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Hans-Jochen Vogel

(1926)


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(b. Göttingen, 3 Feb. 1926)

German; mayor of Munich 1960–72, SPD chairman 1987–91 The son of middle-class Bavarian Catholics, Vogel was a brilliant law student. Although his studies were interrupted by wartime military service he gained his doctorate in 1952. He had a successful career in the Bavarian legal service before becoming a professional politician. He joined the SPD in 1950, was elected to the SPD executive in 1970, and was mayor of Munich from 1960 to 1972. His greatest success there was to host the Olympic Games in 1972. He turned down re-election because of his disagreements with the left in the SPD in Munich.

Vogel was appointed by Brandt Minister for Building and City Planning in 1972 but he failed to achieve his aim of reducing land speculation. From 1974 to 1981 he served as Minister of Justice. He was drafted by the SPD to take over as governing mayor of Berlin in 1981 at a time when the Berlin party was facing a crisis. Despite his many skills he could not stave off SPD defeat in the election in the same year, and then led the party in opposition until 1983 when he was drafted once again to challenge Kohl in the federal election. The SPD suffered a resounding defeat, but he remained leader in the Bundestag until 1991. After Brandt gave up the chairmanship of the SPD in 1987 Vogel took over until 1991. In 1990 he opposed Lafontaine's cautious approach to German reunification. In 1993 he was the founding chairman of the non-partisan movement ‘Against Forgetting—For Democracy’ and was a member of the National Council of Ethics (2001–4).

Subjects: Politics.


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