German Democratic Party

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German Democratic Party
Founded 1918
Dissolved 1933
Preceded by Progressive People's Party
Succeeded by German State Party
Newspaper NA; supported by Vossische Zeitung and Frankfurter Zeitung
Ideology Classical liberalism,[1]
Social liberalism,[2][3]
Economic liberalism[4]
Political position Centre to Centre-left[6]
Colors black-red-gold (republican colors)
Politics of Germany
Political parties

The German Democratic Party (German: Deutsche Demokratische Partei, DDP) was founded in November 1918 by leaders of the former Progressive People's Party (Fortschrittliche Volkspartei), left members of the National Liberal Party (Nationalliberale Partei), and a new group calling themselves the Democrats.

In 1930 the party was renamed Deutsche Staatspartei (DStP). It was forced by the Nazis to dissolve itself in 1933.


The Democrats were a more left-wing or social liberal party, whereas the German People's Party was right-wing liberal. Along with the Social Democrats and the Centre Party, the Democratic party was most committed to maintaining a democratic, republican form of government. It considered itself also a devotedly national party and opposed the Treaty of Versailles but emphasized on the other hand the need for international collaboration and the protection of ethnic minorities. A Phd thesis of 1978 (by Jürgen C. Hess) called the DDP the party of "democratic nationalism". With Ludwig Quidde (Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1927) and others the party had a pacifist wing which left the Democrats in 1930.

The party was attacked by some for being a party of Jews and professors (and, indeed, Jews formed one of its most loyal voter groups).[citation needed] Its social basis were middle class entrepreneurs, civil servants, teachers, scientists and craftsmen.

Persons and governments[edit]

The party's first leader of the Protestant parish priest Friedrich Naumann who was popular and influential but failed with his Nationalsozialer Verein ten years earlier to link progressive intellctuals with the worker's class. He died early in 1919. Other still known politicians of the DDP were Hugo Preuß, the main author of the Weimar constitution, and the eminent sociologist Max Weber. Hjalmar Schacht, once a prominent supporter of this party and president of the Reichsbank, left the party in 1926.

Nearly all German governments from 1918 to 1931 included ministers from the DDP, such as Walther Rathenau, Eugen Schiffer, Hugo Preuss, Otto Gessler, Max Weber and Erich Koch-Weser. From their 18% share of the first elections under proportional representation in 1919, they dropped to for example 4,9% in 1928 and 1,0% in November 1932. An attempted merger with the Young German Order to form the German State Party in 1930 failed miserably, and the party's Reichstag delegation became practically insignificant.

After 1945[edit]

The party was practically banned by the Nazis in 1933. Former politicians of the DDP joined in 1945 and following years especially the new Free Democratic Party (1945/1948), as did the liberals from the German People's Party. First Federal President Theodor Heuss, a journalist and professor in history, was a DDP deputy in 1933. In the Soviet occupation zone the liberal leader was former DDP minister Wilhelm Külz.

Other DDP members went to the Christian Democrats, such as Ernst Lemmer, the former leader of the Young Democrats and Federal Minister in 1956-1965.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mommsen, Hans (1996). The Rise and Fall of Weimar Democracy. University of North Carolina Press. p. 58. ISBN 0-8078-2249-3. 
  2. ^ Van De Grift, Liesbeth (2012). Securing the Communist State: The Reconstruction of Coercive Institutions in the Soviet Zone of Germany and Romania, 1944-48. Lexington Books. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7391-7178-3. 
  3. ^ Lash, Scott; Urry, John (1987). The End of Organized Capitalism. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-7456-0068-9. 
  4. ^ a b Kurlander, Eric (2006). The Price of Exclusion: Ethnicity, National Identity, and the Decline of German Liberalism, 1898–1933. Berghahn Books. p. 197. ISBN 1-8454-5069-8. 
  5. ^ Maier, Charles S. (1975). Recasting Bourgeois Europe: Stabilization in France, Germany and Italy in the Decade after World War I. Princeton University Press. p. 56. ISBN 0-691-05220-4. 
  6. ^ Lee, Stephen J. (1998). The Weimar Republic. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 0-415-17178-4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Frye, Bruce B. (1963). "The German Democratic Party 1918–1930". Political Research Quarterly 16 (1): 167–179. doi:10.1177/106591296301600112.