The Weimar Republic - Germany’s first democracy


April 1919

7 April

Proclamation of the Councils’ Republic in Munich [VU]

8 – 14 April

Second (and final) councils’ meeting (without the KPD) in Berlin with the decision to put the workers’ and soldiers’ councils under the control of the state apparatus. [UB]

9 April

The thirty-third session of the National Assembly, from 1:25 to 4:37pm Report by Finance Minister Schiffer (DDP) on the budget’s income and expenditure items in the “Bill concerning the adoption of a national budget and budget for the Schutzgebiete for the financial year 1919”. [DNV, Vol. 3, pp. 105-126]

Resignation of the “Socialization Commission” appointed on 18 November 1918 due to insurmountable differences with the government. [UB]

10. April

The thirty-fourth session of the National Assembly, from 10:52am to 1:32pm and 3:50 to 6:37pm Report by Reichministerpräsident Scheidemann (SPD) on the conclusion of negotiations concerning the arrival of Polish troops in Gdansk, followed by demands for a just peace. Statement by Foreign Minister Graf Brockdorff-Rantzau on the unfavourable development of the peace negotiations (loss of Alsace-Lorraine, occupation of Gdansk, threat of losing Northern Schleswig i.a.) and justification of the budget for the Foreign Ministry (which was to be enlarged), followed by a far-reaching political debate between the DVP and the USPD instead of a debate on the budget. [DNV, Vol. 3, pp. 127-180]

The Berlin architect Walter Gropius is retroactively appointed - from 1 April - Director of the University of Fine Arts in Weimar.

11 April

The thirty-fifth session of the National Assembly, from 1:26 to 6:47pm
Government representatives answer various questions: The Reich assumes costs for damage caused by pillaging in Leipzig; ouster of the Prince-Bishop of Wroclaw (then Breslau) by the Czechoslovakian Government; internment of certain troop units abroad; alleged planned closure of universities in some individual states; better care for disabled veterans and surviving dependants and taking action against agricultural plundering.
Deliberations and rejection of the Bill to introduce daylight saving time, as energy-saving effects are disputed. Deliberation and unanimous adoption of the “Bill concerning the training of war veterans to become judges ”, i.e. so that they may be admitted even after having studied law for a shorter amount of time (due to the war). Deliberation and unanimous adoption of the “Bill concerning the amendment of the War Tax Act of 21 June 1916”. [DNV, Vol. 3, pp. 181-220]

12 April

The thirty-sixth session of the National Assembly, from 10:28am to 2:10pm Deliberations on the “Bill concerning the regulation of the potash industry” with an in-depth debate on the objectives and consequences of socializing the potash mining industry. [DNV, Vol. 3, pp. 221-247]

Walter Gropius creates the “Weimar State Bauhaus” from the merger of the University for Applied Arts and the school of artistic crafts. He intends to use the new institution to eliminate the division between art and crafts. Bauhaus masters working here include Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Gerhard Marcks.

The Imperial Association of German Industry is officially established in Berlin. [UB]

14 April

The thirty-eigth session of the National Assembly, from 2:22 to 6:48pm
At the request of the Bavarian State Minister of the Interior Erhard Auer (SPD) regarding improvements in the food situation, Food Minister Robert Schmidt (SPD) reports on measures to deal with i.a. illicit trading, the sugar shortage, rising prices as a result of strikes (esp. by bank clerks and miners), the preferential allocation of supplies to cities, increases in food imports, the increase in the flour quota, and the cessation of egg rationing. Debate ensues, focussing mainly on the legitimacy of the ongoing strikes. [DNV, Vol. 3, pp. 248-292]

15 April

The thirty-eighth session of the National Assembly, from 9:50 am to 2:52 pm.
Government representatives answer various questions: 
Civil servants’ concern after their cost-of-living allowances become graduated; combating the lack of housing i.a.
Deliberation on the “Bill establishing 1 May as the national holiday” with a debate between the USPD and the DVP about making the 9 November a public holiday (the start of the November Revolution), proposal from the Center Party for a “day of penance and mourning”. The 1 May 1919 is to be celebrated as a “people’s rally for political and social progress, for a just peace, for the immediate release of prisoners of war, the evacuation of occupied areas and for complete equality in the League of Nations”. Final decision regarding this holiday is postponed.
Deliberation and adoption of the “Bill concerning a simplified form of legislation for the purposes of the transition economy”, i.e. authorising the government to issue decrees in order to reduce the burden on the National Assembly.
Deliberation and adoption of the “Bill regulating the potash industry” after extensive debate.
[DNV, Vol. 3, pp. 293-332]

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Abkürzungs- und Siglenverzeichnis der verwendeten Literatur:

ADGBFederation of German General Trade Unions
AEGGeneral Electricity Company
AfA-BundGeneral Free Federation of Employees
AVUSAutomobile Traffic and Training Road
BMWBavarian Motor Works
BRTgross register tons
BVPBavarian People’s Party
CenterCenter Party
DAPGerman Workers’ Party
DDPGerman Democratic Party
DNTGerman National Theater
DNVPGerman National People’s Party
DVPGerman People’s Party
GmbHLimited (form of company)
KominternCommunist International
KPDCommunist Party of Germany
KVPConservative People’s Party
MSPDMajority Social Democratic Party of Germany; the Majority Socialists
NSnational socialism (Nazi)
NSDAPNational Socialist German Workers’ Party; Nazi party
NVNational Assembly
O.C.Organization Consul
OHLArmy High Command
SASturmabteilung; Brownshirts
SPDSocial Democratic Party of Germany
StGBPenal Code
UfAUniversum Film Aktiengesellschaft
USPDIndependent Social Democratic Party of Germany
VKPDUnited Communist Party of Germany
ZentrumCenter Party
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[BauerBauer, Kurt, Nationalsozialismus. Ursprünge, Anfänge, Aufstieg und Fall, u.a. Wien 2008.
[BihlBihl, Wolfdieter, Der Erste Weltkrieg 1914 - 1918. Chronik - Daten - Fakten, Wien 2010.
[BüttnerBüttner, Ursula, Weimar. Die überforderte Republik 1918-1933, Stuttgart 2008.
[DNV]Die Deutsche Nationalversammlung im Jahre 1919 in ihrer Arbeit für den Aufbau des neuen deutschen Volksstaates, hrsg. v. Ed.[uard] Heilfron, Bd. 1 bis 6, Berlin [1919].
[Ebert/Wienecke-JanzEbert, Johannes/Wienecke-Janz, Detlef, Die Chronik. Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts bis heute, Gütersloh/München 2006.
[EK]Eberhard Kolb: Die Weimarer Republik, 3. überarb. u. erw. Aufl., München 1993.
[EtzoldEtzold, Hans-Rüdiger, Der Käfer II. Die Käfer-Entwicklung von 1934 bis 1982 vom Urmodell zum Weltmeister, Stuttgart 1989.
[GG]Gitta Günther: Weimar-Chronik. Stadtgeschichte in Daten. Dritte Folge: März 1850 bis April 1945 (Weimarer Schriften, Heft 33), Weimar 1987.
[GrüttnerGrüttner, Michael, Das Dritte Reich 1933-1945 (= Bd. 19, Gebhardt. Handbuch der deutschen Geschichte), Stuttgart 2014.
[HildebrandHildebrand, Klaus, Das Dritte Reich, 7. Aufl., München 2010.
[Kessler Tgbb]Harry Graf Kessler. Tagebücher 1918-1937, hrsg. von Wolfgang Pfeiffer-Belli, Frankfurt a. M und Leipzig 1996.
[KittelKittel, Erich, Novembersturz 1918. Bemerkungen zu einer vergleichenden Revolutionsgeschichte der deutschen Länder, in: Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte 104 (1968), S. 42-108.
[KolbKolb, Eberhard, Die Weimarer Republik, 7. durchges. und erw. Aufl., München 2010.
[NiedhartNiedhart, Gottfried, Die Außenpolitik der Weimarer Republik, 2. aktualisierte Aufl., München 2010.
[O/S]Manfred Overesch/ Friedrich Wilhelm Saal: Die Weimarer Republik. Eine Tageschronik der Politik, Wirtschaft, Kultur, Düsseldorf 1992.
[Overesch/SaalOveresch, Manfred/Saal, Friedrich Wilhelm, Die Weimarer Republik, Eine Tageschronik der Politik, Wissenschaft Kultur, Augsburg 1992.
[PeukertPeukert, Detlef, Die Weimarer Republik. Krisenjahre der Klassischen Moderne, Frankfurt a.M. 1987.
[PK]Paul Kaiser: Die Nationalversammlung 1919 und die Stadt Weimar (Weimarer Schriften, Heft 16), Weimar 1969.
[PM]Paul Messner: Das Deutsche Nationaltheater Weimar. Ein Abriß seiner Geschichte. Von den Anfängen bis Februar 1945 (Weimarer Schriften, Heft 17), Weimar 1985.
[ThHB]Thüringen-Handbuch. Territorium, Verfassung, Parlament, Regierung und Verwaltung in Thüringen 1920 bis 1995, hrsg. von Bernhard Post und Volker Wahl, Redaktion Dieter Marek (Veröffentlichungen aus Thüringischen Staatsarchiven, Bd. 1), Weimar 1999.
[TofahrnTofahrn, Klaus W., Chronologie des Dritten Reiches. Ereignisse, Personen, Begriffe, Darmstadt 2003.
[UB]Ursula Büttner: Weimar. Die überforderte Republik 1918-1933. Leistungen und Versagen in Staat, Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft und Kultur, Stuttgart 2008.
[VU]Volker Ullrich: Die Revolution von 1918/19, München 2009.
[WinklerWinkler, Heinrich-August, Weimar 1918-1933. Die Geschichte der Ersten deutschen Demokratie, München 1993.
[WirschingWirsching, Andreas, Die Weimarer Republik. Politik und Gesellschaft, 2. erw. Aufl., München 2010.

(zusammengestellt von Dr. Jens Riederer und Christine Rost, bearbeitet von Stephan Zänker)