Friedrich Ebert

Friedrich Ebert
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-00015, Friedrich Ebert(cropped).jpg
President of Germany
In office
11 February 1919 – 28 February 1925
ChancellorPhilipp Scheidemann
Gustav Bauer
Hermann Müller
Constantin Fehrenbach
Joseph Wirth
Wilhelm Cuno
Gustav Stresemann
Wilhelm Marx
Hans Luther
Preceded byOffice established
(Emperor Wilhelm II as head of state)
Succeeded byPaul von Hindenburg
Chancellor of Germany
(Weimar Republic)
In office
9 November 1918 – 13 February 1919
LeaderWilhelm II
Preceded byMaximilian von Baden
Succeeded byPhilipp Scheidemann
Prime Minister of Prussia
In office
9 November 1918 – 11 November 1918
Preceded byMaximilian von Baden
Succeeded byPaul Hirsch
Personal details
Born4 February 1871
Heidelberg, Baden, German Empire
Died28 February 1925(1925-02-28) (aged 54)
Berlin, Weimar Republic
Political partySocial Democratic Party of Germany
Spouse(s)Louise Ebert
  • Friedrich (1894–1979)
  • Georg (1896–1917)
  • Heinrich (1897–1917)
  • Karl (1899–1975)
  • Amalie (1900–1931)

Friedrich Ebert (German pronunciation: [ˈeːbɐt]; 4 February 1871 – 28 February 1925) was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the first President of Germany from 1919 until his death in office in 1925.

Ebert was elected leader of the SPD on the death in 1913 of August Bebel. In 1914, shortly after he assumed leadership, the party became deeply divided over Ebert's support of war loans to finance the German war effort in World War I. A moderate social democrat, Ebert was in favour of the Burgfrieden, a political policy that sought to suppress squabbles over domestic issues among political parties during wartime in order to concentrate all forces in society on the successful conclusion of the war effort. He tried to isolate those in the party opposed to the war, but could not prevent a split.

Ebert was a pivotal figure in the German Revolution of 1918–19. When Germany became a republic at the end of World War I, he became its first chancellor. His policies at that time were primarily aimed at restoring peace and order in Germany and containing the more extreme elements of the revolutionary left. In order to accomplish these goals, he allied himself with conservative and nationalistic political forces, in particular the leadership of the military under General Wilhelm Groener and the right wing Freikorps. With their help, Ebert's government crushed a number of socialist and communist uprisings as well as those from the right, including the Kapp Putsch. This has made him a controversial historical figure.

Early life

Friedrich Ebert (1890)

Ebert was born in Heidelberg, Baden, German Empire on 4 February 1871 as the seventh of nine children of the tailor Karl Ebert (1834–92) and his wife Katharina (née Hinkel; 1834–1897). Three of his siblings died at a young age.[1][2][3][4] Although he wanted to attend university, this proved impossible due to the lack of funds of his family.[5] Instead, he trained as a saddle-maker from 1885 to 1888.[1] After he became a journeyman in 1889 he travelled, according to the German custom, from place to place in Germany, seeing the country and learning fresh details of his trade. In Mannheim, he was introduced by an uncle to the Social Democratic Party, joining it in 1889.[5][6] Although Ebert studied the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, he was less interested in ideology than in practical and organisational issues that would improve the lot of the workers then and there.[5] Ebert was on the "black list" of the police due to his political activities, so he kept changing his place of residence. Between 1889 and 1891 he lived in Kassel, Braunschweig, Elberfeld-Barmen, Remscheid, Quakenbrück and Bremen, where he founded and chaired local chapters of the Sattlerverband (Association of Saddlers).[1]

After settling in Bremen in 1891, Ebert made a living doing odd jobs.[1] In 1893, he obtained an editorial post on the socialist Bremer Bürgerzeitung. In May 1894, he married Louise Rump (1873–1955), daughter of a manual labourer, who had been employed as a housemaid and in labelling boxes and who was active in union work.[1][7] He then became a pub owner that became a centre of socialist and union activity and was elected party chairman of the Bremen SPD.[1] In 1900, Ebert was appointed a trade-union secretary (Arbeitersekretär) and elected a member of the Bremer Bürgerschaft (comitia of citizens) as representative of the Social Democratic Party.[8] In 1904, Ebert presided over the national convention of the party in Bremen and became better known to a wider public.[1] He became a leader of the "moderate" wing of the Social Democratic Party and in 1905 Secretary-General of the SPD, at which point he moved to Berlin.[5] At the time, he was the youngest member of the Parteivorstand (party executive).[7]

Meanwhile, Ebert had run for a Reichstag (parliament of Germany) seat several times in constituencies where the SPD had no chance of winning: 1898 Vechta (Oldenburg), 1903 and 1906 Stade (Province of Hanover).[7] However, in 1912, he was elected to the Reichstag for the constituency of Elberfeld-Barmen (today part of Wuppertal).[1] This was the election that also made the SPD the strongest party in the Reichstag with 110 out of a total of 397 members, surpassing the Centre Party. On the death of August Bebel on 13 August 1913, Ebert was elected as joint party chairman at the convention in Jena on 20 September with 433 out of 473 votes.[5][6] His co-chairman was Hugo Haase.[1]

Friedrich Ebert with his wife Louise and their children (from left to right) Friedrich, Georg and Heinrich (Christmas 1898)
Other Languages
aragonés: Friedrich Ebert
asturianu: Friedrich Ebert
azərbaycanca: Fridrix Ebert
беларуская: Фрыдрых Эберт
български: Фридрих Еберт
čeština: Friedrich Ebert
español: Friedrich Ebert
Esperanto: Friedrich Ebert
français: Friedrich Ebert
hornjoserbsce: Friedrich Ebert
hrvatski: Friedrich Ebert
Bahasa Indonesia: Friedrich Ebert
íslenska: Friedrich Ebert
latviešu: Frīdrihs Eberts
Lëtzebuergesch: Friedrich Ebert
lietuvių: Friedrich Ebert
македонски: Фридрих Eберт
Bahasa Melayu: Friedrich Ebert
Nederlands: Friedrich Ebert
norsk nynorsk: Friedrich Ebert
português: Friedrich Ebert
română: Friedrich Ebert
Runa Simi: Friedrich Ebert
Simple English: Friedrich Ebert
српски / srpski: Fridrih Ebert
Türkçe: Friedrich Ebert
українська: Фрідріх Еберт
Tiếng Việt: Friedrich Ebert
Yorùbá: Friedrich Ebert