The story

1974 Brandt Resigns - History


Willy Brandt resigned on May 6th 1974, after one of his top aides, Gunter Guillaume, was arrested on charges of spying for East Germany.



Germany profile - Timeline

800 - Emperor Charlemagne, Frankish ruler of France and Germany, crowned Roman emperor by Pope Leo III.

843 - Break-up of Frankish empire Germany emerges as separate realm.

962 - German King Otto I crowned Roman emperor after gaining control of northern Italy beginning of what became known as Holy Roman Empire centred on Germany.

1250 - Death of Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen marks virtual end of central authority and acceleration of empire's collapse into independent princely territories.

1438 - Election of Albert I marks beginning of Habsburg dynasty based in Austria.

1517 - Martin Luther proclaims Ninety-Five Theses against traditional church practices start of Protestant split from Catholic Church.


Nixon resigns

In an evening televised address on August 8, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. 

𠇋y taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

Just before noon the next day, Nixon officially ended his term as the 37th president of the United States. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. 

After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” He later pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

On June 17, 1972, five men, including a salaried security coordinator for President Nixon’s reelection committee, were arrested for breaking into and illegally wiretapping the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Washington, D.C., Watergate complex. Soon after, two other former White House aides were implicated in the break-in, but the Nixon administration denied any involvement. Later that year, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post discovered a higher-echelon conspiracy surrounding the incident, and a political scandal of unprecedented magnitude erupted.

In May 1973, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, headed by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, began televised proceedings on the rapidly escalating Watergate affair. One week later, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was sworn in as special Watergate prosecutor. During the Senate hearings, former White House legal counsel John Dean testified that the Watergate break-in had been approved by former Attorney General John Mitchell with the knowledge of White House advisers John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman, and that President Nixon had been aware of the cover-up. 

Meanwhile, Watergate prosecutor Cox and his staff began to uncover widespread evidence of political espionage by the Nixon reelection committee, illegal wiretapping of thousands of citizens by the administration, and contributions to the Republican Party in return for political favors.

In July, the existence of what were to be called the Watergate tapes–official recordings of White House conversations between Nixon and his staff–was revealed during the Senate hearings. Cox subpoenaed these tapes, and after three months of delay President Nixon agreed to send summaries of the recordings. Cox rejected the summaries, and Nixon fired him. His successor as special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, leveled indictments against several high-ranking administration officials, including Mitchell and Dean, who were duly convicted.

Public confidence in the president rapidly waned, and by the end of July 1974 the House Judiciary Committee had adopted three articles of impeachment against President Nixon: obstruction of justice, abuse of presidential powers, and hindrance of the impeachment process. On July 30, under coercion from the Supreme Court, Nixon finally released the Watergate tapes. On August 5, transcripts of the recordings were released, including a segment in which the president was heard instructing Haldeman to order the FBI to halt the Watergate investigation. Three days later, Nixon announced his resignation.


1974 Brandt Resigns - History

1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1974th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 974th year of the 2nd millennium, the 74th year of the 20th century, and the 5th year of the 1970s decade.

Major events in 1974 include the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis and the resignation of United States President Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. In the Middle East, the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War determined politics following Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir's resignation in response to high Israeli casualties, she was succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin. In Europe, the invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkish troops initiated the Cyprus dispute, the Carnation Revolution took place in Portugal, and Chancellor of West Germany Willy Brandt resigned following an espionage scandal surrounding his secretary Günter Guillaume. In sports, the year was primarily dominated by the FIFA World Cup in West Germany, in which the German national team won the championship title, as well as The Rumble in the Jungle, a boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire.


“Dare more democracy” – Domestic and social policy 1969–1974

Chancellor Willy Brandt, Minister for Economics Karl Schiller (l) and Minister of Finance Alex Möller (r) at the government bench in the Bundestag, 10 July 1970
© J.H. Darchinger/Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Chancellor Willy Brandt welcomes the winners of a student contest in Palais Schaumburg in Bonn, 30 March 1971
© Bundesregierung/Engelbert Reineke

Willy Brandt surrounded by jubilating SPD representatives after the announcement that the CDU/CSU's constructive motion of no confidence has failed, 27 April 1972
© Bundesregierung/Detlef Gräfingholt

Willy Brandt, Walter Scheel (2nd from r), Günter Grass (l) and Juso chairman Wolfgang Roth (r) on the evening of the Bundestag election 1972, 19 November 1972
© Bundesregierung/Engelbert Reineke

Deserted Autobahn: Sunday-driving ban for cars in the Federal Republic during the oil crisis, 2 December 1973
© Bundesregierung/Detlef Gräfingholt

Chancellor Brandt and his personal assistant Guillaume traveling during the Lower Saxony state election campaign, 8 April 1974
© Bundesregierung/Ludwig Wegmann

Willy Brandt, resigned from the Chancellorship, and his designated successor Helmut Schmidt, 7 May 1974
© J.H. Darchinger/Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

The social-liberal Cabinet received by Federal President Heinemann at Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn, 22 October 1969
© Bundesregierung/Engelbert Reineke

Reforms characterise the term in office by the first social-democratic C hancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany: The social-liberal coalition under Willy Brandt expands civil liberties, facilitates more democratic participation and strengthens the welfare state. The opposition fights with utmost rigour against the policies of the Brandt/Scheel government. Despite this, the CDU and CSU fail in their attempt to replace the C hancellor. With the SPD and FDP’s clear election victory in 1972, the “Brandt Era” reaches its zenith. However, due to international crises and economic upheavals, his reform policies soon run into limitations, and as a consequence, Brandt comes under fierce criticism. The cause of the C hancellor’s resignation in 1974 is the Guillaume espionage affair.

Change of power in Bonn

The Bundestag elections on 28 September 1969 provide the SPD and FDP a slight majority in parliament. During the evening of the election day , Willy Brandt speaks out against continuing the Grand Coalition with the CDU/CSU. Instead, he offers a coalition to the FDP chairman, Walter Scheel , with whom he has a close, trusting relationship.

The change of power in Bonn was already introduced at the time of the Federal Presidential election in March 1969 when, with their votes, the Liberals helped the social-democrat Gustav Heinemann to a majority. Now the SPD and FDP quickly come to an agreement on the formation of a new federal government which the Union parties , the CDU and the CSU, are not a part of for the first time since 1949.

Departure to new shores

On 21 October 1969, the Bundestag elects Willy Brandt the first social-democratic C hancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. Walter Scheel becomes Foreign Minister and Vice C hancellor. His party friend, Hans-Dietrich Genscher , takes over the Ministry of the Interior. Additional key positions on the SPD side are held by Finance Minister Alex Möller , Economics Minister Karl Schiller , Defence Minister Helmut Schmidt and Horst Ehmke , who as chief of the Federal Chancellery co-ordinates the details of government policy. With Käte Strobel (SPD), who holds the portfolio for Youth, Family and Health, there remains as in the past only one female minister in the federal cabinet. In the C hancellor’s office, the SPD politician, Katherina Focke becomes parliamentary state secretary.

In his first government policy statement one week after his election as Chancellor, Willy Brandt comments on the goals of the social-liberal coalition. In the field of domestic and social policy, he announces the continuation and strengthening of the reform course begun by the Grand Coalition. His leitmotif is: Citizens should be able to take part maturely and with self-assurance in the decision-making process in government and in society. Two sentences in Brandt’s speech especially illustrate this: “We want to dare more democracy” and “We want a society which offers more freedom and asks for more joint responsibility.”

Comprehensive domestic reforms

The domestic policy programme of reforms which the coalition of SPD and FDP implements until 1972 is extensive. Among other things, it includes:

    : The active and passive voting age is lowered to 18. Work councils and personnel boards receive more rights of co-determination.
  • Educational reforms: The Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (BAFöG) (Law on Financial Assistance for Students) clearly improves the educational and career opportunities for children from low-income families and freer access to the university entrance diploma and university studies to broad strata of society. The development of universities is accelerated.
  • Expansion of civil liberties: Freedom of demonstration is liberalised. A new marriage and family law supports emancipation and the equality of women. The right to sexual self-determination is strengthened, especially by further decriminalising homosexuality.

Initial measures to protect the environment: An immediate-action programme is adopted to curtail noise and emissions, to reduce harmful substances in foods and to make water cleaner.

Combatting terrorism: As a reaction to national and international leftist terrorism, the security apparatus is strengthened enormously and the defence against threats is centrally organised at the federal level.

Controversial finance policy

To finance its reform policies, the Brandt/Scheel government optimistically assumes that high economic growth rates will continue. However, despite good economic activity and full employment, the considerably increased expenditures of the federal budget can only be covered from the very beginning through a significant increase in the national debt.

Sharply rising prices give the social-liberal coalition much to deal with. Fomented by the decline of the US dollar and stiff wage increases, the rate of inflation in Germany soon climbs to over 5%. In a dispute over the correct counter-measures, Finance Minister Alex Möller resigns in 1971. His successor, Karl Schiller , who as a “super minister” is also responsible for the economics portfolio, takes his leave a year later.

Failure of the constructive vote of no confidence

The CDU/CSU opposition fights with utmost rigour against the government led by Willy Brandt. Especially bitter is its disagreement with the “new Ostpolitik.” Due to defections of individual SPD and FDP representatives to the CDU/CSU faction, the narrow majority of the social-liberal coalition in the Bundestag melts away. In spring 1972, the CDU chairman, Rainer Barzel , believes he has enough parliamentarians behind him to remove Brandt through a constructive vote of no confidence and be able to become F ederal C hancellor himself.

However, his plan fails. On 27 April 1972 in a tensely anticipated vote in the Bundestag, surprisingly Barzel falls two votes short, therefore Willy Brandt remains C hancellor. Right away, rumours of bribery circulate. Not until 1990 is it revealed that in 1972 the East German communist regime paid two CDU /CSU representatives 50,000 DM to not vote for Barzel. It still remains unclear whether the opposition or the government factions also made use of any money to obtain a majority.

“Vote for Willy“

Since neither the coalition of SPD and FDP nor the CDU/CSU has a governable majority in the Bundestag, both sides agree to hold early elections. The 1972 election campaign electrifies and polarises the Federal Republic. More citizens than ever before become involved politically. Members and sympathisers of the SPD enthusiastically get behind Willy Brandt. Not least of all, in the Sozialdemokratische Wählerinitiative (SWI) (“Social Democratic Voters’ Initiative”) initiated by Günter Grass , prominent journalists, artists and intellectuals also support the C hancellor.

The internationally well-respected statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate is highly popular with a majority of Germans. His reform-minded and open governing style appeals especially to younger people. Brandt is venerated and loved by his supporters, but by his opponents he is often vilified and hated. Again, extreme right-wing groups initiate smear campaigns against him.

The Bundestag elections on 19 November 1972 become a personal triumph for Willy Brandt. With 45.8 % of the votes , the SPD achieves the best result in its history. Since the FDP makes gains as well, the social-liberal coalition can continue to govern with a stable majority. For Brandt, this alliance represents the Neue Mitte (“New Centre ”) in the Federal Republic. Concurrently, in his eyes it symbolises the historical reconciliation between the workers’ movement and liberalism in Germany.

Disappointed expectations

Nonetheless , the start of the new legislative period goes badly for the governing coalition. The struggle over the ratification of the Eastern treaties and the election campaign have cost Willy Brandt a considerable amount of strength. His health has been seriously affected, and the C hancellor is not able to participate in coalition negotiations. Important decisions are made without him or forced upon him. Among them is the replacement of the Chancellery chief of staff, Horst Ehmke , by Horst Grabert , which turns out to be a serious mistake.

Because the money is not available, the social-liberal coalition has to cut back on its domestic policy reform goals. That disappoints many SPD supporters who have quite different expectations after an election victory. Among them there is also considerable dissatisfaction with the so-called “decree on radicals.” Agreed on in 1972 by the F ederal C hancellor and the Minister Presidents of the Länder ” (German federal states), this examination of all applicants for Public Service jobs by the “ Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (the domestic intelligence service of the Federal Republic) is intended to keep political extremists out of the civil service. In practice, however, all of those who are to the left of the SPD or are even involved in it come under general suspicion of anti-constitutional activities. For that reason, i.e., many of those affected are denied teaching positions.

Crisis and criticism

The greatest challenge for Brandt and his government are the unexpected difficulties which mount up in the course of the year 1973: The international currency system collapses, in several branches of industry there are week-long strikes, and finally Arab countries make crude oil scarce and expensive with intermittent production and supply stoppages.

The oil crisis in autumn 1973 has a long-lasting shattering effect on the belief in unstoppable progress and shows that sources of raw materials are not inexhaustible. Euphoria for reform abruptly dies down. The West German federal government imposes drastic energy saving measures . But it is unable to prevent the resulting decline in economic growth, the continued rise of inflation and the sharp increase in unemployment.

The accusations are growing that Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt is a weak leader and does not concern himself enough with domestic policies. The harsh public criticism is especially bitter since it comes from his own ranks, especially from Herbert Wehner , Helmut Schmidt and Günter Grass . In early 1974, when the trade unions, contrary to Brandt’s express will, put through an 11% increase in pay rates for Civil Service jobs, the C hancellor’s prestige sinks to a new low.

Guillaume Affair and Chancellor’s resignation

In spring 1974, things are beginning to look up again. Brandt is determined to reorganise his cabinet and revitalise the work of the government. But it turns out differently. Günter Guillaume , who since late 1972 has been one of three personal secretaries in the C hancellor’s office and responsible for contacts to the party organisation and to the SPD faction, is arrested on 24 April 1974.

By all appearances a loyal associate who accompanies the C hancellor on many trips, Guillaume is actually an officer of the East German secret service ( Stasi ). Although suspicions first arose in May 1973, the personal secretary has not been transferred. In that regard, Brandt followed the advice of the “ Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz ” , Günther Nollau , and the Minister of the Interior , Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP) – a decision which he now deeply regrets.

Speculation soon arises that Guillaume knows compromising facts about Brandt’s private life. They originate from a dossier of the “ Bundeskriminalamt (“ Federal Criminal Police Office” ) that does not remain secret. When media reports on its contents are being prepared and a new campaign of vilification against him threatens to reignite once more, Willy Brandt decides to relinquish his office. The C hancellor assumes the political responsibility for the espionage affair and resigns on 6 May 1974. Brandt’s supporters are shocked. On 16 May 1974, the Bundestag elects Helmut Schmidt (SPD) to be his successor as F ederal C hancellor.

Arnulf Baring: Machtwechsel. Die Ära Brandt-Scheel, 4. Aufl., Stuttgart 1983.

Willy Brandt – Berliner Ausgabe, Bd. 7: Mehr Demokratie wagen. Innen- und Gesellschaftspolitik 1966–1974, bearb. von Wolther von Kieseritzky, Bonn 2001.

Willy Brandt: Erinnerungen. Mit den „Notizen zum Fall G“, erweiterte Ausgabe, Berlin/Frankfurt a. M. 1994 (Neuauflage 2013).

Hermann Schreiber: Kanzlersturz. Warum Willy Brandt zurücktrat, München 2003.


See Richard Nixon's Resignation Speech—and What Happened Right After

L ooking back, there’s a certain air of inevitability around Richard Nixon’s resignation&mdashwe know about Watergate, we know about the impeachment trial, we can’t see how it could have played out any other way. But for those watching when Nixon addressed the nation on Aug. 8, 1974, it was impossible to imagine exactly how it would play out.

As shown in this exclusive clip from the upcoming episode of CNN’s documentary series The Seventies, airing Thursday at 9:oo p.m., the only presidential resignation in the nation’s history was a grim affair.

After everything that had happened, his departure was seen as evidence of justice and he managed to present a calm face&mdashat least to the public, as TIME reported the following week:

His usual cool restraint had returned when he faced the television cameras half an hour later in the Oval Office. At Nixon‘s request, the crew of technicians was kept to a bare minimum no aides, friends or family members were in the room to share his disgrace. There were no precedents at all in American history&mdashand no exact precedents in world history, the resignation of West Germany’s Chancellor Willy Brandt being perhaps the closest recent parallel&mdashfor the sort of speech that Nixon, a head of state departing under a cloud, was about to make.

The 16-minute speech (see box) was delivered with remarkable restraint, given the circumstances, and without a trace of demagoguery or self-pity. There were no attacks on his old enemies, no visible bitterness. There was also no concession of anything more serious than “mistakes” in his handling of Watergate, and no hint of remorse except one line regretting “any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision.” His statement that he leaving because his “political base in the Congress” had eroded sounded as if he had been defeated in some policy issue under a parliamentary system, and the speech could have been a valedictory at the end of a long and generally successful term of office.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was the first to come into the room after the speech, shaking hands with his boss and accompanying him along the West Wing Colonnade to the living quarters. Nixon then rejoined his family, who had been watching the address on television. Across the street in Lafayette park, a group of youths had been loudly chanting “Jail to the Chief.” Julie Nixon Eisenhower, her husband David and Pat Nixon appeared at the window, one after the other, apparently to see what was going on. When they realized that they were being watched from below by reporters, the shades were abruptly drawn. The family had ignored all messages and phone calls, even from close friends, during most of the week, and once again they were isolated in their special grief.

Read more about Nixon’s resignation, from 1974, here in the TIME Vault:Exit Nixon


Willy Brandt

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Willy Brandt, original name Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm, (born December 18, 1913, Lübeck, Germany—died October 8/9, 1992, Unkel, near Bonn), German statesman, leader of the German Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or SPD) from 1964 to 1987, and chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1971 for his efforts to achieve reconciliation between West Germany and the countries of the Soviet bloc.

Brandt passed his university entrance examination in 1932. A year later, however, when the Nazis came to power, his activities as a young Social Democrat brought him into conflict with the Gestapo, and he was forced to flee the country to escape arrest. It was at this time, while living in Norway and earning a living as a journalist, that he assumed the name Willy Brandt. When the Germans occupied Norway he escaped to Sweden, where he remained for the duration of World War II. After the war he returned to Germany as a Norwegian citizen and for a time was press attaché at the Norwegian mission in Berlin.

Pressed to return to politics, he became a German citizen again and, after a period as Berlin representative of the Social Democratic Party Executive Committee, was elected a member of the federal parliament in 1949. Eight years later he became the mayor of West Berlin (1957–66), a post in which he achieved world fame. He showed great moral courage when in 1958 the Soviet Union demanded that West Berlin be given the title of a demilitarized free city and especially when the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. He succeeded Erich Ollenhauer as chairman of the SPD in 1964 and campaigned for the office of chancellor of West Germany three times—in 1961, 1965, and 1969.

When the grand coalition government of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the SPD was formed in 1966, Brandt became foreign minister and vice-chancellor. His party improved its performance in the federal election in 1969 and formed a coalition government with the small Free Democratic Party, pushing the CDU into the role of opposition party for the first time. His government’s first major decisions included the revaluing of the West German mark and the signing of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.


Brandt Resigned, in Part, Overdata on Private Lif

BONN, May 8—Willy Brandt, who resigned as Chancellor of West Germany Monday night following the discovery of an East German spy on his staff, said in a televised speech tonight that he had quit, in part, because “there were indications my private life would be drawn into speculation about the case.”written about that,” Mr. Brandt told his television audience in his first public statement about his resignation, “it is and remains grotesque to maintain that a German Chancellor can be blackmailed. I, certainly, cannot be.” He said at a meeting of his party leadership earlier today, “Out of office, will stand up to anything may be charged with in this.”

Without giving any details, he said, it was “grotesque” to maintain he had resigned out of fear of being blackmailed by the spy.

Charges in Springer Papers

Mr. Brandt also told his television audience that he now realized he had made a mistake in, agreeing to leave Gilnter Guillaume, the agent, in a position to see important classified, materials, including secret messages, during a vacation trip to Norway last summer. At that time Mr. Guillaume served as an aide de camp, monitoring and filing all communications between the Chancellor's retreat and Bonn.

Two conservative opposition newspapers owned by Axel Springer have published reports in the last two days that Mr. Brandt quit because Mr. Guillaume had information on his private life that would be devastating if disclosed. Mr. Guillaume was the Chancellor's aide for party affairs, and a frequent traveling companion, until his arrest and confession April 24.

Mr. Brandt, looking calm, and almost relieved, read his brief statement in a tone of assurance.

He resigned, he wrote in letter to President Gustav W. Brandt Cites Role of Data on Private Life Heinemann Monday, because he was taking responsibility for “negligence” in connection with Mr. Guillaume He has said that he was informed by the intelligence services last summer of growing suspicion that his aide was a Communist agent, but that he was advised to leave him in office so his accomplices could be discovered.

No further major arrests have been made since the confession of Mr. Guillaume.

Exactly what Mr. Brandt was alluding to in his statement about his private life was not clear here. What was clear, from his statement and from private conversations with friends and advisers, was that Mr. Brandt, like many figures in public life, may have committed indiscretions, and that detailed, knowledge of some of these figured somehow in Mr. Guillaume's case.

Some of Mr. Brandt's friends, charge that the security services passed this informations along to the leaders of the conservative Christian Democratic, opposition.

Since the sudden resignation, of Mr. Brandt, there has been a wave of expressions of sympathy and support. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Hamburg, Bonn, Berlin and Hanover yesterday.

Business Seems Pleased

The stock exchanges and he had given way to Helmut have reacted favorably to the news of Mr. Brandt's resignation. The mark gained strength against the dollar and, in general, businessmen who have opposed the former Chancellor's reform policies and alleged “indecision” seemed pleased that he had given way to Helmut Schmidt, “a more decisive man.”

The Social Democrats nominated Mr. Schmidt, the 55‐year old Finance Minister and party deputy chairman, to succeed Mr. Brandt, and the Bundestag or lower house of the German Parliament, is expected to elect him on May 16.

For now, the man who has been Foreign Minister since 1969, Walter Scheel, is Acting as Chancellor, at Mr. Brandt's request. Mr. Scheel is expected to be elected President at an electoral college meeting next Wednesday. His eventual successor as head of the Free Democrats, Hans Dietrich Genscher, will probably be named to succeed to the Foreign Ministry.

Another of Mr. Brandt's ministers, Horst Ehmke, has sacrificed himself in the spy scandal. Mr. Ehmke, the Minister of Research and Technology, headed Mr. Brandt's Chancellery office in 1970,. when Mr. Guillaume was given a job on the staff.

Documents released by the Government yesterday showed that Mr. Ehmke had been told of suspicions that the man might be an agent.

Contrary to allegations made last week, the documentation showed Mr. Ehmke had not ignored these suspicions, but ordered the security services to carry out a specially thorough investigation of. Mr. Guillaume. They did, turned up no evidence of espionage, and cleared him by late 1970 for access to top‐secret material.

Mr. Ehmke asked Mr. Schmidt last night not to consider him in forming a new government.


The Social Democratic-Free Democratic Coalition, 1969-82 and Willy Brandt

In the West German Bundestag elections of September 1969, the CDU/CSU remained the largest political group, holding eighteen more seats than the SPD. With the help of the FDP, which had earlier supported the candidacy of the SPD minister of justice Gustav Heinemann for the federal presidency, Willy Brandt was able to form an SPD-FDP coalition government, with himself as federal chancellor. The SPD-FDP coalition lasted until late 1982 and was noted for its accomplishments in the area of foreign policy. The formation of this new coalition forced the CDU/CSU into opposition for the first time in the history of West Germany.

Willy Brandt became the first democratically elected Social Democrat to hold the chancellorship. Born in Luebeck in 1913, Brandt first joined the SPD in 1930 and later joined a smaller leftist grouping, the Socialist Workers Party (Sozialistiche Arbeiterpartei–SAP). After Hitler came to power, Willy Brandt emigrated to Norway, where he became a citizen and worked as a journalist. After Germany occupied Norway in 1940, he fled to Sweden. Willy Brandt returned to Germany after the war as a news correspondent and later as a Norwegian diplomat in Berlin. After he had again assumed German citizenship, Willy Brandt rejoined the SPD in 1947.

He became mayor of Berlin in 1957 and was the SPD candidate for the chancellorship in 1961. In the late 1950s, Brandt was a principal architect of the SPD’s rejection of its Marxist past and adoption of the Bad Godesburg Program, in which the party accepted the free-market principle. The triumph of the CDU/CSU in the 1957 national elections and widespread and increasing prosperity made such a step necessary if the SPD were to win the electorate’s favor. In 1964 Brandt became the chairman of the SPD. From 1966 to 1969, he served as minister for foreign affairs and vice chancellor in the Grand Coalition.

When Brandt became chancellor in 1969, he proposed a new policy toward the communist states of Eastern Europe this policy later became known as Ostpolitik (policy toward the East). In recognition of his efforts toward détente in Europe, he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1971. In the early 1970s, Brandt also engineered a package of treaties that normalized the FRG’s relations with the Soviet Union and with Poland, the GDR, and other Soviet-bloc nations. He successfully withstood a vote of no-confidence in the Bundestag in April 1972 and won the Bundestag elections in November 1972 with an impressive relative majority of nearly 45 percent. Brandt resigned in May 1974, shocked by the discovery that one of his personal assistants, Guenter Guillaume, was a spy for the GDR.

In domestic policy, Willy Brandt and his FDP coalition partners initiated legal reforms, including the passage of more liberal laws regarding divorce and abortion, the latter reform generating intense public discussion. Education reforms calling for new types of schools and for overhauling administration of the universities were only partially carried out. Brandt and his coalition partners were more successful in realizing their foreign policy goals than in achieving their domestic aims.


Brandt Resigned, in Part, Over Data on Private Life

BONN, May 8—Willy Brandt, who resigned as Chancellor of West Germany Monday night following the discovery of an East German spy on his staff, said in a televised speech tonight that he had quit, in part, because “there were indications my private life would be drawn into speculation about the ease.”

Without giving any details, he said, it was “grotesque” to maintain he had resigned Mit of fear of being blackmailed by the spy.

Charges in Springer Papers

“Mr. Brandt also told his television audience that he now realized he had made a mistake in agreeing to leave Gunter Guillaume, the agent, in a position to see important classified materials, including secret messages, during a vacation trip to Norway last summer. At that time Mr. Guillaume served as an aide de camp, monitoring and filing all communications between the Chancellor's retreat and Bonn.

Two conservative opposition newspapers owned by Axel Springer have published reports in the last two days that Mr. Brandt quit because Mr. Guillaume had information on his private life that would be devastating if disclosed. Mr. Guillaume was the Chancellor's aide for party affairs, and a frequent traveling companion, until his arrest and confession April 24. “No matter what may be written about that,” Mr. Brandt told his television audience in his first public statement about his resignation, “it is and remains grotesque to maintain, that a German Chancellor can be blackmailed. I, certainly, cannot be.” He said at a meeting of his party leadership earlier today, “Out of office, I will stand up to anything I may be charged with in this.”

Mr. Brandt, looking calm, and almost relieved, read his brief statement in a tone of assurance.

He resigned, he wrote in letter to President Gustav W. Heinemann Monday, because he was taking responsibility for “negligence” in connection with Mr. Guillaume He has said that he was informed by the intelligence services last summer of growing suspicion that his aide was a Communist agent, but that he was advised to leave him in office so his accomplices could be discovered.

No further major arrests have been made since the confession of Mr. Guillaume.

Exactly what Mr. Brandt was alluding to in his statement about his private life was not clear here. What was clear, from his statement and from private conversations with friends and advisers, was that Mr. Brandt, like many figures in public life, may have committed indiscretions, and that detailed, knowledge of some of these figured somehow in Mr. Guillaume's case.

Some of Mr. Brandt's friends charge that the security services passed this information along to the leaders of the conservative Christian Democratic opposition.

Since the sudden resignation of Mr. Brandt, there has been a wave of expressions of sympathy and support. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Hamburg, Bonn, Berlin and Hanover yesterday.

The stock exchanges and he had given way to Helmut have reacted favorably to the news of Mr. Brandt's resignation. The mark gained strength against the dollar and, in general, businessmen who have opposed the former Chancellor's reform policies and alleged “indecision” seemed pleased that he had given way to Helmut Schmidt, “a more decisive man.”

The Social Democrats nominated Mr. Schmidt, the 55‐year old Finance Minister and party deputy chairman, to succeed Mr. Brandt, and the Bundestag or lower house of the German Parliament, is expected to elect him on May 16.

For now, the man who has been Foreign Minister since 1969, Walter Scheel, is Acting as Chancellor, at Mr. Brandt's request. Mr. Scheel is expected to be elected President at an electoral college meeting next Wednesday. His eventual successor as head of the Free Democrats, Hans Dietrich Genscher, will probably be named to succeed to the Foreign Ministry.

Another of Mr. Brandt's ministers, Horst Ehmke, has sacrificed himself in the spy scandal. Mr. Ehmke, the Minister of Research and Technology, headed Mr. Brandt's Chancellery office in 1970, when Mr. Guillaume was given a job on the staff.

Documents released by the Government yesterday showed that Mr. Ehmke had been told of suspicions that the man might be an agent.

Contrary to allegations made last week, the documentation showed Mr. Ehmke had not ignored these suspicions, but ordered the security services to carry out a specially thorough investigation of. Mr. Guillaume. They did, turned up no evidence of espionage, and cleared him by late 1970 for access to top‐secret material.

Mr. Ehmke asked Mr. Schmidt last night not to consider him in forming a new government.

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