Haase, Hugo

   politician; first chairman of the USPD. Born to a Jewish merchant in East Prussia's Allenstein, he studied law before opening a legal practice in Königsberg. He thereafter gained renown defending the poor. Elected the first Social Democrat on Konigsberg's city council in 1894, he at-tracted national attention in 1904 with his defense of Otto Braun* (Prussia's* future Prime Minister). A voice of the SPD's orthodox wing, he served in the Reichstag* during 1897-1907 and, backed by August Bebel and Karl Kautsky, succeeded Paul Singer in 1911 as Party cochairman (with Bebel until 1913, then with Friedrich Ebert*). He was returned to the Reichstag in 1912 and remained in the chamber throughout the war.
   Although his Kantian humanism led Haase to oppose Party policy at the outbreak of World War I, he voted for war credits and kept his views private until the spring of 1915. But because of the war's length, his pacifism led him to resign from the SPD in March 1916. He served as cochairman of the new USPD from its founding until he died in November 1919, some weeks after being shot by an assassin. Highly ethical, he continued his law practice through-out his career and never accepted a salary from either party that he served.
   Haase was USPD spokesman during the Party's affiliation with the Council of People's Representatives.* A Party moderate, he supported parliamentary social democracy and argued in his last months for a pragmatism that rejected the adventurism of a putsch. His murder was a severe blow that set the USPD adrift.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Calkins, Hugo Haase; Morgan, Socialist Left.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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