Rudolf Scharping

Last updated
Rudolf Scharping
Bundeswehr-Foto BVM012 Rudolf Scharping.jpg
Minister of Defence
In office
27 October 1998 18 July 2002
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
Preceded by Volker Rühe
Succeeded by Peter Struck
Leader of the Social Democratic Party in the Bundestag
In office
10 November 1994 26 October 1998
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Hans-Ulrich Klose
Succeeded by Peter Struck
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
25 June 1993 18 November 1995
Preceded by Johannes Rau (acting)
Succeeded by Oskar Lafontaine
Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate
In office
21 May 1991 15 October 1994
Preceded by Carl-Ludwig Wagner
Succeeded by Kurt Beck
Member of the Bundestag
In office
10 November 1994 18 October 2005
Personal details
BornRudolf Albert Scharping
(1947-12-02) 2 December 1947 (age 70)
Niederelbert, Germany
Political party Social Democratic Party (1966–present)
Alma mater University of Bonn

Rudolf Albert Scharping (born 2 December 1947) is a German politician (SPD) and sports official. He was from 1991 to 1994 the 6th Minister President of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate and 1998–2002 Federal Minister of Defence. From 1993 to 1995 he was also the national chairman of the SPD. In the Bundestag election in 1994 he was candidate for chancellor. From March 1995 to May 2001 he served as chairman of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

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 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.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. In democratic countries, politicians seek elective positions within a government through elections or, at times, temporary appointment to replace politicians who have died, resigned or have been otherwise removed from office. In non-democratic countries, they employ other means of reaching power through appointment, bribery, revolutions and war. Some politicians are experienced in the art or science of 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.

Social Democratic Party of Germany political party in Germany

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


Early life

Scharping was born in Niederelbert. He studied politics, sociology and law at the University of Bonn. He joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1966.

Niederelbert Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Niederelbert is an Ortsgemeinde – a community belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde – in the Westerwaldkreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

University of Bonn public research university located in Bonn, Germany

The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. It was founded in its present form as the Rhein University on 18 October 1818 by Frederick William III, as the linear successor of the Kurkölnische Akademie Bonn which was founded in 1777. The University of Bonn offers a large number of undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects and has 544 professors and 32,500 students. Its library holds more than five million volumes.

Political career

He was a Member of the Rhineland-Palatine Parliament from 1975 to 1994. From 21 May 1991 to 15 October 1994, he was prime minister of the state.

Rhineland-Palatinate State in Germany

Rhineland-Palatinate is a state of Germany.

In 1994 he ran as the SPD's candidate for Chancellor against Helmut Kohl (CDU), lost, and became leader of the opposition. His successor for the prime minister post is Kurt Beck. From 1993 to 1995, Scharping was chairman of the SPD, succeeding Björn Engholm. He was then defeated by Oskar Lafontaine in an upset vote at the federal party convent at Mannheim. He was elected as one of five vice chairmen in the same year and re-elected in 1997, 1999 and 2001. He has been member of the Bundestag since 1994. He led the SPD parliamentary group from 1994 to 1998.

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.

Christian Democratic Union of Germany political party in Germany

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.

Kurt Beck German politician

Kurt Beck is a German politician (SPD), who served as the 7th Minister President of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1994 to 2013 and as the 55th President of the Bundesrat in 2000/01. On 14 May 2006 he succeeded Matthias Platzeck as chairman of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). He resigned from that post on 7 September 2008.

In July 1999, he was considered the leading candidate to become the new Secretary General of NATO; however, he declined to be nominated for the position. [1] [2] [3]

Secretary General of NATO position

The Secretary General of NATO is an international diplomat who serves as the chief civil servant of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Secretary General is responsible for coordinating the workings of the alliance, leading NATO's international staff, chairing the meetings of the North Atlantic Council and most major committees of the alliance, with the notable exception of the NATO Military Committee, and acting as NATO's spokesperson. However, the Secretary General does not have any military command role, and political, military and strategic decisions ultimately rest with the member states. Together with the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee and the Supreme Allied Commander the Secretary General is one of the foremost officials of NATO. The current Secretary General is Jens Stoltenberg, the former Prime Minister of Norway, who took office on 1 October 2014.

From 27 October 1998 to 18 July 2002, he served as Germany's Minister of Defence. In his period of office, the German Bundeswehr participated for the first time since 1945 in a War outside Germany in former Yugoslavia. Scharping defended the German involvement with the Hufeisenplan, which later turned out to have likely been a hoax. Parts of the German population doubted the compatibility of the military methods, for example the attacks against Yugoslavia by the NATO, with the Grundgesetz.

<i>Bundeswehr</i> unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities

The Bundeswehr is the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities. The States of Germany are not allowed to maintain armed forces of their own, since the German Constitution states that matters of defense fall into the sole responsibility of the federal government.

Yugoslavia 1918–1992 country in Southeastern and Central Europe

Yugoslavia was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918 under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs with the Kingdom of Serbia, and constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state, following centuries in which the region had been part of the Ottoman Empire and then Austria-Hungary. Peter I of Serbia was its first sovereign. The kingdom gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. The official name of the state was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929.

Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany constitution of Germany

The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Scharping was unseated shortly before the Bundestag elections in 2002 because of several political affairs. In the so-called Majorca Affair he had his picture taken in the swimming pool in company of his girlfriend Kristina Countess Pilati while the Bundeswehr was about to begin a difficult mission in Republic of Macedonia. [4] The Moritz Hunzinger Affair was also related to him. Following his dismissal as Minister of Defense, he withdrew his candidacy for reelection as vice chairman as his chances were meagre. His successor was once again Kurt Beck. He kept his Bundestag seat but did not run again in the 2005 general elections.

After his political career, since 2005 he became the chairman of the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer, because he is an active cycling enthusiast.


  1. Fitchett, Joseph (15 July 1999). "Paddy Ashdown of Britain Is Seen by Some As Leading Candidate for Secretary-General : Hunt for NATO Chief Moves Into New Phase". The New York Times . The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  2. Ulbrich, Jeffrey (16 July 1999). "Secretary-general sought by NATO". Associated Press . Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  3. Whitney, Craig R. (31 July 1999). "Britain Nominates Its Defense Secretary to Be Head of NATO". The New York Times . The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  4. 'Lustwaffe' Minister in firing line - Guardian

Political offices
Preceded by
Carl-Ludwig Wagner
Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate
Succeeded by
Kurt Beck
Preceded by
Volker Rühe
Federal Minister of Defence (Germany)
Succeeded by
Peter Struck
Party political offices
Preceded by
Björn Engholm
Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Oskar Lafontaine

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