German Conservative Party

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German Conservative Party
Deutschkonservative Partei
Founded June 7, 1876 (1876-06-07)
Dissolved November 1918 (1918-11)
Preceded by Prussian Conservative Party
Merged into German National People's Party
Newspaper Kreuzzeitung
Ideology Conservatism (Germany)
Political position Right-wing
Politics of Germany
Political parties

The German Conservative Party (German: Deutschkonservative Partei, DKP) was a right-wing political party of the German Empire, founded in 1876.


It was generally seen as representing the interests of the German nobility, the Junker landowners living east of the Elbe, and the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union, and had its political stronghold in the Prussian Diet, where the three-class franchise gave rural elites disproportionate power. Predominantly Prussian traditionalists, the party members had been skeptical at first about the 1871 Unification of Germany — unlike the Free Conservative Party, a national conservative split-off dominated by business magnates unrestrictedly supporting the policies of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

Members of the DKP parliamentary group in the Reichstag (1889), third from left: Helmuth von Moltke

The policies of "Old Conservatives" like Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke or Elard von Oldenburg-Januschau generally embraced support for the powers of the monarchy and opposition to economic liberalism and democratization, the introduction of electoral reform in Prussia, or true parliamentary government in Germany as a whole. Due to universal suffrage, on federal level the DKP had to face strikingly decreased significance: In the 1878 federal election it gained 13.0% of the votes cast and entered the Reichstag parliament with 59 deputies. Afterwards the party, which furthermore lost votes as Germans moved from rural areas to new industrial centers in the west (Ostflucht), forged an electoral alliance with the Christian Social Party under Adolf Stoecker. opportunistically embracing antisemitism. The 1892 party program denounced a "demoralizing Jewish influence"; however, when this attitude failed to halt the party's fall in the polls, this element was de-emphasized. Stoecker finally revoked the alliance in 1896.

Though predominantly Protestant, the DKP opposed the Kulturkampf, but supported Bismarck when during the Long Depression, the Chancellor began to implement protectionist policies by restricting grain imports from Russia and the United States. Following this, the DKP strongly opposed the "New Course" of his successor Leo von Caprivi, it also withdrew its confidence in Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow, when he tried to implement an inheritance tax reform and finally had to resign in 1909 after the Daily Telegraph Affair. The party supported Emperor Wilhelm II's naval policies and Germany's arms race with the United Kingdom, but initially kept its distance towards colonialism and the activists of the Pan-German League.

The party was dissolved following the fall of the monarchy in November 1918 and the German Revolution. Most of its supporters turned to the newly established German National People's Party. The Deutschkonservative Partei had no direct connection to the Deutsche Rechtspartei founded in 1946, which used the name Deutsche Konservative Partei (German Conservative Party) in parts of West Germany.

See also[edit]


  • Booms, Hans: Die Deutschkonservative Partei. Preußischer Charakter, Reichsauffassung, Nationalbegriff. Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1954 (Beiträge zur Geschichte des Parliamentarismus und der politischen Parteien. vol. 3) - 135 pages
  • Stillich, Oscar: Die Konservativen. Eine wissenschaftliche Darlegung ihrer Grundsätze und ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung. Leipzig: Verlag Werner Klinkhardt, 1908 (Die politischen Parteien in Deutschland, vol. 1); History of the "German Conservative Party" see pages 208 - 256

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