Annual Themes

Mood of crisis and change of chancellor
The anniversary program February to June 2024

The social-liberal coalition under Willy Brandt was confronted with various crises in 1974. In the mid-1970s, optimism about progress was replaced by an increasing mood of crisis. Similar to today, doubts about the ability of the state and government to act and solve problems increased. In the coming months, our anniversary program will therefore focus on the political crisis management of the time as well as the major challenges of our present under the focus of “Crises”.

When Willy Brandt’s personal advisor Günter Guillaume was arrested on April 24, 1974 for spying for the GDR, a government crisis arose. The Chancellor assumed political responsibility and announced his resignation on May 6, 1974. Historian Annette Weinke shows the consequences of the Guillaume affair for Bonn government policy as well as for the relationship between politics, the judiciary, secret services and the public in her lecture “The Guillaume case and the dispute over state protection law” on March 12th.

The highlight of the anniversary program is the scientific conference “Chancellor Change 1974” on April 25th and 26th in Berlin. How did the chancellorships of Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt shape the Federal Republic and what impact did they have on European and global politics? These and many other questions are the focus of the two-day conference with three panels and more than 20 experts from home and abroad. In addition to the conference program, a panel discussion entitled “Reform policy and crisis management” will take place on April 25th in which the historical legacy of the two chancellors will be examined. Discussions include: the historian Hélène Miard-Delacroix, the journalist Albrecht von Lucke, the historian Dietmar Süß and the journalist Korbinian Frenzel (moderation).

In the last year of the anniversary program there will also be exciting stops for the two Willy Brandt traveling exhibitions. The »international traveling exhibition visits the United States of America in spring. The first stop is Milwaukee, where it will be presented at Marquette University starting February 12th. From February 28th to March 25th, our »national traveling exhibition will be in the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital. At the opening on March 5th in the Düsseldorf state parliament, state parliament president André Kuper and Anja Kruke will speak.

The program in Berlin, Lübeck and Unkel also offers a wide range of events and highlights. Admission to all events is free. Further information about the upcoming dates and our live stream offers can be found in the »Program flyer and on