|Prime Minister of German Democratic Republic|
21 September 1964 – 3 October 1973
|Preceded by||Otto Grotewohl|
|Succeeded by||Horst Sindermann|
29 October 1976 – 7 November 1989
|Preceded by||Horst Sindermann|
|Succeeded by||Hans Modrow|
|Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic|
3 October 1973 – 29 October 1976
|Prime Minister||Horst Sindermann|
|Preceded by||Walter Ulbricht|
|Succeeded by||Erich Honecker|
9 July 1914|
Berlin, German Empire
|Died||13 April 1999
|Political party||KPD (1928–1946)
Willi Stoph (German pronunciation: [ˈvɪli ˈʃtoːf]; 9 July 1914 – 13 April 1999) was an East German politician. He served as Prime Minister (Chairman of the Council of Ministers) of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1964 to 1973, and again from 1976 until 1989.
Stoph was born in Berlin in 1914; his father died the following year in World War I. In 1928, Stoph joined the Communist Youth League of Germany (Kommunistischer Jugendverband Deutschlands; KJVD) and in 1931 he joined the Communist Party of Germany. He also served in the Wehrmacht from 1935 to 1937, and again during World War II from 1940 to 1945. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and rose to the rank of Unteroffizier.
Following the establishment of the GDR in 1949, Stoph became a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) and member of the Volkskammer in 1950. He served as Interior Minister from 9 May 1952 to 1 July 1955, and Defense Minister from 18 January 1956 to 14 July 1960. Stoph was the first defense minister of East Germany. As such, he was awarded the rank of Armeegeneral.
From 1964 to 1973, he was Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Ministerrat). After the death of Walter Ulbricht in 1973, Stoph became Chairman of the Council of State, and thus, head of state of the GDR. After Volkskammer elections in 1976, the state and party leadership structure was re-arranged, and Stoph once again became Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
For the most part, Stoph was a loyal supporter of SED leader Erich Honecker. However, he joined the plot to remove him in October 1989. At the Politburo meeting at which Honecker was voted out, Stoph made the motion to depose Honecker and replace him with Egon Krenz. A month later, on 7 November, Stoph and his entire 44-member cabinet resigned in response to public pressure. On 8 November, the Central Committee of the SED nominated Hans Modrow as Stoph's replacement. Stoph was subsequently arrested for corruption in December 1989. In a desperate attempt to rebuild its image, the Party of Democratic Socialism, successor to the SED, expelled Stoph in January 1990. He was later spared detention due to health reasons. In 1994, a court in Berlin decided that he should not get back his seized savings of 200,000 DM.
- "East German ministries". Rulers. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. New York City: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-375-42532-2.
- Saxon, Wolfang (22 April 1999). "Willi Stoph, 84, Premier, Twice, in East Germany". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
|Prime Minister of East Germany
|Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic
|Prime Minister of East Germany