University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Who's who in the federal cabinet,   pp. [36]-42 PDF (4.5 MB)

Page 39

Minister of Economics Ludwig Erhard
Ludwig Erhard, (CDU), Minister of Economics and
champion of free enterprise, is the probably most con-
troversial figure in the Cabinet.
Thrown out of his post as professor in Nuremberg's
Economic Research Institute in 1942 for refusing to join
Hitler's Labor Front, Mr. Erhard was Third Reich friend of
anti-Hitler conspirator Goerdeler, postwar friend of Gen.
Lucius D. Clay.
When scalp-hunting critics go on the warpath, Mr. Er-
hard points to West German recovery to higher produc-
tion than prewar, but he admits that the new problem of
breaking the basic-industry bottleneck causes him sleep-
less nights.
Three and one half billion Deutsche marks ($833,000,000)
must be found for investment in obselete, inadequate coal,
steel and electrical power facilities if all West Germany's
machines are to keep running full-time. Minister Erhard's
plan - compulsory savings stamps to be sold with non-
essential purchases - had to be pocketed. Finance Minis-
ter Schaeffer's new extra sales tax on non-essentials left
no more room.
Arch-enemy of government regulation, Mr. Erhard once
described government interference in business as "com-
mitting suicide to cure a cold." He does not deny that
the Federal Republic has a bad over-consumption cold at
present. His prescription: "Shortages will be met by re-
strictions in the use of scarce materials. These measures
are not contrary to the principles of a free economy,"
Mr. Erhard added. "In fact, they are especially designed
to preserve its operation."
Western Germany, importing half its food and one-third
of its raw materials, had trouble with its trade balance
even before Korea. Now, with world prices rising, the
Erhard cold-cure must meet an exacting test.
To the question, what measures may be taken to limit
consumption in the Federal Republic, Mr. Erhard said: "In
no case will past methods, that is, rationing, be employed.
We can control consumption better by controlling pro-
duction at the source."
Finance Minister Fritz Schaeffer
Fritz Schaeffer, who holds the federal purse strings as
Finance Minister, is one of four Cabinet members from
Bavaria, where the name Christian Social Union (CSU)
was found to be more appealing than Christian Demo-
cratic Union (CDU).
JUNE 1951
Lawyer Schaeffer has had a stormy political past. As
head of the Bavarian People's Party and minister of fi-
nance, he stepped out in 1933 when the Nazis stepped in.
In 1945 the US Military Government named him Minister-
President of Bavaria, only to remove him in September of
the same year. An injunction of the Military Government
against engaging in political activity was lifted in 1948,
after a court had cleared Mr. Schaeffer of collaboration
with the Nazis.
Germans know Minister Schaeffer as the man behind
the taxes. His newest: a special extra sales tax on non-
essentials. What products will be hit and how much are
still a secret. To prevent hoarding, Mr. Schaeffer will
keep it a surprise.
Asked what he considers the most important responsi-
bilities of finance policy, Minister Schaeffer said: "We
must use the greater part of our revenue for social serv-
ices and relief, in order to prevent unrest which would
play into the hands of the Communists. It is difficult in
a period of constantly rising obligations to maintain a
balanced budget. Nevertheless, I consider a balanced
budget my duty. It is my determination to maintain a poli-
cy of financial stability that will guarantee sound money."
Food Minister Wilhelm Niklas
Wilhelm Niklas, (CSU), Minister of Food, is a Bavarian
Catholic, a former practicing veterinarian and a trout
fisherman. Shunted out of the Stock and Dairy Section of
the Bavarian Agriculture Ministry in 1933, Mr. Niklas
came back into public life in 1945 as CSU charter member.
Mr. Niklas won a Bundestag seat May 27, 1951, when he
polled 42 percent of the votes in a by-election in Donau-
woerth, Bavaria, held to fill the vacancy left by the death
of Deputy Martin Loibl, also a Christian Democrat.
In maneuvering German agriculture out of the Third
Reich's "hot house" of guaranteed prices into the rough
and tumble of world commodity markets, Minister Niklas
must hold his own against irate, price-conscious house-
wives and irate, price-conscious farmers. He admits
that German agriculture must earn DM   1,000,000,000
($238,000,000) a year more to pull farmers out of debt but
realizes that would drive food prices too high.
Government trade pacts caused Mr. Niklas trouble
with his farmers last autumn, when the contract-bound
Republic had to import Yugoslavian fruit while the Ger-
man fruit harvest rotted on the trees.
Until recently German farmers only received two-thirds
of the world price for grain. Mr. Niklas is not anxious to
Political Parties in Western Germany
BHE/DG = Bund der Heimatvertriebenen und Entrechteten               FDP 
  = Freie Demokratische Partei (Free Democratic Party)
(Refugee Party) .                                         KPD    = Kommunistische
Partei Deutschlands
Deutsche Gemeinschaft (German Community Party)                      (C6mmunist
Party of Germany)
BP     = Bayern Partei (Bavarian Pa rty)                            SPD 
  = Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
CDU    = Christlich-Demokratische Union                                 
    (Social Democratic Party of Germany)
(Christian Democratic Union)                              SSW    = Sued-Schleswigsche
CSU    = Christlich-Soziale Union (Christian Social Union)              
    (South Schleswig Voters Association)
DP     = Deutsche Partei (German Party)                            WAV  
    Wirtschaftliche Aufbau Vereinigung
DRP    = Deutsche Reichspartei (German Reich Party)                     
    (Economic Reconstruction Association)
DVP    = Demokratische Volkspartei (Democratic People's Party)     Z    
  = Zentrumspartei (Center Party)

Go up to Top of Page