Weimar Republic constitution
- The Constitution of the German Reich (German: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs ), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (Weimarer Verfassung) was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933).
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The Constitution of the German Reich ( German: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs ), usually known as the Weimar Constitution ( Weimarer Verfassung ), was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933).
The Weimar constitution was promulgated formally on August 11, 1919, ending the provisional status of government in Germany that had begun with Scheidemann’s proclamation of a republic the previous November. In September the government, judging the situation sufficiently safe in Berlin, returned to the capital.
Courtesy of The Wiener Holocaust Library Collections. The Weimar Republic adopted a new constitution , different to that of the previous monarchy . Under the new republic, all adults over the age of twenty could vote. Instead of a monarch, there was a president elected every seven years. The president’s power was limited by the Reichstag .
- The National Assembly
- A New Government
- The New Constitution
- Constitutional Features
- Was Germany Ready?
The design of a new constitution began in late 1918, following the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm IIand the collapse of the monarchy. The new government, headed by chancellor Friedrich Ebert and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), believed Germany should become a democratic republic, in line with their own political values. Though Ebert and his party ...
In November 1918, Ebert and his cabinet decided to convene elections for a National Assembly. This body was to act as a temporary government and oversee the development of a new constitution and political system. Elections for the National Assembly were held on January 19th 1919, a few days after the suppression of the Spartacist uprisingin Berlin....
With Berlin still at risk of renewed violence, the National Assembly met in the town of Weimar on February 6th. Within a week, the Assembly had formed a coalition government comprised of the SPD and other left-wing or liberal parties. Ebert was elected as the Weimar Republic’s first president with Philipp Scheidemannas his chancellor. The Weimar Na...
The broad framework for a constitution came from Hugo Preuss, a little-known lawyer rushed into Scheidemann’s cabinet as minister for the interior. Preuss suggested a political system modelled on that of the United States. It would be federalist but must ensure the continuation of a single German nation; it would be democratic but would contain str...
The draft constitutionwas finalised in August 1919, passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by Ebert. Some of its key features were: Federalism. The Weimar constitution recognised the 17 German states and allowed for their continuation. Law-making power would be shared between the federal Reichstag and state Landtags. The national gover...
This constitution made the Weimar Republic one of the most democratic and liberal political systems of its time. It provided for universal suffrage, contained a limited bill of rights and offered a proportional method of electing the Reichstag. Giving such an expansive liberal democracy to a people who had previously known only rigid monarchic and ...
The Weimar constitution was generous with civil rights. It provided for equality before the law, and stated explicitly that men and women have the rights and duties as citizens (to this day, the U.S. has refused to enshrine the equality of the sexes in its constitution). Above all, this clause guaranteed women the vote.