Declaration of the Council of People’s Ministers (1918)

Formed on November 10th 1918, the Council of People’s Ministers was a six-person committee that assumed the governmental powers previously held by the Kaiser and his chancellor. On November 12th, after two days in power, the Council issued the following declaration:

To the German People!

“The government which has emerged from the revolution, the political leadership of which is purely socialist, has set itself the task of putting into effect the socialist programme.

We hereby proclaim the following points, which will enter into immediate legal effect:

1. The state of siege is abolished.

2. The right of association and assembly is no longer subject to any restriction, even for officials and those who work for the state.

3. There is to be no censorship. Theatre censorship is also abolished.

4. The expression of opinion in speech and writing is free of restriction.

5. Freedom of religious observance is guaranteed. No one may be compelled to take part in religious activity.

6. Amnesty is granted for all political offences. All proceedings pending on account of such offences are hereby quashed.

7. The law on auxiliary service for the Fatherland is abrogated, with the exception of the provisions relating to the settlement of disputes.

8. The Agricultural Servants’ Ordinances are set aside, as also the exceptional laws against rural workers.

9. The provisions to protect labour, which was suspended at the beginning of the war, are hereby brought into effect once again.

Further ordinances in the field of social policy will be published shortly. A maximum working day of eight hours will enter into force on January 1st 1919 at the latest.

The government will do everything it can to make sure there are enough opportunities to secure work. We have prepared a set of rules for the
maintenance of the unemployed. It divides the burden between the Reich, the States and the municipalities.

As regards insurance against sickness, the obligatory level of insurance is to be raised above the previous limit of 2,500 Marks. We shall combat the housing shortage by providing new dwellings.

We shall work towards securing an orderly supply of food for the people. The orderly flow of production will be maintained by the government, private property will be protected from attacks by persons and the liberty and safety of the individual will be protected.

All elections to public bodies are henceforth to take place on the basis of proportional representation with equal, secret, direct and universal suffrage for all male and female persons who are at least 20 years old. This electoral law is also valid for the Constituent Assembly, for which more specific regulations will later be issued.

Herr Ebert
Herr Haase
Herr Scheidemann
Herr Landsberg
Herr Dittmann
Herr Barth