Hans-Jochen Vogel

Last updated

Hans-Jochen Vogel
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F055059-0019, Koln, SPD-Parteitag, Vogel.jpg
Hans-Jochen Vogel in 1978
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
14 June 1987 29 May 1991
Preceded by Willy Brandt
Succeeded by Björn Engholm
Leader of the Social Democratic Party in the Bundestag
In office
8 March 1983 12 November 1991
Preceded by Herbert Wehner
Succeeded by Hans-Ulrich Klose
Governing Mayor of West Berlin
In office
23 January 1981 11 June 1981
Preceded by Dietrich Stobbe
Succeeded by Richard von Weizsäcker
Federal Minister of Justice
In office
16 May 1974 22 January 1981
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
Preceded by Gerhard Jahn
Succeeded by Jürgen Schmude
Federal Minister of Regional Planning, Construction and Urban Development
In office
15 December 1972 16 May 1974
Chancellor Willy Brandt
Preceded by Lauritz Lauritzen
Succeeded by Karl Ravens
Mayor of Munich
In office
27 March 1960 11 June 1972
Preceded by Thomas Wimmer
Succeeded by Georg Kronawitter
Personal details
Born (1926-02-03) 3 February 1926 (age 93)
Göttingen, Province of Hanover, Prussia, Germany
NationalityFlag of Germany.svg  Germany
Political party Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)
ProfessionJurist, politician

Hans-Jochen Vogel (born 3 February 1926) is a retired German politician and lawyer.


Early years and professional career

Hans-Jochen Vogel was born in Göttingen. He attended grammar school in Göttingen and in Gießen, where he did his A-levels in 1943. Although he was an active Catholic, he joined the Hitler Youth and even became one of its squad leaders ( Scharführer ). [1] "… in spite of all my doubts about details it did not occur to me at the time that you can, or even must, resist the state. Especially if I consider the biographies of other young people, for instance, Sophie and Hans Scholl, who came to completely different conclusions. I lived with my parents in Gießen then, I saw the synagogue burn. And nobody helped, on the contrary, the police and the firebrigade made the fire even worse. But not even that really opened my eyes." [2]

Göttingen Place in Lower Saxony, Germany

Göttingen is a university city in Lower Saxony, Germany, the capital of the eponymous district. It is run through by River Leine. At the start of 2017, the population was 134,212.

Hitler Youth Youth organisation of the Nazi Party

The Hitler Youth was the youth organisation of the Nazi Party in Germany. Its origins dated back to 1922 and it received the name Hitler-Jugend, Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend in July 1926. From 1933 until 1945, it was the sole official youth organisation in Germany and was partially a paramilitary organisation; it was composed of the Hitler Youth proper for male youths aged 14 to 18, the German Youngsters in the Hitler Youth for younger boys aged 10 to 14, and the League of German Girls.

<i>Scharführer</i> Nazi party paramilitary rank

Scharführer was a title or rank used in early 20th Century German military terminology. In German, Schar was one term for the smallest sub-unit, equivalent to a "troop", "squad", or "section". The word führer simply meant "leader".

In July 1943, at the age of 17, Vogel volunteered for service in the Wehrmacht. Twice wounded at the Italian Front. He was an Unteroffizier at the end of the war, when he was captured by the Americans. On his return from prison camp he worked as a transport worker for a short while, before he was able to study law in Marburg and Munich. He received his doctorate ("summa cum laude") in 1950.

<i>Wehrmacht</i> unified armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945

The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe. The designation "Wehrmacht" replaced the previously used term Reichswehr, and was the manifestation of the Nazi regime's efforts to rearm Germany to a greater extent than the Treaty of Versailles permitted.

Unteroffizier is a military rank of the Bundeswehr and of former German-speaking armed forces. The equivalent in anglophone armed forces is sergeant or staff sergeant. However, Unteroffizier is also the collective name for all non-commissioned officers.

Law System of rules and guidelines, generally backed by governmental authority

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

His professional career began in February 1952, when he became a junior official in the Bavarian Ministry of Justice. At the age of 28 he was a county court judge, and in the following year he was appointed chairman of a commission in the Bavarian Prime Minister's Office which was to review Bavarian law for a new survey published by the Bavarian state parliament. [3] Munich City Council made him their legal secretary in 1958.

Vogel and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)

Hans-Jochen Vogel became a member of the SPD in 1950. Although he was only 34 years old, he was elected Mayor of Munich as the candidate of the SPD on 27 March 1960, with 64.3% of the vote. His popularity increased even more, partly due to his success in tackling the city's traffic problems, and he was re-elected in 1966 with 77.9%. The fact that Munich was chosen as the venue of the 1972 Olympic Games, which had additional beneficial effects on town planning and traffic projects, was to a large extent a result of his efforts. [3]

When Vogel became the leader of the Bavarian Social Democrats and also a member of the executive of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1972, he resigned as Mayor of Munich and passed this office on to Georg Kronawitter. He describes his Munich years in his book Die Amtskette ("The Chain of Office"), which was published in the same year.

In the General Elections of 19 November 1972, Vogel was the top candidate of the Bavarian SPD; two years later he was the SPD's top candidate in the elections for the Bavarian State Parliament. Whereas he could not prevent a resounding victory of the CSU (Christian Social Union of Bavaria), he himself gained the best result for any SPD politician in Bavaria after the Second World War. [3] His popularity also showed itself in the General Elections of 1976, when he alone of all the SPD Munich candidates did not lose his Munich North constituency to the CSU.

Munich North (electoral district) member constituency used for the German parliament

Munich North is one of the 299 single member constituencies used for the German parliament, the Bundestag. One of forty five districts in Bavaria and one of four districts covering the city of Munich, it covers six of the city's twenty five boroughs.

A new challenge arose in 1981. Dietrich Stobbe stepped down as Mayor of Berlin, and Hans-Jochen Vogel was asked to be his successor and take charge of a deeply divided Berlin SPD. He created a unique "Berlin way" of dealing with the problem of "occupied" houses by granting contracts to the occupiers, while preventing any new occupations at the same time.

Although he managed to successfully deal with his party's difficulties to a large extent, the SPD lost the following Berlin elections, which took place only a few months after Vogel had taken office.

During the following year Vogel was Leader of the Opposition in the parliament of Berlin, before becoming the SPD's top candidate for the German General Elections of 6 March 1983. Helmut Schmidt had been toppled as chancellor by the CDU leader, Helmut Kohl, and did not want to be the SPD's top candidate again. Vogel filled the breach. Disarmament and the problems of the labour market were at the centre of his campaign. But Kohl won the elections. [3]

Helmut Schmidt Chancellor of West Germany 1974-1982

Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt was a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), who served as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1974 to 1982.

Helmut Kohl former chancellor of West Germany (1982-1990) and then the united Germany (1990-1998)

Helmut Josef Michael Kohl was a German statesman who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and as the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998. From 1969 to 1976, Kohl was minister president of the state Rhineland-Palatinate. Kohl chaired the Group of Seven in 1985 and 1992. In 1998 he became honorary chairman of the CDU, resigning from the position in 2000.

Minister, Leader of the Parliamentary SPD, and Party Leader

In December 1972 Chancellor Willy Brandt made Vogel Minister for Regional Planning, Building, and Urban Development; Brandt's successor, Helmut Schmidt, made him Minister of Justice in 1974.

After the elections of 1983 Vogel was one of the Berlin MPs in the German parliament. Herbert Wehner, the previous Leader of the Parliamentary SPD, nominated him as his successor, and he held that office until 1991. [3]

Under his leadership the Parliamentary SPD turned against atomic energy after the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. [4]

From 1987 to 1991 Vogel was also the Leader of the Social Democratic Party.

He was an MP in the Bundestag until 1994. "I've never pushed myself into the foreground", he said of himself. [5]

After 1994 Vogel withdrew from active politics. But he has continued to be a member of the project "Against forgetting, in favour of democracy", which tries to spread basic democratic values, as a contrast to the dictatorships of the Nazis and of the SED. Vogel was one of its founders in 1993 and its first chairman.

He received the Galinsky Prize for promoting a better understanding between the Jewish community and its social surroundings (1998) and the highest prize of the Central Council of the Jews in Germany, the Leo Baeck Prize (2001).

From 2001 to 2005 Vogel belonged to the National Ethics Council on the ethical aspects of the questions of biotechnology and its consequences for individuals and society. [6]

Personal characteristics

Hans-Jochen Vogel, 9 April 2017. Hans-Jochen Vogel 2261.jpg
Hans-Jochen Vogel, 9 April 2017.

Originally on the right wing of the SPD, Hans-Jochen Vogel became more and more liberal in his views, for instance, with regard to the legislation about asylum-seekers, referenda, or the protection of personal data from the state. A fact-finding mission to twelve successor states of the former Soviet Union in 1992, when he met numerous presidents, ministers, but also leaders of the opposition, of the Orthodox Church, and of Islam, broadened his outlook, too.

As far as his party was concerned, Vogel was a mediator between the various wings and a centre of integration. But his loyalty and devotion to the SPD did not prevent him from seeking co-operation with the other parties. As the chairman of his party's delegates in a parliamentary commission for reviewing the constitution, he achieved the inclusion of the principles of the protection of the environment and of the promotion of women in society as political aims in the Basic Law. Nevertheless, as he said in his final speech in parliament, he would have liked to see a better representation of East German values in the German constitution after unification.

Hans-Jochen Vogel himself summed up his political attitude best in the following statement: "I am a Social Democrat who would like to reconcile something of a vision with the rather stringent and inexorable knowledge that politics cannot be conducted with clouds of words, but with solid work and craftsmanship." [7]

Vogel is the older brother of CDU politician Bernhard Vogel.

Related Research Articles

The Christian Social Union in Bavaria is a Christian-democratic and conservative political party in Germany. The CSU operates only in Bavaria while its larger counterpart, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), operates in the other fifteen states of Germany. It differs from the CDU by being somewhat more conservative in social matters. The CSU is considered an effective successor of the Weimar-era Catholic Bavarian People's Party (BVP).

Edmund Stoiber German politician

Edmund Rüdiger Stoiber is a German politician, who was the 16th Minister President of the state of Bavaria between 1993 and 2007 and chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU) between 1999 and 2007. In 2002 he candidated for the office of Chancellor of Germany in the federal election but in one of the narrowest elections in German history lost against Gerhard Schröder. On 18 January 2007, he announced his decision to step down from the posts of minister-president and party chairman by 30 September, after having been under fire in his own party for weeks.

Christian Democratic Union of Germany political party in Germany

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian-democratic, liberal-conservative political party in Germany. It is the major catch-all party of the centre-right in German politics. The CDU forms the CDU/CSU grouping, also known as the Union, in the Bundestag with its Bavarian counterpart the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU). Founded in 1945 as an interdenominational Christian party, the CDU effectively replaced the pre-war Catholic Centre Party, but also included politicians of other, liberal and conservative backgrounds. The party therefore claims to represent "Christian-social, liberal and conservative" elements.

Bernhard Vogel German politician

Bernhard Vogel is a German politician (CDU). He was the 4th Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1976 to 1988 and the 2nd Minister President of Thuringia from 1992 to 2003. He is the only person to have been head of two different German federal states and is the longest governing Minister President of Germany. He served as the 28th and 40th President of the Bundesrat in 1976/77 and 1987/88.

1998 German federal election

Federal elections were held in Germany on 27 September 1998 to elect the members of the 14th Bundestag. The Social Democratic Party emerged as the largest faction in parliament, with its leader Gerhard Schröder becoming Chancellor.

1994 German federal election

Federal elections were held in Germany on 16 October 1994 to elect the members of the 13th Bundestag. The CDU/CSU alliance led by Helmut Kohl remained the largest faction in parliament, with Kohl remaining Chancellor. This elected Bundestag was largest in history until 2017, numbering 672 members.

1983 West German federal election

Federal elections were held in West Germany on 6 March 1983 to elect the members of the 10th Bundestag. The CDU/CSU alliance led by Helmut Kohl remained the largest faction in parliament, with Kohl remaining Chancellor.

1980 West German federal election

Federal elections were held in West Germany on 5 October 1980 to elect the members of the ninth Bundestag. Although the CDU/CSU remained the largest faction in parliament, Helmut Schmidt of the Social Democratic Party remained Chancellor.

1976 West German federal election

Federal elections were held in West Germany on 3 October 1976 to elect the members of the eighth Bundestag. Although the CDU/CSU alliance became the largest faction in parliament, Helmut Schmidt of the Social Democratic Party remained Chancellor.

1972 West German federal election

Federal elections were held in West Germany on 19 November 1972 to elect the members of the 7th Bundestag. In the first snap elections since 1949, the Social Democratic Party for the first time in the history of the second German republic became the largest party in the Bundestag, winning 242 of the 518 seats. The coalition with the Free Democratic Party was resumed.

Rainer Barzel German politician of the CDU

Rainer Candidus Barzel was a German politician of the CDU. He served as the 8th President of the Bundestag from 1983 to 1984.

Udo Bullmann German politician

Udo Bullmann is a German politician and member of the European Parliament from Germany. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, part of the Party of European Socialists.

2005 German federal election

Federal elections were held in Germany on 18 September 2005 to elect the members of the 16th Bundestag. This became necessary after a motion of confidence in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder failed on 1 July. Following the defeat of Schröder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) in a state election, Schröder asked his supporters to abstain from the Bundestag motion, knowing the motion would fail and thus triggering an early federal election.

2009 German federal election

Federal elections took place on 27 September 2009 to elect the members of the 17th Bundestag (parliament) of Germany. Preliminary results showed that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) won the election, and the three parties announced their intention to form a new centre-right government with Angela Merkel as Chancellor. Their main opponent, Frank-Walter Steinmeier's Social Democratic Party (SPD), conceded defeat. The Christian Democrats previously governed in coalition with the FDP in most of the 1949–1966 governments of Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard and the 1982–1998 governments of Helmut Kohl.

Hans-Ulrich Klose German politician

Hans-Ulrich Klose is a German politician from the Social Democratic Party and a former member of the German Federal parliament. Klose was the First Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg from 1974 up to 1981, serving as President of the Bundesrat in 1979/80.

CDU/CSU, unofficially the Union parties or the Union, is the centre-right Christian democratic political alliance of two political parties in Germany, namely the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU).

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel German politician

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel is a German politician of the SPD.

History of Germany since 1990 aspect of history

The history of Germany since 1990 spans the period following the Reunification of Germany, when West Germany and East Germany were reunited after being divided during the Cold War. Germany after 1990 is referred to by historians as the Berlin Republic. This time period is also determined by the ongoing process of the "inner reunification" of the formerly divided country.

Joachim Herrmann (CSU) German politician (CSU), Bavarian Minister of the Interior

Joachim Herrmann is a German politician. He is a member of the CSU party. Herrmann is a MP in the Landtag, the parliament of Bavaria since 1994. Since 16 October 2007 he has been Minister of the Interior of the state of Bavaria.

2018 Bavarian state election state election in Germany

The 2018 Bavarian state election took place on 14 October 2018 to elect the 180 members of the 18th Landtag of Bavaria.


  1. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23/04/2005, p. 42
  2. http://www.zeit.de/2006/13/Interview_2fVogel_13
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, Heidelberg, 03/02/2011, p. 20
  6. http://www.hdg.de/lemo/html/biografien/VogelHansJochen/index.html
  7. Die Zeit, 27.03.1987
Party political offices
Preceded by
Willy Brandt
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Björn Engholm
Political offices
Preceded by
Dietrich Stobbe
Mayor of West Berlin
Succeeded by
Richard von Weizsäcker
Preceded by
Thomas Wimmer
Mayor of Munich
Succeeded by
Georg Kronawitter
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Flag of Mexico.svg Pedro Ramírez Vázquez
President of Organizing Committee for Summer Olympic Games
Succeeded by
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Jean Doré