Franz Josef Strauss


Franz Josef Strauss

Infobox Politician
name = Franz Josef Strauss


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office = Minister President of Bavaria
term_start = 1978
term_end = 1988
predecessor = Alfons Goppel
successor = Max Streibl
office2 = German Minister of Defence
term_start2 = 1956
term_end2 = 1963
predecessor2 =
successor2 =
office3 =
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term_end3 =
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birth_date = Birth date|1915|9|6
birth_place = Munich
nationality = German
death_date = Death date|1988|10|3 (age 73)
death_place = Regensburg
party = CSU
relations =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
religion = Catholic


website =
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Franz Josef Strauss (Lang-de|Franz Josef Strauß) (IPA2|fʁants jozɛf ʃtraʊs) (September 6, 1915October 3, 1988) was a German politician (CSU) and long-time minister-president of the state of Bavaria. Press reports called him the "Strong Man of Europe" [http://www.thetrumpet.com/print.php?id=657] .

Biography

Early years

Born in Munich, as the second child of a butcher, Strauss studied German letters, history and economics at the University of Munich from 1935 to 1939. On 01 Nov 1937 he became a member of the "NSDStB" ("Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund", National Socialist German Students' League). In World War II, he served in the German Wehrmacht on the Western and Eastern Fronts. While on , he passed the German state exams to become a teacher. After suffering from severe frostbite on the Eastern Front at the end of 1942, he served as an "Offizier für wehrgeistige Führung" (political officer) at the antiaircraft artillery school in Altenstadt, near Schongau. He held the rank of "Oberleutnant" at the end of the war. In 1945 he served as translator for the US army and especially for Ernest F. Hauser, who was first lieutenant in CIC military intelligenceBernt Engelmann 1986: "Ein Lesebuch", ISBN 3-373-00091-2 , Kapitel "Wer war Franz Josef Strauß", p 145ff] . He called himself Franz Strauss until soon after the war when he starts using his middle name as well. [ [http://www.fjs.de/faq2.html FAQ Franz Josef Strauss] from the Hanns Seidel Foundation de icon] Strauss married Marianne Zwicknagl in 1957. They had three children: Max Josef, Franz Georg, and Monika, who became a Bavarian minister and member of the Bavarian parliament.

Political life

After the war, he was appointed deputy "Landrat" (county president) of Schongau by the American occupiers and was involved in founding the local party organization of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU). He became a member of the first "Bundestag" (Federal Parliament) in 1949 and, in 1953, Federal Minister for Special Affairs in the second cabinet of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, in 1955 Federal Minister of Nuclear Energy, and in 1956 defence minister, charged with the build-up of the new "Bundeswehr"ndash the youngest man to hold this office at the time. He became chairman of the CSU in 1961.

"Der Spiegel" scandal

Strauss was forced to step down as defence minister in 1962 in the wake of the "Spiegel" scandal. Rudolf Augstein, owner and editor-in-chief of the influential "Der Spiegel" magazine, had been arrested on Strauss's request and was held for 103 days. Strauss was forced to admit that he had lied to the parliament and was forced to resign, complaining that he was treated like a "Jew who had dared appear at an NSDAP party convention".

Rivalry between Kohl and Strauss

Strauss was appointed minister of the treasury again in 1966, in the cabinet of Kurt Georg Kiesinger. In cooperation with the SPD minister for economy, Karl Schiller, he developed a groundbreaking economic stability policy; the two ministers, quite unlike in physical appearance and political background, were popularly dubbed "Plisch und Plum," after two dogs in a 19th century cartoon by Wilhelm Busch.

After the SPD was able to form a government without the conservatives, in 1969, Strauss became one of the most vocal critics of Willy Brandt's "Ostpolitik." On a journey to China in 1975, where he was received by Mao Zedong, Strauss became a political sensation. After Helmut Kohl's first run for chancellor in 1976 failed, Strauss cancelled the alliance between the CDU and CSU parties in the Bundestag, a decision which he only took back months later when the CDU threatened to extend their party to Bavaria (where the CSU holds a political monopoly for the conservatives). In the 1980 federal election, the CDU/CSU opted to put forward Strauss as their candidate for chancellor. Strauss had continued to be critical of Kohl's leadership, so providing Strauss a shot at the chancellery may have been seen as an endorsement of either Strauss' policies or style (or both) over Kohl's. But many, if not most, observers at the time believed that the CDU had concluded that Helmut Schmidt's SPD was likely unbeatable in 1980, and felt that they had nothing to lose in running Strauss. Schmidt's easy win was seen by Kohl's supporters as a vindication of their man, and though the rivalry between Kohl and Strauss persisted for years, once the CDU/CSU was able to take power in 1982, Kohl was again their leader, where he remained until well after Strauss's death.

United States of Europe

Strauss was the author of a book called "The Grand Design" in which he set forth his views of the way in which the future unification of Europe should be decided.

Ever since the infamous "Der Spiegel" affair of the 1960s, he had also become the target of the broadcasting and publishing media blitz that Herbert W. Armstrong unleashed upon Europe through the daily offshore pirate radio station broadcasts by his son Garner Ted Armstrong, his magazine called "The Plain Truth" and his Ambassador College campus at Bricket Wood in Hertfordshire, England. Strauss was portrayed as being the coming Führer who would lead a United States of Europe into a prophetic and victorious future World War III against the USA and UK at some time between 1972 and 1975. In 1971, Strauss played along with the prophetic interest shown in him as Herbert W. Armstrong recalled in a 1983 letter: "I entertained him at dinner in my home in Pasadena, and he spoke to the faculty and students of Ambassador College. I have maintained contact with him." [http://www.aci.net/Kalliste/Pasadena_memories.htm] Strauss also appeared in an interview on "The World Tomorrow" television programme.

Final decade of life

From 1978 until his death in 1988, Strauss was minister-president of Bavaria, serving as President of the Bundesrat in 1983/84. After his defeat in the 1980 federal election, he retreated to commenting on federal politics from his safe seat in Bavaria. In the following years, he was the most visible critic of Kohl's politics in his own political camp, even after Kohl ascended to the Chancellorship. In 1983, he was primarily responsible for a loan of 3 billion Deutschmarks given to East Germany. This move was widely criticised even during Strauss's lifetime; it is today regarded by someWho|date=October 2007 as having artificially prolonged the life of the then-bankrupt communist state.

Visit to Albania

Strauss visited communist Albania on August 21, 1984, while Enver Hoxha, the absolute dictator from the end of World War II until his death in 1985, was still alive. Strauss was one of the few Western leaders, if not the only one, to visit the isolationist Albania in decades. This fuelled speculation that Strauss might be preparing the way for diplomatic links between Albania and West Germany but the visit did not result in anything concrete.

Death

On October 1, 1988, Strauss collapsed while hunting with the Prince of Thurn and Taxis in the Thurn and Taxis forests, east of Regensburg. He died in a Regensburg hospital on October 3 without having regained consciousness.

Legacy

Strauss shaped post-war Germany and polarized the public like few others. He was a vocal figurehead for conservatives, involved in several large-scale scandals, a remarkable rhetorician, and as such was a red flag to the left. Still, most would agree that he was an extraordinary politician and managed to transform Bavaria from the once-agrarian state to one of the centers of technology in Germany that it is today.

As an aerospace enthusiast, Strauss was one of the driving persons to create Airbus in the 1970s. He served as Chairman of Airbus [ [http://www.airbus.com/en/corporate/people/company_evolution/history/part_3.html Airbus Corporate Information - The Airbus story] ] in the late 1980s, until his death in 1988; he saw the company win a lucrative but controversial (see Airbus affair) contract to supply planes to Air Canada just before his death. Munich's new airport, the Franz Josef Strauss Airport, was named after him in 1992.

References

* Franz Josef Strauss. "The Grand Design: A European solution to German reunification". English translation: London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/StraussFranzJosef/ Biography] de icon
* [http://www.strauss.esmartweb.com/zitate.htm Website with Strauss quotations] de icon
* [http://www.dhm.de/lemo/objekte/pict/KontinuitaetUndWandel_karikaturMurschetzPlischUndPlum/ "Plisch und Plum" caricature (1967)] by Luis Murschetz de icon
* [http://www.aci.net/Kalliste/Pasadena_memories.htm Memories of Pasadena by J. Orlin Grabbe] (personal eyewitness observations concerning the personal interest of Herbert W. Armstrong in the career of Franz Josef Strauss as the future Führer of a United States of Europe)


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