The Constitution of the German Reich known as the Weimar Constitution was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era. The constitution declared Germany to be a democratic parliamentary republic with a legislature elected under proportional representation. Universal suffrage was established, with a minimum voting age of 20; the constitution technically remained in effect throughout the Nazi era from 1933 to 1945. The constitution's title was the same as the Constitution of the German Empire; the German state's official name was Deutsches Reich until the adoption of the 1949 Basic Law. Following the end of World War I, a German National Assembly gathered in the town of Weimar, in the state of Thuringia, after the 19 January 1919 Federal elections, in order to write a constitution for the Reich; the nation was to be a democratic federal republic, governed by a parliament. The constitution was drafted by the lawyer and liberal politician Hugo Preuss, state secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, became Minister of the Interior.
Preuss criticized the Triple Entente decision to prohibit the incorporation of post-Austro-Hungarian-dissolution German Austria into the nascent German republic, saying it was a contradiction of the Wilsonian principle of self-determination of peoples. Disagreements arose between the delegates over issues such as the national flag, religious education for youth, the rights of the provinces that made up the Reich; these disagreements were resolved by August 1919, though sixty-seven delegates abstained from voting to adopt the Weimar Constitution. The Republic's first President, Friedrich Ebert, signed the new German constitution into law on 11 August 1919; the constitution is named after Weimar although it was signed into law by Friedrich Ebert in Schwarzburg. This is because Ebert was on holiday in Schwarzburg, while the parliament working out the constitution was gathered in Weimar. Federal elections were held in Germany on 6 June 1920 in line with the Weimar Constitution. Gerhard Anschütz, a noted German teacher of constitutional law, was a prominent commentator of the Weimar Constitution.
The Weimar Constitution was divided into two main parts. The two parts were divided into five sections, respectively. In all, there were over 180 articles in the Constitution; some of the more noteworthy provisions are described below, including those provisions which proved significant in the demise of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazi Germany. The preamble to the Constitution reads: Das Deutsche Volk einig in seinen Stämmen und von dem Willen beseelt, sein Reich in Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit zu erneuen und zu festigen, dem inneren und dem äußeren Frieden zu dienen und den gesellschaftlichen Fortschritt zu fördern, hat sich diese Verfassung gegeben. In English, this can be translated as: The German people, united in its tribes and inspired with the will to renew and strengthen its realm in liberty and justice, to serve internal and external peace, to promote social progress, has adopted this Constitution; the first part of the Constitution specified the organization of the various components of the Reich government.
Section 1 consisted of Articles 1 to 19 and established the German Reich as a republic whose power derived from the people. The Reich was defined as the region encompassed by the German states, other regions could join the Reich based on popular self-determination and Reich legislation. Section 1 established that recognized principles of international law were binding on Germany and gave the Reich government exclusive jurisdiction of: foreign relations, colonial affairs, citizenship freedom of movement immigration and extradition. Defense customs and trade currency and coinage postal and telephone serviceWith the exceptions of the subjects for which the Reich government had exclusive jurisdiction, the states could govern their respective territories as they saw fit. However, Reich law nullified state law in the event of a conflict. Adjudication of conflicts between the Länder and the Reich government was the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. State authorities were required to enforce Reich law and must have a constitution on free state principles.
Each state parliament was to be elected by an equal and secret ballot according to representative election. Each state government could serve only so long as it had the confidence of the respective state parliament. Articles 20 to 40 described the national parliament, the Reichstag, seated in the capital, Berlin; the Reichstag was composed of representatives elected by the German people by an equal and secret ballot open to all Germans aged 20 or older. Proportional representation principles governed Reichstag elections. Members of the Reichstag were bound only to their own conscience. Members served for four years; the Reichstag could be dissolved by the Reich president and new elections held not more than 60 days after the date of dissolution. Members of the Reichstag and of each state parliament were immune from arrest or investigation of a criminal offense except with the approval of the legislative body to which the person belonged; the same approval was required for any other restriction on personal freedom which might harm the member's ability to fulfil his duties.
The President could be re-elected once. He could be removed from office by plebiscite upon the vote of two-thirds of the Reichstag. Rejection of the measure by the voter
Ministry of the Reichswehr
The Ministry of the Reichswehr or Reich Ministry of Defence was the defence ministry of the Weimar Republic and the early Third Reich. The 1919 Weimar Constitution provided for a unified, national ministry of defence to coordinate the new Reichswehr, that ministry was set up in October 1919, from the existing Prussian War Ministry and Reichsmarineamt, it was based in the Bendlerblock building. The Wehrgesetz of 21 May 1935 renamed it the Reich Ministry of War, abolished in 1938 and replaced with the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. Within the framework of the Gesetz über die Bildung einer vorläufigen Reichswehr of March 1919, the Reichspräsident was commander-in-chief of the armed forces, with the Reichswehrminister exercising command; these arrangements left out the Prussian armed forces, which remained under the command of the Prussian Minister of War. After the Weimar Constitution came into force, the war ministries of Bavaria, Saxony, Württemberg and Prussia were dissolved and command authority was concentrated in the hand of the national Reichswehrminister.
Power of command for each branch was given to the head of the Army Command and the head of the Navy Command. The Ministeramt was established as a third office within the ministry in 1929, with the Ministeramt′s head acting as the Reichswehrminister′s political deputy; the innocuous Troop Office functioned as a covert general staff, banned by the Treaty of Versailles. The "Verkündung der Wehrhoheit" of 1935 created a new Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, under the Air Ministry, turned the Heeresleitung into the Oberkommando des Heeres and the Marineleitung into the Oberkommando der Marine; the Ministeramt was renamed the Wehrmachtsamt. As a result of the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair in 1938, the Reichskriegsminister and Wehrmachtsamt were abolished by Adolf Hitler and their duties transferred to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. Minister of DefenceMinister of War Heads of the Ministeramt Heads of the Wehrmachtamt Heads of the Army Command Commander-in-chief of the Army Chief of the Admiralty Heads of the Naval Command Commander-in-chief of the Navy Article on adlexikon.de
Military history of Germany
While German-speaking people have a long history, Germany as a nation state dates only from 1871. Earlier periods are subject to definition debates; the Franks, for instance, were a union of Germanic tribes. The capital of medieval ruler Charlemagne's empire was the city of Aachen, now part of Germany, yet he was a Frank. France was named after the Franks and the Dutch and Flemish people are the only ones to speak a language that descends from Frankish. Hence nearly all continental Western European historians can claim his victories as their heritage; the Holy Roman Empire he founded was but far from German speaking. The Kingdom of Prussia, which unified Germany in the 19th century, had significant territory in what is now Poland. In the early 19th century, the philosopher Schlegel referred to Germany as a Kulturnation, a nation of shared culture and political disunity, analogous to ancient Greece; until the unification of 1871, Austria was considered a part of Germany though much of its empire was not in the Holy Roman Empire and was non-German.
During the ancient and early medieval periods the Germanic tribes had no written language. What we know about their early military history comes from accounts written in Latin and from archaeology; this leaves important gaps. Germanic wars against the Romans are well documented from the Roman perspective, such as the infamous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Germanic wars against the early Celts remain mysterious. Germanic tribes are thought to have originated during the Nordic Bronze Age in northern Germany and southern Scandinavia; the tribes spread south motivated by the deteriorating climate of that area. They crossed the River Elbe overrunning the territories of the Celtic Volcae in the Weser Basin; the Romans recorded one of these early migrations when the Cimbri and the Teutons tribes threatened the Republic itself around the late 2nd century BC. In the East, other tribes, such as Goths and Vandals, settled along the shores of the Baltic Sea pushing southward and settling as far away as Ukraine.
The Angles and Saxons migrated to England. The Germanic peoples had a fraught relationship with their neighbours, leading to a period of over two millennia of military conflict over various territorial, religious and economic concerns; the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation emerged from the eastern part of the Carolingian Empire after its division in the Treaty of Verdun of 843, lasted a millennium until its dissolution in 1806. It was never a unitary state, its unifying characteristic was its Carolingian heritage and strong religious connotations, its claim to "German-ness" the ethnicity of most of its subjects and rulers. The military history of Germany during the Middle Ages was full of siege warfare and the technological changes that come from fighting that kind of war. From the creation of the First German Empire in 843 until the creation of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, the middles ages were fought in similar fashion to those of ancient times. Many changes were made due to the use of new military technologies.
During the Middle Ages, siege warfare was the primary way in which war was fought and territory taken through conquest. There were field battles fought, in which they employed a phalanx formation similar to what would have been studied in Vegetius’ De re militari. However, the vast majority of battles were fought in defense of or the attempt to take fortifications; the men required to partake in a siege came from different areas of society. There were some nobles, some knights, the kings personal men, as well as the vast majority being peasant farmers conscripted into fighting. Siege warfare in effect was the way. With the use of sieges as the primary means of middle age warfare, there were changes in military technology that facilitated fighting this differing kind of warfare; that being said, advances in technology did not mean that old technology became obsolete. One such advance was the trebuchet. There were advancements such as new helmets called Spangenhemle as well as some Carolingian developments in weapon production.
With the subsequent development in armor, there came advancements in handheld weaponry to deal with these developments. For example, swords became thinner and pointed on the tip in order to penetrate between gaps in plate armor. Crossbows as well became more used in the defense of castles during siege warfare. In order to attack castles, the Springald was created to launch spears in succession, but was used outside of Germany. Stirrups were developed, integral in the use of shock combat during the Middle Ages; the creation of greaves was important in protecting the shins. In Germany, Baronets Knights; these were a title of nobility bestowed on people by the local lord. Following this, the title of Ritter was passed in a hereditary fashion until the end of the noble line. After which, the title and its holdings would revert to the lord to give out to someone else. Ritter's were considered the elite of the German military as their entire goal was to practice for war, they did this by competing in tournaments to keep themselves practiced.
A Ritter would be considered of this
Unification of Germany
The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state occurred on 18 January 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Princes of the German states, excluding Austria, gathered there to proclaim William I of Prussia as German Emperor after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the de facto transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states had been developing for some time through alliances formal and informal between princely rulers, but in fits and starts; the self-interests of the various parties hampered the process over nearly a century of autocratic experimentation, beginning in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, which prompted the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the subsequent rise of German nationalism. Unification exposed tensions due to religious, linguistic and cultural differences among the inhabitants of the new nation, suggesting that 1871 only represented one moment in a continuum of the larger unification processes.
The Holy Roman Emperor had been called "Emperor of all the Germanies". In the empire, higher nobility were referred to as "Princes of Germany" or "Princes of the Germanies"—for the lands once called East Francia had been organized and governed as pocket kingdoms since before the rise of Charlemagne. In the mountainous terrain of much of the territory, isolated peoples developed cultural, educational and religious differences over such a lengthy time period. By the nineteenth century and communications improvements brought these regions closer together; the Holy Roman Empire, which had included more than 500 independent states, was dissolved when Emperor Francis II abdicated during the War of the Third Coalition. Despite the legal and political disruption associated with the end of the Empire, the people of the German-speaking areas of the old Empire had a common linguistic and legal tradition further enhanced by their shared experience in the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. European liberalism offered an intellectual basis for unification by challenging dynastic and absolutist models of social and political organization.
Economically, the creation of the Prussian Zollverein in 1818, its subsequent expansion to include other states of the German Confederation, reduced competition between and within states. Emerging modes of transportation facilitated business and recreational travel, leading to contact and sometimes conflict among German speakers from throughout Central Europe; the model of diplomatic spheres of influence resulting from the Congress of Vienna in 1814–15 after the Napoleonic Wars endorsed Austrian dominance in Central Europe. The negotiators at Vienna took no account of Prussia's growing strength within and among the German states and so failed to foresee that Prussia would rise to challenge Austria for leadership of the German peoples; this German dualism presented two solutions to the problem of unification: Kleindeutsche Lösung, the small Germany solution, or Großdeutsche Lösung, the greater Germany solution. Historians debate whether Otto von Bismarck—Minister President of Prussia—had a master plan to expand the North German Confederation of 1866 to include the remaining independent German states into a single entity or to expand the power of the Kingdom of Prussia.
They conclude that factors in addition to the strength of Bismarck's Realpolitik led a collection of early modern polities to reorganize political, economic and diplomatic relationships in the 19th century. Reaction to Danish and French nationalism provided foci for expressions of German unity. Military successes—especially those of Prussia—in three regional wars generated enthusiasm and pride that politicians could harness to promote unification; this experience echoed the memory of mutual accomplishment in the Napoleonic Wars in the War of Liberation of 1813–14. By establishing a Germany without Austria, the political and administrative unification in 1871 at least temporarily solved the problem of dualism. 1797: The French First Republic annexed the Left Bank of the Rhine as a result of the War of the First Coalition. 1802: Previous annexations by France confirmed following its victory in the War of the Second Coalition. 1804: Francis I of Austria declared the new Austrian Empire as a reaction to Napoleon Bonaparte's proclamation of the First French Empire in 1804.
1806: As a result of the War of the Third Coalition, Napoleon I annexed some territories East of the Rhine, replaced the Holy Roman Empire by the Confederation of the Rhine as a French client-state. 1807: Prussia lost one half of its territory following the War of the Fourth Coalition. 1815: After the defeat of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna reinstated the Germanic states into the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire. 1819: The Carlsbad Decrees suppressed any form of pan-Germanic activities to avoid the creation of a'German state'. 1834: The Prussian-led custom union evolved into the Zollverein that included all Confederation states except the Austrian Empire. 1848: Revolts across the German Confederation, such as in Berlin and Frankfurt, forced King Frederick William IV of Prussia to grant a constitution to the Confederation. In the meantime, the Frankfurt Parliament was set up in 1848 and attempted to pro