Progressive People's Party (Germany)

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Progressive People's Party
Fortschrittliche Volkspartei
Chairman Otto Fischbeck
1910–1912
Otto Wiemer
1912–1918
Founded 6 March 1910
Dissolved 20 November 1918
Preceded by Free-minded People's Party
Free-minded Union
German People's Party
Succeeded by German Democratic Party
Newspaper NA
Ideology Liberal democracy,
Social liberalism,
Parliamentarism,
Laicism
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation none

The Progressive People's Party (German: Fortschrittliche Volkspartei, FVP) was a social liberal party of the late German Empire.

History[edit]

It was formed on 6 March 1910 as a merger of Freeminded People's Party, Freeminded Union, and German People's Party in order to unify various fragmented liberal groups represented in parliament.

Already during the 1907 federal election, the two Freeminded parties had joined forces supporting Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow who had promised to implement structural reforms. This disputed Bülow-Block led to the split-off of the left-wing Democratic Union (DV) under Rudolf Breitscheid and Theodor Barth, nevertheless, after Bülow's resignation in 1909, the major social liberal parties were able to join together in an effective union.

The Progressives demanded full equal voting rights for all, the abolition of the Prussian three-class franchise system, a new local elections law, and amendments to the Imperial Constitution transforming the Empire into a parliamentary democratic monarchy. They also advocated the separation of Church and State, free trade, a progressive taxation, as well as safety, health, and welfare of people at work. The Party thereby distanced itself from Conservativs and the National Liberal Party. Leading members like Friedrich Naumann were still favouring economic liberalism, but gradually turned to the concept of a welfare state. A cooperation with the Social Democrats, however, remained disputed.

By 1912 the Party was represented in 19 States of the German Empire, including the Alsatian Progress Party branch in the Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine. Constituents were mainly middle class and academics, but also employees and unionists.

The Progressives became a major force in German parliamentarism especially during World War I: Though the circles around Friedrich Naumann initially defended a German-dominated Mitteleuropa concept, the moderate forces led by Ludwig Quidde, demanding peace negotiations, prevailed. In July 1917 the FVP joined with the Social Democratic Party and the Catholic Centre to form the Reichstag majority that would pass the famous Peace Resolution. However, the initiative was not taken up by the government of Chancellor Georg Michaelis. When the Progressive Friedrich von Payer became Vice-Chancellor in November, all opportunities were missed.

The Party was disbanded in 1918 after the fall of the Empire, with most of its members joining the new German Democratic Party (Deutsche Demokratische Partei) of the Weimar Republic, merging the Progressives with the left wing of the old National Liberal Party.

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Free-minded People's Party
Progressive People's Party
1910–1918
Succeeded by
German Democratic Party
Preceded by
Free-minded Union
Preceded by
German People's Party