Gerhard Schröder (11 September 1910 – 31 December 1989) was a West German politician and member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. He served as Federal Minister of the Interior from 1953 to 1961, as Foreign Minister from 1961 to 1966, and as Minister of Defence from 1966 until 1969. In the 1969 election he ran for President of Germany but was outpolled by Gustav Heinemann.
The son of a railway official, Schröder was born in Saarbrücken, then part of the Prussian Rhine Province. Having passed his Abitur exams, he went on to study law at the University of Königsberg and two semesters abroad at the University of Edinburgh, where he, according his own accounts, became familiar with a British way of life. In 1932 he finished his studies in Bonn in 1932, where he had committed himself to the university group of the national liberal German People's Party.
Schröder passed the first and second Staatsexamen in 1932 and 1936. Having obtained his doctorate in 1934 and worked as a consultant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in Berlin. Still as a referendary in Bonn, he had joined the Nazi Party on 1 April 1933 and also the SA. He continued his career as a law firm employee and in 1939 obtained an attorney's certificate and worked as a tax lawyer. He left the NSDAP in May 1941 (a rather rare occurrence). In the same month and perhaps in connection, he married his wife, Brigitte Schröder née Landsberg, needing - she was half-Jewish - with an extraordinary permission by his Armed Forces superiors.
He held federal office as Minister of the Interior (1953–1961) and as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1961–1966) in the cabinets of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and of Ludwig Erhard. From 1966 to 1969 he served as Minister of Defence under Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger.
In 1969 Gerhard Schröder ran for the Office of the Federal President (supported by CDU and NPD), but he was beaten by Gustav Heinemann, the nominee of the SPD (supported by FDP), at the third ballot with 49.4% to 48.8% of the votes of the Federal Assembly.
Decorations and awards
- SA Sports Badge (1934)
- Iron Cross, 2nd class (1942)
- Black Wound Badge (1942)
- Eastern Front Medal (1942)
- Cholm Shield (1942) - awarded to German soldiers who participated in the defence of the occupied Soviet city of Kholm
- Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria (Großes Goldenes Ehrenzeichen am Bande) (1962)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (8 August 1965) (with Willy Brandt)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic (1966)
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 133. Retrieved 22 December 2012.