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Erich Ollenhauer: Wikis

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Erich Ollenhauer


In office
1952 – 1963
Preceded by Kurt Schumacher
Succeeded by Willy Brandt

President of the Socialist International
In office
1963 – 1963
Preceded by Alsing Andersen
Succeeded by Bruno Pittermann

Born March 27, 1901
Magdeburg
Died December 14, 1963
Bonn
Political party Social Democratic Party of Germany

Erich Ollenhauer (March 27, 1901 – December 14, 1963) was the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 1952-1963.

Early political career and exile

Ollenhauer was born in Magdeburg and joined the SPD in 1920. When the Nazis took power in 1933 he fled Germany for Prague. After the outbreak of WW2 Ollenhauer travelled across Europe in order to avoid Nazi persecution, first finding himself in Denmark, then France, Spain, Portugal, and eventually London, where he remained until the end of the war. In London he kept close ties to the Labour Party, which financially supported the expatriate SPD (so-called SoPaDe), of which Ollenhauer was a member.

In February 1946 Ollenhauer returned to Germany. In May the same year he was voted deputy leader of the SPD, behind Kurt Schumacher. Ollenhauer entered the Bundestag after the 1949 German federal elections.

Leadership of the SPD

After Schumacher's unexpected death in 1952, the SPD elected Ollenhauer as its leader. He ran as the SPD's candidate for Chancellor of Germany in the 1953- and 1957 German elections, both of which were lost to Konrad Adenauer's CDU.

In 1957 Ollenhauer called for a trans-European security alliance (in place of NATO and the Warsaw Pact), in which a reunified Germany would serve as an equal partner. While the plan was denounced as radical at the time, it helped pave the way for Brandt's Ostpolitik as well as indirectly influencing some developments within the European Union (such as a European common security policy), not to mention German unification. Ollenhauer's proposal is also known as the Ollenhauer Plan.

In 1961 Ollenhauer declined to run for Chancellor a third time, instead supporting the candidacy of Berlin mayor Willy Brandt.

Ollenhauer died in Bonn on December 14, 1963.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Kurt Schumacher
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
1952–1963
Succeeded by
Willy Brandt
Preceded by
Alsing Andersen
President of the Socialist International
1963
Succeeded by
Bruno Pittermann
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