Wilhelm Marx

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Wilhelm Marx
Reichskanzler Wilhelm Marx.jpg
17th Chancellor of the German Reich
8th Chancellor of the Weimar Republic
In office
30 November 1923 – 15 January 1925
President Friedrich Ebert
Deputy Karl Jarres
Preceded by Gustav Stresemann
Succeeded by Hans Luther
19th Chancellor of the German Reich
10th Chancellor of the Weimar Republic
In office
17 May 1926 – 12 June 1928
President Paul von Hindenburg
Deputy Oskar Hergt (1927-1928)
Preceded by Hans Luther
Succeeded by Hermann Müller
6th Minister President of the Free State of Prussia
In office
18 February – 6 April 1925
Preceded by Otto Braun
Succeeded by Otto Braun
Personal details
Born (1863-01-15)15 January 1863
Cologne, Germany
Died 5 August 1946(1946-08-05) (aged 83)
Bonn, Germany
Political party Centre
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism

Wilhelm Marx (15 January 1863 – 5 August 1946) was a German lawyer, Catholic politician and a member of the Centre Party. He was Chancellor of the German Reich twice, from 1923 to 1925 and again from 1926 to 1928, and also served briefly as minister president of Prussia in 1925, during the Weimar Republic. He was the longest serving Chancellor during the Weimar Republic.


Born in Cologne to a teacher, Marx passed his Abitur at the Marzellengymnasium in 1881. He then studied jurisprudence at the University of Bonn. As student he became a member of K.St.V. Arminia. After his degree in law, he worked as an assessor in both Cologne and Waldbröl and later in the land registry in Simmern. From 1894 Marx worked as a judge in Elberfeld. Ten years later, he returned to Cologne and Düsseldorf, where he had the highest rank possible in Prussia for a Catholic who was also active in the Centre Party.

Marx married Johanna Verkoyen in 1891 and they had four children.


He served as Chancellor of Germany from 1923 to 1925 and again from 1926 to 1928, and was the Centre Party's (and, in the second round, the entire Weimar Coalition's) candidate in the 1925 presidential election. But in the runoff he was defeated by Paul von Hindenburg, as Ernst Thälmann the Communist candidate also stood and split the vote.

Marx took an active part in the Catholic Centre Party. In 1899, he presided the Zentrums-Verein in Elberfeld; in 1908 he became chairman of the Centre Party in Düsseldorf.

From 1899 to 1918 Marx was a member of the Landtag of Prussia. From 1910 he was a member of the Reichstag, where he became a member of the executive committee of the Centre Party faction. There, he specialised in the field of school and culture politics.

During World War I he expressed his opinion against annexation and for a peace resolution. Thus, he was elected into the Weimar National Assembly. He supported the Treaty of Versailles during the occupation of the Rhineland in 1923 because he thought that if Germany did not accept it, the Rhineland would be separated from Prussia. Marx also tried to unify the Centre Party and to support the government, using his style of politics and an appeal to Catholicism.

When the government of Gustav Stresemann fell in 1923, Marx became chancellor, leading the tenth German government to hold office since 1919. His first term lasted thirteen months, his second term just over two years. In this time, he presided over four cabinets, the first two representing minority governments, later joined by the DNVP. His foreign minister was Gustav Stresemann, whose politics led to a toleration by the SPD. During Marx's periods in office, he managed to stabilize the German economy after the hyperinflation of 1923 by introducing a new currency and he abolished the trial by jury with the Emminger Reform. By the end of 1924, the national state of emergency could be ended. The cabinets led by Marx also accepted the Dawes Plan. In his second term, Germany joined the League of Nations, and Marx managed to unseat General Hans von Seeckt, who wanted to make the army a "state within the state". On the other hand, during his terms the Reichswehr secretly cooperated with the Soviet Russian army to circumvent the Treaty of Versailles.[clarification needed][citation needed] In social policy, Marx's final term as Chancellor was notable for the passage of a law in July 1927 that established a comprehensive unemployment insurance system.

In 1925 Marx also became minister president of Prussia, and in 1926 he was minister of justice in the cabinet of his successor, Hans Luther. He was a member of the Reichstag up to 1932. During the Nazi period, and after World War II, he lived in Bonn, where he died.

First cabinet (November 1923 - May 1924)[edit]


  • 15 April 1924 - Kurt Joel succeeded Emminger as Minister of Justice.

Second cabinet (June 1924 - December 1924)[edit]


  • 11 October 1924 - Rudolf Krohne (DVP) succeeded Oeser as Minister of Transport.

Third cabinet (May 1926 - December 1926)[edit]

Fourth cabinet (January 1927 - June 1928)[edit]


  • 19 January 1928 - Wilhelm Groener succeeded Geßler as Minister of Defence.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Gustav Stresemann
Chancellor of Germany
Succeeded by
Hans Luther
Preceded by
Otto Braun
Prime Minister of Prussia
Succeeded by
Otto Braun
Preceded by
Hans Luther
Chancellor of Germany
Succeeded by
Hermann Müller