9.2 EXTRA: politics in a DEMOCRACY

the Reichstag:           the German parliament
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This lesson contains 22 slides, with interactive quizzes and text slides.

Items in this lesson

the Reichstag:           the German parliament

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The Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933)
After WW1 Germany became 
  • a republic (instead of an absolute monarchy)
  • and a parliamentary democracy.

  • In a democracy power is in the hands of the people.
  • Because there are too many people in a country to be involved in politics every day, the people elect representatives to make decisions for them (=indirect democracy).
  • These representatives come together in a parliament.
  • thus, parliament is "the people's representatives".

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The Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933)
  • Every modern democracy uses a parliament.
  • Parliament is the legislative power (in the Trias Politica system).
  • This means that parliament makes the laws.

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The Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933)
  • Members of parliament are elected in the general elections (every 4 years)
  • Usually they belong to a political party
  • If elected, they get a seat in parliament
  • the party with the most seats has the best chance to get its laws passed.

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The Weimar Republic (1918 - 1933)
  • the name of a parliament or the number of members differs per country:

  • NL: Staten-Generaal: Tweede Kamer (150 seats)
  • UK: Parliament: House of Commons (650 seats)
  • USA: Congress: House of Representatives (435 seats)
  • Germany: Bundestag (before 1945: Reichstag) (598 seats)

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The Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933)
  • In some countries there is an additional "chamber" that serves as an extra check before a law is passed.

  • NL: Staten-Generaal: Tweede Kamer + Eerste Kamer (senaat) 
  • UK: Parliament: House of Commons + House of Lords
  • USA: Congress: House of Representatives + Senate

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parliament =
the people's representatives!!
= volksvertegenwoordiging

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the separation of power: Trias Politica
the courts
the government:
Prime minister + ministers

Slide 8 - Drag question

Tweede Kamer, Den Haag

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House of Commons, London

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House of Representatives, Washington

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Bundestag, Berlin

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Reichstag, Berlin, 1922

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The Weimar Republic (1919 - 1933)
These parties all embrace freedom and democracy. That is why we say that they belong to the political center.

  • There were also political parties that hated democracy, for example:

  • communists (who wanted a country like the Soviet Union)
  • nationalists (who wanted Germany to be a strong empire again)

  • These undemocratic groups we call extremists.

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RECAP Parliament:
  • in a democracy power is separated into 3 equal branches.
  • parliament is the legislative power: it makes the laws.
  • parliament is elected by the people. It is therefore "the people's representatives".
  • The other two branches are the executive and judicial power.
  • The executive power is the government.
  • But what is a government?

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  • the government is a small group: ministers, led by a prime minister.
  • This group is mostly referred to as the cabinet.
  • The cabinet's task is to execute parliament's laws.
  • A new cabinet is formed after the (parliament) elections.
  • The winning party of the elections has the first choice to form a cabinet and appoint the (prime) ministers from its own party.

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  • So:     government = cabinet =  ministers (+ prime minister)
  • With a majority support in parliament a cabinet can pass its own plans / ideas as new laws.
  • In Germany the prime minister is called the "chancellor" (kanselier)
  • Hitler wanted his nazi party to win the Reichstag elections.
  • He would then become chancellor.
  • He could then start to execute his own plans.....

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Slide 22 - Open question