Friedrich Ebert

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Friedrich Ebert played an extremely important role in the story of German democracy. As the first ever democratically elected president of Germany, and also as the leader of the Social Democratic campaign, he made seminal efforts in getting about the Weimar constitution that turned Germany into a republic at first chance and then attempted to unite it after the defeat in World War I. He was president of the Weimar Republic from 1919 until the death of his in 1925.

Ebert was born in Heidelberg in 1871. He mastered the saddler’s industry and traveled through Germany as a journeyman saddler. He quickly evolved into a Social Democrat plus unionist, representing the so called revisionist – gradualist, liberal – „trade union“ wing of the party which was much less active in the ideological struggles of Marxism. His focus was always directed toward pragmatic enhancement within the existing conditions of the German working class and, above many, its personal betterment.

In 1905 Ebert became secretary general of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and also in 1913 succeeded August Bebel as party chairman. By the precious time he was chairman, the SPD was started as a serious democratic force, despite years of repression and continuing harassment from the ultra conservative powers in Germany.

Under the leadership of his, increasing influence in German national politics were gained by the Social Democratic movement. But he couldn’t hold the whole party to the course of his for long. In March 1917 a left wing faction left the party to be the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), hard rejecting Germany’s battle policy. Another team split from the SPD to develop the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). The leftists that had withdrawn from the SPD desired a cultural revolution, while The majority and friedrich Ebert of his party needed to build a German parliamentary democracy. In the midst of the battle, the Catholic Centre Party, the Democratic Party (previously the Progressive Party), and the Social Democrats had created the so-called Weimar coalition to push for a change of the monarchy.

With Ebert’s effective cooperation, a brand new government, headed by Prince Max of Baden as well as that comprise of the 3 people of the Weimar coalition, was structured in October 1918 by way of a sweeping constitutional reform that in important aspects foreshadowed the Weimar Constitution. Thus, Germany wouldn’t have required a revolution to attain parliamentary democratic change, as well as Ebert did almost everything he might to avoid such a revolution from happening. He was fearful of the usually brutal effects of revolutions and of the tyranny of extremists groups, as mirrored in the statement of his at the level of the unavoidable revolution:

„Without democracy there’s absolutely no freedom. Violence, no matter who’s using it, is constantly reactionary.“

The revolution came 3 times before the armistice. It triumphed in Berlin on November nine, and also on the same day Prince Max of Baden, acting on his power, requested Friedrich Ebert to replace him as chancellor. Ebert in fact held office as chancellor underneath the empirial constitution for 1 day. On November ten he yielded to the fait accompli of the revolution and also create an entirely Socialist government, with reps from the SPD as well as USPD. Ebert was motivated to put the energy of the groundbreaking government quickly in the hands of a freely elected German parliament. He desired to visit a legitimately elected coalition government in strength instead of a Socialist regime.

The elections of January 1919 gave the Weimar coalition a sweeping victory with a vast majority of eighty five percent, showing the solid support of the German folks for Ebert’s place. The brand new German constitution, the Weimar Constitution, so named after the city where it was pulled up, was the job of the coalition. By the votes on the 3 people developing the coalition, Ebert was elected the 1st president of the republic.

Still with the elections to the republic’s very first parliament on June six, 1920, the Weimar coalition lost its bulk and was never to restore it. The Social Democratic Party thereby lost its commanding place in the Reich, and also the political constellation where Ebert’s leadership was based dissolved. The electoral defeat became a direct consequence of the Treaty of Versailles. At that time many Germans were convinced the peace of Versailles targeted at the damage of Germany. The ensuing loss in confidence in the ruling democratic people was the death blow of the Weimar republic.

Reactionary forces, especially groups loyal to the German army, continued to systematically weaken Ebert’s energy to reconcile the politically split German modern society and treated him with outright hostility. The efforts of his to keep the struggling fragile democracy afloat found no assistance of the German right, that ultimately succeeded in their attempt to abolish democracy with sad effects.

The judgement associated with a German court, which ruled Ebert had dedicated high treason, at minimum in the legal sense, during the battle by the support of his of any munition workers‘ hit, contributed to the early death of his in 1925.

To be able to honor his steadfast think in democracy, peace and freedom, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung was established shortly after the death of his. Building on the experience of his, the foundation offers a triple aim:

– to further a political society dependent on pluralism and democracy using civic training for every strata of German culture.

– to facilitate a chance to access advanced schooling for gifted kids from the less advantaged organizations of the German public by means of scholarships,

– and also to contribute to international cooperation and understanding wherever feasible as a safeguard against completely new conflicts and wars.

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