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Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS)

Ministry for State Security (STASI)


The Stasi was founded on February 8, 1950. It was like the KGB, and was regarded by them as an extremely loyal and effective partner among the other such agencies of the Warsaw Pact.

Wilhelm Zaisser was the Stasi's first leader, and Erich Mielke his deputy. Zaisser was removed by Walter Ulbricht, the leader of East Germany, in 1953 and replaced by Ernst Wollweber. Wollweber resigned in 1957 after numerous clashes with Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker and was succeeded by his deputy, Erich Mielke.

Also during 1957, Markus Wolf became head of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung (HVA) or Main Administration Reconnaissance, its foreign intelligence section. As intelligence chief, Wolf achieved great success in penetrating the government, political and business circles of West Germany with spies. The most influential case was that of Günter Guillaume which led to the fall of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt. In 1986, Wolf retired and was succeeded by Werner Grossmann.

In 1989, just before the dissolution of East Germany, the Stasi was renamed to the Office for National Security and headed by Stasi general Rudi Mittig.