Kasernierte Volkspolizei

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Standard-bearer of the Kasernierte Volkspolizei during an SED convention, 1954.

The Kasernierte Volkspolizei (KVP, German for Barracked People's Police) was the precursor to the National People's Army (NVA) in East Germany. Their original headquarters was in Adlershof locality in Berlin, and from 1954 in Strausberg in modern day Brandenburg. They ceased to exist after 1956, having been transformed into the NVA, but are often confused with the later paramilitary police units, the Volkspolizei-Bereitschaft.

In October 1948 the Soviet Military Administration in Germany formed the Alert Police (Bereitschaftspolizei), a force of armed units housed in barracks and trained in military fashion. The force consisted of forty units with 100  – 250 men each, the units were subordinated to provincial authorities. Many of the officers and men were recruited from among German POWs held in the Soviet Union.

In November 1948 the German Interior Administration (Deutschen Verwaltung des Innern, DVdI) took responsibility over the force (and the border troops) and included them in section named Hauptabteilung Grenzpolizei und Bereitschaften (HA GP/B). The section was renamed to Verwaltung für Schulung (VfS) on 25 August 1949,[1] to Hauptverwaltung für Ausbildung (HVA) on 15 October 1949[2] and to Kasernierte Volkspolizei (KVP) on June 1, 1952[3]

In addition to ground troops HVA and KVP also included a separate naval and air arm. In December 1952 KVP membership was up to 90,250. The communist party and Soviet military authorities exercised strict ideological control over the force.

On 1 March 1956 the KVP units were transformed into the newly established army of East Germany, the National People's Army (NVA), and transferred to the Ministry of National Defence. Soon afterwards, the Ministry of Internal Affairs again formed its own paramilitary force – the Volkspolizei-Bereitschaften. These were again armed as motorised infantry, with anti-tank weapons and so on, but were primarily employed on internal security and public order duties.

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