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On account of his age and fragile health Heinemann did not stand for a possible second term as President in 1974. He thought it was not compatible with the spirit of the constitution that a large group of people were generally treated as suspects. He died in 1976.
He was Mayor of the city of Essen from 1946 to 1949 West German Minister of the Interior from 1949 to 1950 Minister of Justice from 1966 to 1969 and President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974.