Franz Josef Strauss


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(b. 6 Sept. 1915, d. 3 Oct. 1988).

Bavarian Minister President 1978–88 One of the co‐founders of the CSU in 1946, he became its general secretary in 1949, deputy president in 1952, and president in 1961. A member of the federal parliament (1949–78), he became Secretary for Special Affairs in 1953, Secretary for Nuclear Issues in 1955, and Foreign Secretary in 1956, when he oversaw the rearmament of the West German army as part of NATO begun in 1955. He resigned over allegations of lying to parliament in 1962, but he rejoined the government as Finance Secretary (1966–9). His briskness and his right‐wing views were constant points of friction with the more centrist CDU, and also cost him general popular support outside Bavaria. As a result, under his leadership in the 1980 elections against H. Schmidt, the CDU/CSU sustained the worst defeat since the parties' creation. By contrast, his popularity in Bavaria, where he continued to win the state elections with record majorities, remained extremely high.

Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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