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Information bulletin
No. 130 (March 9, 1948)

German constitutions,   pp. [3]-8 PDF (3.8 MB)


Page [3]


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A| VOLUME has been prepared by
A   the Civil Administration Divi-
sion, OMGUS, of the German text and
English translation of the constitutions
of the German states of Bavaria, Bre-
men, Hesse, and Wuerttemberg-Ba-
den in the US Zone; Baden, Rhineland-
Palatinate, and Wuerttemberg-Hoherl
zollern in the French Zone; and Bran-
denburg, ' Mecklenburg,   Saxony,
Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia in the
Soviet Zone. In the British Zone, the
constitutions of the states of Lower-
Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and
Schleswig-Holstein, and city of Ham-
burg were still under consideration.
The division of Germany into four
zones of occupation made for signi-
ficant differences in these consti-
tutions. Within the US Zone, there is
considerable diversity due to the fact
that different political parties exer-
cised varying influence in the states,
and that Military Government did not
try to interfere with the deliberations
of the bodies which drafted the texts.
In both the French and the -Soviet
Zones, the constitutions are more
uniform since onepoliticalphilosophy
prevailed in shaping their articles-
that of the Christian Democratic par-
ties in the French Zone and that of
the Socialist Unity Party in the Soviet
Zone.
In spite of these differences, there
are obvious similarities in all of the
constitutions. Basically, the results of
German thought, and continental con-
cepts of cabinet government and of
parliamentary practice are applied in
all of them.
In some respects, these constitutions
cannot express the realities of powers
and competences. The amount of
jurisdiction  reserved  to  Military
Government varies greatly in the dif-
ferent zones. It is undoubtedly small-
est in the US Zone. In economic
matters, the bizonal organization is
exercising considerable central au-
thority over the states. Since there
is no central German government and
no German agreement on its structure
and jurisdiction, the distribution of
powers between the states and a
future federal government cannot be
regarded as final. But all constitutions
assume that the individual states will
be part of a future Germany.
FOR ALL THESE limitations on their
practical importance, the consti-
tutions represent a genuine German
effort to order the political and offi-
cial life of the state. They express the
ideological forces which are evident
in modern society, within the setting
of a defeated and divided country. In
many respects they are not only an
indication of present problems, but
also a preview of the constitutional
debates which may be expected in the
period of federal reconstruction, which,
one hopes, lies ahead.
The occupation forces which took
over the US Zone in May 1945, were
A bloc of Christian Democratic Union delegates is shown at the final session
of the Wuerttemberg-Baden
constituent assembly, which was held in Stuttuart.                      
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