Friedrich Ebert

Friedrich Ebert (German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈeːbɐt] (listen); 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.

Friedrich Ebert
Ebert in 1925
President of Germany
In office
11 February 1919  28 February 1925
Minister President
(1919)
Philipp Scheidemann
Gustav Bauer
Chancellor (1919–)Gustav Bauer
Hermann Müller
Constantin Fehrenbach
Joseph Wirth
Wilhelm Cuno
Gustav Stresemann
Wilhelm Marx
Hans Luther
Preceded byWilhelm II (as Emperor)
Succeeded byPaul von Hindenburg
Head of Government of Germany
de facto
In office
9 November 1918  13 February 1919
Preceded byMax von Baden (as Chancellor)
Succeeded byPhilipp Scheidemann (as Minister President)
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
20 September 1913  15 June 1919
Serving withHugo Haase (1911–1916)
Philipp Scheidemann (1917–1919)
Preceded byAugust Bebel
Succeeded byHerman Müller
Otto Wels
Member of the Reichstag
for Düsseldorf 2
In office
7 February 1912  9 November 1918
Preceded byFriedrich Linz
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born4 February 1871
Heidelberg, Grand Duchy of Baden, German Empire
Died28 February 1925(1925-02-28) (aged 54)
Berlin, Weimar Republic
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Spouse
(m. 1894)
ChildrenFriedrich (1894–1979)
Georg (1896–1917)
Heinrich (1897–1917)
Karl (1899–1975)
Amalie (1900–1931)
Signature

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 suppressing the left. 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, communist and anarchist uprisings as well as those from the right, including the Kapp Putsch, a legacy that has made him a controversial historical figure.


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