Stoph, Willi

Stoph, Willi

(vĭl`ē shtôf), 1914–99, East German political leader. A member of the German Communist party from 1931, he helped build the East German Socialist Unity (Communist) party after World War II. In 1953 he was named to the party's politburo. Stoph served (1952–55) as minister of internal affairs and (1956–60) as minister for national defense, in which capacity he developed the East German army. After serving as deputy chairman of the council of ministers (1954–64), he became chairman, or prime minister, in 1964. In Mar., 1970, he met with West German Chancellor Willy BrandtBrandt, Willy
, 1913–92, German political leader. His name originally was Karl Herbert Frahm. Active in his youth in the Social Democratic party, after Adolf Hitler came to power (1933) he fled to Norway and began a journalistic career, soon becoming a Norwegian citizen.
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 and initiated negotiations for a nonaggression treaty and the normalization of relations; it was the first meeting between leaders of East and West Germany. He was replaced (1973) as prime minister by Horst Sindermann and given the ceremonial position of chairman of the Council of State. In 1976 Stoph was reappointed chairman of the council of ministers. He was expelled from the post in 1989, in the midst of unrest that led to the collapse of the Communist dictatorship and the subsequent electoral defeat of the Communist party (Mar., 1990).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stoph, Willi


Born July 9, 1914, in Berlin. Party and state figure of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Hero of Labor of the GDR.

The son of a worker, Stoph was a mason by trade. He joined the Communist Youth League in 1928 and the Communist Party of Germany in 1931. Under the fascist dictatorship (1933–45) he actively opposed the Nazi regime. After the defeat of fascism he engaged in high-level party and administrative work.

From 1945 to 1948, Stoph headed several departments of the German Central Administration for Industry. In 1950 he became a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). He was a secretary of the party’s Central Committee from 1950 to 1953, when he became a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee. In 1950 he became a deputy to the People’s Chamber of the GDR, and from 1950 to 1952 he served as chairman of of its commission on economic affairs.

Stoph was minister of the interior from 1952 to 1955 and minister of national defense from 1956 to 1960. In 1959 he was given the rank of general of the army. He served as deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the GDR from 1954 to 1962, first deputy chairman from 1962 to 1964, and chairman from 1964 to 1973; he became chairman again in 1976. Stoph was a member of the Council of State of the GDR in 1963 and 1964, deputy chairman from 1964 to 1973, and chairman from 1973 to 1976, when he again assumed the post of deputy chairman.

Stoph has been awarded the Order of Karl Marx, other orders and medals of the GDR, and the Order of Lenin.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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