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|Preceded by||position established|
|Minister President of the North Rhine-Westphalia|
17 June 1947 – 20 February 1956
|Preceded by||Rudolf Amelunxen|
|Succeeded by||Fritz Steinhoff|
|President of the German Bundesrat|
|Preceded by||position established|
|Succeeded by||Hans Ehard|
|Acting head of state of Germany|
According to Article 57 of the Basic Law
7 September 1949 – 12 September 1949
|Succeeded by||Theodor Heuss (as President)|
21 March 1901|
29 June 1958 (aged 57)|
|Political party||CDU, previously Centre Party|
Karl Arnold (21 March 1901 – 29 June 1958) was a German politician. He was Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1947 to 1956. From 7 September 1949 until 8 September 1950 he was President of the Bundesrat and ex officio deputy to the President of Germany. Because of that and because the first President Theodor Heuss was elected on 12 September 1949 he was acting head of state of Germany from 7 September to 12 September 1949, which makes him the shortest serving head of state in German history. He is, together with Jens Böhrnsen (in 2010) and Horst Seehofer (in 2012), one of the three Presidents of the Bundesrat who have acted as head of state during a vacancy of the office of President, according to Article 57 of the Basic Law.
From 1920 onwards, Arnold worked as functionary of the movement of Christian workers. In 1924, he became secretary of the Christian workers union for the Düsseldorf region. He was elected in the town council of Düsseldorf for the Centre Party in 1929.
In 1933, Arnold was co-owner of a sanitary installation shop in Düsseldorf. The Gestapo observed and hunted him in the following years because of his political activities. In 1944, he was jailed by the Gestapo.
After World War II, Arnold became politically active again. In 1945, he was co-founder of the local Christian-Democratic Party in Düsseldorf, which became part of the CDU later in 1945. Also in 1945, the Düsseldorf chapter of the united workers union was founded, presided by Arnold. On 29 January 1946 Arnold was named mayor of Düsseldorf and later elected in the first free elections (26 October 1946).
In December, 1946, Arnold became deputy minister president of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and in 1947 he was elected minister president. Until 1950 he presided over a coalition of CDU, Centre Party, SPD and (shortly) the Communist Party. He considered himself a "christian socialist". The only in-parliament-party he did not let enter the government was the FDP, whose North-Rhine Westphalian branch had a particular nationalist bent.
On 7 September 1949, he was elected as the first president of the federal Bundesrat of Germany.
From 1950 to 1956, Arnold was elected minister president for North Rhine-Westphalia twice again, governing with the help of conservative parties and the Free Democrats. Important acts of his government were the foundation of the North Rhine-Westphalian broadcasting system (today: Westdeutscher Rundfunk) and the German system of workers union influence in steel and coal industries.
On 20 February 1956, the FDP switched coalition affiliation to the SPD, ending the Arnold government in North Rhine-Westphalia.
In 1957, he was elected into the German Bundestag (with a 72% majority in his constituency). He was member of the Bundestag until 29 June 1958, when he died of a heart attack.
In 1928, Arnold married Liesel Joeres.
| Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia