Postage Stamp »Otto Braun«

Bulwark of Democracy

The Social Democrat Otto Braun, who served as the Minister President of the Free State of Prussia in the Weimar Republic from 1920 to 1932 with two short interruptions, is considered one of the outstanding personalities of his time. Often titled the “Czar of Prussia” due to his authoritarian governing style and his East Prussian origin from Königsberg, he was nevertheless a committed democrat who resisted totalitarian efforts from both the left and the right. He systematically built the Free State, the largest state in terms of population and area in the Reich, into a “democratic bulwark” that was intended to serve as a model for all of Germany. With this, he temporarily provided the Republic, which had seen little stable republican majorities since 1920, with a certain degree of stability until the world economic crisis and the growing unemployment deprived the “Weimar Coalition” led by him in Prussia of its political base. Due to his courageous defense of democracy, Otto Braun early on came into conflict with the enemies of democracy, especially the National Socialists, whom he fiercely fought against. With the “Preußenschlag” (Prussian coup) by Chancellor Franz von Papen in July 1932, he was finally displaced from the government in the Free State and fled to Switzerland in March 1933, threatened in life and limb, after Hitler’s “seizure of power.” There, he lived in isolation until his death in 1955.