Julius Speer

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Julius Speer (born December 3, 1905 in Talheim , Tübingen district , Württemberg , † June 8, 1984 in Miesbach , Upper Bavaria ) was a German forest scientist and science organizer.

His merits lie essentially in the field of forest economics and, above all, in having played a decisive role in integrating forestry into the system of the social market economy after the Second World War . However, Speer has become known internationally as one of the most important science organizers and politicians in the old Federal Republic of Germany far beyond his area of ​​expertise. From 1961 to 1967 he was President of the International Association of Forest Research Institutes (IUFRO) , from 1962 to 1964 President of the West German Rectors' Conference and from 1964 to 1973 President of the German Research Foundation (DFG) . The concept of priority research goes back to him . Before that, he held the office of Rector of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich from 1960 to 1963 and that of President of the German Forestry Council (DFWR) from 1953 to 1965 .

Live and act

Origin and education

Julius Speer comes from a Protestant rectory. He was the son of Pastor Dr. Julius Speer and his wife Gertrud nee Pleibel. From 1912 his father took over the management of the teaching establishments of the Evangelical Brethren Congregation in Korntal . Julius Speer attended the Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium in Stuttgart , where Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was one of his schoolmates. After graduating from high school in 1922, he studied forest sciences at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen , the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg . After the forest science diploma exam (1928) he entered the service of the Württemberg State Forest Administration. In 1929 he was still a trainee lawyer with the dissertation The forest property of real communities in Württemberg. A contribution to his story with Professor Dr. Heinrich Weber at the Freiburg University for Dr. phil. nat. PhD .

After the state examination (large state forestry examination), he was taken over by the state forest administration and employed in their Stuttgart headquarters in the wood sales office . This brought Speer into contact with many forest owners and timber traders in southern Germany.

Career as a university lecturer

After the death of his doctoral supervisor Weber, Chief Forester Speer was entrusted with his deputy from autumn 1934 and in September 1935 - at the age of only 30 - was appointed to the chair of forest policy. However, the lecturers objected to Speer's appointment as full professor of forest policy , as they did not fully meet the political standards of the Nazi regime . Because Speer was a Stahlhelm member, but not a NSDAP member. It was not until January 1, 1941 that he joined the party under membership number 8,379,357. After visiting a Nazi lecturer camp, Speer was able to represent the subject of forest policy as an associate professor from 1935 together with forest business administration . In 1942 he was finally appointed full professor for forest economics. In addition, he represented forest history until 1941 . During his years in Freiburg, Speer mainly dealt with questions of forest statistics in the area of ​​the southwest German timber market as well as with the supervision of private forest property.

As an officer in World War II

In the Second World War , Speer served as a soldier from 1939 and made it into an officer . Due to his extraordinary skills, which he had shown during the France campaign in 1940 , he was appointed to the Army High Command in 1941 . Vacation periods enabled him to continue his apprenticeship in Freiburg, where he came into contact with the liberal economist Walter Eucken and his “Freiburg School” in the early 1940s . Eucken's ordoliberal ideas had a lasting impact on Speer and he also adopted from him the ideal of the social market economy that was only implemented after the war .

Speer also came into contact with the resistance against National Socialism . His schoolmate, Count Stauffenberg, informed him about the plans for military resistance. When the assassination attempt on July 20, 1944 failed, Speer remained unmolested. His NSDAP membership and, above all, the fact that he was working in a branch of the Army High Command in Zossen at the time , had spared him from the investigation that was immediately started.

In the post-war period

Because of his ties to the resistance against the Nazi regime, Speer was "reintegrated" as a university professor in Freiburg as early as November 1945 by the French military government. From 1946 he took part in forest consultations of the State Council of the US zone and from 1949 was a member of the permanent railway tariff commission. During these years, Speer strongly advocated the social market economy and also reconciled the forestry , which is based on the principle of sustainability , with this economic system. He dealt intensively with problems of cost accounting in forestry and wood market research.

After Julius Speer had given lectures in both Munich and Freiburg in the summer semester of 1951 and in the winter semester of 1951/52, he finally accepted the call to Munich in October 1952, where he succeeded Victor Dieterich as Professor of Forest Policy and Forest Management at Ludwig -Maximilians-Universität München and at the same time head of the Bavarian Forest Research Institute . He held the chair until his retirement . Speer's great time began in Munich. His main research interests were the relationship between forestry and the timber industry and their cooperation with agriculture , the increase in productivity in the free market economy , the forestry and timber industry in the European Community - Speer advocated a free timber market within the EC - and the interrelationships between state authority and private forest ownership , the organization of forest administrations as well as questions of forest taxation and cost accounting. He created a program to research the social functions of the forest .

Initially, however, Speer triggered considerable resistance from the foresters when, at the request of ministerial director Max Woelfle , he refused a better training for the Bavarian forest rangers. The expansion of the forestry school Lohr am Main into a "technical training institute" , which had become necessary due to the increase in scientific knowledge and technology, did not take place .

After this somewhat bumpy beginning, Speer developed a lively and extensive involvement in national and international committees and associations, which made him one of the most important science organizers and politicians of the second half of the 20th century, well beyond his forestry area. This included his activities in the evaluation council at the Federal Minister of Finance , in the German Council for Land Care , in the Science Council and later at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation .

As President of the German Forestry Council

After Speer had already belonged to the board of the German Forestry Council (DFWR), it elected him on April 1, 1953 to succeed Franz Freiherr von Perfalls as president. Despite a fundamentally market economy course, Speer was always aware of all forest policy activities that the public interest also requires ties and subsidies for forest ownership. In this sense, he influenced a number of important forest policy events during his tenure until 1965. By submitting initiative requests to parliamentary institutions and governments, he gave forestry in Germany great political weight. Decisive milestones were the work program drawn up in 1953 to increase forest production and the exemption of forestry from sales tax .

Major science organizer

His high scientific, political and human reputation was reflected in his election as rector of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich in 1960 and his confirmation for a further term of office until 1963. After Speer took over the “Forest Economics” section of the International Association of Forest Research Institutes from 1953 to 1960 ( IUFRO) as chairman, he was elected President at the IUFRO Congress in Vienna in 1961 . And following the two-year presidency (1962 to 1964) of the West German Rectors' Conference , he was elected President of the German Research Foundation (DFG) three times in a row . Speer, who had recognized that the era of the “free market economy” was coming to an end, at least in science policy , instead advocated setting scientific priorities. The foundation of the research focus goes back to him , a concept that he defended aggressively in public very early on, for example in February 1967 at a corresponding lecture event organized by BASF . With clear words he turned against the increasing statism and the mediocrity in the university administration and emphasized in his farewell speeches as DFG President that the “magic concept of equality” does not apply in science.

Despite the violent student unrest at West German universities and the politically extremely tense political situation of those years, Speer was able, thanks to his integrity, to dispel the mistrust of the Federal Republic that was still simmering abroad during his tenure as DFG President from 1964 to 1973. “A figure like Julius Speer, the outgoing President of the DFG, is of lone size on this scene,” said Die Zeit when it came to finding a suitable research-political successor for Speer in 1973.

Speer's diverse work has received multiple appreciation, for example with the award of the Bavarian Order of Merit (1963) and the Grand Cross of Merit with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1973). The Syracuse University Faculty of Law awarded Speer an honorary doctorate in law in 1965 .

Even after his retirement , Speer remained active on a number of committees. For his retirement in 1974 he settled at Schliersee , where he died unexpectedly on June 8, 1984.

Speer was married twice, first to Elisabeth Fandrey, then to Annemarie Neizert. The latter also made his private estate available to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

Awards and memberships

In addition, Speer was a corresponding member of the Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry in Stockholm, since 1971 of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in Munich and, from 1978, of the Italian Academy of Forestry in Florence . He was also an honorary member of various forestry societies and committees, such as the Finnish Forest Society (1963), the Society of American Foresters (1964) and the German Forestry Council.


  • The forest ownership of the real communities of Württemberg. A contribution to its history , dissertation, Marbach am Neckar 1930
  • as editor: Reforestation of bare land in England , reports on study trips within the scope of the foreign aid of the USA (issue 80), Frankfurt am Main 1955
  • as editor: Elements of the West German raw wood market , writings of the German Forestry Council, Munich 1957
  • Cost pricing in forestry , Munich, Bonn and Vienna 1959


  • Max Scheifele : Speer, Julius . In Bernd Ottnad (Hrsg.): Baden-Württembergische Biographien. Volume II . On behalf of the Commission for Historical Regional Studies Baden-Württemberg. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-17-014117-1 , pp. 434-436
  • Heinrich Rubner : Julius Speer . In other words: Hundreds of important Bavarian foresters (1875–1970) . Communications from the Bavarian State Forestry Administration, No. 47. Bavarian State Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forests, Munich 1994, pp. 247–250.
  • Karl Hasel : Julius Speer in memory . In: The forest and wood host . 39th year, issue 14-15 / 1984, pp. 368-369 ISSN  0015-7961 .
  • Erwin Nießlein: In memoriam Julius Speer . In: General forest and hunting newspaper . 155th year, issue 10-11 / 1984, pp. 254-255.
  • Peter Bartelheimer:  Speer, Julius. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-428-11205-0 , p. 647 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Hans Möller : Julius Speer December 3, 1905 - June 8, 1984. In: Bavarian Academy of Sciences , Yearbook 1984, Munich 1984, pp. 233–240.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Max Scheifele: Speer, Julius . In Bernd Ottnad (Hrsg.): Baden-Württembergische Biographien. Volume II . W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-17-014117-1 , p. 434
  2. ^ A b Heinrich Rubner: Julius Speer . In other words: one hundred important Bavarian foresters (1875–1970) . Munich 1994, pp. 247-248
  3. a b c d e f Heinrich Rubner: Julius Speer . In other words: one hundred important Bavarian foresters (1875–1970) . Munich 1994, p. 248
  4. a b Benedikt Maria Sebastian Lickleder: The forest science department of the University of Freiburg from 1920 to 1945 . Dissertation. Freiburg im Breisgau 2009, p. 89. PDF ; Retrieved February 21, 2013
  5. a b History of the Institute for Forest Policy at the University of Freiburg ( Memento from June 16, 2007 in the web archive archive.today ); Retrieved April 12, 2008
  6. ^ Heinrich Rubner: German Forest History 1933-1945. Forestry, hunting and the environment in the Nazi state . 2nd, expanded edition. Scripta-Mercaturae-Verlag, St. Katharinen 1997, ISBN 3-89590-032-X ; P. 294
  7. a b c d 50 years of the DFWR Biographies of the Presidents ( Memento from February 18, 2004 in the Internet Archive )
  8. a b c d e Heinrich Rubner: Julius Speer . In other words: Hundreds of important Bavarian foresters (1875–1970) . Munich 1994, p. 249
  9. ^ Heinrich Rubner: Julius Speer . In other words: Hundreds of important Bavarian foresters (1875–1970) . Munich 1994, p. 247
  10. cf. Julius Speer: The formation of focal points in science. Lecture event in February 1967 , BASF, Ludwigshafen 1967
  11. Nina Grunenberg: If possible with a backbone. Wanted: a successor for Julius Speer . In: Die Zeit , No. 23/1973
  12. ^ List of honorary doctorates awarded by Syracuse University ( Memento from June 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) (English); Retrieved December 6, 2012
  13. ^ NN: French Order for Professor Speer . Note in: Allgemeine Forst Zeitschrift (AFZ) . Volume 24, issue 16/1969, p. 340, ISSN  0002-5860
  14. Announcement of awards of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In: Federal Gazette . Vol. 25, No. 43, March 9, 1973.
  15. NN: Large Cross of Merit with Star for Professor Speer . Note in: Allgemeine Forst Zeitschrift (AFZ) . 28th year, issue 17/1973, p. 423, ISSN  0002-5860
  16. ↑ Brief portrait of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  17. ^ NN: Honor plate to Julius Speer . Note in: Allgemeine Forst Zeitschrift (AFZ) . 36th year, issue 1/2 1981, p. 31, ISSN  0002-5860