Hopker-Aschoff, Hermann

(1883-1954)
   politician; served as Prussian Finance Minister. Born in Herford (Westphalia) to a middle-class fam-ily, he studied law—taking a doctorate in 1907—and gained appointment with the Prussian judicial system. He served in various district and provincial courts and became judge at the Superior Provincial Court in Hamm in 1921. He was a member of the DDP from 1919 and was elected in February 1921 to the Prussian Landtag; he retained the mandate until 1932 and served simultaneously in the Reichstag* during 1930-1932.
   Closely tied to Weimar Coalition* efforts in support of Wilhelm Marx s* presidential candidacy, Hopker served briefly in February-March 1925 as Prus-sian Finance Minister before being named Prime Minister on 31 March 1925. By arrangement with the Center* and the SPD, he declined the post, thus smoothing Otto Braun s* formation of a new Prussian government. Braun thereupon reappointed him Finance Minister, a portfolio he held until 1931. Evolving considerable economics expertise, he had a decidedly positive profile in Braun's government. Growing conviction of the need for centralized financial planning turned him into one of the DDP s chief advocates for national reform. He was indebted to Friedrich Naumann,* Max Weber,* and Lujo Brentano for his liberal convictions. With Carl Becker,* he helped conclude Prussia s* con-cordat with the Vatican in 1929. His frustration at attempts to generate a pro-cedure for merging the Prussian and federal governments led to his resignation in October 1931.
   As economic and parliamentary crisis spread in 1929-1930, the DDP sought to broaden its attractiveness by merging with the rightist Jungdo.* Although Hopker favored the move, irreconcilable problems soon led to the splintering of the new Party (the DStP); in his haste to form a united liberal party, Hopker had been among those Democrats who failed to admit the anti-Semitism* of their would-be allies. The DStP s remaining membership named him chairman of the central action committee late in 1930. His inability in 1931 to link the DStP with the DVP reinforced his decision to leave the Finance Ministry. He retired from politics in July 1932 and lived in Bielefeld during 1933-1945. In 1951 he became the first President of the Federal Republic's Supreme Court.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Frye, Liberal Democrats; NDB, vol. 9; Pois, Bourgeois Democrats.

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

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