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Hanns Seidel

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Hanns Seidel

Hanns Seidel
Seidel on the left, with Konrad Adenauer
Minister President of Bavaria
In office
Preceded by Wilhelm Hoegner
Succeeded by Hans Ehard
Minister for Economy
In office
Personal details
Born (1901-10-12)12 October 1901
Died 5 August 1961(1961-08-05) (aged 59)
Nationality German
Political party CSU
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism

Franz Wendelin "Hanns" Seidel (12 October 1901 – 5 August 1961) was a German politician who served as Prime Minister of Bavaria from 1957 to 1960. He was a member, and from 1955 to 1961 chairman, of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria.


Seidel was born in Schweinheim, now part of Aschaffenburg, one of seven children; his parents were Johann and Christine Seidel. He was originally baptized under the name Franz Wendelin but was soon called simply Hanns. His father died when he was seven and the family had to live in relative poverty from then on. Despite those circumstances, he managed to obtain a good education.

Hanns Seidel studied law in Jena, Freiburg and Würzburg, where he graduated in 1929. He worked as a lawyer in Aschaffenburg after this and married Ilse Tenter, who he had two sons with. As a strict Catholic, he joined the Bavarian People's Party in 1932. His outspokenness about the Nazis soon got him into trouble and he had to withdraw his candidacy for the Aschaffenburg town council. He briefly had to escape to Memel (now Klaipėda) in Eastern Prussia to avoid arrest but returned home soon after.

He served in a tank division in the German Wehrmacht from October 1940 to 1945, being promoted to Lieutenant in April 1942. At the end of the war, he was briefly taken prisoner twice but escaped both his Russian and American captors. He returned to his position as a lawyer in August 1945.

He became a founding member of the CSU in 1945 and was elected to the Bavarian Landtag in 1946. Previous to this, the US occupation authorities had already made him Landrat for Aschaffenburg due to the fact that he had no previous political history. As a liberal-conservative he supported the multi-confessional fraction in his party. He became Minister for Economy in 1947 and held this post until the his parties election defeat in 1954. He was an important force in the reconstruction efforts in post-war Bavaria. He was also highly regarded by the German chancellor Konrad Adenauer who unsuccessfully tried to convince him to take up a post in the federal government. In 1954, he was made speaker for the opposition, the year after, he became party chairman of the CSU, defeating Franz Josef Strauß in a highly contested party vote. He immediately went to modernize the party and its politics.[1]

After the elections of 1957, he became Bavarian prime minister on 16 October 1957. He had to resign from this post on 21 January 1960 due to health reasons and died the year after, at the age of 59, in Munich.

The Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (Hanns Seidel Foundation), formed in 1967, an organization closely associated with the CSU, is named after him.

External links

  • Hanns Seidel FoundationOfficial website of the (in English)
  • Official Bavarian government website - Hanns Seidel biography (in German)


  • Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg - Boisls bayrische Biography - Hans Seidel (in German), page 717
  • website - Biography of Hanns SeidelHanns Seidel Foundation


  1. ^ Modernizing Bavaria: The Politics of Franz Josef Strauss and the CSU, 1949-1969 google book review, author: Mark S. Milosch, publisher: Berghahn Books, page 50, accessed: 10 May 2008
Political offices
Preceded by
Wilhelm Hoegner
Prime Minister of Bavaria
1957 – 1960
Succeeded by
Hans Ehard
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