Provisional Imperial Government

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Reichsbürger protesters in Berlin, 2013. The larger of the signs says, in German: "The peoples of Germany: liberation 1813 from Napoleon, liberation 2013 from EU-fascism!"
The "GG" there does not stand for Gamergate; it stands for Grundgesetz ("Constitution", in German) and references article 146 of it, which confirms the legitimacy of Germany.[1]
I fought the law
and the law won

Icon pseudolaw.svg
us crazy

A Provisional Imperial Government (PIG; German: Kommissarische Reichsregierung) or the movement of the Reichsbürger (German: Citizens of the realm) is composed of organizations and groups that claim that the modern German state, also known as the Federal Republic of Germany, is an illegitimate state within the historical territory of Germany, and the German Empire, or Second Reich (German: Zweites Reich, "2nd realm") should be restored, along with the House of Hohenzollern (the last ruler of this house was Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany and King of Prussia) ruling it. Many within the movement see Georg Friedrich, Prince of PrussiaWikipedia and great-great-grandson of Wilhelm II as the legitimate ruler of Germany.[2]

There are multiple competing groups and individuals making these claims. Currently, approximately 60 "real" Germanies exist.[3]

In practice, many Reichsbürger tend to be neo-Nazis and/or people trying to get out of speeding tickets or debts. However, some do actually believe that the 2nd Reich was legitimate while the 3rd Reich (German: Drittes Reich, "3rd realm") wasn't.

Reichsargumente or Reichsbürger arguments[edit]

Wilhelm II, German Kaiser, King of Prussia and the complete loser that the Reichsbürger venerate.

"The German Reich still exists"[edit]

This is achieved by heavy quote mining from politicians up until the German Reunification in 1990. Very popular is referring to a 1973 ruling of the German Constitutional Court (German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, abbr. BVerfG), which states that the German Empire (German: Deutsches Reich) did not end with the fall of Nazi Germany and endures, although it cannot act as an entity. What is not quoted is the next part, which elaborates that the German Federal Republic (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, abbr. BRD) is a reorganisation of the German Empire and thus the same entity, but not with the same borders;[4] it is, therefore, the successor state.Wikipedia

After the reunification, the entire German state is represented by the Federal Republic; despite that, Reichsbürger (PIGs) continue to bloom. Or wallow, if you prefer.

"There has never been a peace treaty"[edit]

Several Reichsbürger supporters also point to the way in which Germany lost World War II. While the military capitulated unconditionally, there was never — so they argue — any sort of peace treaty. However, various agreements made during the occupation of Germany by the Allies as well as the Helsinki Accords and the treaties that led to reunification 1989/90 were explicitly signed "in lieu of a peace treaty". The main reason being that the question of reparations was put off "until the signing of a peace treaty" and it would have been awkward for the newly reunified Germany to pay reparations for a war over four decades past.

At any rate, peace treaty or not,[note 1] World War II is over and German sovereignty has never been called into question since reunification either by the United Nations (UN) or by the international community as a whole.


Sign of a true believer.

Most, if not all, Provisional Imperial Governments are watched by the German Federal Office for the Protection of the ConstitutionWikipedia (Bundesverfassungsschutz, the German domestic security agency).
Typically they can be put into one of two camps:

  • True believers, such as neo-Nazis (who just hate the modern Federal Republic of Germany that made their party illegal) and extreme right-wing wingnuts (who think the Federal Republic will crash and burn any minute now and their Germany will take over)
  • Opportunists, who like to avoid paying taxes, speeding tickets,[5] and the likes.

It is odd that such far right groups would attempt to claim that the Weimar Republic is still in effect, considering how its constitution in effect was democratic then, but was brought down thanks to the Great Depression and some Austrian ex-corporal who had a chip on his shoulder. Several Provisional Imperial Governments have issued death threats against "traitors".[6]

Regardless of whether self-proclaimed Reichsbürger just want to evade paying fines and taxes or they actually believe their own nonsense, German authorities and law enforcement agencies have a hard time dealing with such individuals, given that they outright refuse to cooperate with the law. As of April 2018, the Federal Office for the Protection of the (very legitimate) Constitution has about 18,000 Reichsbürger on their watchlist[7] and the Federal Criminal Police Office reported that Reichsbürger had at least 10,500 crimes on their conscience[8] between 2015 and 2017 alone.

Coup plotting[edit]


In 2016, a Reichsbürger killed a police officer when his stash of weapons was raided.[9] Reichsbürger believers tend to have an unusual fascination with guns.[10] During the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany, some elements of the Reichsbürger movement began to fuse with antivaxxers and QAnon conspiracy theorists, and a mob of them attempted to storm the Bundestag (German parliament building) in 2020.[9] Notably, American QAnon believers were also involved in the 2021 U.S. coup attempt.

Coup plot[edit]

We’re going to wipe them out now, the time for fun is over!
—Prince Heinrich[11]

In December 2022, German authorities arrested 25 Reichsbürger members for allegedly plotting a coup involving storming the Bundestag (again).[12] Among the arrestees were a minor[note 2] aristocrat and real estate businessman, Heinrich Reuß (Heinrich XIII or Prince Heinrich), and a former German MP from the Alternative für Deutschland party, Birgit Malsack-Winkemann.[12][11] Other arrestees included Reichsbürger members and QAnon believers.[12][13]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Whether a document is called a peace treaty has no importance on whether it functions as a peace treaty.
  2. So minor, in fact, that by the time of his arrest, he didn’t even have his own Wikipedia article.


  1. Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland Art 146 Bendesministerium der Justiz.
  2. The march of Germany’s extreme monarchists by Katja Hoyer (05 November 2022) The Spectator.
  3. Acting Government of the German Reich The KRR-FAQ. According to a pro-Reichsbürger site located in Vermont with linkbait.
  4. BVerfGE 36, 1 ff.
  5. Correspondence from Christian Joswig to Landratsamt Kamenz (April-June 2002). Archived Correspondence between a Reichsbürger supporter and German authorities over a speeding ticket, where the former pretty much chewbacca-defended his way out of paying the ticket. You'd wish we made that up (archived from April 19, 2009).
  6. Die Reichsminister drohen mit dem Tod by Philipp Gessler (15. 8. 2000) Taz Archiv The imperial ministers are making death threats (in German).
  7. Germany's far-right Reichsbürger movement larger than earlier estimated (04/29/2018) Deutsche Welle (archived from November 12, 2022).
  8. "Reichsbürger" verübten mehr als 10.500 Straftaten (13.04.2018, 15.49 Uhr) Der Spiegel. Reichsbürger committed more than 10,500 crimes.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Reichsbürger: German 'crackpot' movement turns radical and dangerous (December 7, 2022) BBC News.
  10. Explainer: Germany's Reichsbuerger — Searching for an emperor and fascinated by guns by Sabine Siebold (December 7, 20223:55 AM PST) Reuters.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Reichsbürger: the German conspiracy theorists at heart of alleged coup plot: Despite description of alleged plotters by prosecutors as a ‘motley crew’, the threat was considered very real by Kate Connolly (7 Dec 2022 12.29 EST) The Guardian.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Germany arrests 25 accused of plotting coup by Paul Kirby (December 7, 2022) BBC News.
  13. Anna Noryskiewicz, Germany arrests dozens as QAnon-inspired "Reichsbürger" group accused of plotting to overthrow government. CBS News, 7 December 2022.