Paul-Henri Spaak

Paul-Henri Spaak

One of the leaders of the Belgian Socialist Party (since 1944), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1936-37, 1938, 1939-1947, 1949, 1954-57, 1961-66) and Prime Minister (1938-39, 1946, 1947-49) . In 1957-61 Secretary General of NATO.
Date of Birth: 02.01.1899
Country: Belgium

  1. Biography of Paul-Henri Spaak
  2. Early Life and Military Service
  3. Political Career
  4. Exile and Return to Belgium
  5. Diplomatic Achievements

Biography of Paul-Henri Spaak

Paul-Henri Spaak was a Belgian politician and statesman who played a significant role in European integration and the establishment of the European Union. Born into a family of prominent politicians, Spaak followed in their footsteps and became a renowned figure in the political arena.

Early Life and Military Service

Spaak, the grandson of liberal politician Paul Janson and the nephew of a former Belgian Prime Minister, was born on January 25, 1899. During World War I, he altered the dates on his documents to enlist in the Belgian army. For two years, he endured captivity in Germany before returning to Belgium.

Political Career

In 1920, Spaak joined the Communist Labor Party of Belgium. He later transitioned to the Belgian Socialist Party and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1932, he became a member of parliament, and in 1935, he was appointed as the Minister of Transport and Communication in the van Zeeland government. Spaak served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs on several occasions, from 1936 to 1937, 1938, 1939 to 1947, 1949, 1954 to 1957, 1961 to 1965, and 1965 to 1966. Additionally, he held the position of Prime Minister of Belgium from 1938 to 1939, 1946, and 1947 to 1949.

Exile and Return to Belgium

During the German invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, Spaak was initially interned in France and Spain. However, he soon traveled to England and resumed his duties as Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Belgian government in exile in October 1940. It was during his time in London that Spaak initiated the process of bringing Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg closer together.

Diplomatic Achievements

Spaak is widely recognized as an outstanding diplomat. He was elected as the Chairman of the inaugural session of the United Nations General Assembly on January 16, 1946. From 1957 to 1961, he served as the Secretary General of NATO, playing a crucial role in the organization's efforts to maintain peace and security in Europe.

Overall, Paul-Henri Spaak's contributions to Belgian and European politics were significant. His commitment to European integration and his diplomatic achievements have left a lasting impact on the continent's history.