Kai-Uwe von Hassel

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Kai-Uwe von Hassel, 1978

Kai-Uwe von Hassel (born April 21, 1913 in Gare , German East Africa ; † May 8, 1997 in Aachen ) was a German politician ( CDU ).

From 1954 to 1963 he was Prime Minister of the State of Schleswig-Holstein , from 1963 to 1966 Federal Minister of Defense , from 1966 to 1969 Federal Minister for Expellees, Refugees and War Victims and from 1969 to 1972 President of the German Bundestag .


Hassel's grandfather, Lieutenant General Friedrich von Hassel (1833–1890), was raised to the Prussian nobility on March 22, 1887. His father Theodor von Hassel (1868-1935) married Emma Jebsen on October 23, 1906 (born May 14, 1885). He was captain of a company of the Schutztruppe for German East Africa and after retiring from active service, he was the owner of a plantation in the former colony. In 1908 the first child Gertrud was born, in 1910 the second, Friedrich. In 1919 - in the meantime the colony had been given a British mandate by the League of Nations - he and his family were expelled from the British Mandate Administration and moved to Glücksburg . In 1923 the couple had a daughter (Giesela), in 1924 Emma divorced.

Kai-Uwe von Hassel and his first wife Elfriede ('Elfie') had two children together, Joachim (born 1942) and Barbara (born on June 24, 1943). Joachim von Hassel died on March 10, 1970 in a crash with a starfighter . Elfie committed suicide on April 29, 1971. Hassel married the historian Monika Weichert in June 1972; this marriage comes from Jan von Hassel (born October 1, 1974).

education and profession

After graduating from the Reform Realgymnasium in Flensburg in 1933 , von Hassel completed an agricultural and commercial training course and in 1934 also attended the German Colonial School for Agriculture, Trade and Commerce in Witzenhausen . In February 1935 he returned to Tanganyika as a plant merchant . Without knowing it, he escaped the general conscription, which the Nazi regime reintroduced shortly afterwards. Kai-Uwe von Hassel wanted to follow in his father's footsteps in Africa. The latter fell ill with brain malaria in late 1935 and died. In September 1939, a few days after the start of the Second World War , he was arrested, interned in Dar es Salaam until February 1940 and then deported to Germany. There he was soon called up for military service. From 1943 to 1945 Hassel worked as an interpreter in the Military Intelligence Office Foreign / Defense , led by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris . After the end of the war he was sent to a British prisoner-of-war camp near Rimini for some time , from which he was released in September 1945.

After that he was employed as an employee of the district of Flensburg until 1947 .

Political party

Kai-Uwe von Hassel (right) 1963

Hassel had been a member of the CDU since 1946. In 1950 he became deputy chairman and was then state chairman of the CDU Schleswig-Holstein from 1955 to 1964 , after which he was again deputy state chairman until 1975. From 1956 to 1969 he was also one of the deputy federal chairmen of the CDU in Germany. From 1973 to 1981 he was President of the European Union of Christian Democrats . In 1968 Hassel initiated the establishment of the CDU-affiliated Hermann Ehlers Foundation , of which he was chairman for many years.


Federal party conference in 1971 in Düsseldorf

From 1947 to 1963 Hassel was a member of the city ​​council of Glücksburg, from 1948 to 1955 he was also a member of the district council of the Flensburg district and from 1950 to 1965 he was a member of the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein . He successively represented the constituencies of Flensburg-Land-West, Schleswig and Flensburg -West. Hassel was also a member of the German Bundestag from 1953 until his resignation on November 4, 1954 and again from 1965 to 1980 .

On February 5, 1969, he was elected President of the German Bundestag to succeed Eugen Gerstenmaier , who had recently resigned from his office . After the Bundestag election in 1969 , he was re-elected on October 20, 1969, despite the change of government, because the CDU and CSU continued to be the strongest parliamentary group. Since the SPD had the strongest parliamentary group in the German Bundestag for the first time after the 1972 Bundestag election and thus had the right to propose the office of Bundestag President, he was now Vice President of the German Bundestag .

As President and Vice President of the Bundestag, he also headed various sub-commissions and committees of the Council of Elders. Hassel was also chairman of the Bundestag committee to safeguard the rights of the people's representation according to Article 45 of the Basic Law and on October 30, 1972 chaired the only meeting this committee ever held.

Kai-Uwe von Hassel entered the Bundestag in 1953 as a directly elected member of the constituency of Schleswig - Eckernförde and since 1965 as a directly elected member of the constituency Steinburg - Süderdithmarschen and since 1972 Steinburg - Dithmarschen Süd .

In 1977 von Hassel became Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for one year , from 1977 to 1980 he was President of the Assembly of the WEU . From July 17, 1979 to July 23, 1984 he was a member of the first directly elected European Parliament .

Hassel became a third (July 1, 1959) and fourth (July 1, 1964) Federal Assembly , which elected Heinrich Lübke as Federal President , and the eighth (May 23, 1984) Federal Assembly, Richard von Weizsäcker chose, posted.

Public offices

From November 1947 to April 1950, von Hassel was mayor of Glücksburg, then mayor. From August 7, 1951 to August 6, 1954 Hassel was parliamentary representative of the Schleswig-Holstein Minister of the Interior. On October 11, 1954, he was elected as the successor to Friedrich-Wilhelm Lübke as Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein. As Prime Minister he headed two cabinets, the first from 1954 to 1958 , the second until 1963 . As Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, he was also President of the Federal Council from September 7, 1955 to September 6, 1956 . Hassel has thus far been the only politician to have been both President of the Federal Council and President of the Bundestag in succession. From August 11 to November 25, 1955, he was also the acting Minister of the Interior and from October 21, 1962 to January 7, 1963, he was also the acting Minister of Justice of Schleswig-Holstein .

When the then Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss had to resign after the Spiegel affair in 1962 , Hassel was appointed to the Adenauer V cabinet as Federal Minister of Defense on January 9, 1963 . He also retained the office of defense minister in the Erhard I cabinet under Chancellor Ludwig Erhard . In late 1963, he asked the US government to supply chemical ammunition, in violation of the federal government's waiver. At the funeral of the former high SS leader and Himmler representative Hans Jüttner in May 1965, Hassel spoke in his ministerial function. At the funeral of the former colonial officer Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck , the Defense Minister subsequently found words of appreciation for "one of the great figures who can claim the right to be called a model" which were criticized many times.

Hassel was in the Kiesinger cabinet , the first grand coalition , federal minister for displaced persons, refugees and war victims . On February 5, 1969, he left the federal government because he had been elected President of the Bundestag.

Awards and honors

Grave of Kai-Uwe von Hassel in Muffendorf

Hassel was awarded the Grand Cross of the Federal Cross of Merit and the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on September 7, 1956 . The Kai-Uwe-von-Hassel-Förderpreis and the Kai-Uwe-von-Hassel barracks of the Tactical Air Force Wing 51 "Immelmann" in Kropp near Schleswig are named after him.

Pope John Paul II appointed him Commander of the Order of the Holy Pope Silvester on February 28, 1997 .

On May 8, 1997 Kai-Uwe von Hassel died of a heart attack during the Charlemagne Prize ceremony in Aachen for the then Federal President Roman Herzog (CDU). Eight days after his death he was honored by the German Bundestag with a state ceremony in the plenary hall.

Foundation, endowment

The Kai-Uwe-von-Hassel-Foundation was established by Monika von Hassel in memory and in memory of Hassel's work for the Regensburger Domspatzen in 2005. It supports students at the Regensburger Domspatzen music grammar school by awarding a grant to high school graduates who have distinguished themselves through above-average and special achievements during their time at the cathedral sparrows. In addition, additional students are awarded a sponsorship prize every year. The award is not to be confused with the Kai-Uwe-von-Hassel-Förderpreis of the Hermann Ehlers Foundation .


In 1969, von Hassel wrote an autobiography of about 350 typewriter pages, but it remained unpublished.


  • Parliament and the public - a strained relationship? In: Emil Huebner, Heinrich Oberreuter , Heinz Rausch: The Bundestag seen from the inside. Munich 1969, pp. 235-240.
  • Reform in the German Bundestag. Proposals. In: Limes. Born in 1969, No. 3, pp. 9-12.
  • Parliamentary reform. In: Political Studies. Born 1971, Issue 198, pp. 359-371.
  • Democracy and Understanding of Democracy. In: Evangelical Responsibility. Born in 1972, No. 1, pp. 1-6.
  • Difficult choices. In: Rupert Schick: The President of the Bundestag. Office, functions, people. 9th edition, Stuttgart 1987, pp. 111-116.
  • Improve the quality of MPs. In: probe. 1988, No. 1, pp. 112-117.
  • The Federal Council between state interests, national responsibility and party politics. In: Forty Years of the Federal Council. Baden-Baden 1989, pp. 71-79.


  • Walter Henkels : 99 Bonn heads , reviewed and supplemented edition, Fischer-Bücherei, Frankfurt am Main 1965, p. 114f.
  • Uwe Barschel : In the service of freedom. Kai-Uwe von Hassel on his 70th birthday. Neumünster 1983.
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger : Letter to the Federal Minister of Defense, Mr. Kai-Uwe von Hassel. In: Germany, Germany among others. Statements on politics. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1967.
  • Philipp Jenninger : Undaunted for Europe. Festschrift for Kai-Uwe von Hassel on his 75th birthday. Nomos, Baden-Baden 1988, ISBN 3-7890-1576-8 .
  • Dieter E. Kilian : Kai-Uwe von Hassel and his family. Between the Baltic Sea and East Africa. Military-biographical mosaic . Hartmann, Miles-Verlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-937885-63-6 .
  • Volker Koop : Kai-Uwe von Hassel. A political biography. Böhlau, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-10006-3 . Limited preview in Google Book search
  • Wilfried Lagler: The minority policy of the Schleswig-Holstein state government during the cabinet v. Hassel (1954-1963) . Wachholtz, Neumünster 1982.
  • Wilfried Lagler: Kai-Uwe von Hassel . In: Biographisches Lexikon für Schleswig-Holstein and Lübeck, Volume 12 (2006), pp. 167-174.
  • Mark Speicher: Kai-Uwe von Hassel. A political biography. Univ., Diss., Bonn 2001.

Web links

Commons : Kai-Uwe von Hassel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Volker Koop (2007): Kai-Uwe von Hassel: a political biography , p. 14 ( online )
  2. Volker Koop (2007): Kai-Uwe von Hassel: a political biography , p. 21 ( digitized version , accessed on February 11, 2019)
  3. Volker Koop (2007): Kai-Uwe von Hassel: a political biography , p. 9 ( online )
  4. Dieter E. Kilian (2013): Kai-Uwe von Hassel and his family , p. 320.
  5. Volker Koop (2007): Kai-Uwe von Hassel , p. 17 ( online )
  6. ^ Andreas Grau: Kai-Uwe von Hassel - History of the CDU. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, accessed on July 24, 2017 .
  7. Tom Schmidtgen: In the Cold War: Bundeswehr is said to have planned the use of chemical weapons . In: FAZ.NET . May 3, 2018, ISSN  0174-4909 ( faz.net [accessed May 3, 2018]).
  8. ^ Cold War: Bundeswehr planned to use chemical weapons. tagesschau.de, May 3, 2018, accessed on May 3, 2018 .
  9. ^ Farewell to a great soldier. In: The Volunteer . June 1965, pp. 21-23.
  10. Andreas Eckert: The legend of the brave colonial officer. In: The time . March 15, 2007, accessed July 21, 2020 .
  11. AAS 89 (1997), n.7, p. 517.