Ebert, Friedrich frē´drĭkh ā´bərt [key], 1871–1925, first president (1919–25) of the German republic. A Social Democratic deputy in the Reichstag, in 1913 he became party leader, succeeding Bebel; a gradualist, or moderate, he was seen as pragmatic and non-ideological. Ebert supported the war effort during World War I. In 1917, leftists split from the party over the war budget and called for revolution. Ebert's party formed a coalition with Catholic and centrist parties. He would have preferred a parliamentary monarchy to the republic, but he succeeded Maximilian, prince of Baden as chancellor when the monarchy collapsed and was elected president in 1919. As president, he provided strong, nonpartisan leadership. He suppressed the uprising (1919) of the Communist Spartacus party and the reactionary putsch (1920) of Wolfgang Kapp. During his presidency Germany accepted the Treaty of Versailles and adopted the Weimar constitution, but his coalition lost its majority because of resentment over the treaty.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: German History: Biographies