Jarres in 1925
|Vice-Chancellor of Germany|
30 November 1923 – 15 December 1924
Gustav Stresemann (1923)|
Wilhelm Marx (1923–1925)
|Preceded by||Robert Schmidt|
|Succeeded by||Oskar Hergt|
|Reich Minister of the Interior|
11 November 1923 – 15 December 1924
|Preceded by||Wilhelm Sollmann|
|Succeeded by||Martin Schiele|
21 September 1874|
Remscheid, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
20 October 1951 77) (aged|
Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
|Political party||German People's Party (DVP)|
|Occupation||Lawyer, civil servant, politician, industrialist|
Karl Jarres (21 September 1874 – 20 October 1951) was a politician of the German People's Party (Deutsche Volkspartei, or DVP) during the Weimar Republic. From 1923 to 1924/1925, he was Minister of the Interior and Vice-Chancellor of Germany. Jarres was also the long-serving mayor of Duisburg from 1914 to 1933. After the Nazis deposed him, he started a career in industry.
Karl Jarres was born on 21 September 1874 in Remscheid, in the Prussian Rhine Province. His father, Rudolf Jarres (1842-1922) was a merchant. His mother was Maria Jarres (1849-1936), née Busch (daughter of merchant and Remscheid city treasurer Robert Busch). Karl studied law at London, Paris, Bonn and Berlin, and was awarded a Dr. iur. in 1897 at the University of Erlangen. After his legal clerkship, Jarres started working in municipal administration. He was Stadtassessor (1901) and then Beigeordneter (1903) at Düren. In 1907, he became Beigeordneter at Cologne. In 1910, he was elected mayor of Remscheid.
In 1911, Jarres became Oberbürgermeister (Chief Burgomaster) of Remscheid. After 1914, he was the Oberbürgermeister of Duisburg, located in the Ruhr region, a position he held until 1933. As representative for Duisburg, Jarres was a member of the Prussian upper chamber — the Herrenhaus — from 1914-18.
During World War I he was successful in securing food supplies for the city. During and after the Revolution he opposed the establishment of a far-left Räteherrschaft (rule by workers' and soldiers' councils), at the cost of being at times subject to physical violence. He joined the German People's Party (DVP) when it was created in 1918 (he was previously a member of the National Liberal Party) and remained a member until the DVP was dissolved in 1933. However, Jarres never played a leading role in the party. From 1919 to 1933, Jarre was a member of the Prussian State Council. He was also active in the Prussian Städtetag (later Deutscher Städtetag).
During the Occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 he was deposed as mayor by the military authorities and served a deportation order by the Belgians. Since he ignored it, a military court sentenced him to two months in prison. After he was released, the Prussian and Reich governments appointed him Vertrauensmann for the occupied territory. He had become known nationwide for his steadfast stance against the occupation. Strongly nationalistic feeling (he was a Burschenschaft member) and a dedication to liberty made him one of the most ardent supporters of the Versackungspolitik (leaving sole responsibility for the Ruhr to the occupiers).
On 11 November 1923, Jarres followed the invitation by Gustav Stresemann and became Minister of the Interior in the second Stresemann cabinet. He kept that position under Chancellor Wilhelm Marx until 1925. In the first and second Marx cabinets, Jarres was also Vice-Chancellor. After the Ruhr crisis was over, Jarres loyally supported the policies of Stresemann (now Foreign Minister). The second Marx cabinet resigned on 15 December 1924, and was replaced on 15 January 1925 by the first cabinet of Hans Luther.
Again urged by Stresemann, Jarres became the candidate of the DVP in the 1925 German Presidential election, the first direct election to the office of President of the Reich (Reichspräsident), following Friedrich Ebert's death.
In the first round of the election he received the largest number of votes with over ten million and his plurality was at nearly 39%. The next major candidates were Otto Braun of the Social Democrats with nearly eight million votes (29%) and Wilhelm Marx of the Catholic Center Party with nearly four million votes (14.5%). Jarres withdrew his candidacy in the second round of voting in favor of Paul von Hindenburg who would go on to win the closely fought second round of elections against Marx and Ernst Thälmann, the candidate of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).
Returning from Berlin to Duisburg in 1925, he worked towards a substantial increase in the size of the city in the territorial restructuring of the Ruhr, but achieved only the merger with Hamborn in 1929 (only in 1975 did Duisburg grow to the size he had envisaged). When the Great Depression hit the city, relying mostly on heavy industry (coal and steel), was severely affected and Jarres could do little to prevent unemployment from rising.
Reelected in 1930, Jarres was deposed as mayor by the Nazis in May 1933 and in November retired from public life (im Ruhestand). He spent the rest of his career in private industry, as a member of the supervisory board or management board of well-known Duisburg companies such as Demag. After 1945, he was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Ruhr industry. From 1942-51, he was chairman of the supervisory board of Klöckner.
- Karl Jarres at the Akten der Reichskanzlei (files of the Reich Chancellery, German)
- Newspaper clippings about Karl Jarres in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)