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Walter Scheel
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-047-20, Walter Scheel.jpg
Walter Scheel in 1974
President of Germany
(West Germany)
In office
1 July 1974 – 30 June 1979
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
Preceded by Gustav Heinemann
Succeeded by Karl Carstens
Chancellor of Germany
(West Germany)
In office
7 May 1974 – 16 May 1974
Preceded by Willy Brandt
Succeeded by Helmut Schmidt
Vice Chancellor of Germany
(West Germany)
In office
21 October 1969 – 16 May 1974
Chancellor Willy Brandt
Preceded by Willy Brandt
Succeeded by Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
21 October 1969 – 16 May 1974
Chancellor Willy Brandt
Preceded by Willy Brandt
Succeeded by Hans-Dietrich Genscher
Vice President of the Bundestag
In office
Preceded by Thomas Dehler
Succeeded by Liselotte Funcke
Member of the European Parliament
for West Germany
In office
1 July 1956 – 20 November 1961
Member of the Bundestag
In office
6 September 1953 – 27 June 1974
Personal details
Born (1919-07-08)8 July 1919
Solingen, Weimar Republic
Died 24 August 2016(2016-08-24) (aged 97)
Bad Krozingen, Germany
Political party Free Democratic Party
Other political
Nazi Party (1942–1945)
Eva Charlotte Kronenberg
(m. 1942⁠–⁠1966)

Mildred Wirtz
(m. 1969⁠–⁠1985)

Barbara Wiese
(m. 1988⁠–⁠2016)
Children Ulrich
Simon Martin

Walter Scheel (8 July 1919 – 24 August 2016) was a German politician (FDP).


Scheel was born in Solingen. During World War II, he became a member of the Nazi Party and served in the Luftwaffe, the last years of the war as a Radar operator on a Me 110 night fighter.

He was federal minister of economic cooperation and development (1961–1966), but he persuaded the FDP to leave Ludwig Erhard's coalition government in late 1966. This forced elections in Germany, and Kurt Georg Kiesinger became chancellor.

In 1969 his party formed a new coalition with the Social Democrats. He became Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor. With Willy Brandt his foreign policy meant the Federal Republic of Germany promised not to try and get back the parts of Germany given to Poland and the USSR. The treaty with Poland actually defined the western border of Poland, not the border between Poland and Germany. It is the same thing, but meant Poland could sign a treaty with West Germany that described the border of East Germany.

When Brandt resigned on 7 May 1974, Scheel, was acting chancellor, for about a week, until Helmut Schmidt was elected Chancellor.

Scheel Carter
Walter Scheel with Jimmy Carter

A few weeks later, Scheel was elected Federal President of West Germany, a post he held from July 1974 until June 1979.

Like most ex German presidents, Scheel retired from political life term ended. He sometimes appeared on political talk shows or events. At the funeral of the murdered businessman Hanns Martin Schleyer in October 1977, Scheel gave a speech entitled shame.


Scheel died on 24 August 2016 following a long illness. Having lived to 97 years, 47 days he holds the record as the longest-lived German head of state, either imperial or elected.

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