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Karl Schiller

In office
May 13, 1971 ‚Äď July 7, 1972
Preceded by Alexander M√∂ller
Succeeded by Helmut Schmidt

In office
December 1, 1966 ‚Äď July 7, 1972
Preceded by Kurt Schm√ľcker
Succeeded by Helmut Schmidt

Born April 11, 1911(1911-04-11)
Died December 26, 1994 (aged 83)
Political party Social Democratic Party of Germany
Alma mater University of Heidelberg
Occupation Politician, Economist

Karl August Fritz Schiller (April 24, 1911 in Breslau ‚Äď December 26, 1994 in Hamburg) was a German scientist and politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). From 1966 to 1972, he was Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and from 1971 to 1972 Federal Minister of Finance. He was the inventor of the magic square, depicting Economic equilibrium, and of the Concerted activity (Konzertierte Aktion) to reflate the German market. He is thus seen as one of the most influential German economists beside Ludwig Erhard.


Education and career

From 1931, after passing the Abitur, Schiller studied Economics and Law at Kiel, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin and Heidelberg. In 1935, he finished his studies and got his Doctorate in Politics. From 1935 to 1941, he researched at the Institut f√ľr Weltwirtschaft in Kiel. In 1939, Schiller made his Habilitation. After taking part in World War II as a soldier from 1941 to 1945, Schiller became Professor at the University of Hamburg, where he became Principal from 1956 to 1958. In the meantime, from 1948 to 1966, he was a member of the scientific advisory board of the Federal Ministry for Economics.

Political career

Schiller was a member of the Nazi Party during World War II. In 1946, he joined the SPD.

From 1965 to 1972, he was a member of the Bundestag for the SPD, where he became assistant chairman of the SPD faction.

From 1948 to 1953 Schiller was Senator for economy in Hamburg and held the same office again from 1961 to 1965 in Berlin serving under mayor Willy Brandt in his second term of office.

From 1966 to 1972, he was Federal Minister of Economic Affairs in the grand coalition under Bundeskanzler Kurt Georg Kiesinger. He worked together with Franz Josef Strauß, then Federal Minister of Finance, in the Concerted activity. In this time, they were known as Plisch und Plum after figures invented by Wilhelm Busch.

In the first cabinet of Willy Brandt, Schiller was Federal Minister of Finance from 1971 to 1972 after the demission of Alex Möller. On[July 7, 1972, Schiller demissioned, thus protesting against Brandts economic decisions. After stepping down, he soon left the SPD as well. In 1972, he participated together with Ludwig Erhard in a CDU campaign, whereby both acted as defenders of market economy. In 1980 he returned to the SPD.


In 1991, Schiller was honoured with the Großer Bundesverdienstorden.

External links

  • Obituary in the New York Times: [1]
  • Biography in German: [2]
  • Dissertation about Karl Schiller from 2006 (in German): [3] and [4]


This article incorporates information from the revision as of February 11, 2007 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.


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