military means.”

Among the signatories are two former GDR defense ministers, three former Chiefs of Staff of the National People’s Army (NPA), 19 lieutenant generals, 61 major generals and several admirals.

“Most signatories of our plea fought at the fronts of WWII and know exactly that war can by no means be a political instrument,” Hoffmann said.

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He pointed out that any “participation of the modern German army in conflicts and wars waged by the West, even if it is just a sort of logistical support, runs counter to an agreement between the former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl and the then East Germany leader Erich Honecker [signed on September 8, 1987], which provided that no war would be ever launched by Germany.”

The letter also stated that a new war in Europe will inevitably lead to unprecedented damage due to the destructive power of the modern arms, even turning the continent into a “lifeless wasteland.”

“Have the numerous victims of the Second World War already been forgotten? Do modern Europeans no longer remember the devastation, the many refugees and unending suffering of the people engendered by WWII? Have the latest US and NATO wars not claimed enough people’s lives?” the letter says.

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The former top brass emphasize in their statement that it was the Soviet army and the Soviet people that “carried the heaviest burden in defeating fascism” and “now, on the 70th anniversary of the Victory in Europe day, we should express our gratitude to them.”

The West needs to cooperate with Moscow to solve international issues, the letter stressed, urging for a “peaceful dialogue and not combative rhetoric.” It also points out that the EU shouldn’t depend on the US in issues of military security.

“Instead of the NATO ‘Rapid Deployment force’ near the Russian border we need more tourist and youth exchanges as well as peace conferences between us and our eastern neighbor,” it adds.

There are plans to distribute the letter among members of the German parliament as well send it to the embassies of NATO countries in Germany. The organizers of the campaign also plan to send the text to Russia, so leaflets can be handled out at the Red Square parade marking the 70th V-Day anniversary on May 9 in Moscow.

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