Realm president

realm president was the name for the head of state of the German Reich from 1919 to 1945.

In accordance with article 43 that Weimar condition was selected directly the realm president by the people. The term of office amounted to seven years, whereby repeated re-election was permissible. For the office to stand as a candidate Germans could Citizen, those 35. Lebensjahr had completed.

Palace of the realm president in Berlin

contrary to the Federals President of the Federal Republic of Germany did not only have the realm president representative tasks, but could by the dissolution of Reichstag (article 25) and by dismissal and appointment of the realm chancellor (article 53) directInfluence on the policy exert. In addition the realm president possessed a large authority ( dictator on time” ) by article 48 of the condition - the state of emergency paragraphs in such a way specified - in the case of doubt. The measures could due to kind. 48 - originally only for real exceptional cases meant - ofReichstag to be waived, which the realm president could forestall however by the previous dissolution of Reichstag. Further the realm president was commander in chief over all armed forces (article 47). Due to his extensive powers the realm president is regarded also as a spare emperor.

In fact strong position of the realm president hasto do but particularly with the actual weakness of the parliament and from their resulting in weakness of the realm chancellor. In Reichstag were only rarely absolute majorities of the constructional, democratic forces. The parliament was splintered into a multiplicity of parties. These parties, inCore still from the empire and were not used to take responsibility for the formation of a government were no people's parties came, but bind usually at certain groups of clienteles. They were only limited ready to be received the compromises which are inevitable in a parliamentary system. Besides it gaveinto those actually parties of the Weimar coalition in such a way specified inside, carrying the republic, forces, which stood for the parliamentary democracy sceptically opposite. Thus no continuous majorities came off, which could have carried a stable realm government. If this would different have been, the realm chancellor would have and ofit selected realm Minister, whose counter signature was necessary for the validity of all arrangements of the realm president (kind. 50), which realm presidents can offer easily Paroli.

The this would have been possible in principle, proves Austria: This country had changed its condition for 1929 after German model, so that that Austrian Federal President formally seen more or less the same powers attained as the realm president. And this condition applies in the core today still. Nevertheless the Federals President due to the stable majorities in the national council like its German colleague in practice only a representative position has and is largewithout influence on the policy of the Federal Government carried from the national council.

Is to be also considered that in that Weimar time to far into the political center the view became to represent, the president has rather still too little power, around the weaknesses (at that time) of the parliamentaryTo adjust system. This tendency gave it also in other countries, where it led however authoritarian solutions frequently too much (e.g. in Poland).


The German Reich knew the following realm presidents:

  • Friedrich Ebert (from 1919 to 1925);
  • Dr. Walter Simons (of the 11. March - 30. April1925) acting realm president was - through of Reichstag decided law after Ebert's death as a president of the realm court. It did not play an important role and therefore is often not mentioned.
  • Paul von Hindenburg (1925 to 1934);
  • immediately after Hindenburgs death took over realm chancellors Adolf Hitler also thatOffice of the realm president (by popular vote of 19. August 1934 confirmed), replaced the title “realm president” however by “leaders”;
  • Karl Dönitz, of Hitler by will intended for the realm president, took over the office after its death at the 1. May 1945, when Germany controls already to a large extent from the allied ones became; with its arrest by the allied ones to 23. May 1945 ends in fact its term of office.

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Friedrich Ebert

Friedrich Ebert (SPD), born 1871, 1918 together with Hugo Haase to the chairman of the advice of the people-assigned one selected, that took over the Regierungsgeschäfte after the November revolution. After the national assembly had decided the choice of a realm president by law,up to the choice the government the Regierungsgeschäfte, became Ebert at the 11 took over. February 1919 with 277 to 379 voices to the realm president selected. To its sharpest competitors to Arthur count von Posadowsky Wehner 49 voices were allotted. On the same day Ebert appointed a cabinet from representatives of SPD, Strip packing and center under the direction of Philipp sheath man.

To 28. February 1925 died Ebert.

the realm president choice 1925

after Ebert had died, became the choice on the 29. March 1925 preferred. During the first ballot 7 candidates did not begin, from thosethe absolute majority necessary in this ballot reached. Thus a second ballot became to 26. April necessarily, in which now a relative majority was enough. Center, SPD and strip packing agreed on William Marx. DNVP, DVP, NSDAP and BVP designated Paul von Hindenburg and thoseKPD remained with Ernst Thälmann.

With 48,3 per cent of the voices Hindenburg was selected to the realm president.

see: Realm president choice 1925

Paul von Hindenburg

Paul von Hindenburg, born 1847, had been retired 1911 as a general, in the First World War was however again used andachieved with fir mountain a crucial victory against the Russian army. With Erich Ludendorff it determined the highest army command. The military fame, which it at that time assign became, was contributing with its choice to the president.

Hindenburg becomes (e.g. of Theodor ash castle) as very more intelligent, more awake andexperienced president described, against the plate of the military, unpolitical leader. One must consider that it was in the First World War a kind military dictator of Germany. However it diminished at the high age, in its last Lebensjahren.

Since the term of office Hindenburgs saw relatively calm times until 1930,compared to the time of Ebert, he could exercise its office quite more reservedly. Until has it only very few “emergency decrees” signed 1930, excluding such, which waived regulations from the Ebert time. Since 1930 however he, on urge of realm chancellor Brüning, took over quasi tasks of the zerstrittenen and oftenparliament incompetent to act. With its emergency decrees Hindenburg carried the legislative work out of the parliament, on the other hand one its role became larger during the formation of a government. To hold it remains that Hindenburg did not aim at this role purposefully, but toward the situation and the realm chancellor in addition saw itself pushed. With the appointmentAdolf Hitler to the realm chancellor introduced Hindenburg one of the bitterest phases of German history.

the realm president choice 1932

the choice 1932 was at the impression of political conditions in Germany, particularly however under the impression of the candidacy Adolf Hitler (NSDAP). Around the choiceHitler to the president to avoid, agreed center, SPD and strip packing beside DVP and BVP on Hindenburg - the democratic parties had become thus by opponents Hindenburgs its supporters. In the first ballot to 13. It missed March 1932 with 49,6 per cent of the voices thoseabsolute majority (before Hitler with 30,1%, Thälmann with 13,2% and Theodor dark mountain (DNVP) with 6,8%). Hindenburg sat down however in 2. Ballot to 10. April 1932 with 53,0 per cent of the voices through, after parts of the DNVP had supported its candidacy. Hitler received36.8%, Thälmann 10.2% of the voices.

See also:

“seizure of power” of Hitler and Hindenburgs death

Hindenburg, meanwhile far over 80 years old, lost the overview of the office business, so that its advisor circle, which won Kamarilla so mentioned, ever larger influenceand the policy of the president determined. After the dismissal of realm chancellor Heinrich Brüning 1932 and the appointment Franz of Papens was to a large extent repealed set the parliamentary system; Papen became already after a half year again to dismiss, it followed short from Schleicher, instrongly sociopolitically coined/shaped program to intersperse wanted and therefore the industry against itself up-brought. Paul von Hindenburg was so far against the appointment of Hitler, its resistance melted themselves however the more strongly, than its advisors for Hitler discussions. To 28. January 1933 extracted short from Schleicher from Hindenburgthe confidence. To 30. January 1933 he finally appointed its former competitor Adolf Hitler the realm chancellor.

To 2. August 1934 died Paul von Hindenburg; Adolf Hitler took over the office of the realm president after the law over the head of state of the German Reich and combined it with thatOffice of the realm chancellor as leaders and realm chancellors. The law was at the 1. August decided by the realm government in accordance with the enabling act, after which only the rights of the realm president , not however the self-sufficiency of the office were protected.

Karl Dönitz

Hitler appointed Karl Dönitzby will to its successor as a realm president (and Goebbels to the realm chancellor), although it was not purely legally seen any right in addition. After Hitler's suicide to 30. April 1945 stepped Dönitz at the 1. May its office as (a last) realm president on and educated its government in Flensburg. Firstit a gradual surrender of the German armed forces on, in order to make army and civilian population possible the escape from the east rolled over by the Red Army into the British and American areas. After the western allied ones rejected this, he left to 7. and 8. May 1945 those unconditional surrender of the German armed forces sign.

see also

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