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A History of Public Law in Germany 1914–1945$
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Michael Stolleis

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199269365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269365.001.0001

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The Destruction and Self-Destruction of a Scholarly Discipline

The Destruction and Self-Destruction of a Scholarly Discipline

8 The Destruction and Self-Destruction of a Scholarly Discipline
A History of Public Law in Germany 1914–1945

Michael Stolleis

Oxford University Press

With the suspension of basic rights in the wake of the Reichstag fire and the Enabling Act of 24 March 1933, key pieces had been wrenched from the first and second main sections of the Weimar Constitution. The legally protected distance between state and citizen had been abolished along with the parliamentary system. After the elections of 5 March 1933, the Reichstag was merely an organ of acclamation, further weakened by the fact that the regime could also appeal to the people to render its acclamation directly. The sole ‘positive, valid basic law of the present polity’ was now ‘the unconditional primacy of political leadership’. As decisions were increasingly concentrated in the dictator or were delegated by him — in circumvention of the relevant offices — to agents, who then had to amass their authority from the traditional departments, the state became less and less ‘constitutional’.

Keywords:   Reichstag, Enabling Act, Weimar Constitution, parliamentary system, political leadership

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