Gerhard Stoltenberg (September 29, 1928 – November 23, 2001) was a German politician (CDU) and minister in the cabinets of Ludwig Erhard, Kurt Georg Kiesinger and Helmut Kohl. He served as minister-president of the German state (Land) of Schleswig-Holstein from 1971 to 1982 and as such as President of the Bundesrat in 1977/78.
Stoltenberg was born in northern Germany in Kiel. In 1944 he became a navy assistant (HJ-Marinehelfer), a Hitler Youth auxiliary in the Kriegsmarine. After the war, when he was no longer a prisoner of war, he finished school in 1949 (Abitur). Stoltenberg began to study history, sociology and philosophy at the University of Kiel. In 1954 he graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy and worked as an academic in Kiel. In 1960 he became a professor (Privatdozent). In the years 1965 and again 1969/1970 Stoltenberg was the director of the company Friedrich Krupp in Essen. In 2001 he died in Bad Godesberg.
Stoltenberg was married and had two children. He was member of the Lutheran church.
Since 1947 Stoltenberg had been member of the CDU. In the years 1955–1961 he was federal leader of the Junge Union, the youth' organisation of the CDU. From 1955 Stoltenberg had different positions in the CDU. From 1971 until 1989, he was chairman of the CDU in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. Moreover, Stoltenberg served as vice chairman of the federal CDU since 1969.
Stoltenberg was member of the state parliament of Schleswig-Holstein from 1954 to 1957 and from 1971 to 1982. From 1957 to 1971 and from 1983 until 1998, Stoltenberg also served as a member of the federal German legislature, the Bundestag. As a junior MP and member of the budget committee he was the first to introduce to the 1959 federal budget a flat grant of DM 5,000,000 for political education (training of party activists) to be transferred to federal party headquarters.
Gerhard Stoltenberg looked destined for West Germany's highest office as he made a brilliant start to his political career. On May 24, 1971, Stoltenberg was elected minister-president of the state of Schleswig-Holstein and remained in this position until 1982.
In 1982, he became federal minister of finance under chancellor Helmut Kohl. He left this position when he was appointed minister of defence from 1989 on, replacing Rupert Scholz. He resigned from this position on March 31, 1992.