National Economic Council

   Conceived by Wichard von Moellendorff* and first proposed in March 1919 by Labor Minister Gustav Bauer,* the Reichswirtschaftsrat aimed to reconcile the Work-ers' and Soldiers' Councils* with the new Republic. The crowning institution of a three-level pyramid structure (the others being factory councils and regional councils), it was supposed to safeguard the public interest by protecting workers and enhancing production. Formalized through Article 165 of the Constitution,* a provisional body was created by the Factory Council Law* in August 1919; its leading members were Hugo Stinnes,* Carl Duisberg,* and Carl Legien.* Blending Bismarckian ideas with Marxist dogma, a permanent council, formed on 4 May 1920, sought to represent "all important trade and professional groups . . . according to their social and economic importance." With its eclectic as-sembly of 326 members, the council was too unwieldy for important delibera-tions. The aspiration that it do more than review economic legislation—that is, that it initiate parliamentary proposals—went unfulfilled. Often delaying issues that should have gone directly to the Reichstag,* it was unable to bridge the chasm between Germany's social classes. While it continued to exist, its role was negligible after 1923. The NSDAP dissolved the council in November 1934 in favor of the National Economic Chamber.
   REFERENCES:Eyck, History of the Weimar Republic, vol. 1; Feldman, Iron and Steel; Taddey, Lexikon.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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