The Weimar Constitution
The main political parties
KPD: German communist party, extreme left wing, formed in 1918 by members of the Sparticist League. Late 1929 major political force in Germany.
SPD: German independent social democratic party, broke off from SPD to form independent group.
SPD: German social democratic party.
Founded in 1875, by 1914 it was the largest in the Reichstag, supported by working and lower middle class. High support in the 1920 s and 30 s. DDP: German democratic party, formed in 1918 by businessmen and intellectuals, committed to constitutional reform. Z: Catholic centre party, supported by professional upper and middle class.
In 1928 lost members to DNVP. DNVP: German national workers party, most right wing supported by landowners, industrialists and had strong upper middle class backing. The NSAP (first Nazis) and the KPD were both dictatorships. Powers of the president o Elected every 7 years o Supreme commander of the armed services o Appointed all important officials o Nominate a chancellor o Power to summon and dissolve the Reichstag Article 48 allowed the president and chancellor to rule by decree, this meant they could enforce laws without going through the Reichstag.
The Chancellor would normally be the leader of the largest party in the Reichstag. This role was similar to that of a British Prime Minister. The Reichstag contained the elected deputies and alone had the authority to introduce and approve legislation. Deputies would be elected every four years which was one deputy for 60, 000 votes the parties received. Weimar Germany was a Federation, this meant their were separate states or Lander within the state. Each Lander had it's own government and rule, but the Federation ruled overall.
Proportional Representation is a way where seats are allocated in the Reichstag by the number of votes. 60, 000 votes represented one seat. This meant many seats were given to many parties so there was no majority. Governments elected by proportional representation so coalitions of several parties were made.
This leads to political instability.