Franz Josef Strauss

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Franz Josef Strauss (1982)
Signature of Franz Josef Strauss

Franz Josef Strauss (born September 6, 1915 in Munich , † October 3, 1988 in Regensburg ) was a German politician of the CSU , of which he was chairman from 1961 until his death.

Strauss was a member of the federal government as Federal Minister for Special Tasks (1953–1955), Federal Minister for Nuclear Issues (1955–1956), Federal Minister of Defense (1956–1962) and Federal Minister of Finance (1966–1969). From 1978 to 1988 he was Bavarian Prime Minister , but failed in the 1980 Bundestag election as a candidate for chancellor of the Union parties against the incumbent Chancellor Helmut Schmidt ( SPD ). Strauss had close ties to industry and was one of the main initiators in founding the Airbus company .

Origin and education 1915–1939

Franz Josef Strauss was the second child of the butcher Franz Josef Strauss (1875–1949) and his wife Walburga (1877–1962). His father came from Kemmathen (since 1971 in Arberg / Middle Franconia ), his mother from Unterwendling (since 1978 part of Kelheim / Lower Bavaria ). The house where he was born was at Schellingstrasse 49 (no longer applicable) in the Maxvorstadt district of Munich , where the family had lived since 1904. The father ran a butcher's shop there. The Strauss family was strictly Catholic, monarchist and anti-Prussian. Franz Josef Strauss Sr. was a long-time member of the Bavarian People's Party . The family advocated the separation of Bavaria from the German Empire , as the Bavarian People's Party at times called for.

Six days after his birth he was entered in the birth register as Franz Joseph Strauss and baptized in the Ludwigskirche on October 12, 1915 . During his childhood, as a student and during his military service, he was only called by his first name “Franz”. It was only after his father's death that he began to use both first names. On the advice of a Benedictine priest , Strauss switched from the elementary school on Amalienstraße to the Gisela Realschule. The university professor Johannes Zellinger made sure that he later switched to the humanistic Maximiliansgymnasium .

After he had taken the state-wide best High School since 1910 in March 1935 at the Maximilian Gymnasium in Munich, Strauss began a scholarship from the Maximilianeum Foundation , a teacher training program of classics , history , political science and German studies at the University of Munich . He completed this course in 1940 during various vacations from the front with the first state examination for higher teaching qualifications. The second state examination followed in 1942 and the student council examination in 1943. Before that, his enrollment had been rejected because he did not belong to a National Socialist organization; after a complaint from his former tutor and teacher, he was admitted. Later he joined the Catholic Munich student union Tuiskonia. Strauss became a member of the National Socialist German Student Union (NSDStB). In his free time, Strauss pursued cycling and in 1937, on the advice of Professor Franz Dirlmeier, became a member of the National Socialist Motorist Corps (NSKK) and a consultant at the NSKK-Sturm 23 / M 86 in Munich. He held the function of a Rottenführer there. In July 1939 he resigned from the NSKK. This membership was classified by the Chamber in Schongau as incriminating, but at the same time "[...] as compulsory in order to avoid non-admission to the exam." It was rated as nominal membership that was neither propagandist nor actively exercised.

War years 1939–1945

Initially, he was postponed twice due to his studies and drafted by the Wehrmacht to Landsberg am Lech on August 31, 1939 and later transferred to the 2nd Division of Artillery Regiment 43 near Trier .

In March 1940 he was given leave to take the first state examination. After his return to the troops, his unit was transferred to France on May 1 for the western campaign . After the armistice on June 25th, Strauss belonged to the occupation forces and was stationed first on the Channel coast, later in Belgium. On November 1, he was promoted to sergeant and at the same time again on leave.

At the Theresien-Gymnasium Munich he was able to continue his studies through a shortened legal clerkship and on April 1, 1941 he finished with the second state examination for teaching at high schools. Parallel to his clerkship at school, Strauss worked as an assistant at the Classical Philology and Ancient History seminars at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich .

On April 14, 1941 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht again and took part in the war against the Soviet Union from June 22, 1941 . On June 30, he was a witness in Lviv when the Germans found numerous bodies of prisoners murdered by the Soviet secret service NKVD . Strauss later wrote in his memoirs that as a Wehrmacht soldier he had repeatedly witnessed German massacres of Jews in the East. According to his own statement, these war experiences had a deep impact on him.

From September 1941 to February 1942 he was trained as an officer, in March 1942 as Lieutenant d. R. of Heeresflak allocated and in the Ukraine , on the Crimean and before Stalingrad employed. There he suffered frostbite on both feet, which is why he was transferred back to the Reich before the sinking of the 6th Army in the Battle of Stalingrad . After another course from January to May 1943 in Stolpmünde , he became a training officer, department adjutant and officer for spiritual leadership at the Altenstadt anti-aircraft gun school near Schongau.

During his military service, Strauss was appointed an unscheduled civil servant on April 8, 1942, with effect from May 1. On April 20, 1943, he was appointed teacher at the high school for boys on Damenstiftstrasse in Munich. Notes on a dissertation he had started burned in 1944.

After he was promoted to first lieutenant on June 1, 1944 , he became chief of the staff battery at the Flak Artillery School IV in Altenstadt that same year .

His successor in this function was the writer Hans Hellmut Kirst in mid-April 1945 . In 1945, Strauss accused Kirst of the US occupation forces of having been a supporter of National Socialism . Kirst spent nine months in a US internment camp in Garmisch . Although Kirst was dismissed as politically 'unencumbered', Strauss, as district administrator and chairman of the Spruchkammer , imposed a two-year writing ban on him. During this time the bitter arguments between the two began.

Political career

post war period

At the end of the war, Strauss was initially taken prisoner of war ; it was quickly (as recently as 1945) classified as politically unaffected. A German-born US soldier called on him to help with translations because of his knowledge of English. He was then appointed by the American occupation forces as deputy district administrator for the district of Schongau .

In 1946 he was a co-founder of the district association of the CSU Schongau and was elected district administrator of Schongau. Since 1948 Strauss was a member of the Economic Council of the United Economic Area in Frankfurt am Main ; In 1949 he was appointed the first General Secretary of the CSU by Hans Ehard .

In addition to his party career, Strauss was also looking for management positions in the non-partisan Europa-Union Deutschland (EUD). On May 2, 1954, he was defeated by the CDU member of the Bundestag Paul Leverkuehn (1893-1960) in a voting vote for the election of the EUD president.

Member of the Bundestag

Strauss was a member of the German Bundestag from its first legislative period from 1949 to November 29, 1978, and again from the 1987 election to March 19, 1987. As a member of parliament that was always directly elected, he represented the constituency of Weilheim in Upper Bavaria . From 1949 until he took office as Federal Minister, he was deputy parliamentary group leader of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group and chairman of the CSU regional group .

In the first legislative period (1949-1953) Strauss was chairman of the Bundestag committee for youth welfare and from July 19, 1952 of the committee for questions of European security. He was then the youngest committee chairman in the Bundestag.

In 1952 Strauss was elected Deputy Chairman of the CSU.

In 1952 Strauss belonged to a group of 34 members of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group (including Theodor Blank , Heinrich von Brentano , Richard Jaeger , Kurt Georg Kiesinger , Heinrich Krone , Paul Lücke , Gerhard Schröder and Franz-Josef Wuermeling ) who drafted a law Introduced relative majority voting in the Bundestag and thus endangered the existence of the coalition.

Strauss belonged to Ludwig Erhard , Hermann Götz , Gerhard Schröder (all CDU), Richard Jaeger , Richard Stücklen (both CSU), Erich Mende (FDP, later CDU), Erwin Lange , R. Martin Schmidt and Herbert Wehner (all SPD) the ten members who have been members of parliament for 25 years since the first federal election in 1949. In the eleventh legislative period he was the third oldest member after Willy Brandt (SPD) and Herbert Czaja (CDU).

In addition to his membership in the Bundestag, Strauss was also a member of the European Parliament from 1952 to 1956 .

Strauss was a gifted speaker. His contributions to the debate in the German Bundestag and in the Bavarian State Parliament were famous, but also notorious. B. the abuse of the journalist Bernt Engelmann as an example of a "rat" or "blowfly". His speech duels in the Bundestag with Herbert Wehner, the SPD parliamentary leader at the time, are also legendary . He expanded Political Ash Wednesday after 1953 in Vilshofen, Lower Bavaria, from 1975 in Passau, with spectacular productions and several hours of free speeches to become a central party event of the CSU to the present day with a nationwide response.

Columnist for Stern magazine

In 1964, to the displeasure of the editors , Henri Nannen won Franz Josef Strauss as columnist for Stern , but ended the cooperation after just 7 months. The star columnist Anneliese Friedmann was sued in the time of ostrich because it "under the heading" Why I'm against it "their feelings at the sight ... Franz-Josef Strauss's ... " had taken in the sentence: feel "I Skepticism about a face that expresses exactly what the French mean when they call us 'Boches', even in friendly family photos "".

Eureco Business Consulting Office

Payments to Eureco GmbH & Co KG from 1964 to 1967

During this time, the letterbox company Eureco Büro für Wirtschaftsberatung was founded in 1964, which was handled in trust by the lawyer and Straussian financial advisor Reinhold Kreile . Eureco received large sums of money from companies from BMW , Bertelsmann , Daimler-Benz and Dornier to companies from the empire of Friedrich Karl Flick and Taurus-Film GmbH from Leo Kirch without any recognizable consideration. Between 1964 and 1968 alone, 490,892 marks went into Eureco accounts.

Activities as Federal Minister

Defense Minister Strauss with Helmuth von Grolman , the Defense Commissioner , 1959

Federal Minister for Special Tasks

After the federal election on September 6, 1953 , Strauss was appointed Federal Minister for Special Tasks in the Adenauer II cabinet , making him the youngest Federal Minister to date.

In January 1955 he was defeated in a battle vote for the CSU party chairmanship with 329 to 380 votes against Hanns Seidel .

Federal Minister for Atomic Questions

On October 12, 1955, the newly founded Federal Ministry for Atomic Affairs , a forerunner of today's Federal Ministry for Education and Research , was transferred to him. In this role he was involved in setting up the German Atomic Energy Commission . He chaired their first meeting on January 26, 1956 in the Palais Schaumburg .

The new “Atomic Minister” was determined to support the research and civil use of nuclear energy and demanded that the first nuclear power plants should produce electricity by 1970 . Contrary to the legal situation in the USA, Strauss pleaded for "private ownership" of nuclear fuels in order to guarantee a rapid development of the private nuclear energy industry, which should be as free as possible from state regulations. This also included private liability for damage caused by nuclear energy. On December 9, 1955, he said on Süddeutscher Rundfunk : "If we don't catch up with our 10 to 15-year deficit very quickly, we will probably have to forego being counted among the leading nations in the future." On July 25, 1956 he presented a draft law on the “generation and use of nuclear energy”, which in 1960 led to the first German Atomic Energy Act .

Federal Minister of Defense

Franz Josef Strauss as Minister of Defense during a maneuver visit in 1960

On October 16, 1956, he succeeded Theodor Blank as second defense minister of the Federal Republic of Germany ( Adenauer II cabinet ). As early as 1957, he presented plans for nuclear armament for the Bundeswehr. As part of the Paris Treaty , Germany had already committed itself in 1954 to renounce the production, but not the use of nuclear weapons. Adenauer and Strauss vigorously promoted the military use of nuclear weapons by the Bundeswehr. In April 1957, therefore, there was a controversy with well-known nuclear physicists (including Otto Hahn , Werner Heisenberg , Walther Gerlach and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker ) about their critical Göttingen manifesto . As a result, among other things, Strauss made a derogatory and insulting statement about Otto Hahn to journalists. Chancellor Adenauer defused the situation at a reception for the scientists in the Chancellery. Before the Bundestag election in 1957 , the opposition tried in vain to use the widespread rejection of atomic weapons in the election campaign. The fight against atomic death campaign was nevertheless a major renewal of the peace movement . The CDU / CSU achieved great electoral success and achieved an absolute majority , and Strauss was again Minister of Defense. On March 25, 1958, it was decided to equip the German Armed Forces with nuclear weapons, so that it could use nuclear weapons in the event of war within the framework of NATO's nuclear participation .

Strauss campaigned vehemently for military support for the newly founded state of Israel. The volume and scope of the armaments cooperation decided between Konrad Adenauer and David Ben Gurion , which was as controversial in Israel as in Germany and important in the context of reparation approaches, was initially kept secret. Strauss also disregarded legal requirements and guidelines, which was only partially backed by Adenauer. In 1958 he brought Eberhard Taubert (1907–1976), who had been a high functionary in the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda and who had written the screenplay for the anti-Semitic inflammatory film The Eternal Jew , as a consultant for his newly established “Psychological Warfare” department.

After the federal election on September 17, 1961 , Strauss was again Minister of Defense, albeit in a coalition government with the FDP ( Adenauer IV cabinet ).

Starfighter affair

Strauss's administration was accompanied by a number of scandals. According to statements from the former Lockheed seller Paul White, the board of directors of Deutsche Bank Hermann Josef Abs and Strauss received funds in connection with the sale of Lockheed Super Constellation and Electra aircraft to Lufthansa .

White told the FMOD (Foreign Ministry of Defense) that Lockheed had hired Frank Fahle at the suggestion of Herman Abs, that Abs and Strauss had received money in connection with the sale of Constellations and Electras to Lufthansa and that the same pattern of dealing was continuing on the 104 sale.

Irregularities in procurement or licensed production of 916 US F-104G - Starfighter -Kampfflugzeugen led to the Lockheed scandal that in Germany also Starfighter affair was called. The manufacturer had influenced the decision to purchase the model in several NATO countries through bribery . The magazine Stern reported in late 1975 on a sworn statement by Ernest F. Hauser before Congress Committee (Congressional Committee) for customer advertising practice of Lockheed that early 1960 in connection with the F-104 procurement for the armed forces at least ten million US Dollar bribes had flowed to the CSU and handed over his diary from that time with corresponding entries. The allegations of bribery brought against Strauss in this connection could never be proven. In the context of the "wiretapping" affair, Strauss is said to have admitted to having destroyed part of the "Lockheed files" in order to make evidence disappear, which later turned out to be a smear campaign by the East German State Security Ministry . The German version of the Starfighter (269 crashes, 116 dead pilots) turned out to be unsafe and was bitterly ridiculed as the “widow maker” of the Air Force . Strauss was also charged with the Fibag affair , the Uncle Aloys affair and the HS-30 scandal .

Fibag affair

In the Fibag affair, too, there were legal disputes between Strauss and the Spiegel, which ended in a settlement. The claim that Strauss was a silent partner in FIBAG turned out to be unfounded in court. An investigative committee set up by the German Bundestag could not prove any misconduct. The committee of inquiry into the HS-30 scandal ended without any suspects or bribes being found. But Strauss himself was involved in Fibag through Friedrich Zimmermann as trustee . Strauss friend Hans Kapfinger held shares in Fibag , which gave rise to speculation. At the request of the SPD and FDP, the committee investigated the allegations. In 1962, with a narrow majority, he came to the conclusion that Strauss was not to blame for any misconduct. The FDP - which was a partner in the governing coalition at the time - criticized this heavily.

As the successor to Hanns Seidel, who had resigned the month before for health reasons, Strauss was elected party chairman on March 18, 1961 at an extraordinary party congress of the CSU with 94.8% of the votes cast; he remained so until his death.

Strauss and de Gaulle , 1962

From December 1962, Strauss was chairman of the CSU regional group in the German Bundestag (predecessor: Werner Dollinger ) and at the same time first deputy chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group .

Spiegel affair and resignation

In the issue of Spiegel 41/1962 of October 10th, an article about the Bundeswehr , written by Conrad Ahlers and Hans Schmelz , was published with limited readiness for defense . In the Spiegel affair that began with it , a particular role was played by the fact that Spiegel founders and editors Rudolf Augstein and Strauss were viewed as intimate enemies.

Strauss thereupon initiated a preliminary investigation which Federal Prosecutor Albin Kuhn initiated. For alleged treason , arrest warrants were issued on October 23 against employees involved and Rudolf Augstein as editor-in-chief . Conrad Ahlers was arrested in Spain at Strauss's instigation. The editorial offices were occupied by the police for weeks from October 26th. Augstein was illegally detained for 103 days. Strauss initially denied his involvement in the judicial scandal and claimed to have nothing to do with the whole action. His behavior in the case led to a government crisis - among other things, he had driven the police action without the knowledge of the FDP Justice Minister Stammberger and initially denied that.

The coalition partner FDP then demanded Strauss' resignation from the office of defense minister. At first Strauss was covered by Adenauer; after the resignation of the FDP ministers on November 19, 1962, Strauss was forced to resign from his position as defense minister on November 30, 1962. Adenauer formed a new cabinet on December 14, 1962 with the FDP and without Strauss.

On May 13, 1965, the 3rd Criminal Division of the Federal Court of Justice decided that there was no evidence of treason and refused to open main proceedings against Augstein. The affair is seen as an essential strengthening of the freedom of the press and the role of investigative journalism , also against powerful politicians like Strauss.

Federal Minister of Finance

In December 1966, Strauss became Federal Minister of Finance in the cabinet of the grand coalition under Federal Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger . Although he had previously gladly and often sought verbal confrontations with the SPD, Strauss and Economics Minister Karl Schiller (SPD) worked together trustingly and successfully. Both were soon given the nicknames Plisch and Plum, based on a dog story by Wilhelm Busch , because in their intuitive understanding, despite their physiognomic differences (one squat, the other lean), they were reminiscent of Busch's title characters.

Together with Schiller, Strauss took anti-cyclical measures to overcome the slight recession that had ended the economic boom of continuous growth in 1966 : the number of unemployed had risen to 650,000, the federal budget showed a deficit of several hundred million DM, which was too broad at the time Gave cause for concern. Strauss succeeded in lowering the discount rate to only three percent (May 1967) by Bundesbank President Karl Blessing and was jointly responsible for the Credit Financing Act of February 25, 1967, which provided the funds for an economic stimulus program amounting to 2.5 billion DM. In addition, VAT and income tax were increased, and the pension system was first cut. Strauss's tenure as finance minister also saw a redistribution of income from corporation and income tax between the federal and state governments and the beginning of medium-term federal financial planning.

Work as an opposition politician

Richard Stücklen with Franz Josef Strauss in March 1972

With the formation of the social-liberal coalition in 1969, the Union parties had to go into opposition. Strauss developed into a vehement critic of Chancellor Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik . He resolutely rejected the Eastern Treaties with the USSR and Poland (1970) and the Basic Treaty (1972) because he saw them as a step back from Soviet hegemonic claims.

In 1970, the political writer and philosopher Ulrich Sonnemann published Der Westdeutsche Dreyfus-Scandal, a work critical of justice . Breach of law and renunciation of thought in the ten-year-old legal case Brühne - Ferbach . The lively publicly discussed text was confiscated nationwide after a criminal complaint made by Strauss because Sonnemann had written about statements by agent Roger Hentges and his wife. Years of legal dispute with the Bavarian judicial administration followed.

From 1971 to 1978 he was the economic and financial policy spokesman for the CDU / CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag. In the shadow cabinets of Rainer Barzel (1972) and Helmut Kohl (1976), Strauss was appointed finance minister.

In 1973 he commented on the establishment of the military dictatorship in Chile , which followed the free election of Socialist President Salvador Allende , with the words: “In view of the chaos that reigned in Chile, the word order suddenly has a sweet sound again for the Chileans . "

In 1974 he caused a considerable polarization of the public with the Sonthofen strategy . At a closed meeting of the CSU regional group of the Bundestag, Strauss took the view that the party should not offer any solutions for the massive economic problems at the time (unemployment, economic downturn, pension insurance) in order to improve its own election chances after the expected catastrophic failure of government policy. The Sonthofen strategy was often viewed as unscrupulous, party-political tactics.

Franz Josef Strauss, portrayed by Günter Rittner in 1975 for the CSU regional group

In 1975, Strauss was the first West German politician to meet with the Chinese party leader Mao Zedong on his own initiative . On January 16, 1975, he was received for an interview during a visit to the People's Republic of China .

In a speech at the Political Ash Wednesday in 1975, Strauss accused the SPD-led federal government of "having created an unparalleled mess". As a result, former Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt accused him of having called “the Federal Republic of Germany a mess”. Strauss also won the injunction against Brandt in the second instance before the Cologne Higher Regional Court.

In the 1976 federal election , the Union failed to change government. Thereafter, Strauss terminated the parliamentary group with the CDU in the Kreuther separation decision and planned to expand the CSU to the whole of Germany in order to improve the election chances of the Union parties. The decision was withdrawn three weeks later after violent internal party disputes. The relationship with the CDU, especially with its chairman Helmut Kohl , remained tense ( Wienerwald speech ).

In 1977 Strauss traveled to Chile , where he also spoke about the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and called for “further democratization”. In Santiago de Chile Strauss was the honorary doctorate conferred the law.

In the German autumn of 1977 Strauss took part in the Bonn crisis round, which met regularly during the kidnapping of Hanns Martin Schleyer by the RAF . After Chancellor Helmut Schmidt asked those present about "exotic" ideas, Strauss said the state could take the imprisoned RAF terrorists hostage and, if necessary, shoot them. The exact wording has never been made public. In 2007, Schmidt portrayed Strauss' testimony less drastically; he still referred to them as "strange".

In 1979, Strauss prevailed in the CDU / CSU parliamentary group with 135: 102 votes as the CDU / CSU's candidate for chancellor against the Lower Saxon Prime Minister Ernst Albrecht, who was favored by Helmut Kohl, and thus competed as a challenger to Federal Chancellor Schmidt (SPD) in the 1980 federal elections . The election campaign was very tough. Strauss was advertised as “Chancellor for Peace and Freedom” by the Union, and a massive Stop Strauss campaign was carried out against him . During the election campaign there were violent riots at a Strauss rally in Bremen. A few days before the election, an attack was carried out on the Oktoberfest in Munich. Strauss wrongly assigned the authorship to the RAF, which turned out to be a miscalculation the next day, and raised serious allegations against the FDP-led Federal Ministry of the Interior, which was also turned against him in the election campaign. The CDU and CSU received fewer percentages than in the 1976 elections , in which Helmut Kohl was the Union's candidate for chancellor (44.5% compared to 48.6%), while the FDP recorded significant gains with 10.6%.

Bavarian Prime Minister

Prime Minister Strauss at the CSU party conference in 1987

In 1978 Strauss stood up as a candidate in the Bavarian state elections and was elected as the successor of Alfons Goppel, who was no longer running for reasons of age, as Bavarian Prime Minister on November 6th . Since then, Strauss has been a member of the state parliament in Bavaria and resigned his parliamentary mandate on November 29, 1978. During his reign and thus under his political leadership, the main construction sections of the Main-Danube Canal, which was opposed by environmentalists, were started and completed. However, Strauss did not live to see the final completion of the project in 1992. Strauss also campaigned vehemently for the construction of the Wackersdorf nuclear reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf in Upper Palatinate, which was accompanied by strong protests from the population, and which he described as "hardly more dangerous than a bicycle spoke factory". The WAA construction was discontinued in spring 1989 shortly after Strauss' death in 1988.

German-German encounter at the Leipzig Spring Fair 1987 - from left: Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski , Gerold Tandler , Günter Mittag , Franz Josef Strauss, Theo Waigel and Erich Honecker
Kohl and Strauss on June 13, 1988 at the CDU federal party conference

Even as the Bavarian Prime Minister, Strauss still pursued a foreign policy according to his own standards. In 1977 he visited Paul Shepherd in the champagne colony Colonia Dignidad , when he for Pinochetzeit the honorary doctorate from the Universidad de Chile won. He also maintained good relations with Paraguay's dictator Alfredo Stroessner , with South Africa's President Pieter Willem Botha and with the GDR. In 1983, Strauss caused a stir in his own ranks by threading a billion-dollar loan for the GDR , which eventually led to the resignation of some MPs under Franz Handlos and the founding of the party " The Republicans ". In connection with the camouflaged delivery of blueprints of submarines to the apartheid regime in South Africa 1984-86, "a course [...] Franz Josef Strauss urged the Chancellery [...]", there were "rumors that commissions or Bribes from the submarine business [...] flowed to friends of the Union or to party accounts ”. He also had a special friendship with Gnassingbé Eyadéma , the dictator of Togo , with whom he founded the Bavarian-Togo Society. In October 1987 (after 1975) he made a second trip to China. On December 28, 1987, the private pilot, accompanied by fellow party members, flew in a Cessna Citation II 151 in bad weather to an unannounced visit to Moscow and talked for two and a half hours with Mikhail Gorbachev , whose reform ideas he was deeply impressed.

From November 1, 1983 to October 31, 1984, Strauss was rotating President of the German Federal Council .

In mid-1988 he advocated tax exemption for aviation fuel for private pilots, but was unable to assert himself, which the Süddeutsche Zeitung described as “one of his greatest political defeats”.

Ministry of State Security acts

According to information from Focus magazine in 2000, the Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution is said to have acquired extensive dossiers of the GDR secret service on West German politicians, including Strauss, from defectors from the Ministry of State Security in early 1990 . Hubert Mehler , then head of the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, bought Strauss's Stasi files in order to protect Strauss' reputation and had them destroyed in consultation with the government.



Marriage and relationships

On June 4, 1957 Strauss married Marianne Zwicknagl (1930-1984) in the monastery church in Rott am Inn . The then defense minister met Marianne Zwicknagl, who was 15 years his junior, at a carnival ball in Munich. They married a few months later. Zwicknagl was a graduate economist and daughter of a successful brewery entrepreneur from the provinces in Rott am Inn. Marianne Strauss first moved to Franz Josef in Bonn; The marriage resulted in the sons Max (* May 24, 1959) and Franz Georg (* May 5, 1961) as well as the daughter Monika (* July 2, 1962). In the mid-1960s she moved with the children to Rott am Inn. There they had bought a spacious apartment in the former monastery, where her husband came on weekends. Marianne Strauss managed the family's fortunes, drawing on the support of the young lawyer Reinhold Kreile , who was her college friend.

After the death of his wife, Strauss was engaged to Renate Piller from the summer of 1986 until his death .

Private pilot

Strauss was a passionate private pilot. Shortly after his 53rd birthday, in 1968, he obtained his pilot's license for single-engine propeller aircraft, later also for multi-engine propeller aircraft and for turboprop aircraft. In addition to the private pilot's license (PPL), he had an instrument flight license . His preferred planes were a Beechcraft Queen Air and a Beechcraft King Air .

As Minister of Defense (1956–1962), Strauss had a Do 28 A-1 ( aircraft registration CA + 041) of the BMVg's flight readiness as a service aircraft .

On December 28, 1987, Strauss landed as a pilot a twin-engine Cessna Citation II at Moscow-Sheremetyevo Airport, which was actually closed due to blowing snow , as he no longer had enough reserve fuel on board to fly to the recommended alternative airport Minsk . In addition to Strauss, his younger son Franz Georg , Theo Waigel , Edmund Stoiber , Gerold Tandler and Wilfried Scharnagl were also on board . The plane was made available to Strauss by the Rosenheim meat wholesaler Josef März when required .

In the summer of 1988 (almost one and a half years after the 1987 federal election ), Strauss launched an initiative to abolish the mineral oil tax on aviation fuel ( AvGas ). The headline in the magazine “Strauss is blackmailing Kohl - the aviation fuel scandal”. The initiative was unsuccessful.

In November 1990 it was decided to name the new Munich Airport after Franz Josef Strauss.

As a result of the Amigo affair , it became known, among other things, that Strauss had been provided with aircraft with aircraft registration numbers such as D-FJSX or D-EWKX from the millionaire tax refugee Eduard Zwick (1921–1998) . The letters D-EWKX stood for "He will be Chancellor".

Other engagement and memberships

In his youth he was active as a cyclist in the club RC Amor Munich . Strauss was a member of the Catholic German Student Union Tuiskonia Munich in the CV and Familiare in the Teutonic Order (FamOT). In 1967 he joined the Lions Club Munich-Grünwald and in 1968 helped found the new Lions Club Munich-Bavaria.

Death and burial

A week before his death, on September 26, 1988, Strauss had an air emergency with a lack of oxygen. On that day, on his return from a visit to Bulgaria , Strauss flew the plane himself when there was a pressure drop in the plane at an altitude of 11,000 m . After about two minutes, during which the aircraft sank to 3000 m altitude, Strauss managed to put on an oxygen mask and get the aircraft under control and later land in Munich.

Five days later, on October 1st, 1988, Strauss arrived in a helicopter from the Oktoberfest in Munich, near Regensburg at the Aschenbrennermarter hunting lodge , to take part in a deer hunt organized by Johannes von Thurn und Taxis . Shortly after leaving the helicopter, he collapsed unconscious at around 4 p.m. Strauss vomited and aspirated part of the vomit. In the absence of a doctor, his companions immediately resuscitated him, breaking several ribs and perforating one of his lungs. He was driven to the nearest hospital, the Regensburg Hospital of the Barmherzigen Brüder , where gastric bleeding was suspected and the patient was subjected to emergency surgery. After opening the stomach, however, there were no findings. After emergency surgery Strauss not regained consciousness and died on October 3, 1988 at 11:45 a multi-organ failure .

Strauss's body was laid out in the hospital's St. Pius Chapel on October 4 and transferred to Munich on October 5, where a memorial service was held in the Bavarian state parliament on the same day . On October 7th, Friedrich Cardinal Wetter celebrated the pontifical request for Strauss in the Frauenkirche , which was also transferred to Marienplatz , where over 15,000 mourners took part. This was followed by a state act in the Munich residence . The coffin , which was covered by a Bavarian flag , was carried on a carriage across Odeonsplatz to the Siegestor , the funeral procession was one of the largest in the history of the city of Munich. The funeral of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger , however, took place in the closest family circle on October 8th in Rott am Inn .

honors and awards

In 1990 the CSU chairman Theo Waigel visited an exhibition about Franz Josef Strauss in the Bavarian State Representation in Bonn.

Strauss received numerous domestic and foreign honors:

Honorary doctorate

Between 1962 and 1985 he was awarded honorary doctorates from the Universities of Cleveland and Kalamazoo (1962), Chicago (1964), Detroit (1965), Santiago de Chile (1977), Dallas (1980), Maryland (1983) and Munich (1985).


  • Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Airbus GmbH from March 1970
  • Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Airbus Industrie from December 1970
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of the Diehl Group
  • Member of the supervisory board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG
  • Member of the supervisory board of Siemens AG

Honorary Citizenship



  • Design for Europe. Seewald, Stuttgart 1966.
  • Bundestag speeches. Ed. Leo Wagner. AZ Studio, Bonn 1968.
  • Challenge and answer. A program for Europe. Seewald, Stuttgart 1968.
  • The financial constitution. Olzog, Munich, Vienna 1969.
  • The way into the financial crisis. Bonn 1972.
  • Courage to be free. Acceptance speech on the occasion of the awarding of the Konrad Adenauer Prize 1975. Ed. Karl Steinbruch.
  • Germany your future. Busse-Seewald Verlag, Stuttgart 1975, ISBN 3-512-00393-1 .
  • The order. Stuttgart 1976.
  • Signals. Contributions to German politics 1969–1978. Munich 1978.
  • Commandments of freedom. Gruenwald publishing house, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-8207-0137-0 .
  • Responsibility before history. Contributions to German and international politics 1978–1985. Munich 1985.
  • Order for the future. Contributions to German and international politics 1985–1987. Schulz, Percha, Kempfenhausen 1987.
  • The memories. posthumously. Siedler, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-88680-682-0 .



Web links

Commons : Franz Josef Strauss  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. a b Schuler: Strauss. A family biography. Frankfurt am Main 2006, p. 19.
  2. The butcher shop of Franz Josef Strauss's father was at number 49 Schellingstrasse, [...] after his death, number 49 was no longer re-assigned. Schellingstrasse . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 6, 2012. In the picture: next to house 47, house 51. 48 ° 9 ′ 2.9 ″  N , 11 ° 34 ′ 25.7 ″  E
  3. The Road of the 20th Century . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , September 10, 2014.
  4. a b Werner Biermann: Strauss. The rise and fall of a family. Rowohlt, Berlin 2006.
  5. Did Franz Josef Strauss later pick up a middle name for political reasons? . Hanns Seidel Foundation e. V. Accessed September 1, 2012.
  6. KulturGeschichtsPfad - District 3: Maxvorstadt (PDF), brochure of the City of Munich, p. 60.
  7. ^ Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany: Just seen on LeMO: LeMO Franz Josef Strauss. Retrieved April 12, 2017 .
  8. "We'll knock the bastard off again" . In: Der Spiegel . No. 48 , 1980, pp. 108-126 ( online ).
  9. Strauss himself reports on this in his memoirs. Berlin 1980, pp. 35-37.
  10. STRAUSS: One of the hottest . In: Der Spiegel . No. 23 , 1981, pp. 98-99 ( online ).
  11. Was Franz Josef Strauss a member of the NSDAP or one of its branches? . Hanns Seidel Foundation e. V. Accessed September 1, 2012.
  12. Unless otherwise stated, the data on the military period and the parallel studies come from: Training and Soldat
  13. Peter Lieb : Crimes of the Wehrmacht - What could Wehrmacht soldiers know about the Nazi crimes behind the front? Diary of a perpetrator ( Memento from February 1, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  14. ^ Franz Josef Strauss 1915–1988 . In LEMO , accessed on August 11, 2019.
  15. Franz Josef Strauss: I confess: The memories of Franz Josef Strauss (II): The way to the politician . In: Der Spiegel . No. 36 , 1989 ( online ).
  16. On a higher level . In: Der Spiegel . No. 21 , 1954 ( online ).
  17. ^ Strauss, Franz Josef - Federal Republic of Germany - Minister of Defense. Central Intelligence Agency , July 1961, archived from the original on May 17, 2012 ; Retrieved April 17, 2010 .
  18. Stefan Finger: Franz Josef Strauss - A Political Life. Olzog, Munich 2005, p. 416.
  19. Music and questions about the person, The Publicist Manfred Bissinger , Deutschlandfunk "Zwischenentöne" August 18, 2019, audio version (1/2 year online)
  20. A great journalist life. On the death of Henri Nannen. , by Theo Sommer , Die Zeit October 18, 1996
  21. ^ "Stern" turns 60: The nation's surprise bag , by Hans-Jürgen Jakobs , Süddeutsche Zeitung May 10, 2010
  22. Anneliese Friedmann , Der Spiegel December 23, 1964
  23. a b Spiegel Online: Mailbox company: CSU icon Strauss received bribes , August 21, 2015.
  24. “The central problem is the question of ownership of nuclear fuel. This is where the real political issue of the whole law lies. ” 144th Cabinet meeting on July 20, 1956
  25. The Chronicle of Bavaria. 3rd edition, Chronik, 1994, p. 531.
  26. Strauss wrote something similar in the article Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy (UiD January 12, 1956, p. 4)
  27. 1. Draft of a law to supplement the Basic Law and draft of a law on the generation and use of nuclear energy and protection against its dangers (Atomic Energy Act), BMAt . Federal Archives. July 20, 1956. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  28. Calendar sheet December 22nd . German wave. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  29. ^ Yeshayahu A. Jelinek: Germany and Israel 1945–1965. Studies on contemporary history, Volume 66. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2004, pp. 401 ff, ISBN 3-486-56764-0 .
  30. ^ Otfried Nassauer, Christopher Steinmetz: Armaments cooperation between Germany and Israel . Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security BITS, Research Report 03.1, September 2003, ISBN 3-933111-11-0 .
  31. We have to reach out to mothers and brides . In: Der Spiegel . No. 20 , 1989 ( online ).
  32. ^ Arms Sales in Germany (Nov. 6, 1975). United States Department of State , November 6, 1975, accessed December 12, 2010 .
  33. ↑ Finding the truth at Stachus . In: Die Zeit , No. 4/1976.
  34. In lieu of oath . In: Die Zeit , No. 7/1976.
  35. How are the so-called "Lockheed Affair" and the "wiretapping affair" going? . Hanns Seidel Foundation e. V. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  36. Order of destabilization . In: Die Welt , March 30, 2000.
  37. When did the “FIBAG Affair” come about? . Hanns Seidel Foundation e. V. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  38. ^ Franz Josef Strauss - Scandals and affairs "Fibag affair" "Armored personnel carrier HS-30" . Star. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  39. For voting, the one Hammelsprung included: Payback . In: Der Spiegel . No. 46 , 1962 ( online ).
  40. Erich Kuby : Im Fibag-Wahn or His friend the Minister . Rowohlt-Taschenbuch Nr. 554, Reinbek 1962.
  41. Hanns Seidel Foundation: Election as CSU chairman , 2018.
  42. Georg Bönisch, Gunther Latsch and Klaus Wiegrefe : They came during the night . In: Der Spiegel . No. 45 , 1962 ( online - Nov. 7, 1962 ).
  43. The SPIEGEL affair . Mirror online. September 17, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  44. Werner Biermann: Strauss. Rowohlt 2006, p. 166.
  45. The man on the wire . In: Der Spiegel . No. 48 , 1962 ( online ).
  46. Scandals in Germany after 1945. May 7th - October 12th, 2008 Temporary exhibition in the Contemporary History Forum Leipzig.
  47. ^ Manfred Görtemaker : History of the Federal Republic of Germany. From the foundation to the present. CH Beck, Munich 1999, p. 447 ff .; Henning Köhler : Germany on the way to itself. A history of the century Hohenheim, Stuttgart 2002, p. 568 ff.
  48. ^ First edition: Rogner and Bernhard, Munich 1970, new edition: Gießen 1985.
  49. Law / Seizure. On my own behalf . In: Der Spiegel . No. 15 , 1970 ( online ).
  50. Re. Law. Justice scandal Vera Brühne . In: Der Spiegel . No. 15 , 1970 ( online ).
  51. Bayernkurier , September 22, 1973.
  52. ↑ Were Sonthofen's remarks actually made? , Hanns Seidel Foundation , 2018.
  53. Clean up until the rest of this century . In: Der Spiegel . No. 11 , 1975 ( online ).
  54. See e.g. B. Commentary - Sonthofen strategies, then and now . ( Memento from September 23, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 26, 2002.
  55. OLG Cologne, judgment of July 16, 1975, Az. 17 U 38/75; Süddeutsche Zeitung , July 17, 1975.
  56. Thomas Darnstädt : The man of the hour . In: Der Spiegel . No. 39 , 2008 ( online ).
  57. ^ A b Giovanni di Lorenzo : "I am entangled in guilt" . In: Die Zeit , No. 36/2007 (interview with Helmut Schmidt ).
  58. ^ A b Saskia Richter : Chancellor candidacy by Franz Josef Strauss, 1980. In: Historisches Lexikon Bayerns . June 19, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2018 .
  59. Election programs and slogans
  60. Come on, now something amoi! In: Der Spiegel . No. 33 , 1988 ( online ).
  61. Manfred Kittel : Franz Josef Strauss and the billion dollar loan for the GDR 1983 . In: Germany Archive , 4/2007, p. 647 ff.
  62. Spiegel 34/91 on the death of Uwe Barschel
  63. a b c Andreas Roß: Aviator greetings from Moscow . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , August 6, 2008.
  64. Hans Peter Bernhard: Thank you FRANZ JOSEF STRAUSS the preparer (October 3rd, 2018). BR, October 6, 2018, accessed February 21, 2019 .
  65. STASI: Brickyard meeting point . Focus Online. April 15, 2000. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  66. Stasi files on Strauss destroyed? . Spiegel Online . April 8, 2000. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  67. ^ Spiegel online: Franz Josef Strauss: Unknown diary notes from Marianne Strauss , August 26, 2015.
  68. Werner Biermann: Strauss. The rise and fall of a family . Rowohlt Verlag, Berlin 2006, p. 320.
  69. "Strauss is blackmailing Kohl - the aviation fuel scandal" in Der Spiegel , June 20, 1988. Accessed November 3, 2018.
  70. ^ Association of German cyclists (ed.): Radsport . No. 13/1967 . Deutscher Sportverlag Kurt Stoof, Cologne 1967, p. 17 .
  71. "Nobody peddles it" . In: Politics & Communication . ( [accessed on July 17, 2017]).
  72. ^ Membership Directory , published by Lions International All District 111, as of June 1, 1976
  73. Monika Reuter: When Bavaria was in mourning - politics. In: February 10, 2013, accessed February 17, 2017 .
  74. Dirk Walter: Drama after a visit to the Wiesn: It is 30 years since Franz Josef Strauss died. In: September 30, 2018, accessed October 3, 2018 .
  75. Werner Biermann: Strauss. The rise and fall of a family . Rowohlt Verlag, Berlin 2006, p. 319.
  76. Tagesschau , excerpt from the broadcast on October 8, 1988.
  77. Honors (a selection) . Hanns Seidel Foundation e. V. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  78. Facebook - Post from Monika Hohlmeier , who accepted the medal
  79. Note ( memento of November 27, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) on the website of the Albanian President Ilir Meta (Albanian)
  80. ^ Tilman Evers : What Strauss Praised in Chile. In: Die Zeit , No. 51/1977 of December 16, 1977, p. 11 f. (Online version updated on November 21, 2012, accessed June 10, 2018).
  81. We see the future in the air . In: Der Spiegel . No. 29 , 1987 ( online ).
  82. Ostrich is coming . In: Die Zeit , No. 22/1983.