Hermes, Andreas

(1878-1964)
   politician; important framer of German agrarian policy. Born to middle-class parents in Cologne, he studied agriculture, instructed the subject for a year, and then served as an animal-breeding assistant in Bonn-Poppelsdorf. Resuming his studies, he took a doctorate in 1905 and then settled in Berlin* as an assistant with the German Agricultural Society. In 1911 he became departmental director at Rome s International Agricultural In-stitute; he soon gained a rich expertise in international agriculture. During World War I he served in Berlin at the War Food Office.
   In 1919 Hermes was named director of the Economic Ministry s agricultural department. He became head of the new Agriculture Ministry, created on his recommendation, in 1920; in October 1921 he assumed the Finance portfolio (he resigned Agriculture six months later) and retained this ministry until Wil-helm Cuno s* retirement in August 1923. With professional and political inter-ests entwined, he became a Center Party* deputy in the Prussian Landtag in 1924; election to the Reichstag* followed in 1928.
   Hermes was unrelenting on behalf of farmers* and consistently sponsored the linkage of Catholic* instruction with agrarian education. He led an agricultural subcommittee during 1925-1927 for the Conference of Experts, sat at Geneva s World Economic Conference in 1927 as an agrarian delegate, and led a German delegation in trade-treaty negotiations with Poland* in 1928. He was simulta-neously active in agricultural organizations and was elected president in 1928 of the Vereinigung der deutschen christlichen Bauernvereine (League of German Christian Peasants Associations) and of the Reichsverband der deutschen Land-wirtschaftlichen (Association of German Agriculture) in 1930. In response to the agrarian depression,* he met with the leaders of three key agricultural groups (including Martin Schiele* of the Reichslandbund*) to found the Grüne Front, a poorly organized lobby that favored high tariffs on farm products. The NSDAP, aiming to mobilize discontent, endorsed the Front.
   Hermes resigned his Reichstag seat in March 1933. Aware of his political opposition, the Nazis arrested him the same month. He was released in July, but a charge of larceny returned him to prison in 1934. When he was released later that year, he used his international connections to relocate to Colombia, where he was a government economics advisor during 1936-1939. After he returned to Germany, he joined the resistance, was arrested after the 20 July 1944 plot on Hitler,* and was under a death sentence when the Allies rescued him in April 1945 (Carl Goerdeler* had designated him Agriculture Minister in a post-Hitler regime). He helped found the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in postwar Germany.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; NDB, vol. 8; Schumacher, M.d.R.

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

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