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12 | The Weimar Constitution and its enemies

  • The Weimar Constitution,1919

    (c) Kurt Tucholsky Literaturmuseum CC-BY-NC-SA

  • Helfferich, 1919 - two years later, in 1921, Erzberger was murdered by right extremists.

    (c) Kurt Tucholsky Literaturmuseum CC-BY-NC-SA

  • Wilhem Stapel, 1928, right wing theorist

    (c) Kurt Tucholsky Literaturmuseum CC-BY-NC-SA

  • Killinger, 1933. He in 1921 gave order to murder Matthias Erzberger.

    (c) Kurt Tucholsky Literaturmuseum CC-BY-NC-SA

  • Audio guide for reading

    Audio guide for reading


    The Weimar Constitution from 1919 was the first practiced democratic constitution in Germany and was counted as the most progressive constitution of its time. Many of its articles were taken directly from the constitution of St. Paul’s Church from 1848 and were incorporated into today’s German Constitution.


    Article 1: The German Reich as a republic, with the power of the state derived from the people.

    Article 2: Generally-recognized principles of international law are binding on Germany.

    Article 109: Every German is equal before the law. Men and women have the same rights and obligations.

    This constitution had powerful enemies from its first hour. The biggest part of the military, the public servants, the judiciary and the teachers were reluctant towards the new constitution – they remained loyal to the Emperor and antidemocratic. We show you three examples: an indirect incitement to murder, a pamphlet and the glorification of the anticonstitutional Kapp-Putsch:


    “Karl Helfferich: Do Away with Erzberger. 1919

    Wilhelm Stapel: The Fictions of the Weimar Constitution. 1928

    Manfred von Killinger: Serious an funny sides of the Putsch-life. 1933

    The Republic never stood a chance against the superiority of its enemies. Tucholsky spoke ones of a “Democracy without democrats” and noticed already in 1919:


    “I resign. I go on fighting, but I resign. We almost stand alone here in Germany - almost all alone.”

    Voiced by Marianna Evenstein and Derrick Williams