Naumann, Friedrich

(1860-1919)
   political theorist and politician; strongly impacted the Republic s political philosophy. Born in the town of Störmthal near Leipzig, he studied theology and was long engaged in Protestant* church work. Coming under the influence of Adolf Stocker's Christian Socialist movement in 1890, he began working with the Evangelical Socialist Congress and in 1894 founded a weekly publication, Die Hilfe. After he broke with the autocratic Stocker in 1896, he formed the National Social Union (Nationalso-ziale Verein), a group that espoused cooperation between the SPD and the Lib-eral People s Party (a grand alliance "from Basserman to Bebel ). Embracing Max Weber's* thesis that Germany's primary conflict was between the bour-geoisie and Junkers,* he became a political publicist—without, however, estab-lishing clear goals. His 1900 Demokratie und Kaisertum (Democracy and empire) reveals that despite his progressivism, he defended monarchism* and rejected British-style parliamentarianism. Yet when it became clear in 1903 that some disciples were wary of introducing equal suffrage in Prussia,* he dissolved the Verein and, with several colleagues, created the Liberal Alliance (Freisinnige Vereinigung); in 1907 he was elected to the Reichstag,* a mandate he retained until 1918.
   With charisma and intelligence, Naumann employed his speeches and writings in 1910 to unite Germany s diverse left-liberal groups into the Progressive Peo-ple s Party (Fortschrittliche Volkspartei). Yet whether he was dealing with co-lonial expansion or with creation of a powerful fleet, he remained a proponent of national power and shared the view that Germany was beset by enemies. During the war, which he had worked to avoid, he published Mitteleuropa,a book that proposed the formation of a central European community under German leadership. In 1917 he founded the Staatsburgerschule (citizens' school), predecessor to the Republic's Hochschule fur Politik.* He was a foun-der in November 1918 of the DDP (he served briefly as chairman in 1919) and was elected to the National Assembly* in January. Because he was increasingly impaired by asthma in his final months, his ideas were championed in consti-tutional debate by Weber. Supportive of the Weimar Coalition* as mirroring his concept of a broad "left coalition," Naumann is chiefly remembered for his synthesis of socialism and nationalism. Despite his reputation, he remained sus-picious of parliamentary democracy until his death in August 1919.
   REFERENCES:Frye, Liberal Democrats; Heckart, From Bassermann to Bebel; Sheehan, German Liberalism; Struve, Elites against Democracy.

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

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