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Franz Seldte (June 29, 1882 - April 1, 1947) was a cofounder of the paramilitary organization Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, a National Socialist politician, and a Reich labour minister (Reichsarbeitsminister).
Born in Magdeburg, Seldte was the son of an owner of a factory which made chemical products and soda water. He attended the Wilhelm-Raabe-Schule in Magdeburg. After an apprenticeship as a salesman, he studied chemistry in Braunschweig and Greifswald. He then took over the business of his early deceased father.
As a reaction to the November German Revolution in Germany, on December 25, 1918, he founded the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten and became its leader. However, he had a number of arguments with its acting leader Theodor Duesterberg.
Seldte became a member of the DVP party and was a member of the Magdeburg city council (Stadtrat).
The Stahlhelm became increasingly anti-democratic and anti-republican. However, Seldte hoped that the organization could become a leading organ of the national conservative movement. In 1931, he, together with Alfred Hugenberg and Adolf Hitler, helped create the Harzburg Front (the Harzburger Front), an alliance against the Heinrich Brüning government.
Seldte desired to lead the National Socialists in a government led by him and wanted to make Hitler Reichsarbeitsminister. At the start of 1933, he attempted to make the Kampffront "Schwarz-Weiss-Rot" into a political vehicle for this effort, but failed.
In April 1933 he joined the National Socialist German Workers Party and integrated the Stahlhelm into the Sturmabteilung. In August 1933, he became an SA-Obergruppenführer and later was a Reichskommissar for the Freiwilligen Arbeitsdienst, a position he held until 1945. In March 1934 he was made leader of the German League of Front Fighters, an organization, however, that was soon disbanded. In 1935 he requested to be released from official responsibilities, but Hitler refused. Seldte remained, without substantial power, until 1945, when he became a member of the government as the Prussian Arbeitsminister.
He was arrested at the end of the war and died in a US military hospital at Fürth, before being arraigned on charges.
During the National Socialist period streets were named after him in Magdeburg and Leverkusen
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