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The Reichstag (, Diet of the Realm or Imperial Diet) was the
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

Parliament
of
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
from 1871 to 1918. Legislation was shared between the ''Reichstag'' and the '' Bundesrat'', which was the Imperial Council of the reigning princes of the German States. The ''Reichstag'' had no formal right to appoint or dismiss governments, but by contemporary standards it was considered a highly modern and progressive parliament. All German men over 25 years of age were eligible to vote, and members of the ''Reichstag'' were elected by general, universal and secret suffrage. Members were elected in single-member constituencies by majority vote using the
two-round system The two-round system, also known as the second ballot, runoff voting, or ballotage, is a voting method Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an ...
. If no candidate received a majority of the votes, a runoff election took place. In 1871, the ''Reichstag'' consisted of 382
members Member may refer to: * Military jury A United States military "jury" (or "Members", in military parlance Military parlance is the vernacular used within the military and embraces all aspects of service life; it can be described as both a "code" a ...
, but from 1874 it was enlarged to 397 members. The term of office was initially set at three years, and in 1888 this was extended to five years. The ''Reichstag'' was opened once a year by the Emperor. In order to dissolve parliament, the approval of the Imperial Council and the emperor were required. Members of parliament enjoyed
legal immunity Legal immunity, or immunity from prosecution, is a legal status wherein an individual or entity cannot be held liable for a violation of the law, in order to facilitate societal aims that outweigh the value of imposing liability in such cases. Suc ...
and
indemnity In contract law, indemnity is a contractual obligation of one Party (law), party (''indemnifier'') to Financial compensation, compensate the loss incurred to the other party (''indemnity holder'') due to the acts of the indemnitor or any other p ...
.


Buildings

The ''Reichstag'' first met in the
Landtag of Prussia The Landtag of Prussia (german: Preußischer Landtag) was the representative assembly of the Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German Monarchy, kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between ...
(Parliament) building in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
. From 16 October 1871 until 04 November 1894 it met in a former porcelain factory at number 4, ''Leipziger Straße''. That 23-year "temporary" location was the scene of passionate political debates that are associated with names like Bebel, Liebknecht, and Bismarck. The premises were generally considered too small, so in 1871 a decision was made to construct a new building. In 1872, there was an architectural competition which attracted 103 entries by architects. However, work did not start for some years, due to problems with purchasing land and to disagreements between Emperor
Wilhelm I , signature = Wilhelm_I,_German_Emperor_Signature.svg , religion = Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German Protestant Reformers, r ...

Wilhelm I
,
Otto von Bismarck Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (german: Otto Fürst von Bismarck, Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen, Herzog zu Lauenburg ; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a c ...

Otto von Bismarck
, and members of the ''Reichstag'', about how the construction should be carried out. Ten years on, in 1882, another architectural competition was announced, this time with some 200 architects participating. The winner of the second competition was the Frankfurt architect
Paul Wallot Johann Paul Wallot (26 June 1841 Oppenheim am Rhein – 10 August 1912 Bad Schwalbach) was a German architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide s ...
, who would eventually see his plan executed. On 29 June 1884, the building's foundation stone was finally laid by the Emperor. The new building was acclaimed for its cupola of steel and glass, an engineering masterpiece of the time. In 1888, before it was completed, Emperor Wilhelm I died, and 1888 was the
Year of the Three Emperors The Year of the Three Emperors, or the Year of the Three Kaisers (german: Dreikaiserjahr), refers to the year 1888 during the German Empire in German history.PikeTipton, p. 175.Nichols, p. 1.Berghahn, p. 282. The year is considered to have memor ...
. The third of these,
Wilhelm II Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert; 27 January 18594 June 1941), anglicised as William II, was the last German Emperor (german: Kaiser) and King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until Abdication of Wilhelm II, his abdication on Nove ...

Wilhelm II
, objected to a much greater extent to the very concept of parliament as a democratic institution. The new building opened in 1894. The famous inscription – DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLKE (to the German People) – was added in 1916 by Peter Behrens, and it still towers above the monumental entrance.www.reichstag.de "The Reichstag Building"
In English. Retrieved 26-February-2012


Presidents of the Reichstag

File:Eduard von Simson by Fritz Paulsen.jpg, Eduard von Simson File:Max von forckenberg.jpg, File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R18733, Constantin Fehrenbach.jpg, Constantin Fehrenbach


Notable members

* ( NLP, Deutsche Freisinnige Partei) * Theodor Barth ( NLP, Deutsche Freisinnige Partei) *
August Bebel Ferdinand August Bebel (22 February 1840 – 13 August 1913) was a German socialist politician, writer, and orator. He is best remembered as one of the founders of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany (SDAP) in 1869, which in 1875 mer ...
(SAP, later
SPD The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the CDU/CSU, Union parties ...
) *
Rudolf von Bennigsen Karl Wilhelm Rudolf von Bennigsen (10 July 1824, Lüneburg Lüneburg (officially the ''Hanseatic City of Lüneburg'', German: ''Hansestadt Lüneburg'', , Low German ''Lümborg'', Latin ''Luneburgum'' or ''Lunaburgum'', Old High German ''Lunebu ...

Rudolf von Bennigsen
( NLP) *
Eduard Bernstein Eduard Bernstein (; 6 January 1850 – 18 December 1932) was a German social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social ...

Eduard Bernstein
(SPD) * Albert Hänel (
Deutsche Fortschrittspartei The German Progress Party (german: Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, DFP) was the first modern political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a p ...
, Deutsche Freisinnige Partei) * ( ADAV, SAP, Vorgängerparteien der SPD) *
Wojciech Korfanty Wojciech Korfanty (; born Adalbert Korfanty; 20 April 1873 – 17 August 1939) was a Polish activism, activist, journalist and politician, who served as a member of the German Empire, German parliaments, the Reichstag (German Empire), Reichstag an ...

Wojciech Korfanty
(
National-Democratic Party (Poland) The National-Democratic Party ( pl, Stronnictwo Demokratyczno-Narodowe, SDN) was a secret political party created in 1897 in the Russian Partition of Poland by the National League The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simpl ...
) *
Karl Liebknecht Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht (; 13 August 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a German socialist Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of Economic systems, ...

Karl Liebknecht
(SPD) *
Wilhelm Liebknecht Wilhelm Martin Philipp Christian Ludwig Liebknecht
(29 March 1826 – 7 August 1900) was a German sociali ...

Wilhelm Liebknecht
(SAP, later SPD) * Ludwig Löwe (
Deutsche Fortschrittspartei The German Progress Party (german: Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, DFP) was the first modern political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a p ...
, Deutsche Freisinnige Partei) *
Hermann von MallinckrodtHermann von Mallinckrodt (5 February 1821, Minden Minden () is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coord ...
( Zentrum) *
Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke Helmuth is both a masculine German given name and a surname. Notable people with the name include: Given name; *Helmuth Theodor Bossert Helmuth Theodor Bossert (September 11, 1889 – February 5, 1961) was a German , and . He is best-known for h ...

Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke
( Konservative Partei) *
Theodor Mommsen Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen (; 30 November 1817 – 1 November 1903) was a German classical scholar Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity, and in the Western world traditionally refers to the study of Anci ...

Theodor Mommsen
(
Deutsche Fortschrittspartei The German Progress Party (german: Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, DFP) was the first modern political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a p ...
, NLP) *
Friedrich von Payer Friedrich Ludwig von Payer (12 June 1847 – 14 July 1931) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany ...

Friedrich von Payer
( DtVP) *
August Reichensperger August Reichensperger (22 March 180816 July 1895) was a German Catholic politician from the city of Koblenz. Life Reichensperger studied law and entered government service, becoming counsellor to the court of appeal (''Appellationsgerichtsrat'') a ...

August Reichensperger
( Zentrum) *
Peter Reichensperger Peter Reichensperger (b. at Coblenz, 28 May 1810 - d. at Berlin, 31 December 1892) was a German jurist and parliamentarian. Life He studied at Bonn and Heidelberg, and was successively counsellor at Coblenz (1843), of the court of appeal at Colo ...

Peter Reichensperger
( Zentrum) *
Eugen Richter Eugen Richter (30 July 183810 March 1906) was a German politician and journalist in Imperial Germany. He was one of the leading advocates of liberalism in the Prussian Landtag and the German Reichstag. Career Son of a combat medic, Richter attende ...

Eugen Richter
(
Deutsche Fortschrittspartei The German Progress Party (german: Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, DFP) was the first modern political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a p ...
, Deutsche Freisinnige Partei, FVp) * Burghard von Schorlemer-Alst ( Zentrum) *
Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, also Hermann Schulze, (29 August 1808 – 29 April 1883) was a German politician and economist. He was responsible for the organizing of the world's first credit unions. He was also co-founder of the German Progress ...
(
Deutsche Fortschrittspartei The German Progress Party (german: Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, DFP) was the first modern political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a p ...
, Deutsche Freisinnige Partei) *
Rudolf Virchow Rudolf Ludwig Carl Virchow (; or ; 13 October 18215 September 1902) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizen ...

Rudolf Virchow
(
Deutsche Fortschrittspartei The German Progress Party (german: Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, DFP) was the first modern political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a p ...
, Deutsche Freisinnige Partei, FVp) * ( NLP) *
Ludwig Windthorst Baron Ludwig von Windthorst (17 January 181214 March 1891) was a German politician and leader of the Catholic Centre Party and the most notable opponent of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lau ...

Ludwig Windthorst
( Zentrum)


See also

*
Reichstag (North German Confederation) The Reichstag was the Parliament of the North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic g ...
*
Weimar National Assembly The Constituent German National Assembly (german: verfassunggebende Deutsche Nationalversammlung), better known as the Weimar National Assembly (german: Weimarer Nationalversammlung, link=no), was the constitutional convention and de facto parli ...
*
Reichstag (Weimar Republic) The Reichstag (English language, English: Reich, Imperial Diet (assembly), Diet) was the lower house of the legislature of the Weimar Republic. It originated in the creation of the Weimar Constitution in 1919. After the Machtergreifung, end of ...


References


External links


Höfe und Residenzen im spätmittelalterlichen Reich. Ein Handbuch


{{in lang, de Historical legislatures Politics of the German Empire Reichstag (legislative body)