Ridiculousness of 48

January 29, 2013

Political Theory


As I was catching up with the assigned reading, I glanced through the Constitution of the Weimar Republic. Article by article I observed the similarities between that constitution and the one we are so familiar with here in the United States of America. After around 15 articles it became tedious; I continued reading for the sole purpose that I’d be paranoid about missing something. Then came Article 48.

I read the first line and laughed out loud, regrettably so after thinking about the events that I know were next as a result. “If any state does not fulfill the duties imposed upon it by the constitution or the laws of the Reich, the Reich president may enforce such duties with the aid of the armed forces.” (Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution) That was certainly a lot of power for one man, especially considering that the constitution as a whole could be interpreted multiple ways. This essentially gave the president the power to do anything he wanted with the armed forces the moment he became unhappy. I have not yet introduced Hitler in this blog post, but I’m sure you are all thinking about him.

Really, Weimar Germany? It would not have even taken a man like Hitler to exploit this article. I know the men sitting around the table writing the piece did not have names like Locke or Montesquieu or Coke and to be honest I do not know the writers’ exact intentions with Article 48 and it is certainly easy to criticize it now, but come on. Hearing someone read the words out loud must have seemed like that person had something up their sleeve. Maybe I am criticizing this far too easily given my level of knowledge, but there is certainly an element of humor, the dramatically ironic and depressing type. What do you think? I’m sure we’ll learn about how the article was exploited later in the course.

Photo taken from internet. (Not mine)

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About Jack

A student at the University of Michigan.

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