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|Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany|
|Chairman of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany|
29 September 1863|
Allenstein, East Prussia
|Died||7 November 1919
|Alma mater||Königsberg University|
Haase was born in Allenstein (Olsztyn), Province of Prussia, the son of Jewish shoemaker and small businessman, Nathan Haase, and Pauline née Anker. He studied law in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) and established himself as a lawyer. He was the first Social Democrat in the municipal council of Königsberg and became a deputy in the Reichstag in 1897. In multiple legal cases, he defended the Social Democrats against various political attacks.
Haase belonged to the so-called revisionist wing of the party, which in contrast to the Marxists, supported gradual reforms and no longer saw the best path to social and political change in revolution. In 1911 he became along with August Bebel an SPD chairman, in 1912 next to Philipp Scheidemann an SPD chairman in the Reichstag. After Bebel's death, Haase and Friedrich Ebert were chosen as the party chairmen.
In July 1914, he organized the anti-World War I rally of the SPD and on July 31 and August 1 fought against a decision for an increase in the war credit in the SPD faction. However, he failed to accomplish this because the opposition of Friedrich Ebert and the faction majority. Due to party discipline, Haase had to defend the SPD action in the Reichstag session. In response to his comment "We won't abandon the Fatherland in the hour of danger", the imperial government created its so-called Burgfrieden policy.
After the collapse of German war plans at the end of 1914, Haase became more and more vocal against the policies of the SPD faction. He was forced to resign as faction leader in 1915 and as a party chairman in 1916. In March 1916, he took over the leadership of the Sozialdemokratische Arbeitsgemeinschaft, which the war critics in the SPD had founded together. In 1917 he became chairman of the newly founded Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany, which split the so-called "Majority Social Democrats" group and advocated immediate peace negotiations.
In the course of the German Revolution (November), he created along with the majority Social Democrats' leader Friedrich Ebert the provisional government, the Rat der Volksbeauftragten, of whose acting chairman he took over. After the violent response to the revolutionary Volksmarinedivision during Christmas 1918, Haase and the two other USPD representatives Wilhelm Dittman and Emil Barth abandoned the government on December 29.
The Haase-led USPD only achieved 7% of the vote for the Weimar National Assembly on 19 January 1919.
On October 8, 1919, Haase was shot by Johann Voss, an apparently mentally ill leather worker. He was severely injured and died on November 7.
He was married to Thea Lichtenstein and had three children: one son Ernst Haase, a psychiatrist, who immigrated to Chicago via England—and two daughters: Hilde Meisels (Jerusalem) and Gertrud Dresel (Tel Aviv).
- Tucker, Spencer; Roberts, Priscilla Mary (2005). Encyclopedia of World War I. p. 529.