Schmid is one of the most important authors of both the German Basic Law and the Godesberg Program of the SPD. He was intimately involved in German-French relations and served as "Federal Minister for the Affairs of the Federal Council and States" from 1966 to 1969.
Biography and profession
Schmid was born in Perpignan, France, and lived there for five years before his family moved to Germany. In 1908, the family moved to Stuttgart, where Schmid attended the prestigious humanist Karls-Gymnasium [de], where he passed his Abitur in 1914. From 1914 to 1918, Schmid fought in the German army. After the war he studied law at the University of Tübingen after which he successfully sat the first (1921) and second (1924) Legal State Exam. In 1923, he completed a doctoral dissertation under the supervision of the renowned legal scholar Hugo Sinzheimer.
After the war, Schmid joined the SPD and was one of the founders of the reconstituted SPD in Württemberg. He acted as chairman of the SPD in Württemberg-Hohenzollern from 1946 to 1950 and was member of the SPD board from 1947 to 1970. He was also a member of the Presidium of the SPD from 1958 to 1970 and acted as a catalyst for party reform, being one of the main authors of the Godesberg Program, which jettisoned most remnants of Marxist doctrine.
From 1961 to 1965 he was part of Willy Brandt's shadow cabinet as shadow foreign minister.
From 1948 to 1949, Schmid was a member of the Parlamentarischer Rat, acting as leader of the SPD faction and chair of the Chief Committee, playing a pivotal role in the drawing up of the German Basic Law. Arguably, Schmid's most distinctive contribution to the German constitutional system was the "Constructive Vote of No Confidence" which stated that a Chancellor can be removed from office by only the Federal Diet upon the Diet's election of another Chancellor. This type of vote of no confidence is constructive because it prevents the Federal Government from being paralyzed by recurring votes of no confidence as occurred in the Weimar Republic.
From 1949 to 1972, he was a member of the Federal Diet. He was active in a variety of Diet committees, the most notable of which was the Foreign Affairs Committee. He also served as vice-president of the Federal Diet from 1949 to 1966 and again from 1969 to 1972. He also served as vice-president of the SPD-faction in the Diet.
During his entire membership of the Diet he represented the Mannheim I electoral district.
Other public offices
In 1945 the French military authorities nominated Schmid to act as "President of the State Secretariat" for the Land Württemberg-Hohenzollern, which was located in the French Zone of Occupation. Simultaneously, Schmid was put in charge of the Land's educational and cultural policies until the first elections took place in 1947. From then to 1 May 1950, Schmid was Minister of Justice and acting President of the Württemberg-Hohenzollern. He represented Württemberg-Hohenzollern at the German Constitutional Convention were the Basic Law was ratified.
Carlo Schmid stood for election for the office of Federal President (Bundespräsident) in 1959 but was defeated by the CDU candidate Heinrich Lübke in the second round of voting.
Schmid was Federal Minister for the Affairs of the Federal Council (Bundesrat) and States (Bundesländer) in the cabinet of Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger from 1966 to 1969. In this position, he represented the Federal Government in the Bundesrat. Schmid quit the cabinet on 21 October 1969 after the election of 6th Bundestag.
Schmid (left) at a reception of the French president in 1975
Carlo Schmid, whose mother was from France and who spoke excellent French, was always eager for reconciliation between France and Germany. He was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1950 to 1960 as well as from 1969 to 1973. He was President of the Assembly of the Western European Union, a regional defence organisation distinct from the European Union, from 1963 to 1966, after being vice-president of the Assembly since 1956.
"Regierung und Parlament", in: Hermann Wandersleb, Recht, Staat, Wirtschaft, vol. 3, Düsseldorf 1951.
"Vier Jahre Erfahrungen mit dem Grundgesetz", in: Die Öffentliche Verwaltung, 1954, Issue 1, pp. 1–3.
"Die Opposition als Staatseinrichtung", in: Der Wähler, 1955, Issue 11, pp. 498–506.
"Der Abgeordnete zwischen Partei und Parlament", in: Die Neue Gesellschaft, 1959, Issue 6, pp. 439–444.
"Der Deutsche Bundestag in der Verfassungswirklichkeit", in: Friedrich Schäfer, Finanzwissenschaft und Finanzpolitik, Festschrift für Erwin Schoettle, Tübingen 1964, pp. 269–284.
(mit Horst Ehmke und Hans Scharoun), Festschrift für Adolf Arndt zum 65. Geburtstag, Frankfurt am Main 1969.
"Der Deutsche Bundestag. Ein Essay", in: Der Deutsche Bundestag. Portrait eines Parlaments, Pfullingen 1974, pp. 12–17.
"Das Fundament unserer staatlichen Ordnung", in: Bekenntnis zur Demokratie, Wiesbaden 1974, pp. 11–20.
"Demokratie - Die Chance, den Staat zu verwirklichen", in: Forum Heute, Mannheim 1975, pp. 319–325.
Dorls (from 13 December 1950 WAV-Gast, from 17 January 1951 WAV, from 26 September 1951 Non-attached, am 23 October 1952 Mandatsaberkennung)
Frommhold (from 7 September 1949 Nationale Rechte, from 5 October 1950 Non-attached (DRP), from 26 March 1952 DP-Gast, from 11 February 1953 Non-attached)
Jaeger (from 29 February 1952)
Miessner (from 5 October 1950 FDP-Gast, from 20 December 1950 FDP)
Rößler (from 15 September 1949 Nationale Rechte, from 6 September 1950 Non-attached, from 13 December 1950 WAV-Gast, from 17 January 1951 WAV, from 26 September 1951 Non-attached, until 21 February 1952)
Thadden (from 15 September 1949 Nationale Rechte; 1950 DRP, from 20 April 1950 Non-attached)
Eckhardt (from 12 July 1955 Non-attached, from 14 July 1955 Group Kraft/Oberländer, from 15 July 1955 Guest of CDU/CSU-Fraktion, from 20 March 1956 CDU/CSU)
Fiedler (until 13 October 1953)
Finck (from 12 July 1955 Non-attached, from 14 July 1955 Group Kraft/Oberländer, from 15 July 1955 Guest of CDU/CSU-Fraktion, from 20 March 1956 CDU/CSU)
Haasler (from 12 July 1955 Non-attached, from 14 July 1955 Group Kraft/Oberländer, from 15 July 1955 Guest of CDU/CSU-Fraktion, from 20 March 1956 CDU/CSU)
Körner (from 12 July 1955 Non-attached, from 14 July 1955 FDP, from 23 February 1956 Non-attached, from 15 March 1956 Demokratische Arbeitsgemeinschaft (DA), from 26 June 1956 FVP, from 14 March 1957 DP/FVP)
Kraft (from 12 July 1955 Non-attached, from 14 July 1955 Group Kraft/Oberländer, from 15 July 1955 Guest of CDU/CSU-Fraktion, from 20 March 1956 CDU/CSU)
Meyer-Ronnenberg (from 20 August 1954 CDU/CSU)
Oberländer (from 12 July 1955 Non-attached, from 14 July 1955 Group Kraft/Oberländer, from 15 July 1955 Guest of CDU/CSU-Fraktion, from 20 March 1956 CDU/CSU)
Samwer (from 15 October 1953, from 12 July 1955 Non-attached, from 14 July 1955 Group Kraft/Oberländer, from 15 July 1955 Guest of CDU/CSU-Fraktion, from 20 March 1956 CDU/CSU)