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Study Notes

The Weimar Constitution

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The Weimar Constitution was written by the National Assembly after it had been elected in January 1919. When writing the constitution, there was a need to ensure that democracy would have a change, whilst balancing the competing political interests of all those parties at the national assembly.

The key underlying points of the constitution were as follows:

  • The new country was to be a Republic
  • The fundamental building blocks were to be the states making the nation a federal nation. States would have power of education, policing and religion
  • The German Government would control taxes, foreign policy and the armed forces

The Weimar Government had several key parts outlined in the constitution:

Reich President: The President was head of the government and was elected for seven year terms. They appointed the Chancellor, could call and dismiss the Reichstag, and he was Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

Reichstag: The Reichstag was the lower chamber of the German Parliament was elected by the people for 4 year terms.

Reichsrat: The Reichsrat was the upper chamber of the German Parliament and was filled with delegates of the states.

Article 48: This clause in the constitution was the emergency powers clause, which allowed the President to make laws without consulting the Reichstag. This would become a major flaw in the system

Bill of Rights: The Weimar Constitution outlined a Bill of Rights which established civil rights for all Germans. It included rights to free speech, equality before the law, labour rights including the ability to be a member of a trade union.

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