Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia
Hanns Seidel Foundation
70-72 Dr Frans Indongo Street
P O Box 90912 Klein Windhoek
Tel.: (+264) 61 237373/4
Fax.: (+264) 61 232142
The Life and Work of Dr. Hanns Seidel
Dr. Hanns Seidel
October 12, 1901 – August 5, 1961
Minister President of Bavaria
1957 – 1960
Minister of State for Economics in Bavaria
1947 – 1954
Party Chairman of the Christian Social Union
1955 – 1961
Hanns Seidel was born on October 12, 1901 in Schweinheim, now a district of the Bavarian town of Aschaffenburg, as one of the six children of Johann and Christine Seidel. His mother was widowed in 1908 and the subsequent years of hardship and poverty taught him the value of personal discipline and responsibility. His university studies from 1921 to 1925 were primarily at Würzburg but also included a term at Jena and Freiburg. Initially studying German literature, he then changed to law and economics. He financed most of his studies himself, by tutoring and even by working on a coal face during vacation time. Obtaining a doctorate in law in 1929, he set up a law office in Aschaffenburg and that same year married Ilse Tenter, with whom he had two sons.
Seidel began his active engagement in politics in 1930 and joined the Bayerische Volkspartei in 1932. He was temporarily imprisoned in 1933 by the National Socialists for his outspoken criticism of the Nazi regime, and avoided being sent to a concentration camp by emigrating for a short time to relatives in Memel, Lithuania. On his return to Aschaffenburg he was subjected to further intimidation and restriction of his professional activity. From 1940 to 1945 he served on the Russian front and following the collapse of the Third Reich, he returned home in June 1945.
In 1945 the US military government appointed Hanns Seidel District Administrator of Aschaffenburg. In 1946 he became one of the founding fathers of the CSU, and was a member of the Constituent Assembly which was charged with working on the future constitution of Bavaria. In the first post-war Bavarian elections in 1946, he was elected to the Landtag, the Bavarian State Parliament, of which he remained a member until his death. Dr. Hans Ehard appointed him Minister of Economics in his 1947 cabinet. Seidel held this office for seven years as he steered the Land through the difficult post-war process of economic reconstruction and reform, and the integration of refugees and displaced persons.
Although the CSU was the party with the most votes in the 1954 Bavarian state elections, the post-election coalition negotiations unexpectedly led to the formation of the so-called „Coalition of Four“ government without the CSU. It found itself in the opposition and Hanns Seidel was elected spokesman of the CSU parliamentary group and leader of the opposition. A year later in 1955, he was elected CSU party chairman and began a fundamental reform of the CSU into a modern, regional party. During a study tour of the USA in 1956, he gained impressions of the country’s economic, social and political relations, which served him as a strategic guide for the future development of Bavaria.
When the “Coalition of Four” collapsed after the federal elections of 1957, Seidel became Minister President of the state of Bavaria. In 1958 he was again asked to form the government after the Bavarian state elections. As Minister President of Bavaria from 1957 to 1960, he continued the policy he had set during his term as Minister of Economics: rebuilding the region’s infrastructure, developing a modern energy policy and introducing a transport and communication network across the state. In this way he laid the foundations for the economic, administrative and social modernization of Bavaria as it was transformed from an agrarian region into a prosperous, agrarian-industrial state. Protracted illness and failing health forced Dr. Hanns Seidel to give up his post as Minister President in January 1960 and as CSU Chairman in February 1961. He died in Munich on August 5, 1961.
The Hanns Seidel Foundation was founded in 1967 and is named after Dr. Hanns Seidel.