Wilhelm Zaisser, Head of the Stasi since its formation in 1950, lost his post because he had ‘failed’ to see the uprising coming. As a matter of fact, there was not much he could have foreseen. What made the East German Uprising so extraordinary was that it was a rather spontaneous affair. After some construction workers had expressed their discontent with the working conditions on 16th June 1953, the news spread quickly – and on 17th all those who felt similarly discontent made their voices heard across the country and marched through the cities of the GDR.
At the end of the Cold War the German Army fielded 12 divisions with 38 brigades: six Panzer (armoured), four Panzergrenadier (mechanized), one Fallschirmjäger (airborne), and one Gebirgsjäger (alpine) division. Nine divisions were grouped into three corps: I German Corps as part of NATO's Northern Army Group , II German Corps and III German Corps as part of Central Army Group . The remaining three divisions were part of Allied Forces Baltic Approaches ( 6th Panzergrenadier Division ) and NORTHAG's I Netherlands Corps ( 3rd Panzer Division ), while 1st Fallschirmjäger Division was assigned in peacetime to II German Corps and doubled as general staff for the ACE Mobile Force (Land) . [ citation needed ]
The 28th Division had formerly been a component of the Pennsylvania National Guard. After mobilization, the division had been trained for participation in the invasion of France. On July 22, 1944, six weeks after D-Day, the 28th was shipped to France and quickly sent to the front. It fought with distinction throughout the Normandy campaign and, on August 29, had the privilege of representing the United States during celebration ceremonies marking the liberation of Paris. The men of the division did not have an opportunity to enjoy the City of Light, however. After marching through Paris they were immediately sent to the front. Once outside of Paris, the 28th, now under the command of Maj. Gen. Norman D. Cota, resumed its eastward journey. On September 7 the division rolled into Luxembourg, crossed the Our River south of Clervaux and became the first Allied division to breach Germany’s vaunted Siegfried Line.