Friedrich Ebert Declares State of Emergency in Weimar Republic Hot

Friedrich Ebert Declares State of Emergency in Weimar Republic

Friedrich Ebert

Friedrich Ebert, the First President of Germany for the Weimar Republic and member of the Social Democratic Party, declares a state of emergency under Paragraph 48 of the Weimar Constitution. This is the same provision which Adolf Hitler will use to enable his seizure of power.

The reason for this declaration of emergency is the decision of Bavarian Prime Minister Eugen von Knilling to declare a state of emergency in Bavaria and to appoint Gustav Ritter von Kahr, former minister president of Bavaria, as Staatskomissar (state commissioner) with dictatorial governing powers.

President Ebert has reportedly had this proclamation ready and waiting for several weeks, anticipating that the recent violence in Germany would require it sooner or later. Using Paragraph 48, Ebert has suspended articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124, and 153 of Germany's constitution. This means that all basic constitutional rights of individuals have been suspended, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

Otto Gessler, Minister of Defense, has dictatorial power over Germany, though much day-to-day decision-making is delegated to regional and local Reichwehr commanders. Military authorities can thus ban meetings, censor newspapers, make arrests, and do searches without first getting authorization. There are no appeals for any of these actions except to the Ministry of Defense and Otto Gessler.

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