Weimar Constitution - General History of State and Law. Volume 2

2. The Weimar Constitution

Constituent Assembly.

On February 6, 1919, the Constituent Assembly opened in Weimar, the leading role in which belonged to the Social Democrats. The Social Democratic leadership of the Soviets told the Constituent Assembly of their self-liquidation. The Communist Party, which had arisen by this time, did not take part in the Constituent Assembly, taking a boycott position with respect to it.

The Constituent Assembly voted 262 votes to 75 to adopt a constitution known as the "Weimar".

The main provisions of the Weimar Constitution.

The Constitution declared Germany a democratic republic, recognized the equality of all before the law, established universal, equal and direct suffrage by secretly casting votes, introduced a proportional system of elections, proclaimed freedom of speech, press, rallies and demonstrations, inviolability of the person, secrecy of correspondence. Being a typical bourgeois-democratic constitution, it contained a number of reservations that enabled the ruling class to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens.

The organ of general imperial legislation was the Reichstag. Deputies of the Reichstag were not responsible to the voters. The Constitution indicated that they are subject only to their conscience.

The exclusive legislation of the empire included: 1) external relations; 2) Colonial affairs; 3) questions of citizenship, freedom of movement, immigration and extradition of criminals; 4) organization of defense; 5) monetary business; 6) customs business; 7) postal, telegraphic and telephone business.

The competing legislation of the empire included questions of civil law, criminal law, legal proceedings, freedom of assembly, unions and press, health, working legislation and a number of other important issues.

The authority of the representation of German lands in general imperial legislation and administration was the Reichsrat, in which each land had at least one vote, and larger ones - one vote for every 700 thousand inhabitants. Representatives of the lands in the Reichsrat were members of their governments.

Bills were introduced to the Reichstag either on the initiative of the Reichsrat or the imperial government with the consent of the Reichsrat.

The Reichsrat had an important right to challenge the laws adopted by the Reichstag. If the Reichstag insisted again on its decision, then the president decided: he either joined the Reichsrat, or put the issue at issue in a referendum. But by a two-thirds vote, the Reichstag could demand a referendum, and then the president either published the law in the editorial board of the Reichstag, or passed it to a referendum.

The head of state - the president was elected by the population for 7 years (from the number of persons who reached the age of 35). He was endowed with huge rights: he represented Germany in international relations, concluded treaties with foreign states on behalf of the republic, he had the command of the armed forces, he used the right of pardon, appointed and dismissed officials and officers and could grant the exercise of this right to other authorities; he was given the right to early dissolution of the Reichstag. For its part, the Reichstag could demand a two-thirds majority to demand a referendum and raise the question of the president's dismissal. The cases of dissolution of the president of the Reichstag in Germany were, but there were no cases of dismissal of the president at the suggestion of the Reichstag.

Article 48 of the Constitution provided the President with the right to take all measures, up to and including the use of armed force, if public security is seriously violated or threatened with such a violation. This article provided the President with the right to suspend all or some of such rights and freedoms as the inviolability of the person, the inviolability of citizens' homes, the secrecy of correspondence, freedom of speech, meetings, unions, societies, etc. The Constitution stipulated that all such measures the president should immediately bring to the attention of the Reichstag, which can abolish these measures, nevertheless the anti-democratic character of this article is obvious. On its foundation in 1923, the military power of the empire was applied against the revolutionary uprising in Saxony.

The government was appointed by the president. It was to enjoy the confidence of the Reichstag. In other words, when the Reichstag expressed no confidence in the government, it was obliged to resign. In this case, the president could not dismiss the Reichstag. This did not prevent the fact that during the validity of the Weimar Constitution there were several so-called presidential governments, that is, governments appointed by the president not from the majority of the Reichstag and without the formal confidence of the Reichstag. Such were the last few governments before the fascists came to power.

The Weimar Constitution, although it was a notable step forward in the centralization of Germany, still granted significant rights to the empire-forming lands. Article 12 of the Constitution established that the land retains the legislative power "until then and to the extent that the empire does not enjoy its legislative rights".

Having an outwardly democratic character, the Constitution was essentially aimed at protecting private capitalist property, subordinating the interests of the proletariat to the interests of the bourgeoisie.

To spread the illusions of the "civil world" in the masses, The Constitution in the 156th article proclaimed the need to "ensure the cooperation of all producing segments of the population, attract employers and workers to participate in management and regulate the extraction, production and distribution." This article, like the entire Constitution, did not lead to the socialization of German industry, as Kautsky and others asserted, but to strengthening the domination of the monopoly bourgeoisie.

In Weimar Germany, the old state mechanism was largely preserved. The judicial apparatus, cadres of the military and bureaucracy remained the same.

Established in 1019, the republic was in the interests of the German bourgeoisie more than the monarchy of Wilhelm with its considerable feudal survivals, which represented a hindrance to the management of the bourgeoisie.

The leading role among the states that were part of Germany, belonged to Prussia. Supported by the PUnited States Junkers, the German financial and industrial bourgeoisie consolidated itself in power, created a bourgeois republic without Republicans, but from the very beginning regarded it as a forced transitional stage for the establishment of an open terrorist dictatorship.

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