|20th Cent. | Germany | Weimar Republic||[P|S|M]|
Weimar Constitution, Translator's Comment
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
|A. Ganse 2001