Erich Ollenhauer

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Erich Ollenhauer
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-21272-0001, Erich Ollenhauer.jpg
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
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
Personal details
Born27 March 1901
Magdeburg
Died14 December 1963(1963-12-14) (aged 62)
Bonn
Political party Social Democratic Party of Germany

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

Social Democratic Party of Germany Social-democratic political party in Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.

Contents

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 going to 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 (called SoPaDe ), of which Ollenhauer was a member. He also worked with the Union of German Socialist Organisations in Great Britain. [1]

Magdeburg Large city in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Magdeburg is the capital city and the second largest city of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Elbe River.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Prague Capital city of the Czech Republic

Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the 14th largest city in the European Union and the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the northwest of the Czech Republic on the Vltava river, Prague is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of 2.6 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.

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.

Kurt Schumacher German politician

Kurt Ernst Carl Schumacher was a German social democratic politician, who served as chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany from 1946 and was the first Leader of the Opposition in the West German Bundestag from 1949 until his death in 1952. An opponent of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's government, but an even stronger opponent of the East German Socialist Unity Party and communism in general, he was one of the founding fathers of post-war German democracy. He was also a noted opponent of the far-right and the far-left, i.e. the Nazi Party and the Communist Party of Germany, during the Weimar Republic, and is famous for his description of the communists as "red-painted Nazis." He spent over ten years in Nazi concentration camps, where he was severely mistreated.

Bundestag Federal parliament of Germany

The Bundestag is the German federal parliament. It can be compared to the chamber of deputies along the lines of the United States House of Representatives or the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. Through the Bundesrat, a separate institution, the individual states of Germany participate in legislation similar to a second house in a bicameral parliament.

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.

Konrad Adenauer German statesman, Federal Chancellor of Germany, politician (CDU)

Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman who served as the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963. He was co-founder and first leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a Christian Democratic party that under his leadership became one of the most influential parties in the country. As party leader he worked closely with the United States.

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 Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik, as well as indirectly influencing some developments within the European Union, such as a European common security policy) and the eventual reunification of Germany. Ollenhauer's proposal is also known as the Ollenhauer Plan.

NATO Intergovernmental military alliance of Western states

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

Warsaw Pact international military alliance of Communist states

The Warsaw Pact, formally known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, was a collective defence treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland between the Soviet Union and seven Eastern Bloc satellite states of Central and Eastern Europe in May 1955, during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954, but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.

Willy Brandt German social-democratic politician; Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Willy Brandt was a German statesman who was leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) from 1964 to 1987 and served as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his efforts to strengthen cooperation in western Europe through the EEC and to achieve reconciliation between West Germany and the countries of Eastern Europe. He was the first Social Democrat chancellor since 1930.

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

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Ollenhauer died in Bonn on 14 December 1963 from pulmonary embolism.

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References

  1. Erich Ollenhauer, "Möglichkeiten und Aufgaben" Friedrich Ebert Foundation, official website. Presentation at the Union membership meeting, London. (December 6, 1942) Retrieved July 20, 2010 ‹See Tfd› (in German)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Kurt Schumacher
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
19521963
Succeeded by
Willy Brandt
Preceded by
Alsing Andersen
President of the Socialist International
1963
Succeeded by
Bruno Pittermann