Franz Neumann, Otto Kirchheimer, Hermann Heller: social-democratic theories in Weimar constitutional thought

This paper is divided into two parts. The first part analyzes the social Rechtsstaat strategy that was propounded by H.Heller and F.Neumann in Weimar. Heller and Neumann followed to an extent a common direction: they argued that, whereas the Weimar constitution did not establish socialism, a social Rechtsstaat (as opposed to a bourgeois Rechtsstaat) could be reached through this constitution. The second part presents Neumann’s shift since 1933, which is demonstrated by his critique to his own former strategy and to the stance of the Weimar SPD. This part delves also into O.Kirchheimer’s critique to the social Rechtsstaat strategy during the Weimar period. Finally, through this juxtaposition, this paper examines whether the social Rechtsstaat strategy could provide with an efficient defence of the Weimar Constitution and of the Weimar Republic in view of the contradiction that was played out in Weimar between political democracy and capitalist economy.