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Stasi was short for "Staatssicherheit", meaning "State Security", the main security and intelligence organization of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Ministry of State Security) was founded on Februrary 8[?], 1950. In 1955, Erich Mielke became head of the Stasi. Until the mid-1980s, the network of spies (IMs, inofficial members) grew within the GDR itself, and in West Germany as well. The Stasi monitored politically "incorrect" behaviour among all the citizens of East Germany, comparably to the former Gestapo. During the 1989 peaceful revolution the Stasi offices were overrun by enraged citizens, not before a huge amount of compromising material could be destroyed by the Stasi officers. The remaining files and material are today available for all people who were spied upon, often revealing so-thought close friends or even family members as IMs.

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