Walter Scheel

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Walter Scheel
8th President of Germany
4th President of the Federal Republic of Germany
In office
1 July 1974 – 30 June 1979
Preceded by Gustav Heinemann
Succeeded by Karl Carstens
Personal details
Born 8 July 1919 (1919-07-08) (age 95)
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg Solingen, Germany
Nationality German
Political party FDP
Spouse(s) Mildred Scheel (1932-1985)
Religion Protestant

Walter Scheel (born 8 July 1919) is a German politician (FDP).

Biography[change | change source]

Scheel was born in Solingen. During World War II, he served in the Luftwaffe, the last years of the war as a Radar operator on a Me 110 night fighter.

He was federal minister of economic cooperation and development (1961-1966), but he persuaded the FDP to leave Ludwig Erhard's coalition government in late 1966. This forced elections in Germany, and Kurt Georg Kiesinger became chancellor.

In 1969 his party formed a new coalition with the Social Democrats. He became Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor. With Willy Brandt his foreign policy meant the Federal Republic of Germany promised not to try and get back the parts of Germany given to Poland and the USSR. The treaty with Poland actually defined the western border of Poland, not the border between Poland and Germany. It is the same thing, but meant Poland could sign a treaty with West Germany that described the border of East Germany.

When Brandt resigned on 7 May 1974, Scheel, was acting chancellor, for about a week, until Helmut Schmidt was elected Chancellor.

Walter Scheel with Jimmy Carter

A few weeks later, Scheel was elected Federal President of West Germany, a post he held from July 1974 until June 1979.

Like most ex German presidents, Scheel retired from political life term ended. He did sometimes appears on political talk shows or events. At the funeral of the murdered businessman Hanns Martin Schleyer in October 1977, Scheel gave a speech entitled shame.