The Seeds of Evil: The Rise of Hitler

The Seeds of Evil: Germany 1919 - 1933.

Political systems within the Second Reich

Following unification of Germany in 1871 the political structure of the Second reich was roughly as follows:

The Second Reich was made up of 25 German states. Each of these retained its own Prince, as each had previously been a Princedom. These states were represented on a National Level by the Reichsrat, the upper house of legislative Parliament.

The Head of State was the Kaiser. This role was an hereditary one based upon the old Kingdom of Prussia. The Kaiser had the right to summon the Reichstag and dismiss it as and when he felt appropriate. He also had the power to appoint and dismiss the Chancellor and all government ministers. It was these Ministers who would propose legislation to the two houses of Parliament.

The Reichstag was the main legislative body. This institution was democratically elected every 3 years, with all men over the age of 25 having the vote. This body debated issues and voted on proposed legislation. The Reichsrat had the power to veto legislation passed by the Reichstag.

Each State within the Reich had its own local legislative body that dealt with local issues.

In brief, the legislative bodies worked something like this:

The Kaiser
The Reichstag
The Reichsrat

The chancellor and government ministers

Elected by Universal Male Suffrage every 3 years (Voting age was 25) The Kaiser was able to summon and/ or dismiss the Reichstag.
Was an assembly of the representatives of the 26 states that made up the Unified Germany. One representative from each state was a member of the Reichsrat. The Reichsrat had the right to veto Legislation passed by the Reichstag.
Appointed directly by the Kaiser. They proposed legislation to be passed by the reichstag.


The Second Reich
The Founding of the Weimar Republic
The Impact of War
The Treaty of Versailles
Germany 1919 - 1923
Germany - Economic Recovery
The Early days of the Nazi Party 1919 - 1924
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Unit last updated 4th June 2004

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