Germany (Prussia) 1919 Constitution

Table of Contents


Article 41

The Imperial President is elected by the whole German People.

Eligible is every German who has completed the thirty-fifth year of his life.

An Imperial statute shall provide further details.

Article 42

The Imperial President upon the assumption of his office shall take the following oath before the Reichstag:

“I swear that I will devote my energy to the welfare of the German People, increase its advantages, avert injury to it, uphold the Constitution and the laws of the Empire, conscientiously discharge my duties, and practise justice towards every one.”

The addition of a religious asseveration is permissible.

Article 43

The term of the Imperial President lasts seven years. Re-election is permissible.

Before the expiration of the term the Imperial President can, upon application of the Reichstag, be removed from office by a Popular Vote. The resolution of the Reichstag requires a two-thirds vote. Upon the adoption of the resolution the Imperial President is precluded from the further discharge of his office. The rejection of the removal by the Popular Vote shall be considered a new election and entail the dissolution of the Reichstag.

The Imperial President cannot be criminally prosecuted without the consent of the Reichstag.

Article 44

The Imperial President cannot at the same time be a member of the Reichstag.

Article 45

The Imperial President represents the Empire in the Law of Nations. He concludes in the name of the Empire alliances and other treaties with foreign powers. He accredits and receives the ambassadors.

Declaration of war and conclusion of peace take place through an Imperial statute.

Alliances and treaties with foreign states, which relate to the competencies of the Imperial legislation, need the approval of the Reichstag.

Article 46

The Imperial President appoints and dismisses the Imperial officials and the military officers, in so far as is not otherwise provided by statute. He can exercise the right of appointment and dismissal through other authorities.

Article 47

The Imperial President has the supreme command over all the armed forces of the Empire.

Article 48

If a Land does not fulfil the duties laid upon it by the Imperial Constitution or the Imperial statutes, the Imperial President can hold it thereto with the aid of the armed forces.

The Imperial President can, if in the German Empire the public safety and peace are seriously disturbed or threatened, take the necessary measures for the restoration of the public safety and peace, and, in case of necessity, intervene with the aid of the armed forces. For this purpose he may temporarily, in whole or in part, suspend from operation the Fundamental Rights enumerated in Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153.

Of all the measures taken in accordance with Paragraph 1 or Paragraph 2 of this Article the Imperial President must immediately inform the Reichstag. The measures are to be revoked upon demand made by the Reichstag.

In case of danger from delay a Land Government can take for its territory temporary measures of the nature mentioned in Paragraph 2. The measures are to be revoked upon demand made by the Imperial President or by the Reichstag.

An Imperial statute shall provide the details.

Article 49

The Imperial President exercises the right of pardon for the Empire.

Imperial amnesties require an Imperial statute.

Article 50

All decrees and orders of the Imperial President, including those in the domain of the armed forces, need for their validity the countersignature of the Imperial Chancellor or of the competent Imperial Minister. By the countersignature the responsibility is assumed.

Article 51

In case of his being prevented from discharging the duties of his office the Imperial President shall be represented in the first place by the Imperial Chancellor. If it is probable that the disability will last some time, the representation is to be regulated by an Imperial statute.

The same shall apply to the case of a premature vacancy of the Presidency until the new election is carried through.

Article 52

The Imperial Government consists of the Imperial Chancellor and the Imperial Ministers.

Article 53

The Imperial Chancellor, and, upon his recommendation, the Imperial Ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Imperial President.

Article 54

The Imperial Chancellor and the Imperial Ministers need for the conduct of their offices the confidence of the Reichstag. Any one of them must resign if the Reichstag by express resolution withdraws its confidence in him.

Article 55

The Imperial Chancellor presides in the Imperial Government and conducts its business according to rules of order, which shall be adopted by the Imperial Government and approved by the Imperial President.

Article 56

The Imperial Chancellor determines the guiding political principles, and bears the responsibility therefor over against the Reichstag. Within these principles every Imperial Minister conducts his Department independently and under his own responsibility as against the Reichstag.

Article 57

The Imperial Ministers have to submit, for consideration and disposition, to the Imperial Government all drafts of statutes and all matters for which the Constitution or a statute prescribes such action, and also differences of opinion on questions which affect the Departments of more than one Imperial Minister.

Article 58

The Imperial Government reaches decisions by a majority vote. In case of a tie vote the presiding officer casts the deciding vote.

Article 59

The Reichstag is authorised to accuse the Imperial President, the Imperial Chancellor and the Imperial Ministers, before the High Court of Judicature for the German Empire, of being guilty of a wrongful violation of the Imperial Constitution or of an Imperial statute. The petition preferring the charge must be signed by at least one hundred members of the Reichstag and shall need the vote of the majority prescribed for amendments of the Constitution. Further details shall be prescribed in the Imperial statute organizing the High Court of Judicature.