The First Democracy

After the end of the Monarchy and with the foundation of the Weimar Republic, the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt became the People’s State of Hesse. On January 26, 1919, the first parliamentary elections took place with the Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Party and the German Centre Party—hence the three parties of the Weimar Coalition—forming a coalition government. The seat of this government was Darmstadt.

On February 20, 1919 the country voted in favor of a democratic constitution. The consequences of World War I. confronted the young Hessian Republic with a number of great political and economical challenges. Despite these difficulties, Wilhelm Leuschner, the Hessian Minister of the Interior since 1928, considered Hessen to be the “pioneer of the reshaping of the empire, if it was to remain true to itself and its tradition”. Leuschner saw the danger of the emerging National Socialism and fought against it right from the beginning.