Franz Böhm

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Franz Böhm (16 February 1895, Konstanz 26 September 1977, Rockenberg) was a German politician, lawyer, and economist.

Konstanz Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Konstanz is a university city with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south of Germany, bordering Switzerland. The city houses the University of Konstanz and was for more than 1200 years residence of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Konstanz.

Rockenberg Place in Hesse, Germany

Rockenberg is a municipality in the Wetteraukreis, in Hesse, Germany. It is located approximately 36 kilometers north of Frankfurt am Main. Rockenberg is divided in the districts of Rockenberg and Oppershofen.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.


Early life

Franz Böhm was born on 16 February 1895 in Konstanz. He moved along with his family in 1898 to Karlsruhe as his father was appointed the Minister of Cultural Affairs for the Grand Duke of Baden.

Karlsruhe Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Karlsruhe is the second-largest city of the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg after its capital of Stuttgart, and its 309,999 (2016) inhabitants make it the 21st largest city of Germany. On the right bank of the Rhine, the city lies near the French-German border, between the Mannheim/Ludwigshafen conurbation to the north, and the Strasbourg/Kehl conurbation to the south. It is the largest city of Baden, a region named after Hohenbaden Castle in the city of Baden-Baden. Karlsruhe is also the largest city in the South Franconian dialect area, the only other larger city in that area being Heilbronn. The city is the seat of the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), as well as of the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) and the Public Prosecutor General of the Federal Court of Justice.

Early career

After completing his Abitur and military service, Böhm enlisted in the military at the beginning of World War I. He was the first citizen of Karlsruhe to be awarded the Iron Cross. In 1919 Böhn began studying law and political science at the University of Freiburg and completed his Staatsexamen in 1924, receiving shortly thereafter a job as a public prosecutor. [1]

Abitur is a qualification granted by university-preparatory schools in Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia. It is conferred on students who pass their final exams at the end of their secondary education, usually after twelve or thirteen years of schooling. In German, the term Abitur has roots in the archaic word Abiturium, which in turn was derived from the Latin abiturus.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Iron Cross military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire (1870–1918) and Nazi Germany

The Iron Cross is a former military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire (1871–1918) and Nazi Germany (1933–1945). It was established by King Frederick William III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars. Louise was the first person to receive this decoration (posthumously). The recommissioned Iron Cross was also awarded during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, and World War II . The Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. Two examples of this were civilian test pilots Hanna Reitsch who was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class and Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg, who was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class, for their actions as pilots during World War II.

Böhm published his first essay entitled "Das Problem der privaten Macht, ein Beitrag zur Monopolfrage" (The problem of private power; a contribution to the question of monopolies) in 1928, establishing himself as a prominent economist. In the wake of the publication of this essay, fellow economists Alexander Rüstow and Friedrich Lutz strongly encouraged Böhm to write a disputation of the economic work of Adam Smith. Böhm eagerly took up their suggestion and wrote what would become his principal work: "Wettbewerb und Monopolkampf." [2]

Alexander Rüstow German academic

Alexander Rüstow was a German sociologist and economist. In 1938 he originated the term neoliberalism at the Colloque Walter Lippmann. He was one of the fathers of the "Social Market Economy" that shaped the economy of West Germany after World War II. He is the grandnephew of Wilhelm Rüstow, the grandson of Cäsar Rüstow and the father of Dankwart Rustow.

Friedrich August Lutz was a German economist who developed the expectations hypothesis.

Adam Smith 18th-century Scottish moral philosopher and political economist

Adam Smith was a Scottish economist, philosopher and author as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism''. Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.

After writing these pieces Böhm received a professorship at the University of Freiburg, where he and colleague Walter Eucken established the Freiburger Schule. During this time Böhm worked closely with Eucken and Hans Grossmann-Doerth in establishing the groundwork for their economic theory, Ordoliberalism. [2]

University of Freiburg Public research university in Freiburg, Germany

The University of Freiburg, officially the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, is a public research university located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The university was founded in 1457 by the Habsburg dynasty as the second university in Austrian-Habsburg territory after the University of Vienna. Today, Freiburg is the fifth-oldest university in Germany, with a long tradition of teaching the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The university is made up of 11 faculties and attracts students from across Germany as well as from over 120 other countries. Foreign students constitute about 18.2% of total student numbers.

Walter Eucken German economist

Walter Eucken was a German economist of the Freiburg school and father of ordoliberalism. His name is closely linked with the development of the concept of "social market economy".

The Freiburg School is a school of economic thought founded in the 1930s at the University of Freiburg.

From 1925 to 1931 [3] Böhm served in the economic ministry of the Weimar Republic. [4]

Weimar Republic Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.

Nazi era

The liberal economic beliefs of the Freiburger Schule directly contrasted the economic beliefs of the Nazi Regime. Every assembly of the Freiburger Schule was therefore a direct afront to the regime. Public discussions became evermore dangerous, so the school was quickly forced to begin meeting secretly. During this time the assembly began calling itself the "Diehl-Seminar" in recognition of its meeting place, the home of Karl Diehl.

Böhm had his ability to teach revoked from him by the Nazis in 1938 due to his public outspokenness against the anti-Jewish policies of the regime. [3] During the same year, Böhm became active in the Freiburger Konzil, which served as a meeting point for anti-Nazi professors from the university and pastors of the Confessing Church. Böhm became heavily involved throughout the following years in opposition groups such as the Bonhoeffer-Krise and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Erwin von Beckerath, a council of liberal economists opposed to Nazi economic practices. [5]

Only through name confusion resulting from a mistake by the Nazis was Böhm able to avoid arrest after the failed July 20 plot.

Post-war and political career

After the war Böhm was able to resume teaching in Freiburg and was granted the position of Prorector. In 1946 he accepted a professorship at the University of Freiburg. [6] During his time at the university he worked with Walter Eucken [7] to found the German scholarly journal ORDO in 1948, which remains today a mouthpiece of German institutional economists.

During this time Böhm became active in politics, joining the CDU shortly after the war. He served as the minister of cultural affairs in Hessen [6] under Karl Geiler from 1 November 1945 until February 1946, when he resigned due to differences of opinion with the American occupying forces.

Böhm was a member of the German Bundestag from 1953 until 1965. [4] During this time he was the leader of the German delegation for the reparations negotiations with Israel. [6]

Throughout his time in the Bundestag Böhm remained deeply connected to the University of Freiburg and his students, continuing to provide seminars despite his role in the Bundestag. His political role remained secondary in importance to his career as an instructor. [8] Böhm died on 26 September 1977 in Rockenberg.

The Franz-Böhm Schule, a Berufsschule in Frankfurt am Main, is named in his honor.

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  1. Blumenberg-Lampe, Christine (2004). "Franz Böhm." Christliche Demokraten gegen Hitler: Aus Verfolgung und Widerstand zur Union. Ed. Buchstab, Günter; Kaff, Brigitte; Kleinmann, Hans-Otto. Freiburg, Germany: Herder, 2004. 108. Print.
  2. 1 2 Blumenberg-Lampe p.109
  3. 1 2 Viktor Vanberg (25 July 2001). The Constitution of Markets: Essays in Political Economy. Psychology Press. p. 38. ISBN   978-0-415-15471-0 . Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  4. 1 2 Peter Koslowski (7 March 2000). The Theory of Capitalism in the German Economic Tradition: Historism, Ordo-Liberalism, Critical Theory, Solidarism. Springer. pp. 148–9. ISBN   978-3-540-66674-5 . Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  5. Blumenberg-Lampe p.109-110
  6. 1 2 3 Jürgen G. Backhaus (2005). The Elgar Companion to Law And Economics. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 489ff. ISBN   978-1-84542-032-1 . Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  7. R. J. Barry Jones (2001). Routledge Encyclopedia of International Political Economy: Entries P-Z. Taylor & Francis. p. 1420. ISBN   978-0-415-24352-0 . Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  8. Blumenberg-Lampe p.114

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