Influential People in Germany 1923-1989

A list of important people in Germany with background information. Useful for provenance in source analysis

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  • Created on: 26-04-14 16:57
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Friedrich Ebert (1871-1925): The co-chairman of the SPD and leader of the
provisional German government, 1918-19. He was then appointed the first
president of the Weimar Republic in 1920.
Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919) and Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919): They were
left-wing revolutionaries who publicly opposed the war and were jailed in
1916 for anti-war activities. They were released in October 1918 and founded
the Spartacist League which became the German Communist Party.
Matthias Erzberger (1875-1921): A Centre Party deputy and Finance Minister
in 1919-21. He was assassinated by right-wing parliamentarians.
Gustav Stresemann (1878-1929): Leader of the DVPP in 1919. Chancellor
from August to November 1923. He successfully began the process or revising
the treaty of Versailles.
President Hindenburg (1847-1934): Field Marshal von Hindenburg retired in
1911 but was recalled in 1914. He defeated the Russians at the battle of
Tannenberg and became Commander-in-Chief of the Western Front in 1916.
He became a symbol of German courage and determination. He was elected
president in 1925.
Rudolph Hess (1894-1987): Hess was Hitler's deputy and in 1941 flew to
Scotland in a doomed attempt to negotiate peace with Britain. Later he was
tried at Nuremburg and imprisoned for life in Spandau jail.
Gregor Strasser (1892-1934): Leader of the North German Nazis during the
1920s and the main representative of `socialist' anti-capitalist wing of the Nazi
Party. In 1928 he played a key role in improving the Nazi Party's organisation.
Heinrich Brüning (1885-1970): In 1929 he became parliamentary leader of
the Centre Party
Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945): He had a PhD in Drama. Nov 1926, became
Gauleiter of Berlin. He was head of Nazi Party Propaganda. In April 1945,
shortly after Hitler's suicide, he killed his children then himself and his wife.
General Kurt Von Schleicher (1882-1934): He played a key role in advising
Hindenburg from 1930-32. He was appointed Chancellor in Dec 1932 but was

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Hitler on 30th Jan 1933. He was murdered during the Night of the
Long Knives 30 Jun/1 July 1934.
Franz von Papen (1879-1969): Became Chancellor in May-Nov 1932 and then
vice Chancellor under Hitler in 1933-34. He was acquitted by the Nuremburg
Trials in 1946 but sentenced to 8 years' hard labour by a German
de-Nazification Court, he was released in 1949.
Ernst Thälmann (1886-1944): Stood for the Presidency against Hindenburg in
1932. Was arrested when Hitler came to power.…read more

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Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893-1946): Joined the Nazi party in 1932 and
became Hitler's foreign affairs advisor in 1933. His main success was the
Nazi-Soviet non-aggression treaty of August 1939 which ensured that the
USSR remained neutral when Germany attacked Poland. He was executed at
Nuremburg in 1946.
Martin Bormann (1900-1945): after 1933 he became deputy to Hess. He
replaced Hess when the latter flew to Scotland in 1941. He controlled access
to Hitler. He was killed in May 1945 trying to escape from Berlin.…read more

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Erich Honecker (1912-1994): was leader of the communist youth movement
in East Germany. He was in charge of building the Berlin Wall in 1961. He
began to challenge Ulbricht's leadership of the SED and replaced him as First
Secretary in 1971.
Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971): replaced Stalin as leader of the Soviet Union
in 1953. He was ousted from power in 1964 following difficulties on the
international stage (Cuban Missile Crisis).
Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967): Member of the Centre Party in the Weimar
Republic.…read more


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