Nazis didn't write a constitution and adopted The Weimar Constitution that was in force since 1919. The Enabling Act of 1933 was the only implemented reform to this constitution. Given that Nazis were a totalitarian regime and tried to change all aspects of life:

  • Why didn't they write their own constitution?

3 Answers 3


They had no intention of following any constitution other than the Führerprinzip, and writing that into a legal code would have disturbed conservatives who did support them.

The minutes of the Wannsee conference showcase this mindset, even if the conference was not about having (or not having) a constitution -- there were nazis who were ignoring the rule of law, and nazis who wanted to maintain the pretense of a rule of law, but none who defended the substance of the rule of law.

  • 5
    Unwritten rules are a tool of power. Written rules fix them in place and make them public. They can be examined and debated and changed. People can use them to punish rule breakers and defend those who do not. They can adjust their actions to stay within the lines while still pushing boundaries. Unwritten rules are amorphous and can be interpreted and applied as those who are in power see fit. Shadowy rules are difficult to debate and change or even know. Those not in power must live in fear never quite knowing what the rules are or how they will be applied, the "chilling effect".
    – Schwern
    Feb 28, 2021 at 20:42

The purpose of a constitution is to elevate law above leaders, making leaders accountable to the law, and limiting the power of leaders to certain defined areas and activities.

The last thing any nationalist wants (noting that fascism is a form of nationalism) is to limit the power of leaders. For a nationalist, a leader is the law, and limits on said leader's power are inherently objectionable. The Nazis did not write their own constitution because they did not want themselves to be restricted by any overarching, abstract principle of law.


I'll add that in 1942 Hitler got a seemingly legal power to replace any judge, so to some extent that codified his ability to overrule the judiciary.

In a speech before parliament on April 26, 1942, Hitler harshly criticized the way the courts operated in Germany. He accused judges of sentencing criminals much too leniently. He "requested" and got a resolution formally recognizing his right to remove judges at will. He declared he would use this power to take immediate action against every "incorrect" court decision and remove any judge from office who did not "recognize the requirements of the hour."

The brief text of the adopted decision can be found too... it basically gave Hitler the right to remove anyone from any post... and recognized him as supreme justice (on top of the other executive and party leadership roles):


Decision of the Greater German Reichstag of 26 April 1942

At the proposal of the president of the Reichstag, on its session of 26 April 1942, the Greater German Reichstag has approved of the rights which the Fuehrer has postulated in his speech, with the following decision:

There can be no doubt, that in the present war, in which the German people is faced with a struggle for its existence or annihilation, the Fuehrer must have all the rights postulated by him which serve to further or achieve victory. Therefore-without being bound by existing legal regulations-in his capacity as leader of the nation, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, governmental Chief and supreme executive Chief, as supreme justice and leader of the party-the Fuehrer must be in a position to force with all means at his disposal every German, if necessary, whether he be common soldier or officer, low or high official or judge, leading or subordinate official of the party, worker or employee-to fulfill his duties. In case of violation of these duties, the Fuehrer is entitled after conscientious examination, regardless of so-called well-deserved rights, to met out due punishment and to remove the offender from his post, rank and position without introducing prescribed procedures.

At the order of the Fuehrer this decision is hereby made public.

Berlin, 26 April 1942

The Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery Dr Lammers

Of course, one could have argued that this was unconstitutional, but nobody who did remained free/alive for long...

And judges were informed/ordered by secret letters how to apply the laws...

[Reich Minister of Justice] Thierack's letters pressured judges, who were under public threat of removal from office, to choose the path of least resistance and decide a case according to the examples set out in them, although no judge was ever removed from office for the explicit reason of having failed to do so.

The letters were classified as state secrets because the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst, or “SD”) of the SS was convinced that the public would protest the intensification of state control over the judicial system. In a report on May 30, 1943, the SD declared, “The people want an independent judge. The administration of justice and the state would lose all legitimacy if the people believed judges had to decide in a particular way.”

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