Weimar National Assembly

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Weimar National Assembly

Weimarer Nationalversammlung
Constituent Assembly of the Weimar Republic
Coat of Arms of Germany.svg
Preceded by Imperial Reichstag
Succeeded by Weimar Reichstag
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.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Weimar Constitution German constitution of 1919

The Constitution of the German Reich, usually known as the Weimar Constitution was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933). 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.



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]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

German Revolution of 1918–19 Revolution in 1918–1919 in Germany

The German Revolution or November Revolution was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of the First World War that resulted in the replacement of the German federal constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary republic that later became known as the Weimar Republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the adoption in August 1919 of the Weimar Constitution.

Abdication voluntary or forced renunciation of sovereign power

Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societies, abdication was a regular event, and helped maintain stability during political succession.


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

Womens suffrage the legal right of women to vote

Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the late 1800s, women worked for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, and sought to change voting laws in order to allow them to vote. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts to gain voting rights, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and also worked for equal civil rights for women.

Reichstag seats
German Democratic Party (FVP/NLP)
German National People's Party (DKP/DRP)
Independent Social Democrats USPD
German People's Party (NLP/DRP)

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]

The Bavarian Peasants' League was an agrarian political party in Bavaria, Germany, from 1870 to 1933. It has also been known in English as the Bavarian Farmers' League.

The German-Hanoverian Party, also known as the Guelph Party, was a conservative, federalist political party in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic.

Communist Party of Germany former political party in Germany

The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956.

Composition of the National Assembly Weimar National Assembly seating chart.svg
Composition of the National Assembly


Cover of the Weimar Constitution Weimar Constitution.jpg
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

Friedrich Ebert 19th and 20th-century German politician and president of Germany

Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the first President of Germany from 1919 until his death in office in 1925.

Allies of World War I group of countries that fought against the Central Powers in World War I

The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers is the term commonly used for the coalition that opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria during the First World War (1914–1918).

Paris Peace Conference, 1919 peace conference 1919-1920

The Paris Peace Conference, also known as Versailles Peace Conference, was the meeting of the victorious Allied Powers following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers.

Important events and decisions

President of Germany (1919–1945) President of Germany (1919–1945)

The Reichspräsident was the German head of state under the Weimar constitution, which was officially in force from 1919 to 1945. In English he was usually simply referred to as the President of Germany. The German title Reichspräsident literally means President of the Reich, the term Reich referring to the federal nation state established in 1871.

Philipp Scheidemann German chancellor

Philipp Heinrich Scheidemann was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). On 9 November 1918, in the midst of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, he proclaimed Germany a republic. Later, beginning in the early part of the following year, he became the second head of government of the Weimar Republic, acting in this post for 127 days.

Treaty of Versailles one of the treaties that ended the First World War

The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to the war. The other Central Powers on the German side signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.


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

NamePartyEntered OfficeLeft Office
Eduard David SPD 7 February 191913 February 1919
Conrad Haussmann  [ de ] (acting)13 February 191914 February 1919
Konstantin Fehrenbach Centre Party 14 February 191921 June 1920

See also

Related Research Articles

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1919 German federal election

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Bauer cabinet cabinet

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First Müller cabinet cabinet

Cabinet Müller I or the first Cabinet Müller was the third democratically elected government of Germany and the second in office after the Weimar Constitution came into force in August 1919. It was named after the new Chancellor (Reichskanzler) Hermann Müller of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The cabinet was based on the same three centre-left parties as the previous one: the SPD, the German Center Party (Zentrum) and the German Democratic Party (DDP). It was formed in March 1920 after the resignation of the Cabinet Bauer. The Cabinet Müller resigned in reaction to the outcome of the Reichstag elections of 6 June 1920.

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First Wirth cabinet

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  1. Reichskongreß der Arbeiter- und Soldatenräte in dhm.de/lemo. Retrieved 10 December 2007. ‹See Tfd› (in German)
  2. 1 2 3 "Chronologie 1919 (German)". Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Die Wahlen zur Nationalversammlung in dhm.de/lemo. Retrieved December 10, 2007. ‹See Tfd› (in German)
  4. 1 2 3 4 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. ‹See Tfd› (in German)
  6. 1 2 "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. ‹See Tfd› (in German)