Democratic Legal Scholars in the Weimar Republic

Kathrin Groh’s study on democratic scholars of public law in the Weimar Republic (subtitle: ‘From the Traditional Doctrine of the Authoritarian State to a Modern Theory of the Democratic Constitutional State’) challenges the traditional view of Weimar as a ‘democracy without democrats’, especially regarding the legal profession:

‘It is only recently that researchers have started to focus their attention on the theories of democracy developed by teachers of public law in the Weimar Republic. In this work, Kathrin Groh analyzes the writings of the five major figures in this era: Hugo Preuß, Gerhard Anschütz, Richard Thoma, Hans Kelsen and Hermann Heller. She studies the concepts of the state and the constitution used by the teachers of public law, who had been socialized in the German Empire, to react to the challenges of the Weimar Republic and the remedies they found to solve the Republic’s crises in the spirit of the constitution. In spite of their differences, their answers to the main challenges of the Republic, such as state ideology, leadership, political parties, pluralism, the governmental system and fundamental rights were determined by their thinking in terms of the rule of law.’

>>> review (in German)


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