Wolfgang Altenburg

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Wolfgang Altenburg
Wolfgang Altenburg 1983.jpg
Altenburg in 1983
Born (1928-06-24) 24 June 1928 (age 91)
Schneidemühl, Posen-West Prussia (today Piła, Poland)
Allegiance  Germany
Years of service 1956 - 1989
Rank General
Awards Grand Cross with Star and Sash of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Commander of the Legion of Merit (US)
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy)

Wolfgang Altenburg (born 24 June 1928) is a retired German general. He served as Chief of Staff of the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, from 1983 to 1986, and as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 1986 to 1989.[1]


Altenburg was born in Schneidemühl, Posen-West Prussia (today Piła, Poland) and was conscripted as a Marinehelfer (Navy aide) in 1944 serving at Heligoland. After the end of World War II he completed a professional training in hotel business and volunteered the Bundeswehr in 1956 at the Artillerytroops.[2]

Altenburg talking to members of the Bundestag, 1983.

Altenburg passed his general staff training at the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr in 1962 - 1964 and became the Deputy Director of Nuclear Planning at SHAPE in 1971. He returned to the German Department of Defense in 1973 as an Oberst and commanded the Panzergrenadierbrigade 7 (Hamburg). In April 1978 Altenburg became the Director of the Executive Staff of the Federal Forces and in 1979 the German Representative at the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels. In 1981 Altenburg took over the command of the III. Korps at Koblenz and became the Chief of staff of the Federal Forces (Generalinspekteur der Bundeswehr) in 1983, a position he held until 1986. On 1 October 1986 Altenburg became the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee himself.[2]

Altenburg retired in 1989 and lives in Bremen. He is married and has three children.


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