Brandt was a German politician, and chancellor from 1969 to 1974. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1971.
Willy Brandt was born Karl Herbert Frahm on 18 December 1913 in Lübeck, northern Germany. He became a socialist in the late 1920s. In 1933, he changed his name and fled to Norway to avoid arrest by the Nazis. After the German occupation of Norway in 1940, he escaped to Sweden where he lived until 1945.
Brandt returned to Germany after World War Two. In 1948, he started his political career, holding various offices within the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and becoming a member of the German parliament.
Brandt first became well known outside Germany when he took the position of mayor of West Berlin, which he held from 1957 until 1966. This was a particularly tense time for the city with the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
By the early 1960s, Brandt was the leading figure in the Social Democratic Party and its candidate for chancellor. He was unsuccessful in the 1961 and 1965 elections, but became vice chancellor and foreign minister in the coalition government of 1966.
In 1969, Brandt was elected chancellor and retained the post in the general election of 1972. His main policy was that of 'Ostpolitik', as he tried to create closer ties between West and East Germany and improve relations with Poland and the Soviet Union. In Germany, Brandt's 'Ostpolitik' was controversial, but in 1971 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his work.
In April 1974, one of Brandt's personal assistants was arrested for being an East German spy. Brandt took responsibility and resigned the following month.
Brandt remained head of the SPD until 1987 and was honorary chairman until his death. He was a member of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1983. In 1977, he was appointed chair of an international commission that produced the Brandt Report, calling for drastic changes in the international community's attitude to development in the Third World. In late 1989, Brandt was one of the first leaders on the left in German politics to publicly favour reunification of the two halves of Germany.
Brandt died near Bonn on 8 October 1992.
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