The Terms of the Weimar Constitution

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What were the terms of the Weimar Constitution?
Reichstag: the legislative (law-making) assembly of the Weimar Republic with the
Weimar being a democratic parliamentary. The Chancellor and his Ministers needed the
support of the Reichstag to pass laws and remain in office unless in the time of an
emergency.
Electorate: Men and women over 20 all had the right to vote. The electorate voted every
four years for representatives to sit in the Reichstag and at least every four years for
representatives to sit in the provincial parliaments. Voters also voted for the President to
serve a seven year term of office and they could vote in a plebiscite on a given issue of one
tenth of the electorate petitioned for a plebiscite on that issue.
Voting system: of the Weimar Republic is Proportional Representation (PR). This ensured
that the percentage of votes that a party received in an election would be reflected in the
percentage of seats that party would receive in the Reichstag. This ensured that smaller
parties would gain representation in the Reichstag and that coalition governments would
be the norm in the Weimar Republic.
Federal structure: to the Weimar Republic with the seventeen states/provinces in
Germany each having their own parliament; these provincial parliaments/Reichsrats
would have responsibility for such issues as education and policing in a given state but the
state would have centralised authority/overruled from the Reichstag.
President of the Weimar Republic is the Head of State: the President would be elected by
the people in a seven year term office. He also had the right to dissolve the Reichstag. The
President appointed and dismissed the Chancellor and was Commander of the armed
forces. The President also had substantial powers at his disposal in the case of a national
emergency in the form of Article 48.
Article 48: is the part of the constitution which states that in "an emergency situation"
the President can empower/authorise the Chancellor to by pass the Reichstag in order to
pass a particular proposal making it law. This Article constituted the semi-dictatorial tool
in the Weimar Constitution. Reminded people of the Kaiser days. President had the right to
"suspend democracy."Overshadowed the democratic ethos of the constitution.
Reichsrat: is the second house of the central parliament; composed of 67 representatives
from the 17 states/provinces in Germany. This second chamber acted as a "parliamentary
watchdog" advising the Reichstag, and accepting, amending/fixing or rejecting the
legislation proposed in the Reichstag. Crucially, the Reichsrat could be overruled by the
Reichstag.
Individual rights: at the heart of the Weimar constitution; also known as the "Bill Of
Rights" this included those over 20 had the right to vote, welfare provision for
vulnerable/principle of insurance schemes for workers "Welfarism in Weimar", workers
protected, the right to join a trade union, arbitration in industrial disputes, freedom of
religion, freedom of speech and press, personal liberty, equality and censorship forbidden.

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Supreme Court: included in the constitution; the functions of this body were to interpret
the Weimar Constitution however it was still staffed and ran by the Right-Wing/judges
from the Kaiser days.…read more

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