Biography of Scheel, Walter - Archontology
Scheel, Walter

Walter Scheel

b. 8 Jul 1919, Höhscheid bei Solingen, German Reich
d. 24 Aug 2016, Bad Krozingen, Baden-Württemberg, Federal Republic of Germany

Title: Stellvertreter des Bundeskanzlers (Deputy Federal Chancellor)
Term: 22 Oct 1969 - 15 Dec 1972
Chronology: 22 Oct 1969, sworn in as a member of Willy Brandt's 1st Cabinet
Term: 15 Dec 1972 - 16 May 1974
Chronology: 15 Dec 1972, sworn in as a member of Willy Brandt's 2nd Cabinet
  7 May 1974, Brandt discharged by the Federal President acting on resignation; Scheel put in charge of the Federal Government
  16 May 1974, Helmut Schmidt elected Federal Chancellor
Other offices: Bundespräsident (Federal President) [1 Jul 1974 - 30 Jun 1979] (see details)
After serving in World War II, he became interested in politics and joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in 1946; was elected to the municipal council of Solingen (1948) and to the Landtag of North Rhine-Westphalia (1950-1953); elected a member of the Bundestag (1953-1974); held the office of federal minister for economic cooperation in the Cabinets of Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard (1961-1966); served as Vice President of the Bundestag (8 Sep 1967 - 19 Oct 1969); succeeded Erich Mendes as federal chairman of the FDP (1968-1974); when the Social Democrat-Free Democrat coalition government was formed in 1969 by Chancellor Willy Brandt, he became foreign minister and deputy federal chancellor (22 Oct 1969 - 16 May 1974); as foreign minister he helped improve relations with East Germany and the Soviet Union; when Brandt resigned as Federal Chancellor (6 May 1974), he replaced him in charge of the government until Helmut Schmidt took office 16 May 1974; was elected Federal President by the 7th Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly); during his tenure, his activities were mostly limited to ceremonial functions and foreign visits; although he was offered to stand for re-election, he refused and accepted executive office in the Deutschen Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) company; later served as an executive in the Thyssen AG and the Thyssen Stahl AG.
Biographical sources: "Die Bundespräsidenten: Biographien eines Amtes", by Günther Scholz (Heidelberg: Decker & Müller, 1990).