Strauss, Franz Josef

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Strauss, Franz Josef

Franz Josef Strauss (fräns yō´zĕf shtrous), 1915–88, West German political figure, leader of the Christian Social Union. He became prominent in the Bavarian Christian Social Union (the Bavarian wing of the Christian Democratic Union) after World War II. Elected to the Bundestag in 1949, he became (1956) minister of defense of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in the coalition government of Christian Democratic chancellor Konrad Adenauer. In 1962, Strauss was widely attacked for his role in the government raids on the offices of the opposition news magazine Der Spiegel and arrests of the magazine's personnel. As a result of the Der Spiegel affair Adenauer was forced to form a new cabinet from which Strauss was excluded. He later served (Dec., 1966–Oct., 1969) as finance minister in the government of Christian Democratic chancellor Kurt Kiesinger. He opposed the 1973 treaty normalizing relations between East and West Germany on the grounds that it violated the constitutional provision requiring the government to seek reunification. In 1978 Strauss was elected premier of Bavaria, a position that served as a springboard for his 1980 bid for election as chancellor of West Germany. Nominated by the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union, Strauss lost the election to Helmut Schmidt. He remained premier of Bavaria until his death.

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