Reichstag (German Empire)

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Reichstag

Deutscher Reichstag
Legislative body of Germany
Wappen Deutsches Reich - Reichsadler 1889.svg
Type
Type
Chambers
History
Established1871
Disbanded1918
Preceded by North German Reichstag
Succeeded by Weimar National Assembly
Seats397 (at dissolution)
Elections
Limited Direct election
Last election
12 January 1912
Meeting place
ReichstagProvisorium.jpg
Leipziger Straße 4, Berlin
The Reichstag in 1889 Bundesarchiv Bild 147-0978, Reichstag, Plenarsitzungssaal.jpg
The Reichstag in 1889

The Reichstag (German: [ˈʁaɪçstaːk] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), Diet of the Realm [1] or Imperial Diet) was the Parliament of Germany from 1871 to 1918. Legislation was shared between the Reichstag and the Bundesrat , which was the Imperial Council of the reigning princes of the German States.

Parliament legislature whose power and function are similar to those dictated by the Westminster system of the United Kingdom

In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries.

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

Bundesrat (German Empire) organ representing the German states 1867-1918

The Bundesrat of the German Empire was, at least in theory, the highest authority of the Empire. It existed from 1871 to 1918 and succeeded the same body of the North German Confederation. Until the 1902 spelling reform, its name was spelled Bundesrath.

Contents

The Reichstag had no formal right to appoint or dismiss governments, but by contemporary standards it was considered a highly modern and progressive parliament. All German men over 25 years of age were eligible to vote, and members of the Reichstag were elected by general, universal and secret suffrage. Members were elected in single-member constituencies by majority vote. If no candidate received a majority of the votes, a runoff election took place. In 1871, the Reichstag consisted of 382 members, but from 1874 it was enlarged to 397 members. [2]

The term of office was initially set at three years, and in 1888 this was extended to five years. The Reichstag was opened once a year by the Emperor. In order to dissolve parliament, the approval of the Imperial Council and the emperor were required. Members of parliament enjoyed legal immunity and indemnity.

Speech or Debate Clause

The Speech or Debate Clause is a clause in the United States Constitution. The clause states that members of both Houses of Congress

...shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Buildings

The Reichstag first met in the Landtag of Prussia (Parliament) building in Berlin. From 16 October 1871 until 04 November 1894 it met in a former porcelain factory at number 4, Leipziger Straße. That 23-year "temporary" location was the scene of passionate political debates that are associated with names like Bebel, Liebknecht, and Bismarck. The premises were generally considered too small, so in 1871 a decision was made to construct a new building. In 1872, there was an architectural competition which attracted 103 entries by architects. However, work did not start for some years, due to problems with purchasing land and to disagreements between Emperor Wilhelm I, Otto von Bismarck, and members of the Reichstag, about how the construction should be carried out.

Landtag of Prussia parliament

The Landtag of Prussia was the representative assembly of the Kingdom of Prussia implemented in 1849, a bicameral legislature consisting of the upper House of Lords (Herrenhaus) and the lower House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus). After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–19 the Landtag diet continued as the parliament of the Free State of Prussia between 1921 and 1933.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Otto von Bismarck 19th-century German statesman and Chancellor

Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890 and was the first Chancellor of the German Empire between 1871 and 1890.

The new Reichstag building in 1894 Reichstagsgebaeude.jpg
The new Reichstag building in 1894

Ten years on, in 1882, another architectural competition was announced, this time with some 200 architects participating. The winner of the second competition was the Frankfurt architect Paul Wallot, who would eventually see his plan executed. On 29 June 1884, the building's foundation stone was finally laid by the Emperor. The new building was acclaimed for its cupola of steel and glass, an engineering masterpiece of the time. In 1888, before it was completed, Emperor Wilhelm I died, and 1888 was the Year of the Three Emperors. The third of these, Wilhelm II, objected to a much greater extent to the very concept of parliament as a democratic institution. The new building opened in 1894. The famous inscription – DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE (to the German People) – was added in 1916 by Peter Behrens, and it still towers above the monumental entrance. [3]

Paul Wallot German architect

Johann Paul Wallot was a German architect of Huguenot descent, best known for designing the Reichstag building in Berlin, erected between 1884 and 1894. He also built the adjacent Palace of the President of the Reichstag, finished in 1904, and the former Saxon Ständehaus state diet building of 1906 at Brühl's Terrace in Dresden.

Year of the Three Emperors the year 1888, in which Wilhelm I of Germany died in March, to be succeeded by his son Frederick III, who died in June, to be succeeded by his son Wilhelm II

The Year of the Three Emperors, or the Year of the Three Kaisers, refers to the year 1888 during the German Empire in German history. The year is considered to have memorable significance because of the deaths of two German Emperors, or Kaisers, leading to a rapid succession of three monarchs within one year. The three different emperors who ruled over Germany during this year were Wilhelm I, Frederick III, and Wilhelm II. The mnemonic “drei Achten, drei Kaiser” is still used today in Germany by children and adults alike to learn the year in question.

Presidents of the Reichstag

Presidents of the Reichstag (1871–1918)
No.NameIn OfficeEnd of Term
1 Eduard von Simson 18711874
2 Max von Forckenbeck 18741879
3 Otto Theodor von Seydewitz 18791880
4Adolf Graf von Arnim-Boitzenburg18801881
5 Gustav Konrad Heinrich von Goßler 18811881
6 Albert Erdmann Karl Gerhard von Levetzow 18811884
7 Wilhelm von Wedell-Piesdorf 18841888
8 Albert Erdmann Karl Gerhard von Levetzow 18881895
9 Rudolf Freiherr von Buol-Berenberg 18951898
10 Franz von Ballestrem 18981907
11 Udo Graf zu Stolberg-Wernigerode 19071910
12 Hans Graf von Schwerin-Löwitz 19101912
13 Johannes Kaempf 19121918
14 Constantin Fehrenbach 19181918
Max von Forckenbeck German politician

Maximilian (Max) Franz August von Forckenbeck was a German lawyer and liberal politician who served as Mayor of Berlin from 1878 until his death. His is considered one of the most important mayors of the city because of his prudent governing style during Berlin's rise as the capital of a unified Germany.

Notable members of the Reichstag (1870 to 1919)

See also

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References

  1. Moonis Raza, Geographical Dictionary of the World in the Early 20th Century with Pronouncing Gazetteer (New Delhi, India: Concept Publishing Company, 1990, two vols), p. 712.
  2. Deutscher Bundestag: Kaiserreich (1871 - 1918) (in German)
  3. www.reichstag.de "The Reichstag Building". In English. Retrieved 26-February-2012