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Walter Scheel


In office
1 July 1974 – 30 June 1979
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
Preceded by Gustav Heinemann
Succeeded by Karl Carstens

In office
7 May 1974 – 16 May 1974
President Gustav Heinemann
Preceded by Willy Brandt
Succeeded by Helmut Schmidt

In office
21 October 1969 – 16 May 1974
Chancellor Willy Brandt
Preceded by Willy Brandt
Succeeded by Hans-Dietrich Genscher

In office
21 October 1969 – 16 May 1974
Chancellor Willy Brandt
Preceded by Willy Brandt
Succeeded by Hans-Dietrich Genscher

Born 8 July 1919 (1919-07-08) (age 90)
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg Solingen, Germany
Political party Free Democratic Party (Germany)
Spouse(s) Mildred Scheel (1932-1985)
Religion Evangelicalism

Walter Scheel (born 8 July 1919) is a German politician (FDP). He served as Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development from 1961 to 1966, Foreign Minister of Germany and Vice Chancellor from 1969 to 1974, acting Chancellor of Germany from 7 May to 16 May 1974 (following the resignation of Willy Brandt after the Guillaume Affair), and finally as President of Germany from 1974 to 1979.

He is currently the oldest former German president alive and the second longest-lived German head of state after Emperor Wilhelm I.

Contents

Biography

Scheel was born in Solingen (now in North Rhine-Westphalia). During World War II, he served in the Luftwaffe, the last years of the war as a radar operator on a Bf 110 night fighter.

As federal minister of economic cooperation and development (1961-1966), he brought about the downfall of the Erhard government in late 1966, when he took the Free Democratic Party, which he led, out of the coalition government.

In 1969, he enabled his party to form a new coalition with the Social Democrats. He returned to government as Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor. Due to a change in Bonn's foreign policy devised by Scheel together with Chancellor Willy Brandt, the Federal Republic of Germany in practice gave up claims on Eastern German territories occupied by Poland, Czechoslovakia and the USSR in 1945 and officially recognized the existence of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). This caused a massive public debate that led to early elections in 1972 also because some parliamentarians from the conservative wing of Scheel's party threatened to withdraw their support for the SPD/FDP coalition. The coalition was convincingly reelected and the efforts to improve relations with the countries on the other side of the iron curtain continued.

On 7 May 1974, Brandt resigned as Chancellor after one of his personal assistants, Günter Guillaume, was arrested as a spy for the East German state. Though this had been internally suspected since 1973, Brandt accepted responsibility and resigned. Scheel, as acting chancellor, chaired the government meetings for a little over a week, until Helmut Schmidt was elected Chancellor.

At that time, Scheel was elected President of Germany, an office he held from July 1974 until June 1979. At the funeral of Hanns Martin Schleyer in October 1977, Scheel gave a speech entitled shame.

Scheel was Chairman of the Bilderberg Conference as well as President of the European Movement in Germany from 1980 to 1985[1] . From 1980 to 1989 he was also President of the German section of the Union of European Federalists (UEF). He has been honorary chairman of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation since 1991.

Trivia

In February 1974 Scheel performed „Hoch auf dem gelben Wagen“ in a TV show, the record entered the German charts.

References

  1. ^ Mittag 2009: 29

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Gustav Heinemann
President of Germany
1974 – 1979
Succeeded by
Karl Carstens
Preceded by
Willy Brandt
Foreign Minister of Germany
1969 – 1974
Succeeded by
Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Preceded by
Willy Brandt
Vice Chancellor of Germany
1969 – 1974
Succeeded by
Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Preceded by
Willy Brandt
Acting Chancellor of Germany
7 May – 16 May 1974
Succeeded by
Helmut Schmidt







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