Willem Drees

Willem Drees in 1958 Willem Drees Sr. (; 5 July 1886 – 14 May 1988) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) and later co-founder of the Labour Party (PvdA) and historian who Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 7 August 1948 until 22 December 1958.

Drees applied at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in June 1900 majoring in Accounting and obtaining an Bachelor of Accountancy degree in July 1903. Drees worked as a accountant and bank teller for the Twentsche Bank from July 1903 until July 1906 and worked as a stenographer for the States General of the Netherlands from January 1907 until August 1919. Drees served on the Municipal Council of The Hage from September 1913 until May 1933 and served as an Alderman in The Hague from September 1919 until May 1933. Drees was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the election of 1933, taking office on 9 May 1933. After the Parliamentary leader of the Social Democratic Workers' Party in the House of Representatives Willem Albarda was appointed as Minister of Water Management in the Cabinet De Geer II Drees was chosen to succeed him en became the Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives, taking office on 10 August 1939. On 10 May 1940 Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and the government fled to London to escape the German occupation. During World War II Drees continued to serve as a Member of the House of Representatives but in reality the ''de facto'' political influence of the House of Representatives was marginalized. On 14 May 1940 the Leader of the Social Democratic Workers' Party Albarda announced that he was stepping down as Leader in favor of Drees. On 9 October 1940 Drees was arrested and detained in Buchenwald concentration camp and was released in October 1941. In May 1942 Drees was arrested again and detained in the ilag of Sint-Michielsgestel but was released two weeks later. Following the end of World War II Queen Wilhelmina ordered the formation of a cabinet of national unity to reorganize the state and make preparations for new elections with Drees appointment as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs in the Cabinet Schermerhorn–Drees, taking office on 25 June 1945. On 9 February 1946 the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP), the Free-thinking Democratic League (VDB) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) choose to merge to form the Labour Party (PvdA). Drees was one of the co-founders and became the first Leader of the Labour Party. For the election of 1946 Drees served as one of the ''Lijsttrekkers'' (top candidates) of the Labour Party for the election. The Labour Party had 23 seats in the House of House of Representatives previously held by the Social Democratic Workers' Party, the Free-thinking Democratic League and the Christian Democratic Union. The Labour Party a small win, gaining 6 seats and retained its place as the second largest party and now had 29 seats in the House of Representatives. Drees subsequently returned as a Member of the House of Representatives, taking office on 4 June 1946. Following the cabinet formation of 1946 Drees continued as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs in the Cabinet Beel I, taking office on 3 July 1946. For the election of 1948 Drees served again as one of the ''Lijsttrekkers''. The Labour Party suffered a small loss, losing 2 seats but retained its place as the second largest party and now had 27 seats in the House of Representatives. Drees was appointed as Formateur and following cabinet formation of 1948 resulted in a coalition agreement between the Labour Party, the Catholic People's Party (KVP), the Christian Historical Union (CHU) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) which formed the Cabinet Drees–Van Schaik with Drees becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of General Affairs, taking office on 7 August 1948.

The Cabinet Drees-Van Schaik fell on 24 January 1951 and continued to serve in a demissionary capacity until the cabinet formation of 1951 when it was replaced by Cabinet Drees I with Drees continuing as Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs, taking office on 15 March 1951. Drees served as acting Minister of Colonial Affairs from 15 March 1951 until 30 March 1951 before the appointment of Leonard Peters and served as acting Minister of Finance from 1 July 1952 until 2 September 1952 following the resignation of Piet Lieftinck. For the election of 1952 Drees served for a third time as ''Lijsttrekker''. The Labour Party a small win, gaining 3 seats and became the largest party for the first time and now had 30 seats in the House of Representatives. Drees was appointed as Formateur and the following cabinet formation of 1952 resulted in a coalition agreement between the Labour Party, the Catholic People's Party, the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) and Christian Historical Union which formed the Cabinet Drees II with Drees remaining Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs, taking office on 2 September 1952. For the election of 1956 Drees served for a fourth and final time as ''Lijsttrekker''. The Labour Party a small win, gaining 4 seats and retained its place as the largest party and now had 34 seats in the House of Representatives. Shortly after the election the number of seats in the House of Representatives was raised from 100 to 150 and the Labour Party now had 50 seats. Drees was appointed as Formateur and the following cabinet formation of 1956 resulted in the continuation of the coalition agreement between the Labour Party, the Catholic People's Party, the Anti-Revolutionary Party and Christian Historical Union which formed the Cabinet Drees III with Drees continuing as Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs, taking office on 13 October 1956. The Cabinet Drees III fell on 11 December 1958 and shortly thereafter Drees announced his retirement from national politics and that he wouldn't stand for the election of 1959. The cabinet continued to serve in a demissionary capacity until the cabinet formation of 1958 when it was replaced by caretaker Cabinet Beel II on 22 December 1958.

Drees retired after spending 25 years in national politics and remained active as a historian and author, having written more then twenty books since 1924 in the non-fiction categories of Politics and World War II.

Drees was known for his abilities as a manager and team leader. During his premiership, his cabinets was responsible for continuing the decolonization, reforms to the welfare state and Social security and dealing with the North Sea flood of 1953. Drees was granted the honorary title of Minister of State on 22 December 1958. Drees continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman until his death from at the high age of 101. He holds the distinction as the longest-lived Prime Minister of the Netherlands and is consistently ranked both by scholar and the public as the best Prime Minister after World War II. Provided by Wikipedia

1
by Drees, Willem
Published 2007
Leiden University Press

2
by Drees, Willem
Published 2009
Leiden University Press