In January 1946 Hoffmann returned to Germany, where he worked as an assistant to several communist leaders. After the formation of East Germany, he was appointed deputy minister of interior in 1950. In 1955 he entered the Academy of the Soviet General Military Staff in Moscow and graduated in 1957. Appointed deputy minister for national defense in 1958, he advanced to the ministry's top position in 1960 and remained there until his death in 1985.
Hoffmann was a standing member of the East German politburo during 1973–1985. During his last years, alcoholism and charges of corruption diminished his status, and he eventually became only a figurehead. Hoffman died in Berlin on 2 December 1985.
Hoffmann, Heinz. Mannheim, Madrid, Moskau: Erlebtes aus drei Jahrzehnten. Berlin: Militaerverlag, 1981.; Hoffmann, Heinz. Moskau, Berlin. Erinnerungen an Freunde. Berlin: Militaerverlag, 1989.