Talk:President of Germany (1919–1945)

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awkward ordinals in the article be removed[edit]

From Talk:President of Germany [snip] Not to denigrate the Wikipedia, but I don't think other Wikipedia articles can be used properly as evidence of anything. I'd like to see a, well, book that talks about this issue, or that calls Dönitz Reichspräsident. john k 20:00, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Quit right ask for an original source:
In German [Adolf Hitler Politisches Testament] "ernenne ich als Führer der Nation folgende Mitglieder des neuen Kabinetts:
Reichspräsident: D ö n i t z
Reichskanzler: Dr. G o e b b e l s
Parteiminister: B o r m a n n
English translation of Adolf Hitler's Final Political Testament "I appoint the following members of the new Cabinet as leaders of the nation:
President of the Reich: DOENITZ
Chancellor of the Reich: DR. GOEBBELS
Party Minister: BORMANN"
--Philip Baird Shearer 20:21, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Okay, fair enough. I'd suggest that we remove the numeration entirely, since the question of whether Hitler was Reichspräsident, or merely held the powers of Reichspräsident, seems up in the air, and the ordinals don't really give us any additional information. john k 17:14, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Hitler was not Reichspräsident, sure he was head of state, but his title was "Führer (und Reichskanzler)" not "Reichspräsident (and Reichskanzler)".
I can not find a document for you which explains this on line, but I can prove it to you in a round about way. As you will be aware the German army oath of allegiance was changed so that Officers who took their oaths seriously were caught like flys on fly paper. This change took place on August 2, 1934 (the day Hitler became head of state). If Hitler had still been Reichspräsident (or if the office had still existed) then the Oath would have had to included it, because not to do so would have allowed the Officers a way around the wording of the oath. But it did not. It used the word Führer. The Army Enslaved --Philip Baird Shearer 20:05, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

In terms of the enabling act - indeed, the Weimar Constitution was put out of operation. But it was done constitutionally - that is to say, Germany's constitution was still the Weimar Constitution. It just was suspended for an indefinite period of time. But I wasn't clear. In terms of Hitler as Reichspräsident, I wasn't saying that he was Reichspräsident, exactly. Just that he incorporated within himself all of Hindenburg's powers, meaning that the role of Führer in some sense incorporated the role of Reichspräsident. At any rate, all I'm asking now is that the awkward ordinals in the other article be removed - it just seems weird to say that Dönitz was the third Reichspräsident. john k 03:53, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I suggest that that is a something to be discussed on Talk:Reichspräsident. I am going to copy a couple of paragraphs to get us started Philip Baird Shearer 16:32, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

In response to John K above: the Weimar Constitution was neither put out of operation nor suspended by the Enabling Act. The passages about human and civic rights had already been suspended by the Reichstag Fire Decree. The Enabling Act "merely" gave Hitler's cabinet legislative authority (without any involvement of the President) but excluded the existence of the institutions of Reichstag, Reichsrat and Reichspräsident. Therefore a law passed under the Enabling Act could not "abolish" the presidential office. Ordinals are invalid anyway. The list can do with a numbering but it is not common to take about 1st President, 2nd President or Chancellors etc. in German politics. It is an Americanism unfortunately introduced here. Str1977 (talk) 11:16, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

As I understand it, Hitler DID become President by the following 1934 law [1] merging the offices of Chancellor and President in his person. He just didn't use this title regularly, styling himself only "Führer and Reich Chancellor". So he should be numbered as 3rd President if there is a numbering at all. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 19:55, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Dönitz' Party?[edit]

The list put the party of Dönitz as none. However, I was under the impression he was a Nazi. Thus, I have been bold and changed it. ¿SFGiДnts! 23:39, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

You're wrong to do so. Like most German military officers, Dönitz was not a member of any political party, and in fact had never taken part in politics before Hitler named his as his successor. He may have shared some beliefs with the Nazis--I would argue that he was certainly fascist in his world view--but he wasn't a member of the NSDAP. Jsc1973 (talk) 20:45, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
According to de:Karl Dönitz, Dönitz became a member of the NSDAP in 1944. So he was a party member when he became (? See below) President.--Roentgenium111 (talk) 22:47, 18 May 2009 (UTC)


Didn't the Reich President had a power to grant a pardon or commuation, instead of amnesty? If he had such power, was it limited to "federal" offences or committed also under states jurisdiction? Darth Kalwejt (talk) 22:56, 5 October 2008 (UTC)


I think Doenitz should not be considered a "Reichspraesident" just because Hitler named him his successor. Or was there a legal framework in the de jure still existing Weimar constitution giving the Reichspraesident a right to choose his successor? --Roentgenium111 (talk) 13:02, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Changed article accordingly. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 21:26, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Wrongly changed and thus reverted. Dönitz was and is universally recognised as President of Germany, albeit that Germany was in pieces. The Weimar Constitution was the basic framework of politics all the way until the surrender and under these circumstances, Dönitz was put in that office in 1945. Sure, he wasn't installed the way the Constitution proscribed but neither was President Ebert. Whether a President could chose his successor (he could not) is irrelevant as Hitler never was President either, as the office was officially vacant (not abolished - such a move would have been overstretching the Enabling Act) from Hindenburgs' death to Dönitz' accession. But Hitler's rule had corrupted the situation that much, that his simply appointing Dönitz (and the other positions, but Dönitz is the one that counts, since he then could as President legally implement the other appointments) was universally accepted. Please don't rewrite history according to your rule book. Str1977 (talk) 10:56, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Please be civil and check the facts yourself: Hitler did become President upon Hindenburg's death: This [2] 1934 law merged the offices of President and Chancellor and made Hitler President (Hitler just didn't use this additional title). So the office was not vacant. And you agree yourself that Hitler could not legally name a new President, so Dönitz was de jure not a President (note that the Weimar constitution was de jure still in place in 1945, which it was not (yet) at Ebert's election). I agree that he was de facto the head of state (and maybe President) of what remained of Germany. The question is whether we should go with "de jure" or "de facto" - I prefer the first. Do you have references for your claim that Dönitz was "universally recognised as President of Germany"? --Roentgenium111 (talk) 19:48, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

It seems to me that the "last officeholder" should be Hindenburg. Hitler only took over the competences of the office; he and Dönitz did not use the title by themselves. Dönitz was not elected, not by the people not by parliament.--Ziko (talk) 18:44, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Hitler did take over the office, not only its competences (see the law linked to above), though he did not use the title, so he should be counted IMO. I agree that Dönitz should not be considered President, as argued above. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 20:39, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
"§ 1. Das Amt des Reichspräsidenten wird mit dem des Reichskanzlers vereinigt. Infolgedessen gehen die bisherigen Befugnisse des Reichspräsidenten auf den Führer und Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler über.“ What to make of this? The second sentence sounds as if there is still a chancellor, who gets the competences of the president. / It seems that the literature is quite uninterested about the issue and does not make explicit whether there still was a president after 1934.--Ziko (talk) 21:29, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I've now translated the text in the article's references. The first sentence of § 1 says "The office of the Reichspräsident is merged with that of the Reichskanzler." I.e. both offices remain, but are held by the same person (Hitler) who already was chancellor. So he officially was "President-Chancellor" from that day on. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 21:51, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
The Enabling Act of 1933 allowed Hitler to decree and enact laws which could deviate from the Constitution as long as they did not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. Thus, Dönitz's appointment as Reichspräsident by Hitler (right) was completely legal and constitutional. Dönitz was also recognized as President and Head of State by the Allies, and Dönitz continued to believe and affirm that he was Germany's legal President until his death. Lt.Specht (talk) 10:04, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

I think that the present appearance of the article is little appropriate. With swastika and Hitler in the infobox it looks as if the office were a typical national socialist institution. The rule about the last office holder should be reconsidered here; one could think about the last office holder who has actually been elected according to the constitution that established the office. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ziko (talkcontribs) 19:17, 1 February 2011 (UTC)


This article should be merged with President of Germany. It's so short that there is no reason to have a separate article, and this material can without any problems be addressed in the existing article. Also, Hitler never held an office called President, so if this is an article on the office Reichspräsident, he doesn't belong here at all. Josh Gorand (talk) 02:04, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Short length is not an argument. There are hundreds of Wikipedia articles that are very much shorter. Moreover, it can be expanded. It is more clear and definite to cover the two distinct offices in two separate articles. I oppose the merger. --RJFF (talk) 20:54, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

According to section 1 of the “Gesetz über das Staatsoberhaupt des Deutschen Reichs”, the office of the Reichspräsident when merged with Reichskanzler was never abolished and was legally valid[edit]

According to section 1 of the “Gesetz über das Staatsoberhaupt des Deutschen Reichs”, the office of the Reichspräsident when merged with Reichskanzler was never abolished and was legally valid:

§ 1

The office of Reich President is combined with that of the Chancellor. It follows that, the previous powers of the President of the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler. He determines his deputy.

Source in German:

Saguamundi (talk) 02:53, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

That doesn't mean that Hitler was "President of Germany". He was called "Führer and Reichskanzler", which the article explains pretty well. --RJFF (talk) 15:09, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
The TITLE of Reichspräsident was abolished in the case of Hitler, but the post was NOT officially abolished. Karl Dönitz was Reichspräsident not only de-facto but also de-jure. Hitler bended this law (like any other law) and the Weimar constitution, but both of them were not officially abolished either by law or by decree. That Karl Dönitz was Reichspräsident is indisputable and any erasing of it is groundless. The post was totally abolished by the Allies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

This is not the place for a legal opinion, but an encyclopedia. You have to provide secondary sources to verify your claims. Applying Nazi period law is not enough. --RJFF (talk) 21:25, 18 March 2012 (UTC)