Republic of Baden
Republik Baden
State of Germany

The Republic of Baden (red) within the Weimar Republic
• 1925[1]
15,070 km2 (5,820 sq mi)
• 1925[1]
 • TypeRepublic
• 1918–1920 (first)
Anton Geiß
• 1933–1945 (last)
Walter Köhler (Minister-President)
• 1933–1945
Robert Wagner
Historical eraInterwar · World War II
• Established
14 November 1918
• Constitution enacted
13 April 1919
11 March 1933
• Abolition (de jure)
19 September 1945
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Grand Duchy of Baden
South Baden
Today part ofGermany

The Republic of Baden (German: Republik Baden) was a German state that existed during the time of the Weimar Republic, formed after the abolition of the Grand Duchy of Baden in 1918. It is now part of the modern German state of Baden-Württemberg.


Main article: Baden

Revolution in Baden

With revolution threatening the German Empire in the final days of World War I, the state ministry of the Grand Duchy of Baden passed an electoral reform on 2 November 1918 in a final attempt to preserve the monarchy there. On 8 November, workers' and soldiers' councils were established in Lahr and Offenburg. On the following day, similar councils were established in Mannheim and Karlsruhe and the entire Badische state ministry stepped down.

On 10 November 1918 revolutionaries in Karlsruhe formed a provisional government, and an assembly of the various revolutionary councils took place on the following day. On 13 November Grand Duke Frederick II relinquished all governing duties; he eventually abdicated on 22 November, following the abdication of his first cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II (announced on 9 November and formalised on 28 November).

The provisional government declared the establishment of the freie Volksrepublik Baden (Free People's Republic of Baden) on 14 November 1918, and set 5 January 1919 as the date for new elections.


A national assembly was created on 12 January 1919, with the Christian democratic Centre Party emerging as the strongest party ahead of the centre-left SPD. Together, these two parties received 91.5% of all votes. On 1 April, the Badische parliament (Landtag) formed a government from members of the Weimar Coalition. Until 1933, Baden was mostly governed by the Centre Party.

On 21 March 1919, the Landtag unanimously passed a new constitution.[2] A referendum (Volksabstimmung) approved the constitution on 13 April. This popular vote was the first in German history, and the Baden constitution was the only one passed by popular vote in Germany during the Weimar period.[3]

Communist uprising

Kurt Eisner, Independent Social Democratic (USPD) Minister-President of the People's State of Bavaria, was assassinated on 21 February 1919. The Baden USPD and Communist Party of Germany (KPD) held a demonstration mourning Eisner in Mannheim on 22 February, which was attended by 10,000-40,000 people. Albert Stolzenburg, a KPD official, proclaimed a Soviet Republic without consulting the other organizers of the event.[4]

1,000 people went to Mannheim Palace, where some judiciary departments were, to demonstrate. The group stormed the castle, freed prisoners, and burned documents. Rioting broke out in the rest of the city. The 110th Infantry Regiment, believing that the SPD was involved, willingly disarmed itself while police took no action.[5]

Police starting combatting rioters on 23 February. The Revolutionary Workers' Council was formed in Mannheim on the same day. French soldiers blocked bridges along the Rhine in response to the uprising. The government of Baden declared a state of emergency and banned all gatherings, demonstrations, distributions of pamphlets, and public carrying of weapons. A curfew of 7 p.m. was instituted and rail connections to the city were stopped.[6]

On 23 February, a meeting between the SPD, USPD, and KPD reached an agreement in which the Soviet Republic was dissolved. The state of emergency was lifted, except in Mannheim, the next day.[7]

On 5 March, the government announced that the 110th Infantry Regiment would be withdrawn from Mannheim and replaced by a different battalion to support the police. The KPD called for a general strike to oppose this decision. The 2nd Volunteer Battalion was moved from Bruchsal to Mannheim on 7 March, and aided the police in arresting leaders of the uprising and prisoners freed from the castle.[8]

Nazi rule

After the Nazi seizure of power, Baden, like all other German states, was subjected to the process of Gleichschaltung (coordination). On 8 March 1933, Robert Heinrich Wagner was sent to Baden as the Reichskommissar for police and displaced the elected President of Baden three days later. Subsequent to the enactment of the "Provisional Law and Second Law on the Coordination of the States with the Reich" on 7 April, Wagner was appointed to the new position of Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor).[9] At that point, Walter Köhler was installed by Wagner as the Nazi-appointed Minister-President, although executive power in the region truly rested with Wagner who was also the Nazi Party Gauleiter of Baden. Additionally, on 30 January 1934, the Reich government enacted the "Law on the Reconstruction of the Reich," formally abolishing all the states' Landtage and transferring the sovereignty of the states to the central government. Between August 1940 and May 1945, Gau Baden was renamed "Baden-Elsass" and extended westwards to include the occupied French district of Alsace.


Through the Allied occupation of post-war Germany, Baden was divided between the American and French occupation zones. The division was made so that the Autobahn connecting Karlsruhe and Munich (today the A8) was completely contained within the American zone. This northern American-administered area became part of the state of Württemberg-Baden on 19 September 1945[10] while the southern half was placed under French administration and became the state of South Baden or simply "Baden," With this action, the Republic of Baden was dissolved. Subsequently, both entities became constituent states of West Germany on its founding on 23 May 1949. They later were reunited and merged with the state of Württemberg on 23 April 1952 to form the new state of Baden-Württemberg.


Republic of Baden sign in Rastatt city museum

Baden was subdivided into four administrative districts (Landeskommissärbezirke, similar to the modern Regierungsbezirke) based in Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Freiburg and Konstanz. These districts were further divided into a total of 53 Amtsbezirke (in 1924, this number was reduced to 40). These were divided again into a total of 1,536 municipalities.[11]


Main article: List of ministers-president of Baden-Württemberg § Presidents of the Republic of Baden (1918–1945)

Following the constitution, passed in 1921, the President of Baden was an elected from the standing members of the Baden Landtag for a 1-year term.[2] After Gleichschaltung, Baden was governed by appointed Nazi officials.


  1. ^ Beckmanns Welt-Lexikon und Welt-Atlas. Leipzig / Vienna: Verlagsanstalt Otto Beckmann. 1931.
  2. ^ a b "Constitution of the Republic of Baden". Verfassungen der Welt (in German). Retrieved 4 May 2007.
  3. ^ "Baden: Ereignisse 1918-1933". Wahlen in der Weimarer Republik (in German). Retrieved 26 April 2007.
  4. ^ Schmidgall 2012, p. 259-260.
  5. ^ Schmidgall 2012, p. 261-262.
  6. ^ Schmidgall 2012, p. 263-265.
  7. ^ Schmidgall 2012, p. 265-266.
  8. ^ Schmidgall 2012, p. 268-269.
  9. ^ Miller, Michael D.; Schulz, Andreas (2021). Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and Their Deputies, 1925–1945. Vol. 3 (Fritz Sauckel - Hans Zimmermann). Fonthill Media. p. 577. ISBN 978-1-781-55826-3.
  10. ^ "Allied Control Council Proclamation No.2" (in German). 19 September 1945.
  11. ^ "Der Freistaat Baden im Überblick". Wahlen in der Weimarer Republik (in German). Retrieved 26 April 2007.

Works cited

Blume, Wilhelm von (1922). "Baden, Free State of" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company.