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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores Carl Schmitt’s response as a political, legal, and constitutional theorist to the permanent crisis of the Weimar Republic during its short-lived existence between 1919 and 1933. On the foundation of his conceptual edifice, it shows why Schmitt came to the conclusion that the Weimar Constitution did not provide an appropriate political system for the German people in their “natural” form. While the founders of Weimar sought to protect the polity’s diversity and contradictions, Schmitt regarded their constitution as inherently nondemocratic. A focal point of the analysis is Schmitt’s claim that democracy and dictatorship are by no means mutually exclusive. The chapter demonstrates why Schmitt’s faith in the constituent power of a homogenous German people invariably led to his preference for “democratic dictatorship” and a rejection of the Weimar constitution’s system of parliamentary democracy.

Keywords: Weimar Republic, Weimar Constitution, democratic dictatorship, Carl Schmitt, parliamentary democracy

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