SPD politician and first chancellor of the Weimar Republic. From 1903-1918 he was a member of the Reichstag from Solingen, and he remained active in German politics until the Nazis rose to power in 1933. From 1912 he was a leader in the Social Democratic Party, and on 9 November 1918 he declared Germany a republic from a window in the Reichstag, an action which was premature but irreversible. He served as the first Chancellor of the Weimar Republic, but he refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles and resigned after only four months in office. Subsequently, he served as Mayor of Kassel and in the Reichstag, until Hitler's rise to power forced him into exile in Copenhagen.