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Federal Chancellor Ludwig Erhard with Cigar (undated photo)
As a skillful Minister of Economics, Ludwig Erhard had enjoyed extreme popularity. As Federal Chancellor, however, he operated less successfully and frequently exhibited weaknesses in leadership, since he lacked a power base in the CDU. Still, under Erhard, the CDU/CSU obtained a better result in the 1965 Bundestag elections than it had in 1961. Within the party, however, Erhard was criticized by party chairman Konrad Adenauer and attacked by faction leader Rainer Barzel, who perceived him as a rival. When crisis conditions arose in the face of a looming recession, Erhard remained true to his liberal economic policies and rejected state intervention. Finally, in the fall of 1966, the debate concerning a 4 billion-mark gap in the 1967 budget led to the breakup of the conservative-liberal coalition and the downfall of Erhard. Photographer unknown.