|Chancellor of Austria|
April 2, 1964 – April 21, 1970
|Preceded by||Alfons Gorbach|
|Succeeded by||Bruno Kreisky|
August 15, 1910|
|Died||July 26, 2001
Josef Klaus (August 15, 1910, Kötschach-Mauthen, Carinthia - July 26, 2001, Vienna) was an Austrian Christian/Conservative politician of the Peoples Party (ÖVP) and the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler) from 1964 to 1970. In 1934 graduated from law school. He married in 1936. During World War II he served in the German army in campaigns in Poland, France, Finland and Russia; he was captured in early 1945 and held in a POW camp.
Klaus was governor of the Austrian province Salzburg from 1949 to 1961 and leading member of the ÖVP. When Chancellor Julius Raab resigned, Klaus' influence as a representative of the "young reformers" grew. Klaus became Federal Minister of Finance under Chancellor Alfons Gorbach and followed him as Chancellor when Gorbach ran for Federal President. Klaus initially continued the grand coalition with the Socialists that had governed since 1945. In 1966, the ÖVP under Klaus won an absolute majority. Despite this, memories of the factionalism that had plagued the First Republic were still strong enough that Klaus initially tried to continue the grand coalition. However, when talks with Socialist leader Bruno Kreisky failed, Klaus formed the first one-party government of the Second Republic. In June first steps were agreed on joining the European Economic Community which in the long run finally led to Austria joining the European Union in 1995.
Josef Klaus started many reforms and is remembered for administrating the government efficiently, but he lost the 1970 election to Kreisky. Klaus might have been able to continue by entering into a coalition with the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), but immediately resigned after losing the elections.
Despite his "hard image", Klaus was celebrated at his 90th birthday all over the country. In September 1971 he published his memoirs "Macht und Ohnmacht in Österreich", and up to 1995 he frequently led seminars on political and social themes.
- KLAUS, Josef International Who's Who, accessed September 4, 2006.
||Chancellors of Austria||Successor: