Carlo Schmid (German politician)
Carlo Schmid was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 academic and politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...


Schmid is one of the most important authors of both the German Basic Law and the Godesberg Program
Godesberg Program
The Godesberg Program was the party program outline of the political course of Germany's social-democratic party, the SPD. It was ratified on November 15, 1959, at an SPD party convention in the town of Bad Godesberg, which is today part of Bonn....

 of the SPD. He was intimately involved in German-French relations and served as "Federal Minister for the Affairs of the Federal Council and States" from 1966 to 1969.

Biography and profession

Schmid was born in Perpignan
-Sport:Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union side, USA Perpignan, is a regular competitor in the Heineken Cup and seven times champion of the Top 14 , while their rugby league side plays in the engage Super League under the name Catalans Dragons.-Culture:Since 2004, every year in the...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and lived there for five years before his family moved to Germany. In 1908, the family moved to Stuttgart where Schmid attended the prestigious humanist Karlsgymnasium where he passed his Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

 in 1914. From 1914 to 1918, Schmid fought in the German army. After the war he studied law at the University of Tübingen after which he successfully sat the first (1921) and second (1924) Legal State Exam. In 1923, he completed a doctoral dissertation under the supervision of the renowned legal scholar Hugo Sinzheimer
Hugo Sinzheimer
Hugo Sinzheimer was a German legal scholar.-Biography:...


After working as a lawyer for a short time, he was made a justice of Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

 state in 1927. From 1927 to 1928, he worked as a research assistant for the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut for foreign public law. At the Institute, he was a colleague of Hermann Heller
Hermann Heller (legal scholar)
Hermann Heller was a German legal scholar and philosopher of Jewish descent. He was active in the non-Marxist wing of the Social Democratic Party of Germany during the Weimar Republic. He attempted to formulate the theoretical foundations of the social-democratic relations to the state, and...

. In 1929, Schmid completed his Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

 with a thesis on the jurisprudence of the Permanent Court of International Justice
Permanent Court of International Justice
The Permanent Court of International Justice, often called the World Court, was an international court attached to the League of Nations. Created in 1922 , the Court was initially met with a good reaction from states and academics alike, with many cases submitted to it for its first decade of...

. From 1930 to 1940 he worked as a Privatdozent
Privatdozent or Private lecturer is a title conferred in some European university systems, especially in German-speaking countries, for someone who pursues an academic career and holds all formal qualifications to become a tenured university professor...

 at the University of Tübingen. He was refused tenure
Tenure commonly refers to life tenure in a job and specifically to a senior academic's contractual right not to have his or her position terminated without just cause.-19th century:...

 by the Nazis on political grounds.

In 1940 he was made legal counsel of the 'Oberfeldkommandantur' of the German occupation forces in Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...


In 1946, he was granted tenure as professor of public law at Tübingen, and in 1953, he relinquished the position for a chair in Political Science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main.

Apart from pursuing an academic career, Schmid translated works of Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

, Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the nineteenth century...

 and André Malraux
André Malraux
André Malraux DSO was a French adventurer, award-winning author, and statesman. Having traveled extensively in Indochina and China, Malraux was noted especially for his novel entitled La Condition Humaine , which won the Prix Goncourt...

. His personal archive was placed in the care of the German "Archive of Social Democracy" (Archiv der sozialen Demokratie) in Bonn.

He was awarded the "Großkreuz des Verdienstordens
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has existed since 7 September 1951, and between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year across all classes...

 der Bundesrepublik Deutschland". He was also awarded the prestigious Hansischer Goethe-Preis. Schmid died in Bad Honnef
Bad Honnef
Bad Honnef is a spa town in Germany near Bonn in the Rhein-Sieg district, North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located on the border of the neighbouring state Rhineland-Palatinate...



After the war, Schmid joined the SPD and was one of the founders of the reconstituted SPD in Württemberg. He acted as chairman of the SPD in Württemberg-Hohenzollern
Württemberg-Hohenzollern was a historical state of West Germany. It was created in 1945 as part of the French occupation zone. Its capital was Tübingen...

 from 1946 to 1950 and was member of the SPD board from 1947 to 1970. He was also a member of the Presidium of the SPD from 1958 to 1970 and acted as a catalyst for party reform, being one of the main authors of the Godesberg Program
Godesberg Program
The Godesberg Program was the party program outline of the political course of Germany's social-democratic party, the SPD. It was ratified on November 15, 1959, at an SPD party convention in the town of Bad Godesberg, which is today part of Bonn....

, which jettisonned most remnants of Marxist doctrine.

From 1961 to 1965 he was part of Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt, born Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm , was a German politician, Mayor of West Berlin 1957–1966, Chancellor of West Germany 1969–1974, and leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany 1964–1987....

's shadow cabinet as shadow foreign minister.

Parliamentary activity

In 1947, Schmid was elected as representative in the Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

 of Württemberg-Hohenzollern
Württemberg-Hohenzollern was a historical state of West Germany. It was created in 1945 as part of the French occupation zone. Its capital was Tübingen...

. He was a member of the Landtag until the state ceased to exist upon the creation of the state Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

 on 17 May 1952.

From 1948 to 1949, Schmid was a member of the Parlamentarischer Rat
Parlamentarischer Rat
The Parlamentarischer Rat was the West German constitutional convention that created the current constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany...

, acting as leader of the SPD faction and chair of the Chief Committee, playing a pivotal role in the drawing up of the German Basic Law. Arguably, Schmid's most distinctive contribution to the German constitutional system was the "Constructive Vote of No Confidence
Constructive vote of no confidence
The constructive vote of no confidence is a variation on the motion of no confidence which allows a parliament to withdraw confidence from a head of government only if there is a positive majority for a prospective successor...

" which stated that a Chancellor can be removed from office by only the Federal Diet upon the Diet's election of another Chancellor. This type of vote of no confidence is constructive because it prevents the Federal Government from being paralyzed by recurring votes of no confidence as occurred in the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...


From 1949 to 1972, he was a member of the Federal Diet. He was active in a variety of Diet committees, the most notable of which was the Foreign Affairs Committee. He also served as vice-president of the Federal Diet from 1949 to 1966 and again from 1969 to 1972. He also served as vice-president of the SPD-faction in the Diet.
During his entire membership of the Diet he represented the Mannheim I electoral district
Electoral district
An electoral district is a distinct territorial subdivision for holding a separate election for one or more seats in a legislative body...


Other public offices

In 1945 the French military authorities nominated Schmid to act as "President of the State Secretariat" for the Land Württemberg-Hohenzollern, which was located in the French Zone of Occupation. Simultaneously, Schmid was put in charge of the Land's educational and cultural policies until the first elections took place in 1947. From then to 1 May 1950, Schmid was Minister of Justice and acting President of the Württemberg-Hohenzollern. He represented Württemberg-Hohenzollern at the German Constitutional Convention were the Basic Law was ratified.

Carlo Schmid stood for election for the office of Federal President in 1959 but was defeated by the CDU's Heinrich Lübke
Heinrich Lübke
Karl Heinrich Lübke was President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1959 to 1969.-Biography:...

 in the second round of voting.

He was Federal Minister for the Affairs of the Federal Council and States from in the cabinet of Kurt Georg Kiesinger
Kurt Georg Kiesinger
Kurt Georg Kiesinger was a German politician affiliated with the CDU and Chancellor of West Germany from 1 December 1966 until 21 October 1969.-Early career and wartime activities:...

 from 1966 to 1969. In this position, he represented the Federal Government in the Bundesrat. Schmid quit the cabinet on 21 October 1969 after the election of the 6th Bundestag
German federal election, 1969
The 6th German federal election, 1969, was conducted on 28 September 1969, to elect members to the Bundestag of West Germany.-Issues and Campaign:...


International politics

Carlo Schmid, whose mother was from France and who spoke excellent French, was always eager for reconciliation between France and Germany. He was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1950 to 1960 as well as from 1969 to 1973. He was President of the Assembly of the Western European Union
Western European Union
The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

 (A regional defence organisation distinct from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

) from 1963 to 1966, after being vice-President of the Assembly since 1956.


  • Regierung und Parlament, in: Hermann Wandersleb, Recht, Staat, Wirtschaft, vol. 3, Düsseldorf 1951.
  • Vier Jahre Erfahrungen mit dem Grundgesetz, in: Die Öffentliche Verwaltung, 1954, Issue 1, pp. 1 - 3.
  • Die Opposition als Staatseinrichtung, in: Der Wähler, 1955, Issue 11, pp. 498 - 506.
  • Der Abgeordnete zwischen Partei und Parlament, in: Die Neue Gesellschaft, 1959, Issue 6, pp. 439 - 444.
  • Der Deutsche Bundestag in der Verfassungswirklichkeit, in: Friedrich Schäfer, Finanzwissenschaft und Finanzpolitik, Festschrift für Erwin Schoettle, Tübingen 1964, pp. 269 - 284.
  • (mit Horst Ehmke und Hans Scharoun), Festschrift für Adolf Arndt zum 65. Geburtstag, Frankfurt am Main 1969.
  • Der Deutsche Bundestag. Ein Essay, in: Der Deutsche Bundestag. Portrait eines Parlaments, Pfullingen 1974, pp. 12 - 17.
  • Das Fundament unserer staatlichen Ordnung, in: Bekenntnis zur Demokratie, Wiesbaden 1974, pp. 11 - 20.
  • Demokratie - Die Chance, den Staat zu verwirklichen, in: Forum Heute, Mannheim 1975, pp. 319 - 325.
  • Erinnerungen (Reminiscenses), Bern 1979.

External links

  • Speech of Prof. Dr. Carlo Schmid before the Parlamentarischen Rat on 8 September 1949 (In German)
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