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Wolfgang Scheler

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Wolfgang Scheler (1999)

Wolfgang Scheler (* 27 June 1935 in Gera as Wolfgang Giebner) is a German philosopher, peace researcher and former captain at sea of the National People’s Army.

He worked as a university lecturer (1965) and full professor (1978) at the Military Academy Friedrich Engels (MAFE)[1] of the National People’s Army of the German Democratic Republic in Dresden (1965-1990).[2]

Life

Origin and education

Wolfgang Scheler was born Wolfgang Giebner on 27 June 1935 in Gera. His father, Hermann Scheler, was in prison as an anti-fascist resistance fighter; he was denied the right to give his son his family name. Wolfgang finished school with the Abitur.

Military career

In 1953 he joined the GDR’s Kasernierte Volkspolizei (KVP), became an officer candidate at the Kfz.-Schule and graduated in 1955 with the appointment to the first officer rank. In January 1956 Wolfgang Giebner was taken over into the National People’s Army and was transferred as a motor vehicle platoon leader into the Motorized Rifle Regiment 1 (MSR-1)[1] transferred.

In 1957 he was assigned as a motor vehicle platoon leader at the artillery school. After a one-year course at the political school of the NVA, he was transferred to the motor vehicle company in the command of the naval forces (from 1960 – People’s Navy) of the NVA as deputy of the company commander for political work (“Politstellvertreter”).

On March 21, 1960, he adopted his father’s surname, Scheler.

In the years 1961-1963 Wolfgang Scheler studied at the political school Berlin-Treptow and at the military academy “Friedrich Engels” in Dresden. With a driving time (1963-1965) in the landing department of the people’s navy in the function as a senior officer for propaganda he concluded his fleet service time.

Scientific career

Scheler, a graduate in social science (Dipl.-Ges.), began his scientific and university teaching career in the autumn of 1965 with a teaching assignment as a specialist lecturer in dialectical materialism and philosophical problems of war and the armed forces at the “Friedrich Engels” Military Academy in Dresden.

After scheduled aspirant training (1969-1973) at the Institute for Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the SED, Scheler was awarded his first academic title, Doctor of Philosophy (Dr. phil.) (1973).[3]

Afterwards Scheler was appointed as a main subject teacher for historical materialism at the Military Academy “Friedrich Engels” and became head of the chair of Marxist-Leninist philosophy there in 1974.[2]

In 1975 he was appointed to the Scientific Council for Marxist-Leninist Philosophy of the GDR.[4]

His doctorate B (1977) in philosophical sciences (Dr. sc. phil.) after a joint work with Erich Hocke – on philosophical problems of war and peace in the present day[5] – founded a school of thought in peace research which gained influence in the NVA and in the intellectual life of the GDR.

In 1978 he was appointed Full Professor of Dialectical and Historical Materialism. In 1979 he was appointed to the Scientific Council of the Military Academy.[4]

Wolfgang Scheler was one of the leading thinkers on the problem of peace – war – armed forces. He was one of the first scientists in the NVA to recognize and address the fact that in the atomic age war can lead to the downfall of mankind and has therefore become unsuitable as a means of politics.

Since the beginning of the 1980s, he has made a significant contribution to overcoming the old military and security thinking. In 1988, Scheler was appointed to the Scientific Council for Peace Research at the Academy of Sciences of the GDR.

In 1989/90 Captain Wolfgang Scheler was one of the initiators of the democratic military reform in the GDR.

In February 1990, Wolfgang Scheler was appointed to the Interdisciplinary Research Unit Security[spolitik] (IWBS) initiated by Rolf Lehmann at the Military Academy, which was conceived as a precursor to an Institute for Security Policy to be created. The results of its work, including contributions by Scheler, were publicly published in the series of publications of the Military Academy Working Papers IWBS.[6]

In March 1990, Scheler was elected a member of the Council and Senate of the Military Academy.

With the dissolution of the National People’s Army in the course of the state unification of Germany, he was discharged on 30 September 1990, before the NVA was decommissioned. (KptzS a. D.)

Peace policy work

After his discharge from military service, Wolfgang Scheler remained socially, scientifically and journalistically active even without the opportunities of an academic institution.

In October 1990, Scheler was an active founding member of the Dresdener Studiengemeinschaft Sicherheitspolitik e. V. (DSS), was a board member (1990-1993), long-time deputy chairman of the board (1994-2005), acted as its chairman (2005-2015), and as one of the liquidators when the association was dissolved (DSS i. L., 2016-2017). Scheler published a large number of his own articles in 48 issues of the DSS Working Papers and actively supported the security and peace policy work of the Studiengemeinschaft in the public sphere.

In 1991, he participated in the founding of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Saxony e. V. and subsequently, until 2005, in the management of the Foundation’s Dresden working group, especially with regard to the content and organisation of philosophical and peace policy events.

In 1993, Wolfgang Scheler, together with Ernst Woit, suggested that the Studiengemeinschaft should gain a broader publicity for peace research and organise public events in Dresden. This was done in cooperation with the Saxon Peace Initiative Dresden, among other things as the Dresden Peace Symposium ( 1993-2010) and as an annual podium on World Peace Day ( 1993-2013).
As chairman of the association, Wolfgang Scheler promoted the organization of the Dresden symposia “For a Global Peace Order” (1996-2013), in which renowned domestic and foreign scholars participated and Scheler was regularly one of the speakers.[7]

Awards

  • 1989 “National Prize of the GDR”, third class collectively, for his contributions to Marxist-Leninist theory on peace, war and armed forces.[7]
  • 1985 “Friedrich Engels Prize” of the GDR, first class, for outstanding achievements for the benefit of socialist national defense as a member of a collective (author collective of the book Die Philosophie des Friedens im Kampf gegen die Ideologie des Krieges. )[8]
  • 1978 “Friedrich Engels Prize” of the GDR, third class for outstanding achievements for the benefit of the socialist national defense as a member of a collective.[7]

Literature

Writings (selection)

Individual references

  1. a b Abbreviation in: ZMSBw: Site database NVA and GT/DDR. [1]
  2. a b See Biographical Data of Wolfgang Scheler. In: Joachim Klopfer (Red.): Vorwort zur Festschrift – Wolfgang Scheler zum 65. Kurzporträt. In: For a World without War. (Ed.) Dresdener Studiengemeinschaft Sicherheitspolitik (DSS) e. V., DSS-Arbeitspapiere , Heft 55, Dresden 2000, p. 2. urn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa2-339745
  3. On the dialectics of material relations and morality in the construction of socialist society. Dissertation A. (Ed.) Institute for Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the SED, Berlin 1973.
  4. a b See Election/Appointment of Officers of the Chair in Scientific/Social Bodies of the GDR. In: Alwin Loose/ Wolfgang Scheler: Philosophen an der Militärakademie. The Philosophy Chair at the Military Academy “Friedrich Engels”. Reminiscences of former members. In: (Ed.) Dresdener Studiengemeinschaft Sicherheitspolitik (DSS) e. V., DSS-Arbeitspapiere , Heft 109, Dresden 2014, Annex 3, p. 338. urn:nbn:en:bsz:14-qucosa2-340221
  5. Wolfgang Scheler/ Erich Hocke: The Unity of Socialism and Peace. On philosophical problems of war and peace in the present. Dissertation B, joint work, Dresden 1977, III, 307 and 33 pp. Also in Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1977.
  6. See Working Papers IWBS. (Ed.) Military Academy “Friedrich Engels”, Heft 1 bis 3, Dresden 1990. urn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa2-341704
  7. a b c See Der Lehrstuhl im gesellschaftlichen Umbruch. In: Alwin Loose/ Wolfgang Scheler: Philosophers at the Military Academy. The Philosophy Chair at the Military Academy “Friedrich Engels”. Reminiscences of former members. In: (Ed.) Dresdener Studiengemeinschaft Sicherheitspolitik (DSS) e. V., DSS-Arbeitspapiere , Heft 109, Dresden 2014, p. 164 ff. urn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa2-340221
  8. See Doctorates, Appointments and Scientific Prizes. In: Alwin Loose/ Wolfgang Scheler: Philosophen an der Militärakademie. The Philosophy Chair at the Military Academy “Friedrich Engels”. Reminiscences of former members. In: (Ed.) Dresdener Studiengemeinschaft Sicherheitspolitik (DSS) e. V., DSS-Arbeitspapiere , Heft 109, Dresden 2014, p. 258. urn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa2-340221