Upon the conclusion of World War I, Germany suffered significant territorial losses from the Treaty of Versailles. After the German Revolution, the 21 constituent states of Germany abolished their monarchies and continued as republics alongside the three pre-existing city-states within the new Weimar Republic. The former Ernestine duchies continued briefly as republics before merging to form the state of Thuringia in 1920, except for Saxe-Coburg, which became part of Bavaria. Additionally, the Saar Basin and the city of Danzig were detached from Germany and placed in the care of the League of Nations.

These states were effectively abolished under the Nazi regime by a series of Reichsstatthalter decrees between 1933 and 1935, which caused them to be superseded by Nazi provinces called Gaue. Many of the states were formally dissolved by the Allies at the end of World War II and ultimately re-organised into the modern states of Germany.

List of states

Free States

State Full name Capital Established Notes
Anhalt Free State of Anhalt
Freistaat Anhalt
Dessau 1918 Merged into Saxony-Anhalt in 1945.
Baden Republic of Baden
Republik Baden
Karlsruhe 1918 Split into Württemberg-Baden and South Baden in 1945.
Bavaria Free State of Bavaria
Freistaat Bayern
Munich 1918
Brunswick Free State of Brunswick
Freistaat Braunschweig
Braunschweig 1918 Split and merged into Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt in 1946.
Coburg Free State of Coburg
Freistaat Coburg
Coburg 1918–20 Merged into Bavaria in 1920.
Hesse People's State of Hesse
Volksstaat Hessen
Darmstadt 1918 Split into Greater Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate in 1945.
Lippe Free State of Lippe
Freistaat Lippe
Detmold 1918 Merged into North Rhine-Westphalia in 1947.
Mecklenburg-Schwerin Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Freistaat Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Schwerin 1918 Merged into Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 1933.
Mecklenburg-Strelitz Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Freistaat Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Neustrelitz 1918 Merged into Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 1933.
Oldenburg Free State of Oldenburg
Freistaat Oldenburg
Oldenburg 1918 Split into Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Rhineland-Palatinate in 1946.
Prussia Free State of Prussia
Freistaat Preußen
Berlin 1918 Abolished in 1947.
Saxony Free State of Saxony
Freistaat Sachsen
Dresden 1918
Reuss People's State of Reuss
Volksstaat Reuß
Gera 1918–20 Merged into Thuringia in 1920.
Schaumburg-Lippe Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe
Freistaat Schaumburg-Lippe
Bückeburg 1918 Merged into Lower Saxony in 1946.
Thuringia Free State of Thuringia
Freistaat Thüringen
Erfurt 1920 Merged from the Free States of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Meiningen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and the People's State of Reuss.
Saxe-Meiningen Free State of Saxe-Meiningen
Freistaat Sachsen-Meiningen
Meiningen 1918–20 Merged into Thuringia in 1920.
Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Free State of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Freistaat Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach
Weimar 1918–20 Merged into Thuringia in 1920.
Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Free State of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Freistaat Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt
Rudolstadt 1918–20 Merged into Thuringia in 1920.
Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Free State of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Freistaat Schwarzburg-Sondershausen
Sondershausen 1918–20 Merged into Thuringia in 1920.
Waldeck-Pyrmont Free State of Waldeck-Pyrmont
Freistaat Waldeck-Pyrmont
Arolsen 1918–29 Pyrmont merged into Prussia in 1921; Waldeck merged into Prussia in 1929.
Württemberg Free People's State of Württemberg
Freier Volksstaat Württemberg
Stuttgart 1918 Split into Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern in 1945.

Free and Hanseatic Cities

State Full name Capital Notes
Bremen Free and Hanseatic City of Bremen
Freie Hansestadt Bremen
Hamburg Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg
Lübeck Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Freie und Hansestadt Lübeck
Lübeck Merged into Prussia in 1937.

Other territories

After World War I, the Saar Basin was occupied and governed jointly by the United Kingdom and France from 1920 to 1935 under a League of Nations mandate.[1] After a plebiscite was held in 1935, the region was returned to Germany.[2]

In accordance with the Treaty of Versailles, the city of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland) was detached from Germany on 15 November 1920 and turned into a semi-autonomous city-state under the protection of the League of Nations.[3][4] The Treaty stated that it was to remain separate from both Germany and the newly independent Poland, but was not its own sovereign state.[5] After the Nazis invaded Poland in September 1939, the city's autonomous status was revoked and it was annexed by Germany.

See also


  1. ^ Article 45-50 with Annex, Treaty of Versailles
  2. ^ M G Callagher. "The Saar Plebiscite, 1935". Moodle.kkc.school.nz. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  3. ^ Loew, Peter Oliver (February 2011). Danzig – Biographie einer Stadt (in German). C.H. Beck. p. 189. ISBN 978-3-406-60587-1. 
  4. ^ Samerski, Stefan (2003). Das Bistum Danzig in Lebensbildern (in German). LIT Verlag. p. 8. ISBN 3-8258-6284-4. 
  5. ^ Kaczorowska, Alina (2010-07-21). Public International Law. Routledge. p. 199. ISBN 0-203-84847-0. 
  • Solsten, Eric (1999). Germany: A Country Study. DIANE Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7881-8179-3.