|Council of the People's Deputies|
cabinet of Germany
The Council of the People's Deputies after the USPD pulled out: Philipp Scheidemann, Otto Landsberg, Friedrich Ebert, Gustav Noske, Rudolf Wissell (from left to right)
|Date formed||10 November 1918|
|Date dissolved||19 January 1919|
|People and organisations|
|Head of government||Friedrich Ebert|
|Member party|| SPD |
The Council of the People's Deputies (German : Rat der Volksbeauftragten) was the name given to the government of the November Revolution in Germany from November 1918 until February 1919. The Council de facto took over the function of head of state (Kaiser) and head of government (Chancellor), and issued decretes replacing the legislation of parliament (Reichstag) and Federal Council. The state secretaries (the heads of the governmental departments, similar to ministers in other countries) stayed in office or were replaced by the Council.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that later became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution.
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, Lake Constance and the High Rhine 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.
During this period, the main achievements of the Council were the organization of the armistice with the Allies on November 11, 1918, the Reichsrätekongress (General Convention) from 16 to 20 December 1918, and the preparation for the elections for the National Assembly (Nationalversammlung) on 19 January 1919. The Council also reformed the system of suffrage and extended the right to vote to German women for the first time.
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.
The Council was formed on 10 November 1918 after the November revolution had swept away the old order. It was established after several thousand revolutionary workers' and soldiers' councils had assembled at Zirkus Busch in Berlin. Their election or appointment had been initiated the day before by the actions of the Revolutionäre Obleute , leaders of the workers who had seized the Reichstag building. This had happened against the will of the leadership of the Social Democrats, led by Friedrich Ebert who had been appointed Chancellor (head of government) on 9 November. Unable to prevent the assembly, Ebert's Social Democrats were able to co-opt the process and ensure that many of the delegates came from among their own supporters. In addition, Ebert managed to convince the more radical Independent Social Democrats to join him in a "unified" socialist government containing three of their members. 114:
During the First World War (1914–1918), the Revolutionary Stewards were shop stewards who were independent from the official unions and freely chosen by workers in various German industries. They rejected the war policies of the German Empire and the support which parliamentary representatives of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) gave to these policies. They also played a role during the German Revolution of 1918–19.
The Reichstag is a historic edifice in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged after being set on fire. After World War II, the building fell into disuse; the parliament of the German Democratic Republic met in the Palast der Republik in East Berlin, while the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn.
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the first President of Germany from 1919 until his death in office in 1925.
Thus a coalition between the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD – Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) and the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD – Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) made up the council. Until 29 December 1918 there were three members from the SPD (Friedrich Ebert, Philipp Scheidemann, Otto Landsberg) and three from the USPD (Hugo Haase, Wilhelm Dittmann, Emil Barth). 8 Since they had no parallel civil service, the Council had to rely on the existing bureaucracy. When the last Imperial Chancellor Prince Max of Baden had handed the office of Reichskanzler to Ebert on 9 November, the Secretaries of State of the Baden cabinet had initially remained in their positions. :87 Although Ebert soon replaced some of them with members of the SPD and other parties, some senior civil servants—like Heinrich Scheuch, the Prussian Minister of War or Wilhelm Solf at the Foreign Office—lasted for weeks or months in office, at least nominally.Ebert and Haase were joint chairmen. The members of the Council had no official portfolios, but Ebert was responsible for military and interior affairs. :
The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.
The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany was a short-lived political party in Germany during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. The organization was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The organization attempted to chart a centrist course between electorally oriented revisionism on the one hand and Bolshevism on the other. The organization was terminated in 1931 through merger with the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (SAPD).
Philipp Heinrich Scheidemann was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). On 9 November 1918, in the midst of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, he proclaimed Germany a republic. Later, beginning in the early part of the following year, he became the second head of government of the Weimar Republic, acting in this post for 127 days.
The Council was formally in charge of the government when the armistice ending World War I was signed on 11 November 1918. However, Matthias Erzberger, the German envoy, had in fact been sent to negotiate with the allies in the Forest of Compiègne on 6 November by Chancellor Max of Baden, before the latter's resignation on 9 November. 73 The telegram instructing Erzberger to sign on 10 November was sent after a meeting of the old Reichsregierung, originally set up under Prince Max and now chaired by Chancellor Ebert before the Council of the People's Deputies had even been created. :113:
Matthias Erzberger was a German publicist and politician, Reich Minister of Finance from 1919 to 1920.
The Forest of Compiègne is a large forest in the region of Picardy, France, near the city of Compiègne and approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Paris.
On 12 November 1918, the Council issued a proclamation An das deutsche Volk ("To the people of Germany"). It announced the following nine points ("with force of law"):
The proclamation went on to promise further social reforms. By 1 January 1919 at the latest, the eight-hour-workday was to be introduced. The government also promised to do everything to provide "sufficient" work. A scheme of unemployment assistance that would distribute the burden between Reich, state and municipality was in the works. The earnings ceiling for health insurance would be raised. The lack of housing would be alleviated through "supply of housing". The government would work towards securing regular nutrition for the people. It would strive to keep up orderly production and protect property against private infringement, as well as personal freedom and safety. Future elections, including that for the constituent assembly, were to be held under a franchise that would be equal, secret, direct and universal, based on proportional representation, and open to all men and women aged 20 and above.
On 15 November 1918, the Council appointed the left wing liberal Hugo Preuss as State Secretary of the Interior and asked him to write a draft of a new republican constitution. 13:
The Council passed the Verordnung über die Wahlen zur verfassunggebenden deutschen Nationalversammlung (Reichswahlgesetz), the law governing the upcoming elections for a national assembly, on 30 November 1918. This codified the changes to the suffrage announced earlier. For the first time in Germany, suffrage was extended to women.
The Council also organized the Reichsrätekongress which met at the Preußisches Abgeordnetenhaus at Leipziger Platz in Berlin from 16 to 20 December 1918. By majority vote, this assembly decided to bring forward the elections to a national assembly to 19 January 1919 and refused a USPD proposal to assume supreme legislative and executive power. However, it also passed a resolution known as Hamburger Punkte that emphasized some key revolutionary demands that were anathema to the military: supreme military command to be with the Council of the People's Deputies, disciplinary authority to reside with the soldiers' councils, election of officers, no rank insignia and no observance of military rank off-duty. 136–137:
On 18 December 1918, the Council decided in principle to socialize "suitable" industries. No concrete steps in this direction were taken, however, as the SPD members were not keen on any initiatives that were likely to further disrupt the strained food supply or negatively affect industrial productivity. The Council had its hands full with demobilizing and reintegrating 8 million soldiers, withdrawing 3 million of them over the Rhine and ensuring a sufficient supply of coal and food to last the winter. Moreover, there were threats to the Reich's integrity from separatist movements in the Rhineland and from Polish territorial expansion. 11,13:
On 29 December 1918, the USPD pulled out of the Council. The main point of contention was the military action the government had just taken on 23/24 December against revolting soldiers of the Reichsmarinedivision. 149–151 This had happened as a result of the Ebert-Groener pact between Friedrich Ebert and Wilhelm Groener of the military high command (OHL). However, there had been talk even before the fighting on Christmas about an impending resignation of the USPD representatives. :151 The vacancies on the Council were filled out with two more SPD members, Gustav Noske and Rudolf Wissell. Although there were no portfolios, Noske was in charge of the military and Wissell of economic affairs. From that point on, the Council's external communications were signed "Reichsregierung" rather than "Rat der Volksbeauftragten". :152:
The government organized elections for a national assembly on 19 January 1919.
On 13 February 1919, the Council ceased to exist and formally gave up power to the newly created government of Ministerpräsident Scheidemann. Scheidemann had been appointed by Friedrich Ebert, who in turn had been elected the first temporary president of Germany (Reichspräsident) by the National Assembly.
|Member||Term of Office||Political party||Position|
|#||Portrait||Name||Took office||Left office|
| Friedrich Ebert |
|10 November 1918||11 February 1919||SPD||Co-Chairman|
Reich Chancellor until 13 February 1919
| Hugo Haase |
|10 November 1918||29 December 1918|
| Philipp Scheidemann |
|10 November 1918||11 February 1919||SPD||Co-Chairman from 29 December 1919|
Ministerpräsident from 13 February 1919
| Wilhelm Dittmann |
|10 November 1918||29 December 1918|
| Emil Barth |
|10 November 1918||29 December 1918|
| Otto Landsberg |
|10 November 1918||11 February 1919||SPD|
| Gustav Noske |
|29 December 1918||11 February 1919||SPD|
| Rudolf Wissell |
|29 December 1918||11 February 1919||SPD|
Gustav Noske was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). He served as the first Minister of Defence (Reichswehrminister) of the Weimar Republic between 1919 and 1920. Noske has been a controversial figure because although he was a member of the socialist movement, he used army and paramilitary forces to bloodily suppress the socialist/communist uprisings of 1919.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 19 January 1919, although members of the standing army in the east voted for their representatives only on 2 February. The elections were the first of the new Weimar Republic following World War I and the Revolution of 1918–19. It was also the first German election held using proportional representation and with women's suffrage. It is also reckoned as the first truly free and fair all-German election, as it was the first to be held after the scrapping of the old constituencies that over-represented rural areas. The voting age was lowered to 20, down from 25 which it had been in the Reichstag election of 1912.
Hugo Haase was a German socialist politician, jurist and pacifist. With Friedrich Ebert, he co-chaired of the Council of the People's Deputies after the German Revolution of 1918–19.
The Skirmish of the Berlin Schloss was a small skirmish between the socialist revolutionary Volksmarinedivision and regular German army units on 24 December 1918 during the German Revolution of 1918–19. It took place around the Berlin Schloss also known as "Stadtschloss" in the centre of Berlin, Germany.
The Ebert–Groener pact, sometimes called the Ebert-Groener deal, was an agreement between the Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert, at the time the President of Germany, and Wilhelm Groener, Quartermaster General of the German Army, on November 10, 1918.
Emil Barth was a German Social Democratic party worker who became a key figure in the German Revolution of 1918.
Rudolf Wissell was a German politician in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). During the Weimar Republic, he held office as the Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister for Labour.
Lore Agnes was a German politician. A house-wife from Düsseldorf, Agnes was a leading figure in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the socialist women's movement in the city. She was a member of parliament 1919-1933.
The Scheidemann cabinet was the first democratically elected Reichsregierung of the German Reich. It took office on 13 February 1919. Although the Weimar Constitution was not in force yet, it is generally counted as the first government of the Weimar Republic. It was based on the Weimar Coalition of centre-left parties. Ministerpräsident Philipp Scheidemann resigned in protest against the Treaty of Versailles on 20 June 1919. His cabinet was followed by the government of Gustav Bauer.
The Bauer cabinet was the second democratically elected Reichsregierung of the German Reich. It was named after Reichsministerpräsident Gustav Bauer and took office on 21 June 1919 when it replaced the Cabinet Scheidemann. Although the Weimar Constitution was not in force yet, it is generally counted as the second government of the Weimar Republic.
Cabinet Müller I or the first Cabinet Müller was the third democratically elected government of Germany and the second in office after the Weimar Constitution came into force in August 1919. It was named after the new Chancellor (Reichskanzler) Hermann Müller of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The cabinet was based on the same three centre-left parties as the previous one: the SPD, the German Center Party (Zentrum) and the German Democratic Party (DDP). It was formed in March 1920 after the resignation of the Cabinet Bauer. The Cabinet Müller resigned in reaction to the outcome of the Reichstag elections of 6 June 1920.
The Spartacus League was a Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during World War I. The League was named after Spartacus, leader of the largest slave rebellion of the Roman Republic. It was founded by Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, and others. The League subsequently renamed itself the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD), joining the Comintern in 1919. Its period of greatest activity was during the German Revolution of 1918, when it sought to incite a revolution by circulating the newspaper Spartacus Letters.
Wilhelmine Eichler was a German politician. At the adoption by Germany of a democratic constitution in 1920, Eichler was one of the 37 female members of what became the national parliament (Reichstag). She became a member of the still overwhelmingly male Reichstag itself in September 1921.