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20th Cent. | Germany | Weimar Republic
[P|S|M]
Weimar Constitution, Translator's Comment
The German Reich was a federation, not unlike the United States, consisting of more than a dozen states. Yet the German expression corresponding to 'state' is LAND; the German term STAAT is used to describe the federation or foreign states.
In the translation the expression REICH is used untranslated; 'Land' is translated as 'state'. When 'Staat' is translated as state, the context indicates which one - the federation, an individual state or a foreign state - is meant. The reader is advised to watch out in order not to get confused.
The reader also should be aware of German peculiarities, for instance the German public civil servant, the BEAMTE, who since the days of Frederick the Great enjoys the status of having a permanent contract, who can not be fired unless he violated his contract. Any translation into English would fail to express this, so the expression was left untranslated.
When reading on the German school system, the reader should be aware that it is organized vertically, not, as in Anglo-Saxon countries, vertically. 
Elementary schooling is provided by the Grundschule which forms the lower classes of the Volksschule (today Hauptschule), and in total covers 9 to 10 years. After promotion into 5th grade, parents often enroll their children, if they meet the respective school's standard, into Realschule or Gymnasium (middle respective high school); both school forms compete with each other, covering grades 5 to 10 (Realschule), grades 5 to 13 (Gymnasium).
The Weimar Constitution was written under very special political circumstances. The country's political borders were yet undefined, no peace treaty signed yet, the future uncertain, the German Revolution had just been suppressed, the economy was in a turmoil, in the national assembly the Social Democrats were dominating for the moment. All these aspects left their mark in the constitution, many parts of which reflect how the involved politicians would like the future Germany to be rather than political reality during the Weimar years. For instance, the detailed stipulations on plebiscites have rarely been applied (the plebiscites held in Upper Silesia etc. were not based on the Weimar constitution), the bodies described in the labour legislation did not have the influence the constitution fathers intended. Still the constitution formed the foundation of political life in the Weimar Republic, and thus is a document of eminent historical importance.

Sosa-ri, Kangwon-do, Republic of Korea, May 27th 2001
Alexander Ganse


A. Ganse 2001