Ludwig Erhard in 1973
| Chancellor of Germany |
17 October 1963 –30 November 1966
|Vice Chancellor||Erich Mende|
|Preceded by||Konrad Adenauer|
|Succeeded by||Kurt Georg Kiesinger|
|Leader of the Christian Democratic Union|
23 March 1966 –23 May 1967
|Bundestag Leader||Rainer Barzel|
|Preceded by||Konrad Adenauer|
|Succeeded by||Kurt Georg Kiesinger|
| Vice Chancellor of Germany |
29 October 1957 –15 October 1963
|Preceded by||Franz Blücher|
|Succeeded by||Erich Mende|
|Federal Minister for Economics|
20 September 1949 –15 October 1963
|Succeeded by||Kurt Schmücker|
|Member of the Bundestag|
7 September 1949 –5 May 1977
Ludwig Wilhelm Erhard
4 February 1897
Fürth, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
|Died||5 May 1977 80) (aged|
Bonn, West Germany
|Resting place||Gmund am Tegernsee|
|Alma mater||Goethe University Frankfurt|
Ludwig Wilhelm Erhard (German: [ˈluːtvɪç ˈʔeːɐ̯haʁt] ; 4 February 1897 – 5 May 1977) was a German politician affiliated with the CDU and the second Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1963 until 1966. He is often famed for leading German postwar economic reforms and economic recovery (" Wirtschaftswunder," German for "economic miracle") in his role as Minister of Economic Affairs under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer from 1949 to 1963. During that period he promoted the concept of the social market economy (soziale Marktwirtschaft), on which Germany's economic policy in the 21st century continues to be based. In his tenure as chancellor, however, Erhard failed to win confidence in his handling of a budget deficit and his direction of foreign policy, and his popularity waned. He resigned his chancellorship on 1 December 1966.
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 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.
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian democratic and 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). The party is widely considered an effective successor of the Centre Party, although it has a broader base.
West Germany is the common English name for the Federal Republic of Germany in the period between its creation on 23 May 1949 and German reunification on 3 October 1990. During this Cold War era, NATO-aligned West Germany and Warsaw Pact-aligned East Germany were divided by the Inner German border. After 1961 West Berlin was physically separated from East Berlin as well as from East Germany by the Berlin Wall. This situation ended when East Germany was dissolved and split into five states, which then joined the ten states of the Federal Republic of Germany along with the reunified city-state of Berlin. With the reunification of West and East Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, enlarged now to sixteen states, became known simply as "Germany". This period is referred to as the Bonn Republic by historians, alluding to the interwar Weimar Republic and the post-reunification Berlin Republic.
Born in Fürth, Kingdom of Bavaria, Erhard was a commercial apprentice from 1913 to 1916. After his apprenticeship he worked as retail salesman in his father's draper's shop.
Fürth is a city in northern Bavaria, Germany, in the administrative division (Regierungsbezirk) of Middle Franconia. It is now contiguous with the larger city of Nuremberg, the centres of the two cities being only 7 km apart.
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1805 as Maximilian I Joseph. The crown would go on being held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom came to an end in 1918. Most of Bavaria's present-day borders were established after 1814 with the Treaty of Paris, in which Bavaria ceded Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Austrian Empire while receiving Aschaffenburg and Würzburg. With the unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the kingdom became a federal state of the new Empire and was second in size, power, and wealth only to the leading state, the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1918, Bavaria became a republic, and the kingdom was thus succeeded by the current Free State of Bavaria.
In 1916, during World War I, he joined the German forces as an artilleryman. He fought in Romania and was seriously injured near Ypres in 1918. Because of his injury he could no longer work as a draper and started learning economics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Frankfurt in 1925, for a dissertation written under Franz Oppenheimer.
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.
University of Frankfurt is a university located in Frankfurt, Germany. It was founded in 1914 as a citizens' university, which means it was founded and funded by the wealthy and active liberal citizenry of Frankfurt. The original name was Universität Frankfurt am Main. In 1932, the university's name was extended in honour of one of the most famous native sons of Frankfurt, the poet, philosopher and writer/dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The university currently has around 45,000 students, distributed across four major campuses within the city.
Franz Oppenheimer was a German sociologist and political economist, who published also in the area of the fundamental sociology of the state.
During his time in Frankfurt he married Luise Schuster (1893–1975), born Lotter, on 11 December 1923. After his graduation they moved to Fürth and he became executive in his parents' company in 1925. After three years he became assistant at the Institut für Wirtschaftsbeobachtung der deutschen Fertigware, a marketing research institute founded by Wilhelm Rudolf Mann and de:Wilhelm Vershofen.Later, he became deputy director of the institute.
Luise Erhard was a German economist and the wife of Ludwig Erhard, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Marketing research is "the process or set of processes that links the producers, customers, and end users to the marketer through information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications."
Wilhelm Rudolf Mann was a German factory manager for IG Farben and later with Bayer.
During World War II, he worked on concepts for a postwar peace; however, officially such studies were forbidden by the Nazis, who had declared total war. As a result, Erhard lost his job in 1942 but continued to work on the subject by order of the "Reichsgruppe Industrie." In 1944 he wrote War Finances and Debt Consolidation (orig: Kriegsfinanzierung und Schuldenkonsolidierung). In this study he assumed that Germany had already lost the war. He sent his thoughts to Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, a central figure in the German resistance to Nazism, who recommended Erhard to his comrades. Erhard also discussed his concept with Otto Ohlendorf, deputy secretary of state in the Reichsministerium für Wirtschaft. Ohlendorf himself spoke out for "active and courageous entrepreneurship (aktives und wagemutiges Unternehmertum)", which was intended to replace bureaucratic state planning of the economy after the war. Erhard was an outsider who completely rejected Nazism, supported resistance, and endorsed efforts to produce a sensitive, intelligent approach to economic revival during the postwar period.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Carl Friedrich Goerdeler was a monarchist conservative German politician, executive, economist, civil servant, and opponent of the Nazi regime. He was anti-Semitic, but opposed the Holocaust.
German resistance to Nazism was the opposition by individuals and groups in Germany to the National Socialist regime between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active resistance with plans to remove Adolf Hitler from power by assassination and overthrow his regime.
After the war Erhard became an economic consultant. Under the Bizone established by the American and British administration in 1947, he led the Sonderstelle Geld und Kredit (Special Office for Money and Credit), an expert commission preparing the currency reform in Germany's western zones of occupation. The commission began its deliberations in October 1947, and in April 1948 produced the so-called Homburg plan, elements of which were adopted by the Allies in the currency reform that set the stage for the recovery of the economy.
The Bizone or Bizonia was the combination of the American and the British occupation zones on 1 January 1947 during the occupation of Germany after World War II. With the addition of the French occupation zone on 1 June 1948 the entity became the Trizone. Later, on 23 May 1949, the Trizone became the Federal Republic of Germany, commonly known as West Germany.
The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
In April 1948, Erhard was elected director of economics by the Bizonal Economic Council. On 20 June 1948, the Deutsche Mark was introduced. Erhard abolished the price-fixing and production controls that had been enacted by the military administration. This exceeded his authority, but he succeeded with this step.
In the first free elections following the Nazi era, Erhard stood for election in a Baden-Württemberg district and was elected. He was appointed Minister for Economic Affairs, a position he would hold for the next 14 years; from 1957 to 1963 he was also the 2nd Vice-Chancellor of Germany.
A staunch believer in economic liberalism, Erhard joined the Mont Pelerin Society in 1950 and used this influential body of liberal economic and political thinkers to test his ideas for the reorganization of the West German economy. Some of the society's members were members of the Allied High Commission and Erhard was able to make his case directly to them. The Mont Pélerin Society welcomed Erhard because this gave its members a welcome opportunity to have their ideas tested in real life.
Late in the 1950s, Erhard's ministry became involved in the struggle within the society between the European and the Anglo-American factions, and sided with the former. Erhard viewed the market itself as social and supported only a minimum of welfare legislation. However Erhard suffered a series of decisive defeats in his effort to create a free, competitive economy in 1957; he had to compromise on such key issues as the anti-cartel legislation. Thereafter, the West German economy evolved into a conventional welfare state from the basis that had been already laid in the 1880s by Bismarck. According to Alfred Mierzejewski the generally accepted view is that Germany has a social market economy, that the post-war German economy has evolved since 1948, but the fundamental characteristics of that economic system have not changed, while in his opinion the social market economy had begun to fade in 1957, disappearing entirely by the late 1960s.
In July 1948, a group of southwest German businessmen attacked the restrictive credit policy of Erhard as Economic Director. While Erhard had designed this policy to assure currency stability and stimulate the economy via consumption, business feared the scarcity of investment capital would retard economic recovery. Erhard was also deeply critical of a bureaucratic-institutional integration of Europe on the model of the European Coal and Steel Community.
Erhard decided, as economic director for the British and American occupation zones, to lift many price controls in 1948, despite opposition from both the social democratic opposition and Allied authorities. Erhard's financial and economic policies soon proved widely popular as the German economy made a miracle recovery to rapid growth and widespread prosperity in the 1950s, overcoming wartime destruction and successfully integrating millions of refugees from the east.
After the resignation of Adenauer in 1963, Erhard was elected chancellor with 279 against 180 votes in the Bundestag on 16 October. In 1965, he was re-elected. In 1966 he also followed Adenauer as party leader, despite the fact that he had joined the Christian Democatic Union only shortly before his election to Chairman. The reasons for Erhard's reluctance are unknown, but it is probable that they stemmed from Erhard's general scepticism about party politics. However, Erhard was regarded and treated as a long-time CDU member and as the party chairman by almost everyone in Germany at the time, including the vast majority of the CDU itself.
Domestically, a number of progressive reforms were carried out during Erhard's time as chancellor. In the field of social security, Housing Benefit was introduced in 1965, while federally funded child allowances for two or more children were introduced a year earlier.
Erhard considered using money to bring about the reunification of Germany. Despite Washington's reluctance, Erhard envisaged offering Nikita Khrushchev, the leader in Moscow, massive economic aid in exchange for more political liberty in East Germany and eventually for reunification. Erhard believed that if West Germany were to offer a "loan" worth $25 billion US to the Soviet Union (which Erhard did not expect to be repaid), then the Soviet Union would permit German reunification.The acting American Secretary of State George Wildman Ball described Erhard's plan to essentially buy East Germany from the Soviet Union as "half-baked and unrealistic." Erhard's objective corresponded in time with Khrushchev rethinking his relations to West Germany. The Soviet leader secretly encouraged Erhard to present a realistic proposal for a 'modus vivendi' and officially accepted the chancellor's invitation to visit Bonn. However, Khrushchev fell from power in October 1964, and nothing developed. Perhaps more importantly, by late 1964, the Soviet Union had received a vast series of loans from the international money markets, and no longer felt the need for Erhard's money.
Erhard believed the major world problems were solvable through free trade and the economic unity of Europe (as a prerequisite for political unification); he alienated French president Charles de Gaulle, who wanted the opposite. Support for the American role in the Vietnam War proved fatal for Erhard's coalition. Through his endorsement of the American goal of military victory in Vietnam, Erhard sought closer collaboration with Washington and less with Paris. Erhard's policy complicated Allied initiatives toward German unification, a dilemma that the United States placed on the back burner as it focused on Southeast Asia. Erhard failed to understand that American global interests—not Europe's needs—dictated policy in Washington, D.C., and he rejected Adenauer's policy of fostering good relations with both the United States and France in the pursuit of West German national interest. Faced with a dangerous budget deficit in the 1966–1967 recession, Erhard fell from office in part because of concessions that he made during a visit to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In 1961, while vice president, Johnson had hosted Konrad Adenauer some two years before the German statesman vacated the chancellorship of the German Federal Republic. In December 1963, less than a month after he had assumed the American presidency upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson staged the first ever presidential barbecue in Erhard's honor. The event was held in and about the Stonewall Elementary School gymnasium in Stonewall in the Texas Hill Country. Among the entertainers was the internationally known concert pianist Van Cliburn, who appeared in a business suit, rather than his usual formal wear. As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr., Johnson's father, been sensitive to his German-American constituency and had opposed the Creel Committee's attempt to disparage German culture and isolate German-Americans during World War I. Adenauer and Erhard had also stayed at Johnson's ranch in Gillespie County.
Erhard's fall suggested that progress on German unification required a broader approach and a more active foreign policy. Chancellor Willy Brandt in the late 1960s abandoned the Hallstein Doctrine of previous chancellors and employed a new "Ostpolitik," seeking improved relations with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and thereby laying the groundwork for détente and coexistence between East and West. In the 1980s Chancellor Helmut Kohl, however, reverted to Erhard's approach in collaborating with the Reagan administration in its hard-line anti-Soviet policy.
On 26 October 1966, Minister Walter Scheel (FDP) resigned, protesting against the budget released the day before. The other ministers who were members of the FDP followed his example — the coalition was broken. On 1 December, Erhard resigned. His successor was Kurt Georg Kiesinger (CDU), who formed a grand coalition with the SPD.
Erhard continued his political work by remaining a member of the West German parliament until his death in Bonn from heart failure on 5 May 1977. He was buried in Gmund, near the Tegernsee. The Ludwig Erhard-Berufsschule (professional college) in Paderborn, Fürth and Münster are named in his honour.
The term of Erhard's first ministry was from 16 October 1963 to 26 October 1965.
Following his re-election on 26 October 1965, Erhard's second ministry ran until his resignation on 1 December 1966.
The Free Democratic Party is a liberal and classical liberal political party in Germany. The FDP is led by Christian Lindner.
Kurt Georg Kiesinger was a German politician who served as Chancellor of Germany from 1 December 1966 to 21 October 1969. Before he became Chancellor he served as Minister President of Baden-Württemberg from 1958 to 1966 and as President of the Federal Council from 1962 to 1963. He was Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1967 to 1971.
Franz Josef Strauss was a German politician. He was the long-time chairman of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) from 1961 until 1988, member of the federal cabinet in different positions between 1953 and 1969 and minister-president of the state of Bavaria from 1978 until 1988. Strauss is also credited as a co-founder of European aerospace conglomerate Airbus.
Walter Scheel was a German politician. A member of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP), he first served in government as Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development from 1961-66. He led the FDP from 1968-74.
The social market economy, also called Rhine capitalism, is a socioeconomic model combining a free market capitalist economic system alongside social policies that establish both fair competition within the market and a welfare state. It is sometimes classified as a coordinated market economy. The social market economy was originally promoted and implemented in West Germany by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1949. Its origins can be traced to the interwar Freiburg school of economic thought.
Federal elections were held in West Germany on 28 September 1969 to elect the members of the 6th Bundestag. The CDU/CSU remained the largest faction and the Social Democratic Party remained the largest single party in the Bundestag, winning 237 of the 518 seats.
Federal elections were held in West Germany on 19 September 1965 to elect the members of the 5th Bundestag. The CDU/CSU remained the largest faction, while the Social Democratic Party remained the largest single party in the Bundestag, winning 251 of the 518 seats.
Federal elections were held in West Germany on 17 September 1961 to elect the members of the fourth Bundestag. CDU/CSU remained the largest faction, while the Social Democratic Party narrowly became the largest individual party in the Bundestag, winning 203 of the 521 seats.
Federal elections were held in West Germany on 15 September 1957 to elect the third Bundestag. The Christian Democratic Union and its longtime ally, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, won a sweeping victory, taking 277 seats in the Bundestag to win the first--and to date, only--absolute majority for a single German parliamentary group in a free election.
Federal elections were held in West Germany on 14 August 1949 to elect the first Bundestag, with a further eight seats elected in West Berlin between 1949 and January 1952 and another eleven between February 1952 and 1953. They were the first contested elections since 1933 and the first after the division of the country.
Rainer Candidus Barzel was a German politician of the CDU. He served as the 8th President of the Bundestag from 1983 to 1984.
Paul Kirchhof is a German jurist and tax law expert. He is also a professor of law, member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and, a former judge in the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (Bundesverfassungsgericht), the highest court in Germany.
Thomas Dehler was a German politician. He was the Federal Republic of Germany's first Minister of Justice (1949–1953) and chairman of Free Democratic Party (1954–1957).
Dr. Erich Mende was a German politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He was the leader of FDP from 1960 to 1968 and the third Vice Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1963 to 1966.
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.
Werner Dollinger was a German politician and economist, a member of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU). He served as Federal Minister for the Treasury from 1962 to 1966, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation in 1966, Federal Minister for Post and Telecommunications from 1966 to 1969, and as Federal Minister of Transport from 1982 to 1987.
The Kiesinger cabinet was the eighth of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was Germany's first Grand Coalition, a coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD. The Bundestag chosen in the September 1965 election initially resulted in the Cabinet Erhard II, but when the FDP resigned from the government, that led to the formation of this new cabinet.
Peter Hintze was a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and from 2013 one of the six Vice Presidents of the Bundestag. He had previously been federal chairman of the Evangelical Working Group of the CDU/CSU from 1990 to 1992 and general secretary of the CDU from 1992 to 1998. He served as a member of the Bundestag from 1990. He was also Vice President of the Centrist Democrat International.
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| Minister for Economics |
| Vice Chancellor of West Germany |
| Chancellor of West Germany |
Kurt Georg Kiesinger