by Shawn Bohannon

27 Feb 1935: Born in Gustävel/Kreis Wismar.
1949-1950: Agricultural worker.
1950-1951: Apprenticeship.
1951-1952: Pioneer Leader in the Wismar District Free German Youth (FDJ).
12 May 1952: Entered the Seepolizei (renamed Volkspolizei-See on 1 July 1952; renamed Seestreitkräfte on 1 Mar 1956; renamed Volksmarine on 3 Nov 1960).
1952-1955: Matrose, Officer Student at the Sea Officer Institute in Stralsund.
1956: Joined the German Socialist Unity Party (SED).
1956: Officer for Basic Training in the 7th Flotilla.
1956-1959: Boat Commander in the 7th and 6th Flotillas.
1960-1963: Attended the Naval Academy in Leningrad, USSR.
1964: Deputy Chief and Staff Chief of the Rocket Fast Attack Boat Brigade.
1964-1968: Chief of the Rocket Fast Attack Boat Brigade.
1968-1971: Deputy Chief and Staff Chief of the 6th Flotilla.
1 May 1971-30 Nov 1974: Chief of the 6th Flotilla.
1974-1985: Deputy Chief of Staff for Operative Work/Volksmarine Command (promoted to Konteradmiral on 7 Oct 1977).
1 July 1985-30 Nov 1985: Deputy Chief of the Volksmarine and Chief of Training/Volksmarine Command.
1 Dec 1985-1986: Delegated with the post of Deputy Chief of the Volksmarine and Chief of Staff/Volksmarine Command.
1986-30 Nov 1987: Deputy Chief of the Volksmarine and Chief of Staff/Volksmarine Command.
1 Dec 1987-17 Nov 1989: Deputy Minister for National Defense and Chief of the Volksmarine (promoted to Vizeadmiral on 1 Mar 1987; promoted to Admiral on 16 Nov 1989).
1987-1989: Member of the Collegium of the Ministry for National Defense.
18 Nov 1989-18 Apr 1990: Minister for National Defense and Member of the Committee of Defense Ministers of the Warsaw Pact. After being selected as the new Minister for National Defense, Hoffmann was informed by the outgoing chief Armeegeneral Dipl.-Mil. Heinz Keßler that he was to be promoted to Generaloberst in the army. However, Hoffmann refused to switch services and obtained approval from Egon Krenz – Erich Honecker’s successor – to remain in the Volksmarine.
18 Apr 1990-14 Sep 1990: Chief of the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA)/Ministry for Disarmament and Defense.
24 Sep 1990: Retired.
1993: Publication of Das letzte Kommando. Ein Minister erinnert sich, Hoffmann’s memoirs of the last days of the German Democratic Republic and the NVA.
1995: Publication of Hoffmann’s memoirs Kommando Ostsee. Vom Matrosen zum Admiral.

Major Decorations

Fatherland’s Merit Order in Bronze
Scharnhorst Order.

Sources used

Froh, Klaus & Wenzke, Rüdiger. Die Generale und Admirale der NVA: Ein biographisches Handbuch. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2000.
Herspring, Dale R. Requiem for an Army: The Demise of the East German Military. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, Maryland, 1998

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