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Walter Hallstein

Walter Hallstein (17 November 1901 - 29 March 1982) was a German politician and professor.

He was one of the key figures of European integration after World War II, becoming the first president of the Commission of the European Economic Community. His name is associated with the "Hallstein Doctrine", by which the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) attempted to block the recognition of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

Hallstein was born in Mainz, Germany. He studied law in Bonn, Munich and Berlin and graduated in 1925 with a doctoral dissertation on the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles with regard to insurance policies. From 1926 he worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Foreign Private and International Private Law in Berlin. In 1930, at the age of 28, he was appointed professor for private law and company law at the University of Rostock, where he remained until 1941. In 1941 he was appointed professor of civil law at the University of Frankfurt (Frankfurt am Main). He was also, at the same time, director of the university's Institute for Comparative Law and Commercial Law.

From 1942 he served in the Wehrmacht), serving as a first lieutenant (Oberleutnant) in Northern France. He was taken prisoner in 1944. While in a prisoner-of-war camp in Mississippi (1944-1946), he started a "camp university", where he held law courses for the prisoners.

In 1946 he returned to Frankfurt University, where he was elected rector of the university. From 1948 he spent a year in the United States as guest professor at Georgetown University (Washington DC), teaching International Relations.

In June, 1951 the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, appointed him "state secretary" (a top-ranking civil servant) in the Federal Chancellor's Office (Bundeskanzleramt) and made him head of the German delegation for the Schuman Plan negotiations. A few months later he was made "state secretary" at the foreign ministry. In September 1955 he was responsible for the policy that bears his name, the "Hallstein Doctrine", though much of the work formulating this is said to have actually been done by his deputy Wilhelm Grewe.

Hallstein remained at the foreign ministry until the beginning of 1958 and played a major part in the negotiations on the EEC and Euratom treaties. On January 7, 1958 he was elected first president of the Commission of the European Economic Community (now the European Commission), in Brussels, a post he was to retain until 1967.

As a proponent of a federal Europe with a strong Commission and Parliament, he was opposed to de Gaulle's vision of a "Europe des patries" with more power retained by national governments, and in September 1967 he was forced to resign as president of the Commission.

From 1967 onward, he wrote and was active in German politics. From 1969 to 1972 he was a member of the Bundestag (the lower house of the German federal parliament) for the CDU.

From 1968 to 1974 he was president of the council of the European Movement.

He died in Stuttgart on March 29, 1982, at the age of 80.

Table of contents
1 Honours
2 References
3 External links


During his lifetime Walter Hallstein received honorary doctorates from 9 European and 9 American universities, including the universities of Hamburg, Padua, Columbia, Georgetown, and Harvard.

In 1961 he was awarded the Charlemagne prize (Karlspreis) by the City of Aachen for his efforts in the cause of European federation.

In 1997, the Walter Hallstein Institute for European Constitutional Law at the Humboldt University in Berlin was named in his honour.


Books on Walter Hallstein

Loth, Wilfried (Editor), William Wallace (Editor), Wolfgang Wessels (Editor), Bryan Ruppert (Translator). "Walter Hallstein: The Forgotten European?"; Palgrave Macmillan; November 1998, ISBN 0-31-221293-3

External links

Biographical details

Photograph "Commission Walter Hallstein (1962 - 1967) ", including an individual photograph of Walter Hallstein at various resolutions (from the audio-visual library of the European Commission;):

The History of the European Union: A chronology from 1946 to 2003

Biography of Walter Hallstein at the German Historical Museum (German)

Biography of Walter Hallstein at a semi-official French web site (French)

Biography of Walter Hallstein at the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (German)

Brief portrait of Walter Hallstein at the official web site for Charlemagne Prize awards (German)


Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (English)

Walter Hallstein Institute (German)

Charlemagne prize foundation (German); includes a list of recipients