Hans-Christoph Seebohm

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Hans-Christoph Seebohm
Vice Chancellor of Germany
(West Germany)
In office
8 November 1966 – 1 December 1966
Chancellor Ludwig Erhard
Preceded by Erich Mende
Succeeded by Willy Brandt
Federal Minister of Transport
In office
20 September 1949 – 30 November 1966
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1949-1963)
Ludwig Erhard (1963-1966)
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Georg Leber
Personal details
Born (1903-08-04)4 August 1903
Emanuelssegen, Province of Silesia, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
(today Murcki district, part of Katowice, Poland)
Died 17 September 1967(1967-09-17) (aged 64)
Bonn, West Germany
Nationality German Germany
Political party DP
CDU (from 1960)
Alma mater Technical College of Berlin
Occupation Mining director, industrial manager, politician
Religion Protestant [1]

Hans-Christoph Seebohm (4 August 1903 – 17 September 1967) was a German politician of the national conservative German Party (Deutsche Partei, DP) and after 1960 the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).[1] He was Federal Minister of Transport for 17 years and the fourth Vice-Chancellor of West Germany in 1966.


Seebohm attended school in Dresden, Saxony and studied mining at the universities of Munich and Berlin-Charlottenburg. Passing the Staatsexamen in 1928, he worked as a junior civil servant at Halle and obtained a doctorate level degree from the Technical College of Berlin in 1932. He became a mining director at Silesian Gleiwitz and Bytom and upon the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938/39 supervised the "Aryanization" of the mines at Královské Poříčí (Königswerth).

After World War II, he joined the regionalist Lower Saxon State Party in the British occupation zone under Heinrich Hellwege, which in 1947 was renamed German Party (DP). Seebohm became president of the chamber of commerce at Braunschweig and was a member of the Landtag state assembly of Lower Saxony from 1946 until 1951. From 1946 until 1948 he held the office of Minister for Reconstruction, Labour and Health in Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf's Lower Saxon state government. In the run-up to the first federal election of 1949, he and his party fellows Hellwege and von Merkatz negotiated a national conservative alliance with the Deutsche Rechtspartei and Hessian National Democrats, which however were aborted by the British occupation forces. In 1952, Seebohm was elected DP chairman, but refused to assume office.

From 1949 until his death he was a member of the Bundestag for the constituency of Hamburg-Harburg. From 20 September 1949 until 30 November 1966 he also served as Federal Minister for Transport, firstly under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who forced him to join the CDU in 1960 as he wouldn't support the DP any longer; then under Ludwig Erhard, under whom he ultimately, but briefly, served as Vice-Chancellor. When the grand coalition under Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger took office, he left the cabinet, having served as a federal minister for seventeen years, a record beaten only by Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher's 23 years (with an interruption in 1982) but as of 2011 still the record for uninterrupted service.

From 1959 Seebohm acted as spokesperson of the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft (Sudeten German Homeland Association) of German expellees from Czechoslovakia, where he held his so-called "weekend speeches". In line with West German government policy at the time, he questioned the borders of Germany, referring to the borders of the 1937 German Reich as base of any border revision and stating that Germans should also never forget about the eastern territories lost after World War I according to the resolutions of the Treaty of Versailles, while at the same time even demanding restoration of the 1938 Munich Agreement.[2]

Seebohm died a few months after his retirement and is buried in the Bad Pyrmont cemetery.


  1. ^ Der Spiegel (German)
  2. ^ Guilt, suffering, and memory: Germany remembers its dead of World War II, page 204, Gilad Margalit, Indiana University Press 2009
Preceded by
Erich Mende
Vice Chancellor of Germany
28 October – 30 November 1966
Succeeded by
Willy Brandt