Philipp Scheidemann

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Scheidemann, Philipp


Born July 26,1865, in Kassel; died Nov. 29, 1939, in Copenhagen. Figure in the right wing of the German social democratic movement.

Scheidemann, a typographer by trade, joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1883 and became a member of its administrative board in 1911. He was a member of the Reichstag from 1903 to 1918 and again from 1920 to 1933. During World War I he was a social chauvinist.

Seeking to avert a revolution, Scheidemann joined the monarchist government of Max of Baden in October 1918. The November Revolution of 1918 brought about the collapse of the monarchy, and on November 9 Scheidemann proclaimed the establishment of a republic. He became a member of the new government, the Council of People’s Commissars, which sought to prevent the further development of the revolution. Between February and June 1919, he headed the first government of the Weimar Republic. He served as mayor of Kassel from 1920 to 1925. Scheidemann emigrated after the fascist dictatorship was established in Germany.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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During the general election of 1924, the conservative German Nationalist People's Party (DNVP) campaigned with a poster that contrasted the Iron Chancellor with the Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann, who had proclaimed the Republic in 1918.
The principal victims were the Centre (Catholic) party parliamentarian Matthias Erzberger, who had signed the armistice agreement that signalled the country's catastrophic wartime defeat; Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann, the prime minister responsible for replacing the monarchy with a republic; and, most spectacularly, Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau, a Jew whose policy of fulfilling the oppressive terms of the Versailles Treaty earned him the hatred of nationalists and anti-Semites alike.