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Verfassung versus Grundgesetz

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What is the difference between the Bundesverfassung and the Grundgesetz?  In my dictionary it shows both as the constitution.

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I think the OP's question is a more fundamental one, even though the differences explained in the video above are of course valid. Let me give this a shot:

 

A very important aspect is that in 1949, the German Grundgesetz (frequently translated as Basic Law or Basic Constitutional Law) was not meant to be a full fledged Verfassung aka constitution (!).

English translation: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_gg/

Original German: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/gg/eingangsformel.html

 

At that time, not all Germans in the four zones held by Allied forces after World War II had access to representation in the Parlamentarische Rat, the group that created the Grundgesetz. Only representatives from the French, British, and American zones were present, not from the Soviet zone (as I just read, neither from Saarland, an area on the French border).
So basically, a temporary replacement with a similar function, but not identical status as a true constitution was created. In fact, to this day, Article 146 of the Grundgesetz states (official English translation from link above):

Article 146
[Duration of the Basic Law]

This Basic Law, which since the achievement of the unity and freedom of Germany applies to the entire German people, shall cease to apply on the day on which a constitution freely adopted by the German people takes effect.

German: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/gg/art_146.html

 

IMHO, aside from the statement of a number of inalienable rights, **this** is a really important difference between a Verfassung (as existed in the Weimar Republic until Adolf deactivated it, flippantly spoken), and today's Grundgesetz.

 

But please don't ask me why Germany didn't go and give itself a proper non-temporary constitution after reunification of major parts of pre-war Germany in 1990 at the latest. It's a mystery to me. :)

 

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So basically, if I have understood correctly, the Grundgesetz is the constitution. But I get confused when they talk of the Bundesverfassunsgericht and not the Bundesgrundgesetzgericht.

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Yes, the Grundgesetz is what serves in lieu of a constitution in Germany. But it *isn't* a bona fide, permanent constitution. That's why the term Grundgesetz isn't translated as such.

And yes, good point - the name Bundesverfassungsgericht is a bit inconsistent. :)

I've done some more reading - it seems that since reunification, Germany has edged a little closer to considering the Grundgesetz it's "for real" constitution. It's complicated and conflicted, like everything in this country.

 

(And I'd like to add that IMHO this not quite constitution ;) is a surprisingly enlightened and well reinforced one. I will complain about Germany, its politics, quirks and madness all day long, but there is a lot of really good stuff going on for this place. I just wish the Germans would appreciate it more. *gets off soapbox again*)

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