What Was Article 48?

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Article 48 was an amendment to the Weimar Constitution that allowed the president of the Weimar Republic in Germany to work around Parliament to carry out duties that protected the people in times of crisis. The decree was intended to help the people, but it eventually led to the downfall of democracy in Weimar, Germany.

The beneficial attributes of Article 48 included the ability of the president to impose taxes on the people to help in times of economic crisis. Most of the decrees set forth with the use of this article were designed to help with either economic or social problems. However, the true intention of Article 48 was that it could only be used in extreme situations.

Even though Article 48 was helpful during certain times, it provided the government the opportunity to squash the individual liberties of the German people. It even allowed the removal of those liberties granted to the general population in the Constitution. Article 48 eventually led to Nazism in Weimar when Chancellor Bruning used President Hindenburg’s authority provided by Article 48 to enact a great number of presidential decrees. Chancellor Bruning essentially became a dictator between 1930 and 1932, effectively turning a democratic country toward Nazism.