Ebert, Friedrich

Friedrich Ebert

b. 4 Feb 1871, Heidelberg
d. 28 Feb 1925, Berlin

Title: Volksbeauftragter (People's Commissioner)
Term: 10 Nov 1918 - 11 Feb 1919
Chronology: 10 Nov 1918, nominated member of Rat der Volksbeauftragten (Council of People's Commissioners) by agreement of major parties
  10 Nov 1918, Council of People's Commissioners constituted
  30 Dec 1918, confirmed as chairperson with executive functions, meeting of the Council of People's Commissioners
  10 Feb 1919, Council of People's Commissioners relinquished authority in communication to Verfassunggebende Deutsche Nationalversammlung (German National Constituent Assembly), meeting of the Assembly, Deutsches Nationaltheater, Weimar; accepted pending the election of Reichspräsident (Reich President) and appointment of Reichsministerium (Reich Ministry) [1]
Names/titles: Reichskanzler (Reich Chancellor) [9 Nov 1918 - 10 Nov 1918] (see details);
  Reichspräsident (Reich President) [11 Feb 1919 - 28 Feb 1925] (see details)
Biography:
A saddler by trade; participated in the socialist movement and joined the Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD) in 1889; after settling in Bremen (1891), he was an activist of the Association of Saddlers and edited the Bremer-Bürgerzeitung newspaper from 1893; became a chairperson in the local SPD organization (1894); served as a member of municipal council (1900-1905) and gained publicity after he presided over the SPD congress in Bremen (1904); held the office of secretary in the SPD executive board in Berlin (1905); was elected to the Reichstag (1912), representing Elberfeld-Barmen constituency; following the death of August Bebel, he and Hugo Haase were elected the SPD co-chairmen (20 Sep 1913); supported the policy of national interests during World War I; emerged as a sole leader of Social Democrats after the resignation of Haase in 1916; after the proclamation of the alleged abdications of Wilhelm II as emperor and king (9 Nov 1918), Maximilian Prinz von Baden transferred the office of Reichskanzler to Ebert who took the office as on behalf of the Regency which was never set up; joined the Council of People's Commissioners (Rat der Volksbeauftragten), a coalition government created by the SPD and the Independent Social Democrats (Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, USPD) on 10 Nov 1918, taking responsibility for internal and military affairs; assumed the position of chairperson of the Council jointly with Haase (to 29 Dec 1918); adhered to a political course excluding establishment of a Soviet republic and applied force to suppress the revolts (1918-1919); became the most influential figure among the people's commissioners and strengthened his position after the USPD members left the council (29 Dec 1918); was confirmed as chairperson with executive functions (30 Dec 1918); oversaw the elections to the National Constituent Assembly (Verfassunggebende Deutsche Nationalversammlung) in 1919; was elected the Reich President by the National Constituent Assembly (11 Feb 1919); promulgated the so-called Weimar Constitution (11 Aug 1919); survived the coup (Kapp putsch) staged by radical nationalists (1920), who planned to restore the monarchy; faced social and political crisis after France and Belgium occupied the Ruhr territory (1923) to settle the issue of reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles; the last months of Ebert's life were marred by the court hearings: on 23 Dec 1924, the court ruled that he had committed high treason, at least in the legal sense, during World War I by his support of a munition workers' strike in Berlin in 1918; died of protracted appendicitis (28 Feb 1925). Biography source: [2]


[1] Verhandlungen der verfassunggebenden Deutschen Nationalversammlung. Stenographische Berichte. Von der 1. Sitzung am 6. Februar 1919 bis zur 26. Sitzung am 12. März 1919. Band 326 (Berlin: Druck und Verlag der Norddeutschen Buchdruckerei und Verlags-Anstalt, 1920). S. 36 (C, D).
[2] "Friedrich Ebert, 1871/1971" (Bonn-Bad Godesberg: Inter Nationes, 1971).
  Image: contemporary photograph.
Last updated on: 01 May 2010 02:22:30