Constitution of the German Democratic Republic

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Basic data
Title: Constitution of the German Democratic Republic
Short title: Constitution of the GDR (not official)
GDR constitution
Abbreviation: VerfDDR, Verf. DDR, DDRV, DDR-Verf.
Type: Constitution
Scope: German Democratic Republic
Issued on the basis of: Third German People's Congress
Legal matter: Constitutional law
Original version from: October 7, 1949
( Journal of Laws p. 4, 5)
Entry into force on: October 7, 1949
New announcement from: 7 October 1974
(Journal of Laws I p. 432)
Last revision from: April 6, 1968 (Journal of Laws I p. 199)
Entry into force of the
new version on:
April 9, 1968
Last change by: Section 1 Constitutional Act of July 22, 1990 (Journal of Laws I p. 1036)
Effective date of the
last change:
August 18, 1990
(Section 15 G of July 22, 1990)
Expiry: by joining in accordance with Art. 23 GG old version on October 3, 1990 (Chapter I Art. 1 Paragraph 1 Unification Treaty , Federal Law Gazette II pp. 885, 890 ); repealed by Art. 8 EV
Weblink: Full text
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

In its more than 40-year history , there have been three constitutions of the German Democratic Republic , which on the one hand never reflected constitutional reality in their fundamental commitment to civil rights and democratic order , but on the other hand served to legitimize them through an arbitrary interpretation and thus, despite some contradictions, always served the constitutional foundations of the state . At the same time, the constitutions of 1949, 1968 and 1974, the administrative reform of 1952 and the turning point from 1989 onwards document the political change in the GDR between approaches of liberalism and renewed restrictions, intra-German rapprochement and separatism .

Second World War and post-war Germany

The first discussions on the constitutional question took place among the political elite of German emigrants before the end of the war , with the bourgeois and social democratic forces in favor of a modified version of the Weimar Imperial Constitution , while communists rejected this model holistically , although the constitutional discussion was behind the creation of political facts put back.

After the invasion of the Red Army and its establishment of administrative power, with the subsequent re-establishment and re-establishment of the parties SPD , KPD , CDU and LPD (later LDPD) in the Soviet occupation zone (SBZ) on June 10, 1945 by the Soviet military administration In Germany (SMAD) issued “Order No. 2”, the constitutional question in post-war Germany changed from a merely hypothetical controversy to a realpolitical debate.

The three constitutions of the GDR

The 1949 Constitution

Draft March 19, 1949

Drafts and controversies

With a view to an all-German effect, the Soviet military administration through Lieutenant General Fjodor Bokow arranged for the management bodies of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), founded on April 21, 1946 by the forced unification of the SPD and KPD , to adopt their concept of assuming the nationwide political leadership role in one to concretize self-governing Germany . As a reaction, two weeks later the party executive sent a declaration “For the formation of a unified German state government” and a 35-page draft of the “Constitution of the Democratic German Republic” to the military administration. This document, the earliest complete constitutional draft in post-war Germany , was ordered by the two party leaders Wilhelm Pieck - who later became the first and only President of the GDR - and Otto Grotewohl, as well as the Central Secretariat members responsible for state and legal issues, Walter Ulbricht and Max Fechner, by Karl, who holds a doctorate in law Polak has been created. 123 articles, divided into nine sections, were intended to regulate the structure of the state, especially the federal structure, fundamental rights and obligations of citizens, as well as legislation and jurisdiction. As the highest constitutional organ, the draft envisaged a parliament that would be constituted by general, equal and secret elections, with the parliamentary presidium consisting of its own members and representatives of the state parliaments as a form of the second chamber . Although the overall conception as well as the individual articles indicate the conscious reference to the Weimar Constitution, significant socialist constitutional ideas such as the emphasis on popular sovereignty through plebiscitary elements or the principle of the unity of power were included in the text, but these were always under the Reservation to be acceptable also for the bourgeois camp involved in a future state foundation .

The Soviet military administration refused to publish the draft for months. But when Josef Stalin personally gave his approval in November 1946 , the existing document was not published, but first an internal party “constitutional commission” was convened. Under the chairmanship of Otto Grotewohl, Karl Polak explained his draft to this committee, which consists of Prime Ministers and department heads of the SED. In a subsequent debate, primarily criticism was leveled at the federal tendency in the division of competences between the state and the federal states and the far-reaching powers of the “parliamentary presidium”. Taking these proposed changes into account, Polak created a second draft in which the unicameral system was expressly provided, the principle of state economic planning was added and the rejection of the separation of powers , which was seen as undemocratic, was emphasized even more clearly. Principles, some of which had already been included, such as the indivisibility of Germany , the expropriation of large estates or the creation of a single school, were formulated in more resolute formulations and the number of articles was reduced to 109 before the draft was presented to the public in the SBZ with the approval of the party executive and the SMAD . Extensive approval from within the ranks and the largely open-minded reception in the bourgeois camp seemed to confirm that a mutually acceptable compromise had been achieved between socialist maxims and necessary concessions to the other political forces. In the western zones, however, express offense was taken to make civil rights subject to the legislature's reservation; some commentators even saw this as paving the way to a future one-party dictatorship . In the eastern zone, however, harsh factual criticism was only marginal due to the restrictions imposed by the SMAD.

Nevertheless, the political plurality in the eastern zone of occupation was by no means abolished by the restrictions imposed by the occupying power, and so the East German CDU, as the second strongest party in the Soviet Zone, endeavored to draw up fourteen "theses on constitutional organization in the Soviet zone of occupation" October 1946 to influence the discussion. Since the Christian Democrats were in favor of a unitary state , but with a federal, decentralized administration, a President of the Republic as head of state and the institution of the constitutional court , their conception was in open contradiction to the plans of the SED and essentially took the elementary content of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in advance. However, this statement was never converted into the form of a completed draft, and its impact was therefore limited.

In 1947, the question of an all-German constitution fell behind due to the urgent controversies surrounding the state constitutions. The constitutional committees formed by the partially democratically elected state parliaments were dominated by the SED, with the exception of Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, so that the “Unity Party” succeeded in giving the state constitutions a fundamentally socialist conception of state law, although concessions to the CDU and LPD were inevitable. In comparison with the more pluralist-oriented state constitutions of the western zones , clear discrepancies could be identified, which were already symptoms of an emerging inner German conflict.

After the Allies failed to reach an agreement on the structure and powers of a German central administration at the Moscow Foreign Ministers' Conference in April 1947 , because the Soviet side insisted on the inclusion of mass organizations and trade unions, the attempt to establish an all-German government by means of a constant conference of all prime ministers failed To create representation, to the same demand on the part of the SED.

From the People's Congress for Unity and Just Peace in 1947 to the Second People's Congress in 1948

Under these conditions, the London Conference between November and December 1947 was seen by Germany as being particularly decisive for the further development of the zones of occupation. To represent German interests, which in the SED's understanding also combined support for the Soviet position, the SED initiated a so-called “ People's Congress for Unity and Just Peace ” in protest of the CDU and the reluctant approval of the LPD . This democratically illegitimate convention of predominantly East German representatives of parties, mass organizations and large companies, in which the SED managed to secure an absolute majority through an opaque mode of delegation, was responsible for the election of an embassy with the claim to represent all of Germany to the Londoners Conference should attend. Although the action had failed its primary purpose, as the delegation was denied entry to Great Britain, SMAD and SED took the opportunity to allow Congress to continue as an instrument of their public agitation. On the one hand, it served the thoroughly serious endeavors to establish German unity, on the other hand, the SED also considered the possibility of using the congress as an organ to prepare for the possible formation of a separate state.

After the decision to found the Federal Republic of Germany at the London Six Power Conference in February 1948 with the participation of the three Western victorious powers as well as Belgium , the Netherlands and Luxembourg , whose scope, due to considerable differences of opinion among the occupying powers, initially only extends provisionally , according to the Basic Law, to the states in the area of western Germany should, had been caught, the Second German People's Congress was constituted as a reaction on March 17th in East Berlin . As before, the composition of the nearly 2,000 delegates was determined in advance by the Politburo of the SED in its own favor and could therefore not do justice to the representative claim. In addition to the drafting of some resolutions which in vain called for the formation of an all-German central administration and the dissolution of the Economic Council of the Bizone , the task of the People's Congress consisted of electing a 400-member “People's Council” from its own ranks, which as an advisory and decision-making body between should be active in the meetings of the People's Congress. According to a tried and tested principle, the SED also took over the majority of the seats by involving the mass organizations subordinate to it and setting quotas.

In order to argue for the "unity of Germany and a just peace treaty " through specific proposals and demands, six working committees of 30 members each for the areas of economy , culture , justice , social policy , peace treaty and constitution were formed at the first meeting of the council . Despite emphatic protests from the representatives of the LPD and the CDU, which, after the SMAD was forced to dismiss its critical chairman, took part in the people's congress movement, the SED included both simple majority and disproportionately small resolutions in the committees' rules of procedure Presence of bourgeois politicians, true to the doctrine issued by Walter Ulbricht in 1945: "It has to look democratic, but we have to have everything in our hands."

The Unity Party sent four direct representatives to the Constitutional Committee, among them the party chairman Otto Grotewohl and Dr. Karl Polak , eight other SED members came as representatives of the mass organizations, the CDU received three seats and the LPD was represented by six members. Nine delegates from West Germany, mostly representatives of the KPD, were forced to stay away from the meetings due to the difficult travel conditions between the zones .

From April 15, 1948, the members of the Constitutional Committee began working together at meetings held every two weeks, with introductory keynote speeches on legal-philosophical and historical aspects of a German constitution. It was not until the beginning of July that concrete discussions about the content of the constitution began, which soon reached agreement on a two-chamber system , general, equal and secret proportional representation and the exclusively representative function of a state president . The separation of powers and the powers of parliament and its relationship with the government remained controversial . Nevertheless, in a communiqué it was possible to commit to uniform guidelines of the constitution, which were already based on the principle of tripartite division in “A. Basics of State Power "," B. Content and limits of state authority "and" C. Structure of state power ”were subdivided. In the first section, the “unity of the nation” and “popular sovereignty” as the foundations of the state were described in more detail. Section B contained provisions on a relatively liberal economic order, education and civil rights. The last area covered the institutions of the state, their functions and powers. Accordingly, a president represented the head of state, but the national parliament was named as the highest bearer of state power. In addition to parties, mass organizations should be allowed to participate in parliamentary elections. The so-called " block principle " should enable the formation of a government in the form of a Council of Ministers with the participation of all parliamentary groups . Although the parliament was compared to a chamber of states , it was only given limited powers. With the abolition of the professional civil service, all administrative levels were to be reorganized, which in particular went hand in hand with the dismissal of judges demanded by the socialist side .

Treatment in the German People's Council and public propagation

At its fourth meeting in August 1948, the German People's Council passed these guidelines submitted to it by the committee without objection and decided to form an eight-member subcommittee with the task of formulating a complete draft constitution. Since Karl Polak already held a leading position as an expert of the SED in the previous negotiations, he also had the decisive powers in the subcommittee, so that the wording of the first draft from September 1948 can be largely traced back to his initiative. After the work of the subcommittee had been completed, the finished document was submitted to the constitutional committee for discussion with a detailed explanation of the individual paragraphs . It took two meetings from September to October and some rhetorical threatening gestures from Grotewohl to get the bourgeois representatives to agree to the proposed expropriation of large estates without compensation and the ban on private schools.
Shortly after an agreement had been reached in the committee, the German People's Council approved the draft at its fifth meeting at the end of October, and a few days later the Soviet side also approved the result of the negotiations, although they would have preferred the sentence “No citizen is allowed to take part in acts of war that serve the oppression of a people ”.

By initiating a general "free discussion" of the draft, it was now a matter of propagating one's own constitutional model among the population and at the same time stigmatizing the work of the West German Parliamentary Council as a submissive, treasonous machination for the formation of an externally determined vassal state. By radio , leaflets the constitutional debate was worn to the public of the Soviet Zone and events and all the Prime Minister, ministers, state secretaries and other higher employee of the West German state governments were given the draft Constitution of the People's Council sent.

The initiative generated around 15,000 submissions with suggestions for changes from community and staff assemblies, schools and universities in the Soviet zone, which in total could be summed up to around 30 points of criticism. But in mid-February 1949 the SED leadership canceled the action and, after a three-and-a-half-month break, convened the constitutional committee again, as the work of the parliamentary council seemed to indicate an imminent resolution, which the people's congress movement was trying to counter with an equally completed draft constitution . The urgent task now was to evaluate all proposed changes and to revise the previous draft taking into account the results. The inspection of the mailings was again referred to a subcommittee, whose work was completed by the beginning of March with the collection of over a hundred individual suggestions for correction. At the subsequent last meeting of the Constitutional Committee, changes were made to 52 articles, but these were mainly due to the linguistic style and legal precision and only in the rarest cases related to content. Some of these few changes concerned, for example, a softening of the later notorious Article 6 on " boycotts " or the restriction of the dismissal of judges.

The result was a constitutional text that, in its conscious reference to the Weimar tradition, was basically a commitment to a free constitutional state according to the bourgeois understanding, but the SED draft of 1946 had a decisive influence, especially in the area of ​​jurisdiction and state-building .

In March 1949, at its sixth meeting, the German People's Council unanimously confirmed the draft constitution, which was now final in its wording, and decided by means of a resolution to contact the Parliamentary Council in order to combine the two constitutional efforts into a single initiative. However, apart from two representatives of the KPD, there was unanimous agreement among the MPs from all parties in Bonn on the assessment of the People's Congress movement as a democratically illegitimate instrument of Soviet power politics, so that the meeting of the Council with a sixty-member People's Council delegation proposed by the East German side did not take place. A German unification on the necessary basis of a joint constitutional process thus appeared to have become extremely unlikely, and consequently the SED changed its further tactics by now, without completely giving up hope of the all-German concept , pursued the goal of forming a partial state as the remaining option .

Graduated from the Third German People's Congress and the Second German People's Council in 1949

Since the draft constitution was about to come into force, the party leadership, in agreement with the SMAD, considered it necessary to convene a “Third German People's Congress” for this purpose. Although the composition of the two previous congresses was also determined by a quota system, the special procedure of the single list election was officially used for the first time, in which the ratio of political forces is determined before the ballot and the citizens merely approve or reject the one presented to them Can express a ratio list. The elections for the Third German People's Congress took place on May 15 and 16, subject to the CDU and LPD merely giving their consent to an interim solution. When the latter met at the end of May 1949, the draft constitution was unanimously adopted, but after the unsuccessful negotiations at the Allied Foreign Ministers' Conference in Paris, the party leadership was still uncertain about how to proceed. Although the People's Congress was still considered an all-German initiative, in view of the adoption of the Basic Law and the beginning of the election campaign for the first German Bundestag, the establishment of an East German state now finally appeared to be the only remaining alternative to secure its position of power. After the party leadership had submitted concrete proposals to Josef Stalin in a letter about the procedure for establishing an East German state, the Soviet side gave their permission.

Constitution of the German Democratic Republic

On October 7, 1949, the Second German People's Council, which had already been elected by the Third German People's Congress, met, constituted itself as the Provisional People's Chamber and declared the constitution of the German Democratic Republic to be applicable law as an act of founding the state .

This constitution had “structural elements and principles of a parliamentary-democratic system with federalist and constitutional features”.

Dissolution of the federal states in 1952

Only a few years after the first constitution came into force, in July 1952, the law on further democratization in the states, districts and municipalities dissolved the previous five states and replaced them with 14 districts . With the accompanying loss of function of the regional chamber, the socialist one-chamber model was established, which was not included in the previously valid constitution as a concession to the CDU and LPD. While this state principle of order, based on only one legislative body, was supposed to serve the direct exercise of popular sovereignty in political theory, it actually consolidated the sovereign supremacy of the SED through the centralization of state organs . In the self-image of the SED, however, there was no contradiction due to the postulated identity of popular interests and party politics.

After this first measure to align the constitution with the principles of the state party, propagated as “ building socialism ”, a “socialist type constitution” was created in 1956 in the responsible department of the Central Secretariat, again under the direction of Karl Polak. However, it never came into force because, from the point of view of the Soviet leadership, in view of the XX. The de-Stalinization pursued by the CPSU party congress was still too attached to the spirit of the past epoch.

The “socialist” constitution of 1968

Ulbricht signing the new constitution as part of a state act on April 8, 1968
Signature and seal of Ulbricht under the new constitution

It was not until eleven years later, at the Seventh Party Congress of the SED in 1967, that Walter Ulbricht proposed the drafting of a fundamentally new constitution that would take account of the reality that had changed since 1949. This claim primarily demanded that the discrepancies between the dictatorial political reality and the free-democratic features of the existing constitution be eliminated by attempting to constitutionalize the restrictive SED rule and thus not to understand the political situation in the rule of law as an expression of the constitutional principles , but turned this connection into its opposite.

Within the Central Committee , according to Ulbricht's instructions, experts for state and legal questions prepared a draft that was independent of the previous constitution, which was later declared as the work of a constitutional committee formed by the People's Chamber . In contrast to the negotiations of 1948/49, the other bloc parties were no longer an obstacle for the SED to fully implement its own constitutional intentions. This constitution, consisting of 108 articles, was given the express designation "socialist", in which reference was made to the manifestation of the supremacy of the SED. The preamble is already directed against “West German monopoly capitalism” and “imperialism under the leadership of the USA”. Only the first article dealt with the legal safeguarding of the SED's claim to state leadership by speaking of the realization of socialism through the “leadership of the working class and its Marxist-Leninist party”. Contrary to this open admission of the actual political situation, there were still provisions such as Article 20 on guaranteeing freedom of conscience and belief or Article 27 on freedom of the press, which stipulated the rule of law where it was not granted.

After the draft was published in February 1968, there was a “popular debate” through which minor changes were made, such as the addition of the right to religious belief. The People's Chamber then approved the revised draft, and the draft was finally confirmed by referendum on April 6, 1968. During this period, the popular debate turned into a large-scale campaign for “Yes to the new constitution”, especially shown in the state media. A relatively large number of those eligible to vote took the opportunity to tick “ No” on the ballot paper. In a few cities there were anonymous leaflet campaigns against the draft constitution, for example in Weimar .

Instead of the usual results of 99% approval for elections in the GDR, approval of 94.5% of the votes cast and 5.5% of votes against was shown even in the official result. It was the only referendum in GDR history. The new constitution officially came into force just three days later.

In it, among other things, the leadership role of the SED (Article 1, Paragraph 1) was laid down and in Article 6, Paragraph 2, “socialist internationalism” was manifested:

"(2) The German Democratic Republic cultivates and develops all-round cooperation and friendship with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the other socialist states in accordance with the principles of socialist internationalism."

The passage on the approval of a referendum has been removed.

The constitution of 1968 aimed to “establish and maintain normal relations and cooperation between the two German states” with Article 8, Paragraph 2. The attempt to establish an all-German constitution was dropped by the establishment of two states. In the following sentence, however, she continued to postulate the goal of “rapprochement between the two German states until they are unified”.

The 1974 revised constitution

Signature of the then Chairman of the State Council, Willi Stoph, under the law to supplement and amend the constitution of the GDR of October 7, 1974

For the 25th anniversary of the GDR on October 7, 1974, the constitution, as it was officially called, was to be brought “in full conformity with reality”, which in turn brought about the adaptation of state law to the political realities in order to ultimately legalize it. The constitution of 1968 was therefore “made more precise and perfect”, i.e. In other words, it was increasingly designed to secure the social and political status quo .

Title page of the GDR constitution from 1974

In 1973, the People's Chamber passed numerous, but only minor, changes to the previous constitutional text. Although this third constitution was basically similar to the previous one, some essential innovations were introduced alongside a reformulated preamble:

  • The legislative period was extended from four to five years,
  • the bond with the Soviet Union was now mentioned in a separate article and
  • all tendencies towards the unity of Germany or the "German nation" were erased because the prospect of an all-German "democratic republic" had been dropped in view of the global political situation.

The aim of unification has now been officially abandoned, and Article 6, Paragraph 2 has been amended to the extent that the GDR's dependence on the Soviet Union is now clearly emphasized:

“(2) The German Democratic Republic is forever and irrevocably allied with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The close and fraternal alliance with her guarantees the people of the German Democratic Republic further progress on the path of socialism and peace.
The German Democratic Republic is an inseparable part of the socialist community of states. Faithful to the principles of socialist internationalism, it contributes to their strengthening, cultivates and develops friendship, mutual cooperation and mutual assistance with all states of the socialist community. "

The constitution consists of a preamble and 106 articles, which are divided into five sections or ten chapters as follows:

  • preamble
  • Section I: Foundations of the socialist society and state order
Chapter 1: Political Foundations (Articles 1–8),
Chapter 2: Economic Foundations, Science, Education and Culture (Articles 9-18)
  • Section II: Citizens and Communities in Socialist Society
Chapter 1: Fundamental rights and obligations of citizens (Articles 19-40),
Chapter 2: Enterprises, cities and municipalities in socialist society (Articles 41-43),
Chapter 3: Trade unions and their rights (Articles 44-45),
Chapter 4: The Socialist Production Cooperatives and Their Rights (Article 46)
  • Section III: Structure and System of Government Management
Chapter 1: The People's Chamber (Articles 48-65),
Chapter 2: The Council of State (Articles 66-75),
Chapter 3: The Council of Ministers (Articles 76-80),
Chapter 4: The local people's assemblies and their organs (Articles 81-85)
  • Section IV: Socialist legality and administration of justice (Articles 86-104)
  • Section V: Final Provisions (Articles 105-106)

Events of autumn 1989 and constitutional principles of June 1990

In the course of the events of autumn 1989, this constitution underwent its most significant change under massive public pressure on December 1, through a decision by the People's Chamber to remove the paragraph on the dictatorial leadership role of the SED. And although the representatives of opposition groups and the government, who met at the so-called round table , worked out their own draft based on the German Basic Law , the organizational and competency part of the old 1974 constitution continued to apply. But whereas after the first free elections on March 18, 1990 became increasingly stronger, that the People's Chamber of the accession of the GDR would the Federal Republic of Germany decide it issued on June 17, 1990, the anniversary of the popular uprising of 1953 , with the constitutional principles of law new constitutional principles which declared certain liberal and democratic principles to have priority over the GDR constitutional text. Accordingly, it existed until German reunification on October 3rd of the same year.

The German nation in the constitutions of the GDR


article 1

“(1) Germany is an indivisible democratic republic; it builds on the German Länder.
(2) The republic decides on all matters which are essential for the existence and development of the German people as a whole; all other matters are decided independently by the states. [...]
(4) There is only one German nationality. "

Article 2

“(1) The colors of the German Democratic Republic are black, red and gold. The capital of the republic is Berlin. "


article 1

“(1) The German Democratic Republic is a socialist state of the German nation. It is the political organization of the working people in town and country who, under the leadership of the working class and its Marxist-Leninist party, are realizing socialism. The capital of the German Democratic Republic is Berlin. [...] "


article 1

“(1) The German Democratic Republic is a socialist state of workers and peasants. It is the political organization of the working people in town and country under the leadership of the working class and its Marxist-Leninist party. The capital of the German Democratic Republic is Berlin. [...] "

Specificity of Article 6

With Article 6 , the constitutions of the GDR contained a penal provision. This could be applied immediately, since according to the final provisions it was directly applicable law . Offenses such as "boycotts" or "revanchist propaganda" were punishable. However, the design of the offenses could not be compared with a customary criminal law and as a result the punishment was threatened as a crime without specifying a specific sentence.

In the 1949 version, the phrase " ... are crimes within the meaning of the Criminal Code " refers to this. By differentiating the “ exercise of democratic rights ” from the boycott campaign, the lack of certainty is somewhat mitigated. The following paragraph also determines the loss of civil rights as a side effect. Obviously it was planned to enact further adequate penal laws and Art. 6 GDR constitution. to be used only as a regulation for their design. However, this did not happen until 1957.

The summary with the equality before the law mentioned in the first paragraph of the article , the protection of which the threat of punishment is supposed to bring about, was not able to convince. In fact, the above-mentioned facts predominated, in particular due to the suggestive designations, so that the additional legal facts " ... which are directed against equality [...] " remained meaningless.

The 1968 constitution cuts the criminal provisions of Article 6 down to a single paragraph, removes the side effects and the term boycott, but adds the general clause " [...] in any form [...] ". The integration of the GDR into international peace systems and friendships between peoples , which are defined in more detail in the preceding five paragraphs of the article , now serves as a starting point . However, the sixth paragraph could have appeared in this version in numerous other articles. The fundamental right to equality before the law, deprived of its protection by the penal code, was moved to Article 20. This was retained in the 1974 version.

Overall, the thesis is supported that the constitutions of 1968 and 1974 primarily served to codify political reality and less to reform .

See also


  • Heike Amos: The creation of the constitution in the Soviet zone of occupation / GDR 1946–1949. Presentation and documentation (=  dictatorship and resistance , vol. 12). Lit Verlag, Münster 2006, ISBN 3-8258-9126-7 .
  • Julia Schulze Wessel: powerful author - powerless interpreter. The constitution in the German Democratic Republic . In: Hans Vorländer (Ed.): The power of interpretation of the constitutional jurisdiction . Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14959-8 .
  • Siegfried Mampel : The socialist constitution of the German Democratic Republic: Comment; with an addendum on the legal development up to the fall of 1989 and the end of the socialist constitution . 3rd edition 1997, ISBN 3-8051-0275-5 .
  • Klaus Sorgeicht , Wolfgang Weichler, Tord Riemann, Hans-Joachim Semler (eds.): Constitution of the German Democratic Republic. Documents, comments. 2 volumes, Staatsverlag der DDR, Berlin 1969.
  • Hermann Weber : The GDR 1945–1990 . 3rd edition, Oldenbourg, Munich 1999.

Web links

Commons : Constitution of the German Democratic Republic  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. The version to be amended is cited in Art. 9 of the Constitutional Principles Act of June 17, 1990.
  2. Issue date of No. 47 is September 27, 1974.
  3. See but in particular the “Constitutional Principles Act” of the People's Chamber of June 17, 1990, Journal of the GDR I, p. 299; on this Christian Hillgruber , German Revolutions - “Legal Revolutions”? About the legitimizing added or reduced value (appearances) of constitutional legality. Der Staat 49/2 (2010), pp. 167–209, here pp. 201 ff .; see. also up to the March 1990 elections. Eckart Klein : On the threshold of the reunification of Germany. Comments on Germany's legal situation in 1990 , NJW 43 (1990), pp. 1065-1073, here p. 1068 - he speaks of the "currently [ January 1990 ] still formally valid GDR constitution of 1968/1974", which has been in effect since November Constitutional amendments carried out in 1989 did not bring any new approaches.
  4. See Andreas Zimmermann : State succession in international treaties , Springer, Berlin 2000, p. 128 ; Burkhard Heß, Intertemporales Privatrecht , Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1998, pp. 113 , 560 .
  5. Federal Ministry for Inner-German Relations (Ed.), GDR Handbook , Vol. 2, p. 1410, “Constitution”.
  6. ^ Law for the implementation of a referendum on the constitution of the German Democratic Republic of March 26, 1968
  7. More on this Giandomenico Bonanni : News on the socialist GDR constitution of 1968: History of the origins and the problem of basic rights , in: Yearbook for Historical Research on Communism (JHK) 2005, Aufbau Verlag, pp. 189–215 (project of the Federal Foundation for the processing of the SED- Dictatorship ).
  8. Axel Stefek: Author of the leaflet found! A Weimar contemporary document on GDR history from 1968. In: RathausKurier. The official gazette of the city of Weimar , 26th year (2015), No. 5 from March 7th 2015, pp. 7773-7774 ( PDF ( Memento from March 24th 2016 in the Internet Archive )).
  9. BStU: "Have courage - true no". 50 years of referendum on the new socialist constitution of the GDR , 2018; see. Bernhard Vogel, Dieter Nohlen, Rainer-Olaf Schultze: Elections in Germany , 1971, ISBN 3-110-01732-6 , p. 282.
  10. ^ Constitution of the GDR from 1968 (in the version of October 7, 1974) , in:
  11. Michael Richter : The Peaceful Revolution. Departure for democracy in Saxony 1989/90 , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010, p. 926 ; Law amending the constitution of the German Democratic Republic of December 1, 1989 (Journal of Laws of I p. 265).
  12. ^ Draft of a constitution for the German Democratic Republic by the working group "New Constitution of the GDR" of the Round Table (April 1990) , in:; see. also Ulrich K. Preuss : The attempt to create a constitution for the declining GDR - a workshop report , in: Dieter Grimm, Alexandra Kemmerer, Christoph Möllers (eds.), Rumors vom Recht. Lectures and discussions from the Berlin seminar Law in Context (= Law in Context, Vol. 1), Baden-Baden 2015, ISBN 978-3-8487-1181-9 , pp. 49–96.
  13. See also Peter Häberle , The draft constitution of the working group “New Constitution of the GDR” of the Round Table (1990) , in: ders. (Hg.), Yearbook of Public Law of the Present , NF Vol. 39, 1990, p. 319 ff ., here p. 326 .
  14. Constitutional Principles Act of June 17, 1990