82 Facts About Walter Hallstein


Walter Hallstein was a German academic, diplomat and statesman who was the first president of the Commission of the European Economic Community and one of the founding fathers of the European Union.


Walter Hallstein was one of the architects of the European Coal and Steel Community and the first President of the Commission of the European Economic Community, which would later become the European Union.


Walter Hallstein held the office from 1958 to 1967 and was the only German to be selected as president of the European Commission or its predecessors until the selection of Ursula von der Leyen in 2019.


Walter Hallstein left office following a clash with the President of France, Charles de Gaulle; he turned to German politics as a member of the Bundestag, serving as President of the European Movement from 1968 to 1974.


Walter Hallstein is the author of books and numerous articles and speeches on European integration and on the European Communities.


Walter Hallstein was born on 17 November 1901 in Mainz, Germany.


From 1920 Walter Hallstein studied law in Bonn, later moving to Munich and then to Berlin.


Walter Hallstein specialized in international private law and wrote his doctoral dissertation on commercial aspects of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.


Walter Hallstein then worked as an academic at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Foreign Private and International Private Law in Berlin, where he specialized in comparative commercial and company law, working under Professor Martin Wolff, a leading scholar of private law.


Walter Hallstein was made Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Law in 1935 and then Dean in 1936.


From 1941 to 1944 Walter Hallstein lectured at Frankfurt University, where he was Director of the Institute for Comparative Law and Economic Law.


In 1935, Walter Hallstein attempted to start a military career alongside his academic duties.


Walter Hallstein was a member of several nominally Nazi professional organizations, but he was not a member of the Nazi Party or of the SA.


Walter Hallstein is reputed to have rejected Nazi ideology and to have kept his distance from the Nazis.


In 1942 Walter Hallstein was called up; he served in an artillery regiment of the Wehrmacht in Northern France with the rank of first lieutenant.


In early 1944, Walter Hallstein's name was submitted by the University of Frankfurt as a potential to the National Socialist Lecturers League.


Walter Hallstein remained a prisoner of war from June 1944 to mid-1945.


In November 1945 Walter Hallstein returned to Germany, where he campaigned for Frankfurt University to be re-opened.


Walter Hallstein was president of the South German Rectors' Conference, which he founded.


Walter Hallstein was co-founder of the German national UNESCO committee and was its president from 1949 to 1950.


Jean Monnet, the leader of the French delegation, and Walter Hallstein drew up the Schuman Plan, which was the basis for the European Coal and Steel Community, established by the Treaty of Paris in 1951.


On 2 April 1951, Walter Hallstein was made the leading civil servant at the newly created Foreign Office.


In many respects Walter Hallstein was the West German Foreign Minister in all but name, but there was a growing awareness that a separate officeholder was needed.


Walter Hallstein played an important part in promoting West Germany's goals of regaining sovereignty and creating a European Defence Community, of which West Germany would be a member.


Walter Hallstein helped negotiate various treaties at the London Nine-Power Conference from 23 September to 3 October 1954; they were finalized at the Paris conference from 20 to 23 October 1954.


Once the major foreign policy objectives were in hand, Walter Hallstein set about restoring Germany's diplomatic service and re-organizing the Foreign Office, based on the findings of the Maltzan Report, a report commissioned by Walter Hallstein on 26 June 1952 and produced a month later by Vollrath Freiherr von Maltzan, a former diplomat, at that time on loan from the Ministry of Economics.


In particular, Walter Hallstein was criticised in the press after the European Defence Community was rejected by the French National Assembly, as had been predicted by the German diplomatic mission in Paris.


On 6 June 1955, Adenauer, who had until then been Foreign Minister as well as Chancellor, appointed Heinrich von Brentano foreign minister and there was a reshuffling of responsibilities, but Walter Hallstein retained the trust of Adenauer and continued to attend cabinet meetings.


Herbert Blankenhorn, who until then been the head of the Political Department of the Foreign Office, became the German Permanent Representative to NATO in Paris; Wilhelm Grewe took over the Political Department under Walter Hallstein and was made Walter Hallstein's deputy.


Walter Hallstein was involved in discussions with the French concerning the return of the coal-rich Saar to Germany.


In September 1956, Walter Hallstein announced that France had agreed to hand over control of the Saar to Germany; on 27 October 1956, the Saar Treaty was signed.


The idea behind the Walter Hallstein Doctrine came from Walter Hallstein's deputy, Wilhelm Grewe.


Walter Hallstein contended that institutional integration was in the interests of a successful German export industry.


Shortly before the conference, Adenauer had given up his double post as Foreign Minister and, since Brentano had not yet been sworn in, Walter Hallstein led the German delegation.


On 6 September 1955, shortly before Adenauer's trip to Moscow, Walter Hallstein, standing in for Brentano, attended the Noordwijk Conference of foreign ministers convened to evaluate progress made by the Spaak Committee.


On 9 November 1955, Walter Hallstein reported the results to the West German Cabinet, where the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Agriculture opposed the plans for a common market rather than a free trade area.


Walter Hallstein warned against accepting the French terms, which in his view meant that the French would push for a quick decision in favour of Euratom and delay the negotiations on the common market.


Walter Hallstein was supported by the foreign ministers of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, against France, in demanding a fixed deadline and timetable for the establishment of a common market.


Walter Hallstein helped to strike a deal by which the imports and exports of overseas territories would be treated like products of the mother country and private investment and company branches of other member states would be permitted, thus opening up the overseas territories for German exports.


Walter Hallstein helped deal with these problems at two conferences of foreign ministers, one from 26 to 27 January 1957 and another on 4 February.


At the conference of foreign ministers on 6 and 7 January 1958 Walter Hallstein was finally chosen as the first president of the EEC Commission.


Walter Hallstein's selection for this position at the head of a major European organization, a decade after the end of World War II, was a major achievement for Germany.


Barely a decade after the end of World War II, the German Walter Hallstein was unanimously elected the first president of the Commission of the European Economic Community in Brussels.


Walter Hallstein was elected on 7 January 1958, and he was to remain in the position until 1967.


Walter Hallstein opposed the idea of a wider free trade area at this time, advocating first achieving a greater degree of integration among a smaller number of countries.


On 3 March 1960, Walter Hallstein announced a plan for accelerating the implementation of the common market, which commentators regarded as sabotaging hopes of a joint free trade area that included the EEC and EFTA.


The Financial Times wrote that Walter Hallstein was one of the least enthusiastic about British membership of the EEC.


The Walter Hallstein Commission drew up plans and a timetable for an economic and currency union, and Walter Hallstein presented these to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament in October 1962.


Walter Hallstein had received indications that other countries shared his point of view and decided to risk the confrontation with de Gaulle, interpreting the instructions from the Council broadly, with the support of Dutch Commissioner for Agriculture, Sicco Mansholt.


On 24 March 1965, Walter Hallstein presented the commission's proposals for financing the Common Agricultural Policy to the European Parliament.


Since the legislation would increase not only the commission's powers, but the Parliament's, Walter Hallstein had the support of the Parliament, which had long been campaigning for more powers.


When Walter Hallstein put forward his proposals, the council was already concerned.


Walter Hallstein accused Hallstein of acting as if he were a head of state.


The Committee of Permanent Representatives of the foreign ministers produced a report recommending a compromise by making both the agricultural levies and the customs duties available to be used for Community purposes but not centralizing the process; however, Walter Hallstein refused to broker this deal, and suggested employing the common practice of "stopping the clock" until the issue could be resolved.


Under pressure from Couve de Murville, who was the rotating President of the Council at the time, Walter Hallstein agreed, on 30 June 1965, to work out a compromise.


At least in Walter Hallstein's eyes, it was a breach of treaty obligations, and he was unprepared for such a scenario.


In view of the confrontation with de Gaulle, there was a proposal that Walter Hallstein should be nominated for a further term but that he should serve for only six months.


The German Chancellor, Georg Kiesinger agreed to this compromise, but Walter Hallstein considered this was a breach of the Treaty and on 5 May 1967 he asked not to be re-nominated at all.


Walter Hallstein was ardently wedded to the thesis of the super-State, and bent all his skilful efforts towards giving the Community the character and appearance of one.


Walter Hallstein had made Brussels, where he resided, into a sort of capital.


Walter Hallstein left the Commission at the end of 1967, aged 68.


On 20 January 1968, Walter Hallstein was elected president of the European Movement, a private organization founded in 1948 as the umbrella organization of various organizations in favour of European integration, where he continued to promote his vision of a "United States of Europe".


Walter Hallstein retained this office until 1974, when he did not stand for re-election, being followed by Jean Rey, who had succeeded him as President of the commission.


At the CDU "Euroforum 68" congress in Saarbrucken in January 1968, Walter Hallstein was celebrated as the future foreign minister, should the CDU win the 1969 federal election.


Walter Hallstein proposed to confront de Gaulle and counter his attempts to "devalue" and "weaken" the European Community.


Walter Hallstein had little personal contact with his constituency, the work being done mainly by his assistant Christian Franck.


Walter Hallstein spoke out in favour of direct election of the European Parliament in Germany.


Walter Hallstein moved from his country house in the Westerwald to Stuttgart, and continued his work as an author.


Walter Hallstein fell ill in early 1980 and died in Stuttgart on 29 March 1982, at the age of 80.


Walter Hallstein was buried, following a state funeral, on 2 April 1982 at the Waldfriedhof Cemetery in Stuttgart.


Walter Hallstein called European integration a "revolutionary endeavour" that would take a long time.


Walter Hallstein spoke early in favour of the proposed European Defence Community, which never came to fruition, and of West German's integration in the West, which he saw as necessary for the solution of other problems, including German reunification.


Walter Hallstein spoke of a trade-off between the different dimensions, for instance: the larger the number of members, the less integration would be possible in a given time.


Walter Hallstein's model included the coexistence of different European organizations of differing sizes and with differing degrees of integration.


Walter Hallstein envisaged a planned, gradual evolution involving a number of projects, coming together to produce a coherent whole.


Walter Hallstein strove for a Europe based on the rule of law.


Walter Hallstein later wrote that the experience of Nazi Germany led him to distrust not only the idea of absolute and inalienable national sovereignty, but the British idea of a European balance of power.


Partly as a result of the Americans' re-education programme, Walter Hallstein developed an interest in the United States Constitution and American history between independence in 1776 and the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, when the United States was a confederation of states.


Walter Hallstein rejected the concept of the unitary nation-state favoured by the French, in favour of a federal solution, and concluded that Europe should follow the American path towards a federal solution.


People who knew Walter Hallstein described him as someone with keen intellect, an excellent command of language, and high reliability.


Walter Hallstein was awarded numerous other honours and prizes from European governments.


Walter Hallstein wrote a number of academic books and numerous articles, and he gave innumerable speeches.