Richard von Weizsäcker

Richard von Weizsäcker

Infobox_President | name=Richard von Weizsäcker

order=10th President of Germany
6th President of the Federal Republic of Germany
term_start=July 1, 1984
term_end=June 30, 1994
predecessor=Karl Carstens
successor=Roman Herzog
birth_date=birth date and age|1920|4|15
birth_place=Stuttgart, Germany
alma_mater = University of Oxford
University of Grenoble
University of Göttingen
spouse=Marianne Freifrau (Baroness) von Weizsäcker

Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker Audio|De-Richard von Weizäcker.ogg|listen (born April 15 1920) is a German politician (CDU). He was President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1984 to 1994.

Weizsäcker was born in Stuttgart as the son of the diplomat Ernst von Weizsäcker and brother of physicist and philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. His grandfather Carl von Weizsäcker had been Minister President of Württemberg. He lived several years in Switzerland and Denmark due to his father's diplomatic duties. When he was 17 years old, he moved to Britain and studied philosophy and history at Balliol College, Oxford. Later he studied in Grenoble in France. After the outbreak of World War II, he served in the German Army, finally as a captain of the Reserve. He was wounded in East Prussia in 1945 and was transported home to Stuttgart. Then he continued his study of history in Göttingen and eventually studied law. As a law student he was a member of his father's defence team at the Eleventh secondary Nuremberg Trial. He took his first judicial state exam in 1950, the second in 1953, and in 1955 was promoted "doctor juris". In 1953 he married Marianne von Kretschmann; they have four children.He was a member of the Synod and the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany from 1967-1984.Richard von Weizsäcker joined the CDU in 1954 and became a member of the Bundestag (German Parliament) in 1969 (1969-1981). In 1981 he was elected vice president of the Bundestag (1979-1981) and then Governing Mayor ("Regierender Bürgermeister") of West Berlin (1981-1984).He was elected President of Germany by the Bundesversammlung (Federal Convention) in 1984, succeeding Karl Carstens.

Weizsäcker is famous for his speeches. He gained wide national and international attention and respect with his [ speech] on the fortieth anniversary of VE Day in which he referred to May 8, 1945 as "the day of liberation from the inhuman system of Nazi tyranny". This helped to redefine the meaning of this event as a positive landmark in German history rather than a point of agony as it was often referred to before.

Due to the high esteem in which he is held by Germany's political establishment, Weizsäcker is so far the only candidate to have stood for elections for the office of federal president uncontested; he was elected in such a way to a second term of office on May 23rd, 1989. He took office for his second presidential term on July 1, 1989, and, during that second term, German reunification took place, with the incorporation of the territory of the former German Democratic Republic into the Federal Republic of Germany. Weizsäcker thereby became the first all-German head of State since World War II.

Weizsäcker stretched the traditionally ceremonial position of Germany’s president to reach across political, national, and generational boundaries to address a wide range of controversial issues. In his public addresses and in his writings, Weizsäcker has been a strong and articulate advocate of democratic principles, tolerance, and social responsibility. He has been actively involved in food aid activities targeted at relieving global hunger problems.

Although now an elder statesman, Weizsäcker is still involved in politics and charitable affairs. He was the chair of a commission installed by the then social democratic-green government for reforming the Bundeswehr.

Weizsäcker has served on many international commissions. Notably, he served as chairman of the Independent Working Group on the future of the United Nations and as one of three 'Wise Men' appointed by European Commission President Romano Prodi to consider the future of the European Union.

Weizsäcker's publications include "Von Deutschland aus"; "Die deutsche Geschichte geht weiter"; "Von Deutschland nach Europa"; and "Vier Zeiten". His memoirs have been published as "From Weimar to the Wall: My Life in German Politics" (1999). He has received many honors in his career. These honours include an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1993 and the creation of the Richard von Weizsäcker Professorship at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University and the Robert Bosch Foundation of Stuttgart in 2003. More than 11 other honorary doctorates ranging from the Weizmann Institute in Israel to Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard universities, the Charles University in Prague, the Leo Baeck Prize from the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and the Buber-Rosenzweig Medallion from the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation.


NAME= Weizsäcker, Richard von
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Weizsäcker, Richard Freiherr von
SHORT DESCRIPTION= German politician
DATE OF BIRTH=April 15, 1920
PLACE OF BIRTH=Stuttgart, Germany

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