Willy Brandt

Willy Brandt (German: [ˈvɪliː ˈbʁant] (listen); born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm; 18 December 1913 – 8 October 1992) was a German politician and statesman who was leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) from 1964 to 1987 and served as the chancellor of West 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.[1] He was the first Social Democrat chancellor[2] since 1930.

Willy Brandt
Brandt in 1980
Chancellor of Germany[lower-alpha 1]
In office
22 October 1969  7 May 1974
PresidentGustav Heinemann
Vice ChancellorWalter Scheel
Preceded byKurt Georg Kiesinger
Succeeded byHelmut Schmidt
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
16 February 1964  14 June 1987
National SecretaryHans-Jürgen Wischnewski
Holger Börner
Egon Bahr
Peter Glotz
Preceded byErich Ollenhauer
Succeeded byHans-Jochen Vogel
Vice-Chancellor of Germany
In office
1 December 1966  22 October 1969
PresidentHeinrich Lübke
Gustav Heinemann
ChancellorKurt Georg Kiesinger
Preceded byHans-Christoph Seebohm
Succeeded byWalter Scheel
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
1 December 1966  20 October 1969
ChancellorKurt Georg Kiesinger
Preceded byGerhard Schröder
Succeeded byWalter Scheel
Governing Mayor of Berlin
West Berlin
In office
3 October 1957  1 December 1966
Preceded byOtto Suhr
Succeeded byHeinrich Albertz
President of the Bundesrat
In office
1 November 1957  31 October 1958
Preceded byKurt Sieveking
Succeeded byWilhelm Kaisen
President of the Berlin House of Representatives
In office
11 January 1955  2 October 1957
Preceded byOtto Suhr
Succeeded byKurt Landsberg [de]
Personal details
Born
Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm

(1913-12-18)18 December 1913
Lübeck, German Empire
Died8 October 1992(1992-10-08) (aged 78)
Unkel, Germany
Resting placeZehlendorf, Berlin
CitizenshipGermany (until 1938; reclaimed 1948)
Norway (from 1940)
Political partySPD (1930–1931; from 1948)
Other political
affiliations
Socialist Workers' (1931–1946)
Spouse(s)
  • Carlotta Thorkildsen
    (m. 1941; div. 1948)
  • (m. 1948; div. 1980)
  • Brigitte Seebacher
    (m. 1983)
Children4, including Matthias
AwardsNobel Peace Prize (1971)
Signature

Fleeing to Norway and then Sweden during the Nazi regime and working as a left-wing journalist, he took the name Willy Brandt as a pseudonym to avoid detection by Nazi agents, and then formally adopted the name in 1948. Brandt was originally considered one of the leaders of the right wing of the SPD, and earned initial fame as Governing Mayor of West Berlin. He served as the foreign minister and as the vice-chancellor in Kurt Georg Kiesinger's cabinet, and became chancellor in 1969.

As chancellor, he maintained West Germany's close alignment with the United States and focused on strengthening European integration in western Europe, while launching the new policy of Ostpolitik aimed at improving relations with Eastern Europe. Brandt was controversial on both the right wing, for his Ostpolitik, and on the left wing, for his support of American policies, including the Vietnam War, and right-wing authoritarian regimes. The Brandt Report became a recognised measure for describing the general North-South divide in world economics and politics between an affluent North and a poor South. Brandt was also known for his fierce anti-communist policies at the domestic level, culminating in the Radikalenerlass (Anti-Radical Decree) in 1972.

Brandt resigned as chancellor in 1974, after Günter Guillaume, one of his closest aides, was exposed as an agent of the Stasi, the East German secret service.


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