Weber, Alfred

(1868-1958)
   economist and sociologist; his "synoptic sociology stressed intuition over reason. Born in Erfurt, the second son of a lawyer who sat in the Prussian Abgeordnetenhaus, he was the younger brother of Max Weber.* He took a doctorate in 1895 at Berlin* under Gustav Schmoller, completed his Habilitation in 1899, taught economics at Berlin, then was ap-pointed full professor at Prague in 1904. He moved to Heidelberg in 1907 and remained there until his retirement. In 1909 he published Über den Standort der Industrien (Theory of the location of industries), an important analysis of the factors influencing the location of German industry after 1860. With his brother, he dominated the sessions of the Association for Social Policy (Verein fur So-zialpolitik) for several years.
   Weber worked for the Treasury Office during World War I and was prominent in founding the DDP in November 1918. With his friend Theodor Wolff,* he sat on the DDP s Hauptvorstand and was assigned to the Socialization Com-mission.* However, his unfounded accusations that Fritz Thyssen* and Hugo Stinnes* were negotiating with the Allies to establish a Rhenish state brought speedy demotion in December 1918. Despite his failed political career, he used his public experience to develop a sociology of politics that appeared in Deutschland und die europaÜische Kulturkrise (Germany and the European cul-tural crisis, 1924) and Die Krise des modernen Staatsgedankens in Europa (The crisis of the modern conception of the state in Europe, 1925). A refined version of Oswald Spengler s* ideas, his writings portrayed Germany s collapse in 1918 as a European catastrophe. He predicted the end of European predominance and feared the exploitation of public opinion in modern society.
   Weber was forced to retire in 1933. He lived in isolation during the Nazi era and continued to write (albeit, his books were banned). His Das Tragische und die Geschichte (The tragic and history, 1943), judged his best work, is a rich blend of sociology and history. After 1945 he was deemed "the grand old man of Heidelberg. He was a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and received the Pour le Mérite in 1954.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Demm, Liberaler; IESS.

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

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