Erhard, Ludwig lo͝ot´vĭkh ĕr´härt [key], 1897–1977, German political leader and economist. In Nuremberg he rose to be director of the institute for economic research. Dismissed (1942) by the Nazi regime, he then headed the institute for industrial research. He introduced (1948) the currency reform that paved the way for West German economic recovery. A member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), he became West German economics minister in 1949. In 1957 he was named vice chancellor, and in 1963 he succeeded Konrad Adenauer as chancellor. In late 1966, Erhard's government fell after the four Free Democratic party ministers in his cabinet resigned and left him without a ruling majority in the federal parliament. He headed the CDU in 1966–67. His writings include Prosperity through Competition (1957, tr. 1958).
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