National Front (East Germany)

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National Front
Nationale Front der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik
Chairman Erich Correns (1950-81)
Lothar Kolditz (1981-90)
Founded 30 March 1950
Dissolved 20 February 1990
Headquarters East Berlin, German Democratic Republic
Ideology Communism
Marxism-Leninism

The National Front of the German Democratic Republic (German: Nationale Front der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, NF), until 1973 the National Front of Democratic Germany German: Nationale Front des Demokratischen Deutschlands), was an alliance (Popular Front) of political parties and mass organisations in East Germany (also known as a Blockpartei). The NF was controlled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and was formed to stand in elections to the East German parliament, the Volkskammer ("People's Chamber").

Constituent parties[edit]

State arms of German Democratic Republic.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
East Germany
Party Emblem Flag Foundation Dissolution Seats in the Volkskammer (1986)
Socialist Unity Party
SED
Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands Logo.svg Flagge der SED.svg 21 April 1946 16 December 1989 127
Christian Democratic Union
CDU
CDU DDR logo transparent.png Flagge der CDU (Ost).svg 26 June 1945 October 1990 52
Liberal Democratic Party
LDPD
LDPD logo transparent.png Flagge Liberal-Demokratische Partei Deutschlands.svg 5 July 1945[1] 11 August 1990 52
Democratic Farmers' Party
DBD
DBD logo transparent.png Flagge Demokratische Bauernpartei Deutschlands2.svg 17 June 1948 15 September 1990 52
National Democratic Party
NDPD
DEU NDPD Logo.svg Flagge der NDPD.svg 5 May 1948[2][3] 27 March 1990 52

Constituent mass organizations with representatives in the People's Chamber[edit]

Organization Emblem Flag Foundation Dissolution Seats in the Volkskammer (1986)
Free German Trade Union Federation
FDGB
FDGB Emblem.svg Flagge FDGB.svg 1946 1990 68
Free German Youth
FDJ
Freie Deutsche Jugend.svg Flagge der Freie Deutsche Jugend.svg 1936 exists today 37
Democratic Women's League of Germany
DFD
DFD Logo.png Flagge Demokratischer Frauenbund Deutschlands.svg 1947 1990 32
Cultural Association of the DDR
KB
Logo Kulturbund der DDR.png DDR Kulturbund flag.png 1945 1990 21
Peasants Mutual Aid Association
VdgB
VdgB logo.png Flagge VdgB.svg 1945 1990 14

Other organizations associated with the National Front[edit]

Organization Emblem Foundation Dissolution
Society for German–Soviet Friendship DSF logo DDR.png 1949 1992
People's Solidarity Signet Volkssolidaritaet.svg 1945 exists today
Sport and Technology Association Gesellschaft für Sport und Technik Symbol.svg 1952 1990
German Gymnastics and Sports Federation DTSB Logo.png 1957 1990
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation Pionierorganisation Ernst Thaelmann-Emblem2.svg 1948 1990
Writers' Association of the GDR Schriftstellerverband logo.svg 1945 1990
Association of Gardeners, Settlers, and Animal Breeders Vksk logo transparent.png 1952 1990
Union of Journalists VdJ DDR.png 1945 1990
Chamber of Engineering KdT logo DDR.png 1946 1990
Peace Council of the GDR Emblem of the Friedensrat der DDR.png 1949 1990
Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime VVN-BdA Logo.svg 1947 banned in East Germany in 1953
Committee of Antifascist Resistance Fighters KdAW logo DDR.png 1953 1991
League of Lusatian Sorbs Domowina-Logo 2015.png 1912
founded before the creation of the GDR
exists today

History[edit]

Pavilion of the National Front in Leipzig, 1953
The Nationale Front election poster from 1950

The National Front was the successor to the Demokratischer Block which had been founded in the Soviet occupation zone. The Front itself was founded on March 30, 1950. It operated through the issuing of a generally consistent proportion of seats (divided between the Front's parties and SED-controlled mass organisations) submitted in the form of a single list of candidates during each election to the People's Chamber. Seats were awarded on the basis of a set quota rather than vote totals.[4] As voters only had the option of approving or rejecting the list in far-from-secret conditions, it "won" with virtually unanimous levels of support.[5]

Although nominally a broad-based coalition of parties, in practice the SED was the only one with any real power. By ensuring that Communists dominated the lists, the SED essentially predetermined the composition of the People's Chamber.

In 1950-1951, the public rejection of the validity of the list by some German politicians resulted in some of them being imprisoned for "rejecting the electoral law of the German Democratic Republic" (as in the case of LDPD leader Günter Stempel). Although the SED had already become a full-fledged Stalinist "party of the new type" by the formation of the GDR, the other parties did not completely bend to the SED's will for a time. By the mid-1950s, however, the more courageous members of the constituent parties had been pushed out, and the parties had all been transformed into loyal partners of the SED. By this time, the SED itself had purged its few independent-minded members as well. The Front now took on a character similar to other groupings in the Eastern Bloc. For the next three decades, the minor parties in the Front had to accept the SED's "leading role" as a condition of their continued existence.

On December 1, 1989, the Front was effectively rendered impotent when the Volkskammer deleted the provision of the Constitution of East Germany that gave the SED a monopoly of power. Four days later, the Christian Democratic Union and Liberal Democratic Party, having thrown out their pro-Communist leaderships, withdrew from the Front. On December 16 the SED, having transformed itself into a democratic socialist party, reformed itself into the Party of Democratic Socialism. On February 20, 1990, an amendment to the constitution removed mention of the Front.[6]

Chairmen of the National Front[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aufruf der Liberal-Demokratischen Partei Deutschlands an das deutsche Volk vom 5. Juli 1945" (PDF; 1,0 MB) (in German). Retrieved 2017-10-20.  Digitalisat des Archivs des Liberalismus
  2. ^ http://www.ddr-wissen.de/wiki/ddr.pl?NDPD
  3. ^ http://www.ddr-lexikon.de/Nationaldemokratische_Partei_Deutschlands
  4. ^ Eugene Register-Guard October 29, 1989. p. 5A.
  5. ^ Kurt Sontheimer & Wilhelm Bleek. The Government and Politics of East Germany. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1975. p. 66.
  6. ^ Peter E. Quint. The Imperfect Union: Constitutional Structures of German Unification. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. 1997. p. 37.

External links[edit]