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Blank was born in Elz an der Lahn. He was the third of ten children of a carpenter. His family was Roman Catholic. Blank received a apprenticeship as a carpenter. In 1930–33 he worked as a secretary at the Association of Christian transport- and factory employees of the northern and northwestern Ruhr Area. After he was dismissed in 1933 Blank passed his Abitur in 1936 and studied mathematics at the University of Münster and engineering sciences at the University of Hanover. In 1939 he was conscripted to the Wehrmacht and became a first lieutenant at the end of World War II.
From 1950 to 1955 he served as Special Representative of the Chancellor, leading the "Amt Blank" (Blank Agency), officially responsible for affairs relating to the Allied occupying troops, but in reality mainly charged by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer with covertly preparing the re-establishment of the German armed forces. In 1954, opponents of the rearmament prevented him from speaking to public assemblies by yelling and shouting, and lightly wounded him in one instance. After the rearmament was official, he served as the first postwar Defence Minister of Germany from 1955 to 1956 and as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs from 1957 to 1965.
|Federal Minister of Defence (Germany)
1955 – 1956
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