Weimar National Assembly

Weimar National Assembly

Weimarer Nationalversammlung
Constituent Assembly of the Weimar Republic
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Established1919
Disbanded1920
Preceded byImperial Reichstag
Succeeded byWeimar Reichstag
Seats421
Elections
Direct competitive elections
Last election
19 January 1919
Meeting place
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-15436-0010, Weimar, Nationaltheater, Denkmal Goethe-Schiller.jpg
Deutsches Nationaltheater, Weimar

The Weimar National Assembly (German: Weimarer Nationalversammlung) was the constitutional convention and de facto parliament of Germany from 6 February 1919 to 6 June 1920. The assembly drew up the new constitution which was in force from 1919 to 1933, technically remaining in effect even until the end of Nazi rule in 1945. It convened in Weimar, Thuringia and is the reason for this period in German history becoming known as the Weimar Republic.

Background[]

With the end of the First World War and the start of the November Revolution, Chancellor Max of Baden announced the abdication of the German Emperor Wilhelm II on 9 November 1918. He also appointed Friedrich Ebert as his own successor as Chancellor. The Council of the People's Deputies, a provisional government consisting of three delegates from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and three from the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), took over the executive power on the following day and called for a National Congress of Councils on 16 to 21 December to convene in Berlin. This Reichsrätekongress set elections for a national assembly to take place on 19 January 1919.[1]

Elections[]

The elections for the National Assembly on 19 January 1919 were the first elections in Germany after the introduction of women's suffrage.[2] The legal voting age had been lowered from 25 to 20 years. Together, these changes raised the number of eligible voters by around 20 million.[3] The turnout rate was 83%,[2] a slightly lower percentage than in the last Reichstag elections in 1912, but a much greater absolute turnout due to the expanded suffrage.[3] Among women the turnout was 90%.[4]:17

Reichstag seats
SPD
38.72%
Zentrum
21.62%
German Democratic Party (FVP/NLP)
17.81%
German National People's Party (DKP/DRP)
10.45%
Independent Social Democrats USPD
5.23%
German People's Party (NLP/DRP)
4.51%
Other
1.66%

The Bavarian Peasants' League (BB), German-Hanoverian Party (DHP), Schleswig-Holsteinische Bauern- und Landarbeiterdemokratie (SHBLD), and Brunswick Election-Union (BLWV) each attained less than one percent of the vote. The Communist Party, founded in December 1918, boycotted the elections. Although SPD and USPD had been instrumental in introducing women's suffrage, most women voted for the DDP and DNVP (in Protestant parts of the country) or the Zentrum or BVP (in Catholic parts).[4]:17 The parties were attributed a number of seats proportional to the number of votes they received.[3][5] Out of a total of 416 delegates just 37 were women.[4]:17 The so-called "Weimar Coalition" of SPD, Centre Party and DDP held an absolute majority of the seats.[3]

Composition of the National Assembly

Establishment[]

Cover of the Weimar Constitution

The National Assembly met in Weimar for several reasons: the politicians wanted to avoid the ongoing fights in the capital Berlin, and SPD leader Friedrich Ebert wanted to remind the victorious World War I Allies, who were at the time deliberating a peace treaty, of Weimar Classicism, which included the likes of Goethe and Schiller.[4]:17

Important events and decisions[]

Dissolution[]

On 21 May 1920 the National Assembly dissolved itself.[6] After the first elections based on the new constitution took place on 6 June 1920, the Reichstag took over the role of the National Assembly.[9]

Presidents of the Weimar National Assembly[]

Name Party Entered Office Left Office
Eduard David SPD 7 February 1919 13 February 1919
Conrad Haussmann [de] (acting) 13 February 1919 14 February 1919
Konstantin Fehrenbach Centre Party 14 February 1919 21 June 1920

See also[]

References[]

  1. ^ Reichskongreß der Arbeiter- und Soldatenräte in dhm.de/lemo. Retrieved 10 December 2007. (in German)
  2. ^ a b c "Chronologie 1919 (German)". Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Die Wahlen zur Nationalversammlung in dhm.de/lemo. Retrieved December 10, 2007. (in German)
  4. ^ a b c d Sturm, Reinhard (2011). "Weimarer Republik, Informationen zur politischen Bildung, Nr. 261 (German)". Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. ISSN 0046-9408. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  5. ^ Election results in dhm.de/lemo. Retrieved December 10, 2007. (in German)
  6. ^ a b "Chronologie 1920 (German)". Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Friedrich Ebert (1871–1925). Vom Arbeiterführer zum Reichspräsidenten (German)". Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Files of the Reichskanzlei: Kabinett Scheidemann, Einleitung II (German)". Bundesarchiv. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  9. ^ Die Nationalversammlung in dhm.de/lemo. Retrieved 10 December 2007. (in German)