Friedrich Ebert

Friedrich Ebert was the first president of the Reich (The Weimar Republic) from 1919 to 1925. He advocated the establishment of the parliamentary Democracy, understood himself as president of all Germans and practiced a policy of social equality.

Born on February 4, 1871, as the son of a tailor in Heidelberg, Ebert completed an apprenticeship as a saddler after the elementary school. During his traveling years as a craftsman, he joined the SPD in 1889 and became active in the Saddlery Association. From 1891 he lived in Bremen, where he worked first in his trained profession, then as a innkeeper. In 1893 he received a permanent position as an editor of the "Bremer Bürger-Zeitung", the local newspaper of the SPD. A year later, he was elected as party chairman. He also took over the chairmanship of the Saddlery Association in Bremen and was able to obtain a mandate in the citizenship.

In 1905 Friedrich Ebert moved to Berlin and was elected to the SPD party chair. At the age of 34, he was his youngest member and took care of organizational matters. In 1912 Ebert moved into the Reichstag. The SPD celebrated its largest success so far and became the strongest faction. During the First World War, Ebert, who had been the chairman of the SPD since 1913, ultimately failed in vain to keep together the party wings, which were disparate because of the granting of war loans.

After the fall of the monarchy, Ebert acted briefly as Chancellor in the November revolution of 1918. He succeeded in preventing a system of councils based on the Russian model, and decided to elect a democratic national assembly. In this way, he made a clear statement to parliamentarism - even against oppositions within the SPD - and enabled the creation of a free-pluralist social order.

As a president of the Reich, Friedrich Ebert had to face many crisis from 1919 onwards. Government coalitions broke, the economic situation was tense, and political murders poisoned the atmosphere. To protect the parliamentary state, Ebert also made unpopular decisions and even accepted personal slander. For him it was clear: "Democracy needs Democrats".

After his early death, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation was founded in 1925. His political legacy thus continues to this day.

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