Haase, Hugo

Hugo Haase

b. 29 Sep 1863, Allenstein, East Prussia
d. 7 Nov 1919, Berlin, German Reich

Title: Volksbeauftragter (People's Commissioner)
Term: 10 Nov 1918 - 29 Dec 1918
Chronology: 10 Nov 1918, nominated member of Rat der Volksbeauftragten (Council of People's Commissioners) by agreement of major parties
  29 Dec 1918, announced his withdrawal from the council, joint meeting of Zentralrat and Rat der Volksbeauftragten

The son of a shoemaker, Hugo Haase studied law in Königsberg and joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1887. In this city he became a well-known lawyer, who defended workers, farmers and fellow social democrats. His popularity gave him sufficient support in the election to the Königsberg parliament in 1894. In 1897-1907, Haase was a member of SPD faction in the Reichstag. He was elected the SPD cochairman along with August Bebel in 1911. In 1912-1919, Haase again was a member of the Reichstag. When Bebel died in 1913, Haase and Friedrich Ebert were elected the SPD cochairmen. Though Haase protested against participation of Germany in World War I and took a firm stand as pacifist, he had to submit to the party discipline in regard to war appropriations. However, he was increasingly at odds with the SPD course and resigned the chairmanship in 1916. In April 1917, the split resulted in creation of the Independent Social Democratic Party (Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, USPD), where Haase became one of the cofounders. During the November revolution, Haase, as leader of the independent social democrats, became a member of the Council of People's Commissioners (Rat der Volksbeauftragten) on 10 Nov 1918. In the correspondence between SPD and USPD, the latter demanded joint chairmanship of the respective leaders (Ebert, Haase) and Haase became one of the two chairmen. His sphere of responsibility was limited to external affairs and colonies. In the course of an overnight meeting (28/29 Dec 1918) of the Central Council and the Council of People's Commissioners, all three USPD members (Haase, Dittmann, Barth) resigned as a consequence of the unsatisfactory response of the Central Council regarding military policy following the bloody events of 23/24 Dec 1918. On 8 Oct 1919, Haase was seriously wounded by a deranged attacker and died from injuries on 7 Nov 1919. Biography source: [1][2]

[1] "Weimar, 1918-1933 : die Geschichte der ersten deutschen Demokratie", ed. by Heinrich August Winkler (München: Beck, 1993).
[2] "Dokumente zur deutschen Verfassungsgeschichte", ed. by Ernst Rudolf Huber (Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1961-1966).
  Image: Der Rat der Volksbeauftragten, contemporary postcard.
Last updated on: 03 May 2016 07:50:34