German Statesman. He served as both Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1974 to 1992 (except for a two week period in 1982). He was drafted into the German armed forces during the Second World War and ended up a prisoner of war by the war's end. After the war he settled in what later became East Germany and studied law and economics at the universities in Halle and Leipzig. In 1949 he became a junior barrister and three years later, fled to West Germany. He quickly became a member of the Free Democratic Party and rose rapidly through its party ranks in Bremen. In 1965 he was elected to the Bundestag from North Rhine–Westphalia and four years later when the Free Democrats joined the Social Democrats in a coalition government, he became minister of the interior. In 1974 he became chairman of the Free Democratic party and also foreign minister and vice chancellor. In 1982 when the Free Democrats switched allegiance to the Christian Democrats, who had just taken over the government, he continued in the post of both foreign minister and vice chancellor. He strongly supported better relations with the Soviet Union and the old Eastern bloc and, after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union, insisted that the West should take advantage of the historic opportunities for détente. In 1989–90 he worked vigorously for German reunification and became the first foreign minister of the unified Germany. He resigned from the cabinet in 1992 but remained a member of the Bundestag until his retirement in 1998. After his retirement he stayed active in various political and international interests.
Bio by: Mr. Badger Hawkeye