Karl Joseph Wirth

Wirth, Karl Joseph


Born Sept. 6, 1879, in Freiburg; died there Jan. 3, 1956. German politician and statesman.

Born into a petit bourgeois family, Wirth graduated from the university in Freiburg. He was the leader of the left wing of the Catholic Center Party and deputy to the Reichstag (1914-18 and 1920-33). From May 1921 to November 1922, Wirth was chancellor and later both chancellor and minister of foreign affairs. The Wirth government signed the Soviet-German Treaty of Rapallo in 1922. He was minister of the interior during 1930-31. Wirth lived in emigration from 1933 to 1948. In 1953, while living in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), he founded and became the leader of the Union of Germans, which fights for unity, peace, and freedom. Wirth opposed the revival of militarism in the FRG and advocated the establishment of friendly relations with the USSR. In 1952 he became a member of the World Peace Council. Wirth received the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Between Nations (1955).