Mutiny in the East German Army

Striking NVA troops as an airforce barracks north of Cottbus. Attribution: Federal Archives, Image 183-1990-0112-304 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

In this riveting account Tilo recounts his experiences as an East German soldier during the final months of East Germany.

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He details the rising political awareness among soldiers, and his fear that his unit will be asked to shoot on demonstrators also provides a personal perspective on the pivotal moments leading up to and following the fall of the Berlin Wall, including attending massive protests and his first visit to West Berlin.

Spurred by a broadcasted precedent of concession to striking soldiers in another barrack, Tilo and his comrades orchestrated what can only be described as a mutiny: a demand for rights, dignity, and acknowledgement of the transformative tide sweeping through East Germany.

The fall of the Berlin Wall is often recounted in grand narratives of geopolitical shifts, but regular Cold War Conversations listeners will know that it is stories like Tilo’s remind us that behind monumental changes are individuals and communities, each contributing to the relentless push towards freedom and dignity.

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