ABSTRACT

SED functionaries used to joke cynically that ‘Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser.’ (Roughly, ‘Trust is good, but surveillance is better.’) This re­ vealed that ultimately they did not trust the people in whose name they ruled. Following the Soviet example, they justified the building up of an organ responsible for such surveillance, the Ministry for State Security (MfS), Erich Mielke’s personal empire. In addition, the DVP carried responsibilities in this direction. Thirdly, the SED regarded itself as having the ultimate responsibility for the security of the GDR.