Heuss, Theodor

(1884-1963)
   politician and journalist; represented both the DDP and the DStP in the Reichstag.* Born in Brackenheim, near Heilbronn, he began studies in economics and history in 1902 and took his doctorate under Munich's Lujo Brentano in 1905. Drawn as a student to the ideas of Friedrich Naumann,* he soon became Naumann's friend and associate. His first writings appeared during 1905-1912 in Naumann's Die Hilfe. Through Naumann he met Elly Knapp, whom he married in 1908, and Albert Schweitzer, a lifelong friend. From 1912 he edited the monthly Marz and Heilbronn's Neckar Zeitung; during World War I he supplied an article almost daily on either the war or domestic politics.
   A prewar member of the Progressive Party, Heuss helped create the ill-conceived Demokratischer Volksbund (Democratic People's League) in Novem-ber 1918 and then joined the DDP. Relocating to Berlin,* he assumed writing and editorial duties for Ernst Jaäckh's DDP weekly Deutsche Politik. His work, which focused on constitutional issues, brought him into contact with the pe-riod's best-known journalists. After Naumann's death in 1919, he lectured reg-ularly at the Hochschule für Politik,* an institute founded by Jackh and inspired by Naumann's political philosophy. During 1923-1926 he edited Deutsche Na-tion.
   Heuss entered Berlin-Schoneberg's city council in 1919; after Schoneberg's incorporation into Berlin, he served with the Greater Berlin council. As a Reichs-tag deputy in 1924-1928 and 1930-1933 (the last years with the DStP), he inclined toward the Left on constitutional issues and was, accordingly, uneasy with efforts to unite with the more conservative DVP; he was lukewarm over the new DStP. Yet he championed Anschluss with Austria* and was an apologist for the army and Defense Minister Otto Gessler.* His aversion to Hitler* led him to publish Hitlers Weg in 1932 (it was burned in May 1933), the DStP's most brilliant attack on the NSDAP.
   Heuss was among four DStP deputies reelected to the Reichstag after Hitler's seizure of power. Although he was suspended from the Hochschule in May 1933, and his Reichstag mandate was nullified in July, he stayed in Germany at considerable personal risk. To escape the heavy bombing, he relocated his family to Heidelberg late in World War II. In 1949 he became the Federal Republic's first President.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Frye, Liberal Democrats; NDB, vol. 9.

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

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