• Biography of Friedrich Ebert (1871 - 1925)

    Friedrich Ebert grew up in Heidelberg as the son of a tailor in a household of eight people. After completing elementary school he trained as saddler.

    Early on Ebert was active in politics and the trade union movement in Bremen. Having served on the Board of Directors of the Socialist Party of Germany (SPD) in Berlin since 1905, in 1912 he became a member of the Parliament and in 1916, one of the chairmen of the Parliamentary social democratic faction. Already in 1913, after the death of August Bebels, he was elected Chairman of the SPD.

    Following the victory of the revolution, in 1928 he took over as co-chairman of the revolutionary government, the „Council of the People’s Deputies“. He was a determined opponent of the „Dictatorship of the Proletariat“ and a Council system of the Russian example, supported Parliamentary democracy and successfully organised the Weimar National Assembly, which elected him President on 11.02.1919.

    During his time in office he worked towards a balance between the working class and the middle class, and rejected a class fight policy, which was not unquestionable among the social democrats. Most important during Ebert’s term of office were the defense of the fragile Weimar Constitution against its various extreme left and right oppositions, and the stabilizing of the German currency after the hyperinflation of 1923. However, especially the rightwing who wanted to hit the Republic through his person, made him a target for slander and discreditation, and in 1925 contributed to the early death of the first democratically elected head of state of Germany.

    Only now, in a stable democracy, his political activities are receiving their due acknowledgment outside party bounderies.