Genscher served in World War II from 1943 to 1945. He joined the Nazi Party at the age of 18. After the war, he studied economics and law in Halle and Leipzig. He joined the East German Liberal Democratic Party (LDPD) in 1946.
In 1952, Genscher fled to West Germany. There he joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP). He passed his second state examination in law in Hamburg in 1954. After that, he became a solicitor in Bremen. In 1965, Genscher was elected to the Bundestag, the West German parliament for the first time. From 1969 to 1974, he was Federal Minister of the Interior under Chancellor Willy Brandt.
Genscher was Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 1974 to 1982 under Helmut Schmidt. Two weeks later, he began to serve in the same positions under Helmut Kohl. He served the second time from 1982 to 1992. He was Germany's longest serving Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor.
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