Declaration by the new SPD government (1918)


A declaration by the new SPD government, signed by Ebert, Scheidemann and others, and given to the German people on November 12th 1918:


“To the German People!

The government that has emerged from the revolution, whose political leadership is purely socialist, sets itself the task of realising the socialist program. It now announces the following with the force of law:

1. The state of siege is rescinded.

2. The rights of association and demonstration is subject to no restrictions, not even for civil servants and public employees.

3. There will be no censorship. Censorship of the theatre is herewith abolished.

4. There will be freedom of opinion in speech and publication.

5. Freedom of religion is guaranteed. No one may be forced to participate in any religious activity.

6. Amnesty is granted for all political crimes. Cases resulting from any such crimes will be dismissed.

7. The law of national service is rescinded with the exception of provisions relating to the conciliation of conflicts.

8. The rules governing relations between servants and masters are rescinded, as well as the special laws affecting rural laborers.

9. The worker protection laws rescinded at the start of the war are hereby reinstated. Further social and political decrees will be issued in the near future. On January 1st 1919 at the latest, the eight-hour maximum work day will come into effect. The government will do what it can to ensure sufficient job opportunities.

A decree for compensation for the unemployed has been prepared. The burdens will be distributed to the national, state, and communal governments. In the area of health insurance compulsory insurance will be extended beyond the present limit of 2,500 marks. The housing shortage will be combated by the provision of new housing.

The government will work towards the provision of a sufficient food supply.The government will maintain orderly production and will defend property against the intervention of private individuals as well as protecting individual freedom and security.

All elections to public bodies are from now on to be held by equal, secret, direct, and universal vote on the basis of proportional representation of all men and women at least 20 years of age. This voting system will also apply to the constitutional assembly, about which further directives will soon be issued.”

Signed in Berlin, November 12th 1918
By Messers Ebert, Haase, Scheidemann, Landsberg, Dittmann and Barth.