Gustav Adolf Bauer (help·info) (1870-1944) was a German Social Democratic Party leader and Chancellor of Germany from 1919 to 1920. He served as head of government for a total of 219 days. After his cabinet resigned in March 1920, Bauer served as vice-chancellor, Minister of Transportation and Minister of the Treasury in other cabinets of the Weimar Republic.
1 Early life,
2 Political career
2.1 Imperial Germany and revolutionary period,
2.2 Weimar Republic,
3 Later life,
Bauer was born on 6 January 1870 in Darkehmen (now Ozyorsk, Kaliningrad Oblast) near Königsberg in East Prussia as the son of bailiff Gustav Bauer and his wife Henriette (nee Groß). From 1876 to 1884, he attended the Volksschule in Königsberg. After 1884, he worked as a clerk and later head clerk for a lawyer at Königsberg.
In 1895, he became president of the Verband der Büroangestellten, a white-collar union that he co-founded. He also was editor of the publication Der Büroangestellte ("The Office Worker") and in 1903 was named head of the Zentral-Arbeiter-Sekretariat der Freien Gewerkschaften in Berlin ("Central Secretary of Independent Unions"). In 1908, Bauer became second chairman of the Generalkommission der Gewerkschaften (General Commission of Trade Unions) in Berlin, a position he kept until 1918.
On 2 October 1911, Bauer married Hedwig Moch.
Imperial Germany and revolutionary period:
In 1912, Bauer was elected to the Reichstag for the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in a Breslau constituency. In October 1918, Bauer became Secretary of State at theReichsarbeitsamt (Labour) in Max von Baden's cabinet. Bauer remained in this position throughout the revolution of 1918/19. After Max von Baden resigned in November 1918, Bauer continued to serve under Reichskanzler Friedrich Ebert and then under the Council of the People's Deputies, also headed by Ebert.
In January 1919, Bauer was elected to the National Assembly for Magdeburg. In February, he became Reichsarbeitsminister in Philipp Scheidemann's cabinet. After Scheidemann resigned in June 1919 to protest the Treaty of Versailles, Bauer succeeded him as Reichsministerpräsident, heading the Cabinet Bauer. His government signed the Treaty. When the Weimar Constitution came into force in August 1919, Bauer became Reichskanzler (Chancellor).
In March 1920, the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putschattempted to depose the government. Bauer, along with other SPD members of the cabinet and president Ebert, signed a call for a general strike against the putsch. Most of the cabinet left Berlin for Dresden, then Stuttgart. However, some ministers remained in the capital and, led by vice-chancellor Eugen Schiffer negotiated with the putschists. Once the putsch had collapsed, the Bauer government was forced to resign on 27 March--mostly as a result of the negotiations conducted with Kapp and his fellow conspirators. Bauer was succeeded as chancellor by Hermann Müller (also SPD).
However, Bauer joined the new cabinet as Reichsschatzminister at the Treasury, a position he held until June 1920. From May to June 1920, Bauer was also Minister of Transportation. In the Reichstag elections of June 1920, he was reelected to parliament. However, the new government formed on 25 June excluded the SPD.
Bauer rejoined the cabinet of Joseph Wirth in May 1921 as Reichsschatzminister and vice-chancellor. He held those positions throughout the term of office of Wirth (until November 1922). Throughout this time, Bauer was also a member of the Reichstag for Magdeburg and he retained his seat after leaving the government. However, in November 1924 he became involved in the Barmat scandal due to a personal relationship with the accused, Julius Barmat. On 7 February 1925, he was forced by the SPD parliamentary group to relinquish his seat in the Reichstag and on 14 February was expelled from the party.
Yet on 14 May 1926, Bauer's expulsion was overturned by the party. He returned to the Reichstag until 1928, when he left parliament and retired from public life.
After the Nazi party took power in 1933, Bauer was arrested on 29 June 1933. He was supposed to have misappropriated public funds. However, the charge was based on alleged statements made by his son in school. When it turned out that Bauer's marriage was childless and there was in fact no son, he was released after a week of custody. The lawsuit was dismissed only in 1935, however.
Bauer died in Hersdorf (Berlin Reinickendorf) on 16 September 1944.