German Parliaments: A Study of the Development of Representative Institutions in Germany

German Parliaments: A Study of the Development of Representative Institutions in Germany

German Parliaments: A Study of the Development of Representative Institutions in Germany

German Parliaments: A Study of the Development of Representative Institutions in Germany

Excerpt

The origin of this book is as follows. In 1951 I was invited to visit Bonn to be present at the inaugural meeting of the German Parliamentary Society. In the course of discussions with German parliamentarians of all parties, I learnt that there did not exist in the German or any other language a short, authoritative book dealing with the history of representative institutions in Germany. Talking with Dr. Adenauer, I ventured to suggest that the view-- widely held both inside and outside Germany--that the conception of representative institutions was quite foreign to German thought was not correct. So far as modern times were concerned, it seemed to me that the rope of parliamentarism ran through German history for a period and was then severed, but re-appeared again, only to suffer the same fate at a later date. It was not, I suggested, that Germans had never tried parliamentary democracy. The tragedy was that for one reason or another it had so often been launched under inauspicious circumstances.

I suggested that it would be in keeping with the purposes of the Hansard Society, and might be of use to the cause of parliamentary democracy in Germany, if a book were written in English and from a non-German point of view on the subject of German Parliaments. It seemed to me that this book might then be found worthy of translation into German for use in Germany. Dr. Adenauer welcomed this proposal, which was later approved by the Council of the Hansard Society.

Although I can claim some share in the idea from which the book was born, I was well aware that I lacked the scholarship and historical knowledge needed for its production. From this point of view the Hansard Society was fortunate in obtaining the services of Dr. Richard K. Ullmann, a distinguished scholar of German origin, now a British citizen, who prepared the first draft of the book. The text was then . . .

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