Manfred Wörner

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Manfred Wörner
Manfred Woerner 1993.jpg
7th Secretary General of NATO
In office
1 July 1988 – 13 August 1994
Preceded by Peter Carington
Succeeded by Sergio Balanzino (acting)
Willy Claes
8th Federal Ministry of Defence (Germany)
In office
4 October 1982 – 18 May 1988
Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Preceded by Hans Apel
Succeeded by Rupert Scholz
Personal details
Born Manfred Hermann Wörner
(1934-09-24)24 September 1934
Stuttgart, Germany
Died 13 August 1994(1994-08-13) (aged 59)
Brussels, Belgium
Nationality German
Political party Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
Spouse(s) Anna-Maria Casar (1972-1982)
Elfrie Hartwig Reinsch (1982-1994)
Alma mater University of Heidelberg
University of Paris
Ph.D. University of Munich
Profession Diplomat
Religion Protestant

Manfred Hermann Wörner (24 September 1934 in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt – 13 August 1994 in Brussels[1]) was a German politician and diplomat. He served as the defense minister of West Germany between 1982 and 1988. He then served as the seventh Secretary General of NATO from 1988 to 1994. His term as Secretary General saw the end of the Cold War and the German reunification. Whilst serving in that position, he was diagnosed with cancer, but, in spite of his illness, continued serving until his final days.

Family[edit]

He grew up in his grandfather's house in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt and attended the Johannes-Kepler-Gymnasium there. He was married to Elfie Wörner, who was supporting several German army related humanitarian agencies, and who died due to a tumor at 4 July 2006.

Education[edit]

After graduation in 1953 he studied Law at Heidelberg, Paris, and Munich. He closed his studies 1957 with the first and 1961 the second Staatsexamen. He got his Dr. jur. in 1961 writing about International law. Afterwards he worked for the administration of Baden-Württemberg. He was a county official for Oehringen until 1962, for the Baden-Württemberg Landtag until 1965 and the County Göppingen. Wörner was a jet pilot and reserve officer of the Luftwaffe.

Political career[edit]

Wörner was a member of the German CDU and was elected to the German parliament, representing Göppingen.

On 4 October 1982 he was appointed Federal Minister of Defence in Helmut Kohl's government. Wörner played an important role in defending NATO's decision to deploy intermediate-range ballistic missiles IRBM after arms reduction talks with the Soviet Union to reverse Soviet deployment of its SS-20 intermediate-range ballistic missiles IRBM from the years before.

In 1983, Wörner faced criticism due to the scandal surrounding German General Günter Kießling. The German military secret service had accused Kießling of being homosexual—this was later revealed to be a case of mistaken identity—and Wörner had ordered Kießling's early retirement, as homosexuality was considered a security risk at the time. Kießling insisted on disciplinary procedures against himself and eventually achieved his reinstatement. Wörner accepted political responsibility for the affair and on 18 May 1984 offered his resignation, which was however rejected by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

In December 1987, the sixteen members of NATO elected Wörner Secretary General. He was the first German to be appointed to that position. Resigning from his post in the German government, he took office on 1 July 1988. He executed his duties despite severe illness until his death from cancer in 1994.

Manfred Wörner Medal[edit]

Dr. Wörner's wife Elfie at his monument in South Park, Sofia, Bulgaria

Since 1996, the Ministry of Defense has awarded the Manfred Wörner Medal on an annual basis to honour public figures who have rendered "special meritorious service to peace and freedom in Europe".

Since then it was given to:

See also[edit]

Honours[edit]

Wörner Gap on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Dr. Wörner in recognition of his contribution to European unification.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vor 10 Jahren: Manfred Wörner stirbt". Westdeutscher Rundfunk. 2004-08-13. Archived from the original on 2005-09-14. Retrieved 2006-01-18. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Hans Apel
Federal Minister of Defence (Germany)
1982 – 1988
Succeeded by
Rupert Scholz
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Peter Carington
Secretary General of NATO
1988 – 1994
Succeeded by
Willy Claes