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The Dual State
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The Dual State: A Contribution to the Theory of Dictatorship

Ernst Fraenkel and Jens Meierhenrich


This text, first published in 1941, provides a comprehensive analysis of the rise and nature of National-Socialism, and is the only such analysis written from within Hitler’s Germany. Its central thesis is that two states co-existed in National-Socialist Germany—hence, Fraenkel’s invention of the concept of the dual state. This was comprised of a normative state (which protected the legal order as expressed in legislation, decisions of the courts, and decisions of administrative bodies) and a prerogative state (governed by the ruling party, and unrestrained by legal guarantees). The relationsh ... More

Keywords: dual state, normative state, prerogative state, democracy, dictatorship, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, law, rule of law, institutions, institutionalism, National-Socialism, Hitler, Weimar Germany, Nazi Germany, Third Reich, political theory, legal theory, democratic theory, state theory

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198716204
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716204.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ernst Fraenkel, author

Jens Meierhenrich, author
Senior Lecturer in International Relations, London School of Economics