Hans Luther

Hans Luther : Nazi Germany

Hans Luther, the son of a wealthy businessman in Berlin, was born on 10th March, 1885. He studied law in Kiel and Geneva before joining Berlin's civil service.

In 1907 Luther became a town councillor in Magdeburg. Six years later he was elected secretary of the German Stadtegag, a post he held until becoming mayor of Essen in 1918.

Luther proved to be a successful administrator and in December, 1922, Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno appointed him minister of food and agriculture. This was followed with the post of finance minister under Gustav Stresemann. He also held the post under Wilhelm Marx and in 1924 was involved in the negotiation of the Dawes Plan.

In the General Election that took place in December, 1924, the decline in the support for the Catholic Centre Party forced Wilhelm Marx from office. Luther now became chancellor and joined with his foreign minister, Gustav Stresemann, to negotiate the Locarno Treaty (1925). The signing of this treaty resulted in the Nationalist Party (DNVP) withdrawing its support for the government and Luther was forced to resign.

Luther returned to office in January, 1926 when he formed a minority government without the support of right-wing political parties. However, after losing a vote of no confidence in May, 1926, Luther resigned as chancellor and retired from politics.

In 1930 Luther replaced Hjalmar Schacht as president of the Reichsbank This was followed by the appointment of Luther as Germany's ambassador to the United States (1933-37).

Luther lived in retirement during the Second World War but returned to public life in 1945 when he worked as an adviser to the new government in West Germany. He also taught politics at the Munich University. Hans Luther died in Dusseldorf on 11th May, 1962.