Carstens, Karl

Karl Walter Carstens

b. 14 Dec 1914, Bremen, German Reich
d. 30 May 1992, Meckenheim, Federal Republic of Germany

Title: Bundespräsident (Federal President)
Term: 1 Jul 1979 - 30 Jun 1984
Chronology: 23 May 1979, elected, session of the Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly), Beethovenhalle, Bonn [1]
  1 Jul 1979, took an oath of office as Federal President, joint session of the Bundestag and Bundesrat, Bonn [2]
  30 Jun 1984, expiration of term
Studied law and political science at the universities of Frankfurt-am-Main, Munich, Königsberg, and Hamburg; joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, NSDAP) in 1937; served in an army antiaircraft unit in World War II; after the war he was cleared by an Allied denazification court and continued his studies in Dijon, France, and at Yale University, U.S.; served as legal advisor for the Bremen Senate (1949-1954) and represented Bremen in the federal government; was chosen to represent West Germany in the Council of Europe (1954) and joined the Christian Democratic Union (Christlich Demokratische Union, CDU) in 1955; served as state secretary for foreign affairs (1960-1966), deputy defence minister (1967-1968), and head of the Office of the Federal Chancellor (1968-1969); elected to the Bundestag (1972-1979) where he became CDU parliamentary group leader (1973-1976); served as President of the Bundestag (14 Dec 1976 - 31 May 1979); despite strong opposition of the Social Democrats against his candidature at the presidential elections in 1979, he obtained the required majority in the first vote of the 7th Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly); sought for extending his popularity through the contacts with community and especially youth at public meetings and rallies; undertook a lot of trips abroad; addressing an audience in the NATO headquarters in Brussels, he disapproved the idea of unilateral disarmament; met with the Pope Ioannes Paulus II (1982) and attended the funeral of the Soviet political and party leader Leonid Brežnev; retired from public office in 1984 at the end of his term.
Biographical sources: "Die Bundespräsidenten: Biographien eines Amtes", by Günther Scholz (Heidelberg: Decker & Müller, 1990).

Candidate (party) Vote (23 May 1979)
Karl Carstens (CDU/CSU) 528
Annemarie Renger, geb. Wildung (verw. Renger-Loncarevic) (SPD) 431
abstentions 72
invalid 1
total votes cast 1,032
total votes/absolute majority: 1,036/519
Source of electoral results: Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 8. Wahlperiode, Bd. 110, Sonderdruck.

[1] Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 8. Wahlperiode, Bd. 110, Sonderdruck.
[2] Verhandlungen des Deutschen Bundestages, 8. Wahlperiode, Bd. 111, S. 13219ff.
Last updated on: 26 Jun 2009 03:35:51