German Statesman. First President of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949 to 1959). He studied economics, literature, history, art history, and political science at the Universities of Munich and Berlin. He received his doctorate at the University of Munich in 1905 under the direction of Lujo Brentano on the topic of wine growing in the Heilbronn area. After his studies he became an editor of various magazines. He joined what became the DDP (German Democratic Party) in 1903 and was a delegate to the German Reichstag (parliament) from 1924 to 1928 and again from 1930 to 1933. He voted for the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler power, in 1933 on a party vote, though he was personally against it. As a result of the Act, his party was banned from the Reichstag in 1933. He then worked as an editor again until his work was banned by the Nazi Party in 1942. After the war, he was one of the first to begin publishing again under the occupying authorities: he co-founded the "Rhein-Neckar Zeitung" which is still published today. In 1945 he was named Minister for Culture in the Baden-Wuerttemburg state government and was selected as a delegate to the state parliament from 1946-1949. He was a founding member of the FDP (Free Democrats) in 1948, and was a delegate to the parliament committee that wrote the "Basic Law" for the new Federal Republic of Germany. He won election to the new Bundestag (the lower house of the German Parliament) but set that aside as he was chosen as the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was re-elected in 1954 and held the office until September 1959. He did not run for a third term as that was not permitted by the Basic Law. He was noted for his nonpartisan approach to the office of President. His image appeared on many regular issue German stamps of the era as well as a two-mark coin.
Bio by: Kenneth Gilbert