Willy Brandt was a German left-wing politician whose life was filled with drama. Working with the Resistance during the Nazi regime, he fled Germany—living in numerous countries—before returning to embark on a remarkable political career. His policies caused worldwide ripples, earning him the respect of both the people and other world leaders. He was named Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ in 1970, and in 1971 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Born Karl Herbert Frahm on 18 December 1913, Brandt seemed destined for a political life from the beginning. His political awareness was activated by his grandfather, leading him to have left-wing views that opposed the political culture that was dominating Germany. He would join the Social Democratic Party (SDP) but would leave a year later, joining instead the Socialist Workers Party in protest to the SDP’s compromises with the Nazis.
He travelled internationally, usually taking up leftist causes, and would eventually be forced to flee to Norway, where he increased his political activities. He worked as a journalist— under the name ‘Willy Brandt’. In 1936 he returned to Germany to help support a doomed Resistance plot to undermine the Nazis. His German citizenship was revoked in 1938, and when Hitler invaded Norway in 1940 he fled again—this time to Sweden, where he worked as a writer and as a lecturer.