Hans Apel

Hans Apel
Federal Minister of Defence
In office
16 February 1978  1 October 1982
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
Preceded by Georg Leber
Succeeded by Manfred Wörner
Federal Minister of Finance
In office
16 May 1974  16 February 1978
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
Preceded by Helmut Schmidt
Succeeded by Hans Matthöfer
Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Foreign Office
In office
15 December 1972  16 May 1974
Chancellor Willy Brandt
Minister Walter Scheel
Succeeded by Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski
Deputy Chairman of the SPD Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag
In office
28 September 1969  19 November 1972
In office
6 March 1983  5 September 1988
Member of the German Bundestag
In office
19 October 1965  20 December 1990
Personal details
Born 25 February 1932
Hamburg, Germany
Died 6 September 2011(2011-09-06) (aged 79)
Hamburg, Germany
Political party Social Democratic Party
(1955–until his death)
Alma mater University of Hamburg

Hans Eberhard Apel (25 February 1932 – 6 September 2011) was a German politician and a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). From 1972 to 1974 he was Parliamentary State Secretary to the Foreign Minister. From 1974 to 1978 he was the Minister of Finance and from 1978 to 1982 he was the Minister of Defence.[1]

Education and career

After completing his Abitur (roughly equivalent to graduating high school, A-Level exam) in 1954 in Hamburg, he served an apprenticeship as an import and export businessman, in Hamburg. After completing his apprenticeship he went to university, where he studied Economics. In 1960 he was awarded a doctorate in Political Science. From 1958 to 1961 he was the Secretary of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament.

In 1962 he became a civil servant at the European Parliament, where he served as Department Head responsible for Economics, Finance and Transport. In 1993 he was appointed an honorary professor of Economics at the University of Rostock.


Mr. and Mrs. Apel in 1990

Hans and Ingrid Apel wed in 1956; they had two daughters.


Apel joined the SPD in 1955. From 1970 to 1988 he was a member of the National Executive (Bundesvorstand) of the SPD, and from 1986 to 1988 he was also a member of the Executive Board (Präsidium). From 1965 to 1990, Apel was a member of the German Bundestag, representing Hamburg Nord. In 1969 he was deputy chairman of the SPD parliamentary group and again in 1983, after the new elections, until 1988.[2]

Government positions

Apel in 2005

In 1972, Apel was appointed Parliamentary State Secretary for European Questions at the German Foreign Office. In 1974, he was appointed Finance Minister in the government of Helmut Schmidt. After the cabinet reshuffle of 1978, he was put in charge of the Ministry of Defense.

He left government on 1 October 1982, after Helmut Kohl became Chancellor. In 1985, he ran as the top candidate for the SPD in Berlin, which implied standing as Mayor of Berlin, but lost to the CDU candidate Eberhard Diepgen.[3]


Apel spent his later years speaking about religion. In 2004 he was awarded the Walter Künneth Prize by the "Kirchliche Sammlung um Bibel und Bekenntnis in Bayern" (the Ecclesiastical Assembly for the Bible and Commitment in Bavaria), a conservative Lutheran organization. The prize, named after the German theologian, Walter Künneth, was awarded principally for Apel's book Volkskirche ohne Volk (People's Church without a People), in which he criticizes the "rampant modernism" of the Evangelical Church; he left the North Elbian Evangelical Church and joined the Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church.

See also


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Political offices
Preceded by
Georg Leber
Federal Minister of Defence (Germany)
Succeeded by
Manfred Wörner
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