The resignation early today (Tuesday May 7) of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt has thrown West German into confusion and removed a giant figure from the world political scene.
(BONN 1972) SV Willy Brandt speaking in Parlt
(BONN 1974) GV PAN Scheel arrives in car at office (2 shots)
SV Scheel seated at desk working (2 shots)
SV Scheel handed papers by Secretary
(BONN 1973) GV Schmidt arrives at meeting
SV Willy Brandt seated
SV Schmidt speaking
GV PAN Audience applauding
(BONN 1974) CU Card on table "CDU/CSU" PULL BACK People sitting at tables
CU Weizsaecker seated
CU Weizsaecker speaks to camera
(BONN 1974) GV EXT. Scheel's house
GV Scheel family seated and Scheel enters
GV PAN Scheel stands and walks out as son watches
SV Scheel working at desk, wife watching.
Initials AE/18.19 AE/18.39
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Background: The resignation early today (Tuesday May 7) of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt has thrown West German into confusion and removed a giant figure from the world political scene.
His departure from office, which followed the discovery of an East German spy on his personal staff, brings a period of uncertainty to West German politics.
The man who takes over from Brandt - at the Chancellor's request - is Foreign Minister Walter Scheel 54, the man who played a leading part in Brandt's Ostpolitik policy of completing a chain of treaties with West Germany's Communist neighbours.
But Scheel will do no more than a caretaker job. He is already the front-runner in the West Germany presidential elections due to be held on May 16 and it is almost certain he will withdraw from day-to-day politics to become the nation's head of state.
When that happens, he will very probably hand over the reins of power to 55-year-old Helmut Schmidt, at present Finance minister and deputy leader of Willy Brandt's Social Democratic Party. The SDP is the largest group in the coalition which governs West Germany and it is virtually certain they will vote him into office as Chancellor when the Bundestag (Parliament) meets to choose Brandt's successor on May 16.
This choice may mean a shift in West Germany's attitudes toward the East. Herr Schmidt, an incisive and energetic politician, is regarded as standing further to the political right than the outgoing Chancellor.
For Herr Scheel, the month of May, 1974, will be a unique one. He began the month as Foreign Minister, has now been dramatically appointed Chancellor and is likely to end the month as President.
His only opponent in the Presidential race is Richard Weizsaecker, a prominent parliamentarian from the opposition Christian Democrat party. However, it is felt he has little chance against the lively and popular Scheel.
Thus, on May 16, West Germany will have both a new head of state and a new head of government. In the meantime, there is uncertainty, which coincides uncomfortable with that of the two other major powers in Europe, France and Britain - one of which is in the throes of an Presidential election, and the other led by a minority government.
If he becomes President, Herr Scheel's major concern will be to guide West Germany towards a return to the stability which has marked its progress in the past decade. But his country will be lucky indeed, if it finds hands as sure as those of Willy Brandt to take over the reins of power.
SYNOPSIS: If Scheel becomes President, he will almost certainly hand over as Chancellor to 55-year-old Helmut Schmidt, Minister of Fiance in the Brandt government and deputy leader of the Social Democratic party.
As deputy to Brandt, Herr Schmidt will have the backing of the largest group in the coalition of parties which controls the Bundestag (Parliament). It is virtually certain they will vote this incisive and energetic politician into power. But the choice may mean a shift of West German policy, since he is regarded as being politically to the right of the former Chancellor.
West Germany's smaller political parties are unlikely to prevent this pattern of events unfolding. The Christian Democratic party has nominated a prominent parliamentarian Richard Weizsaecker, as their candidate in the Presidential elections, but it is felt he will have little chance against the lively and popular Scheel, who has great appeal among young voters as well as a wealth of experience in international affairs.