Constantin Fehrenbach

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Constantin Fehrenbach
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R18733, Konstantin Fehrenbach.jpg
Chancellor of Germany
(Weimar Republic)
In office
25 June 1920 4 May 1921
President Friedrich Ebert
Preceded by Hermann Müller
Succeeded by Joseph Wirth
Personal details
Born(1852-01-11)11 January 1852
Died26 March 1926(1926-03-26) (aged 74)
Political party Centre Party
Signature Constantin Fehrenbach signature.svg

Constantin Fehrenbach, sometimes falsely, Konstantin Fehrenbach (11 January 1852 – 26 March 1926), was a German Catholic politician who was one of the major leaders of the Centre Party or Zentrum. He served as President of the Reichstag in 1918, and then as President of the Weimar National Assembly from 1919 to 1920. In June 1920, Fehrenbach became Chancellor of Germany. He resigned in May 1921 over the issue of war reparation payments to the Allies. Fehrenbach headed the Centre Party's Reichstag fraction from 1923 until his death in 1926.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Centre Party (Germany) Catholic political party in Germany

The German Centre Party is a lay Catholic political party in Germany, primarily influential during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. In English it is often called the Catholic Centre Party. Formed in 1870, it successfully battled the Kulturkampf which Chancellor Otto von Bismarck launched in Prussia to reduce the power of the Catholic Church. It soon won a quarter of the seats in the Reichstag, and its middle position on most issues allowed it to play a decisive role in the formation of majorities.

Weimar National Assembly 20th-century constitutional convention in Germany

The Weimar National Assembly was the constitutional convention and de facto parliament of Germany from 6 February 1919 to 6 June 1920. The assembly drew up the new constitution which was in force from 1919 to 1933, technically remaining in effect even until the end of Nazi rule in 1945. It convened in Weimar, Thuringia and is the reason for this period in German history becoming known as the Weimar Republic.


Early life

Constantin (or Konstantin) Fehrenbach was born on 11 January 1852 in Wellendingen near Bonndorf in what was then the Grand Duchy of Baden as the son of Johann Georg Fehrenbach, a teacher (1826–95), and his wife Rosina (1832–1900), née Gensecke. [1]

Bonndorf Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Bonndorf is a town in the Waldshut district in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated in the southern Black Forest, 14 km southeast of Titisee-Neustadt.

Grand Duchy of Baden grand duchy between 1806 and 1918

The Grand Duchy of Baden was a state in the southwest German Empire on the east bank of the Rhine. It existed between 1806 and 1918.

From 1871 to 1878, Fehrenbach studied theology, then law at Freiburg im Breisgau and in 1882 began to practise law there, soon becoming a successful criminal lawyer. In 1879, Fehrenbach married Maria (1855–1921), née Hossner at Freiburg. They had one daughter. [1] [2]

Freiburg im Breisgau Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, with a population of about 220,000. In the south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. A famous old German university town, and archiepiscopal seat, Freiburg was incorporated in the early twelfth century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual, and ecclesiastical center of the upper Rhine region. The city is known for its medieval minster and Renaissance university, as well as for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices. The city is situated in the heart of the major Baden wine-growing region and serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest. According to meteorological statistics, the city is the sunniest and warmest in Germany, and held the all-time German temperature record of 40.2 °C (104.4 °F) from 2003 to 2015.

Political career


In 1884, Fehrenbach started his political career by becoming a member of the Freiburg city council (parliament). The next year, Fehrenbach became a member of the Landtag (diet) of Baden for the Catholic Zentrum . However, in 1887 he resigned his seat after disagreements with the leader of the party in Baden, Theodor Wacker  [ de ]. In 1895, Fehrenbach became Stadtrat in Freiburg (member of the city government) and in 1896 Kreisabgeordneter (district representative). In 1901 he was reelected to the Landtag and remained a member until 1913 (in 1907–09 as president). In 1903, he also became a member of the Reichstag where his oratory skills were widely acclaimed. In particular, his speech on the Saverne Affair in 1913 made him famous nationwide for his defence of the rights of the people of Alsace and all citizens of the German Reich against the powers of the military. In 1917, Fehrenbach became the chairman of the Hauptausschuss of the Reichstag and supported the "peace resolution" in favour of a negotiated peace. In July 1918, Fehrenbach became the last president of the Imperial Reichstag. [1] [2]

Reichstag (German Empire) parliament of Germany from 1871 to 1918

The Reichstag was the Parliament of Germany from 1871 to 1918. Legislation was shared between the Reichstag and the Bundesrat, which was the Imperial Council of the reigning princes of the German States.

Weimar Republic

After the German Revolution of 1918-19, Fehrenbach once again became president of the parliament, the Weimar National Assembly in February 1919. In that office, he succeeded due to a talent for achieving compromise and a quiet and self-controlled nature. Within the Zentrum, he was a member of the party's right wing. [1]

In June 1920, Fehrenbach formed the first Weimar Republic cabinet without participation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The SPD remained the largest party in the newly elected Reichstag, which succeeded the National Assembly. As Chancellor, Fehrenbach represented Germany at the Spa. conference (1920) and the London Conference (1921)  [ de ]. He tried in vain to get the US government to work as a mediator. [1] [2] In social policy, unemployment benefits were improved during Fehrenbach's time as chancellor, with the maximum benefit for single males over the age of 21 were increased in November 1920 from 7 to 10 marks. [3]

Weimar Republic Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.

Fehrenbach cabinet

The Fehrenbach cabinet was the fourth democratically elected Reichsregierung of the German Reich. It was named after Reichskanzler (chancellor) Konstantin Fehrenbach and took office on 25 June 1920 when it replaced the First Müller cabinet.

Social Democratic Party of Germany political party in Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany.

Fehrenbach resigned in May 1921, as the DVP had withdrawn its support for the government's foreign policy of trying to cooperate with the Allies on the issue of reparations. In particular, Fehrenbach had failed to get the Reichstag's approval for a fixing of German reparation payments at 132 billion gold mark. Although he officially resigned on 4 May, he remained in charge of the caretaker government until his replacement by Joseph Wirth on 10 May. [1] [2] [4]

In 1922, Fehrenbach became a judge on the Staatsgerichtshof  [ de ], the legal guardian of the Weimar Constitution. In late 1923, Fehrenbach was elected head of the Zentrum fraction in the Reichstag. He remained in that office until his death in 1926. He also became vice-chairman of the Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemitismus  [ de ], an organization fighting antisemitism. [1] [2]

Later life and death

Fehrenbach died on 26 March 1926 in Freiburg im Breisgau. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Biografie Konstantin Fehrenbach (German)". Bayerische Nationalbibliothek. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Konstantin Fehrenbach (German)". Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  3. Feldman, Gerald D. (1997-03-06). The Great Disorder: Politics, Economics, and Society in the German Inflation, 1914–1924. Oxford University Press. p. 232. ISBN   9780199880195 . Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  4. "Der Rücktritt des Kabinetts (German)". Bundesarchiv. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
Hermann Müller
Chancellor of Germany
Succeeded by
Joseph Wirth