Walter Hallstein

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Walter Hallstein, 1957

Walter Peter Hallstein (born November 17, 1901 in Mainz , † March 29, 1982 in Stuttgart ) was a German lawyer , university professor and politician ( CDU ). The former State Secretary in the Foreign Office became the first chairman of the Commission of the European Economic Community in 1958 .

Live and act

Childhood, youth and war years

Born in Mainz as the son of a government building officer, Hallstein attended the humanistic Rabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium . After graduating from high school, he studied law and political science in Bonn , Munich and Berlin . In 1925 he was initially assistant to Martin Wolff at the University of Berlin and in the same year received his doctorate with a legal dissertation on the "life insurance contract in the Versailles contract ". In 1927 he worked as a consultant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Comparative and International Private Law. In 1929 he completed his habilitation with a thesis on company law and worked as a private lecturer at the Berlin University.

From 1930 to 1941 Hallstein was a full professor for private and corporate law at the University of Rostock . He was a member of the Nazi legal guardian association , the National Socialist People's Welfare , the Nazi air raid protection association and the Nazi lecturers association . In 1941 he was Professor of Comparative Law, Corporate and International Business Law at the University of Frankfurt . Hallstein did not become a member of the NSDAP or the SA . When he was supposed to become a professor at the University of Frankfurt am Main, there was resistance from the NSDAP due to previous incidents. The academic management of the university nevertheless enforced his appointment. However, his personnel policy was not acceptable to the regime.

In 1942 Hallstein was drafted into the Wehrmacht as a reserve officer and served in the 1709 Artillery Regiment ( 709th Infantry Division ) in northern France. In July 1944 he was taken prisoner by the United States during the fighting for Cherbourg . In the prisoner of war camp Camp Como in the US state of Mississippi, Hallstein helped set up a camp university for further training.

Hallstein returned from captivity as early as November 1945 and immediately campaigned for the Frankfurt University to be reopened. Not only did he become a lecturer at the reopened college on February 1, 1946, but also its first freely elected post-war rector in April 1946. He held this office until 1948. Hallstein was also chairman of the South German Rectors' Conference and head of the founding committee of the University of Politics in Frankfurt am Main. One day before he took office at Frankfurt University, he turned down Ludwig Erhard's offer to take on a leading position in the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs.

In 1948, Hallstein was offered a visiting professorship at Georgetown University in Washington, DC

Federal Republic of Germany

Upon his return to Germany, Hallstein began to campaign intensively for the integration of the Federal Republic of Germany into international organizations and the Western community of states. In January 1950 he founded an organization in Bad Soden that worked specifically towards the admission of the Federal Republic of Germany to UNESCO . On June 4 of the same year, negotiations were held for the first time in Paris about West German membership of UNESCO. In the controversial debate in which the Eastern Bloc MPs left the hall, Hallstein was the leader of the West German delegation. A few weeks later, Hallstein was appointed by Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to head the German delegation to the Paris conference for the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Above all, the Federal Ministry of Economics criticized this decision, since Hallstein, as lawyers, was not considered competent for economic negotiations. Hallstein nonetheless became Adenauer's close confidante and played a key role in shaping his foreign policy. On August 28, 1950, Adenauer appointed Hallstein State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery .

At the end of 1950, discussions began about the Federal Foreign Office approved by the Western powers in September . During this time the FDP tried to persuade Hallstein to join the party, presumably with the aim of making him Federal Foreign Minister. However, the State Secretary initially rejected political ties and did not join the CDU until 1953. As early as 1951 he became State Secretary of the Foreign Office under Adenauer, who himself had assumed the office of Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs . He held this position until 1958. Because of his numerous tasks as State Secretary and head of various negotiating delegations (in addition to preparing the ECSC, also that of the European Defense Community [EDC] and reparation with Israel ) Hallstein was criticized several times during this time, because he could not cope with these diverse tasks satisfactorily on his own.

On October 19, 1954, Hallstein and Federal Chancellor Adenauer (CDU) took part in the first Franco-German conference in Paris. The " Hallstein Doctrine ", according to which the establishment of diplomatic relations with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) by third countries must be viewed as an "unfriendly act" towards the Federal Republic and which determined German foreign policy in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was abolished 1954 mainly developed by Hallstein; However, it was formulated on September 23, 1955 by Wilhelm Grewe , the head of the political department in the Foreign Office. Hallstein himself took part in the Messina Conference in 1955 , which set the course for the economic integration of European countries. Hallstein played a key role in drafting the EEC Treaty , which came into force at the end of 1957 and laid down the results of the conference.

Europe since 1958

Hallstein at the presentation of the Robert Schuman Prize

Hallstein was elected President of the first commission of the established EEC on January 7, 1958 at a conference of foreign ministers in Paris . In the same year he was sharply criticized, especially from the British and Scandinavian sides, because he was one of the most resolute opponents of the ultimately failed plans for a European free trade area with many members and, in contrast, an economically and politically strongly integrated, but small group of European states. At the end of 1959 he published the Hallstein Plan , which provided for a stronger common market for the EEC countries while at the same time liberalizing foreign trade. In the following years there were negotiations about this project, which was implemented in early 1962 after tough discussions, especially about agricultural policy .

Under pressure from France, Hallstein announced in 1967 that he would not run for a new term. He was then from 1968 to 1974 chairman of the International European Movement (EMI). From October 20, 1969 to September 22, 1972, Hallstein represented the Neuwied constituency in the 6th German Bundestag as a directly elected CDU member . He interpreted the new Ostpolitik of Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt as a resurgence of isolationist nation-state efforts. Herbert Wehner (SPD) then referred to Hallstein as a "retired European".

Hallstein died on March 29, 1982 with his friends, the Ritter family, in Stuttgart and was buried in the forest cemetery in Stuttgart .


Handover of the Order of the Republic of Cuba to Walter Hallstein (left)


Every year from 2002 to 2008, the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main , the City of Frankfurt am Main and the Dresdner Bank awarded the Walter Hallstein Prize to a personality who has made a special contribution to European integration .

In 1997 the Walter Hallstein Institute for European Constitutional Law was founded at the Humboldt University in Berlin , led by the founding directors Michael Kloepfer and Ingolf Pernice .



  • Eckart Conze , Norbert Frei , Peter Hayes , Moshe Zimmermann : The Office and the Past . German diplomats in the Third Reich and in the Federal Republic. Blessing, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-89667-430-2 (also series of publications , vol. 1117 of the Federal Agency for Civic Education , Bonn 2011).
  • Michael Kilian : Walter Hallstein: Lawyer and European. In: Yearbook of Public Law of the Present . New series, Volume 53, 2005, pp. 369-389.
  • Werner Kilian: The Hallstein Doctrine. The diplomatic war between the FRG and the GDR 1955–1973. From the files of the two German foreign ministries. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-428-10371-8 .
  • Wilfried Loth : Walter Hallstein - the forgotten European? Bonn 1995, ISBN 3-7713-0499-7 .
  • Kay Müller, Franz Walter (Hrsg.): Gray Eminences of Power: Kitchen Cabinets in the German Chancellor Democracy from Adenauer to Schröder. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2004, ISBN 978-3-531-14348-4 , pp. 31–34 ( The man for the contracts: Walter Hallstein ).
  • Thomas Oppermann : Introduction . In: Hallstein, Walter: European speeches. Stuttgart 1979, ISBN 3-421-01894-4 , pp. 15-30.
  • Ingrid Piela: Walter Hallstein - lawyer and creative European politician from the very beginning . Political and institutional visions of the first President of the EEC Commission (1958–1967). Berliner Wissenschaftsverlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-8305-3139-5 .
  • Matthias Schönwald : Walter Hallstein. A forerunner of Europe. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 978-3-17-033164-8 .
  • Matthias Schönwald: Walter Hallstein. Aspects of his political biography. In: Christoph E. Palmer (Ed.): The political forces in our work are pushing further. Memorial event for Walter Hallstein on November 17, 2001 in Stuttgart. State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 978-3-9801995-0-6 , pp. 13-30.
  • Matthias Schönwald: Walter Hallstein et les institutions des Communautés Européennes. In: Marie-Thérèse Bitsch (ed.): Le couple France-Allemagne et les institutions européennes. Une postérité for the Schuman plan? Bruylant, Bruxelles 2001, ISBN 2-8027-1500-3 , pp. 151-168.
  • Matthias Schönwald: Walter Hallstein and the "Empty chair" Crisis 1965/66. In: Wilfried Loth (Ed.): Crises and compromises. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2001, ISBN 3-7890-6980-9 , pp. 157-172.
  • Matthias Schönwald: "The same - should I say - antenna". Similarities and differences in European political thinking by Jean Monnet and Walter Hallstein (1958–1963). In: Andreas Wilkens (Ed.): Connecting interests. Jean Monnet and the European Integration of the Federal Republic of Germany Bouvier, Bonn 1999, ISBN 978-3-416-02851-6 , pp. 269-298.
  • Behind barbed wire - in front of students. Walter Hallstein's “American Years”, 1944–1949. In: Ralph Dietl, Franz Knipping (ed.): Encounter of two continents. The United States and Europe since World War I , WVT Wiss. Verl. Trier, Trier 1999, ISBN 978-3-88476-371-1 , pp. 31-54.

Web links

Commons : Walter Hallstein  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. a b See curriculum vitae .
  2. European Commission: Walter Hallstein - Diplomatic Driving Force for Rapid European Integration . In: European Union website . (PDF, 508 kB).
  3. Ingrid Piela: Walter Hallstein (1901–1982) The life and work of a European from the very beginning. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. In: Institute for European Constitutional Studies, FernUniversität in Hagen (ed.): IEV Online . 1/2010, August. ISSN  1868-6680 . Retrieved November 19, 2011.
  4. ^ Ernst Klee : The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Second updated edition, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 , p. 221.
  5. ^ A b Thomas Freiberger: Decision for Europe: Experience, Zeitgeist and political challenges at the beginning of European integration . de Gruyter, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-11-023389-6 , The peaceful revolutionary: Walter Hallsteins epoch consciousness , p. 213 f .
  6. ^ Matthias Schönwald: Walter Hallstein. A forerunner of Europe. Stuttgart 2018, p. 122.
  7. Cf. Gerhard Brunn: European unification from 1945 to today. Bonn 2004, p. 174.
  8. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB).