Richter, Ernst von

(1862-1935)
   politician; served as Prussian Fi-nance Minister. Born Ernst Richter in Berlin,* he completed doctoral studies, entered the civil service,* and was Minister of State for Saxe-Coburg-Gotha from 1905 to 1917, during which time he was elevated to the nobility. Against Conservative opposition (he was a National Liberal), he was appointed Ober-prasident of Hanover in 1917. In December 1918 he joined the DVP.
   Richter's 1919 election to the Prussian assembly (where he remained until 1928) produced a conflict of interest: he was the DVP's de facto faction chair-man in the assembly, but as Hanover's Oberpräsident, he was subordinate to Carl Severing,* the SPD's Interior Minister. Since Richter, a monarchist, re-buffed parliamentary efforts to cooperate with the SPD, his status as a bureaucrat in an SPD administration was awkward. In any case, his support for the Kapp* Putsch led Severing to dismiss him in 1920. Remarkably, wishing to form a Great Coalition* in 1921, Otto Braun* made him Prussian Finance Minister (1921-1925). To Severing's surprise, Richter worked with him in a "spirit of cooperative collaboration." The SPD-led cabinet affirmed its confidence in Richter when in 1923 it allowed him to set Prussia's* operating and personnel budgets; his decisions could only be overruled by a cabinet vote that included Prime Minister Braun. Jointly committed to parliamentary democracy, Severing and Richter campaigned together in 1924, and by the mid-1920s Richter was actively engaged in efforts to link the DVP with the DDP. An abortive no-confidence vote against the Braun government by DVP colleagues forced Rich-ter to resign in January 1925.
   Richter's shift from monarchism* was not unlike that of DVP chairman Gus-tav Stresemann.* His efforts to bridge the gulf between the DVP and the DDP intensified when he left his ministry. He was soon active in the Liberale Ver-einigung (Liberal Association) and was elected the group's cochairman (with Otto Fischbeck of the DDP) in December 1925. But the two parties were in-creasingly alienated both from the Liberale Vereinigung and from each other. In June 1928, after both parties suffered severe setbacks in the Reichstag* elec-tions, Richter and Fischbeck were replaced by August Weber.
   REFERENCES:Larry Jones, German Liberalism; Kosch, Biographisches Staatshandbuch; Orlow, Weimar Prussia, 1918-1925.

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

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