FRIEDRICH EBERT (German) (1871 – 1925)
Ebert was the first President of Germany’s Weimar Republic, so called after the constitution adopted by the National Assembly of 1919 at Weimar, which lasted until the advent of Hitler in 1933. Trained as a saddler, Ebert succeeded Bebel as leader of the social Democrats in 1913. After the outbreak of the WWI he was instrumental in obtaining socialist support for the Kaiser’s government. He strongly opposed social revolution and the proclamation of the Republic, but on November 10, 1918 he was elected Co-chairman of the Council of People’s Representatives by the worker’s and soldier’s councils. On that day he also concluded the famous alliance with the High Command to preserve law and order and to fight Bolshevism. This alliance became the Weimar Republic’s cornerstone. In January 1919 he was elected president of Germany which he remained until 1925. The worker’s and soldier’s councils were defeated and all extremists coups drowned in blood.
In 1923 executive power was transferred by Ebert to the War Minister to cope with growing extremism on the Left and Right, vast currency inflation, French occupation of the Ruhr and separation in South and West. That the Weimar Republic survived was largely due to his merit while vitriolic attacks from the Right were his reward.