Weimar political parties
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The Weimar Republic was in existence for thirteen years. In that time, some 40 parties were represented in the Reichstag. This fragmentation of political power was in part due to the peculiar parliamentary system of the Weimar Republic, and in part due to the many challenges facing German democracy in this period.
Weimar political parties
- Kommunistische Arbeiter-Partei Deutschlands (KAPD) — Was an ultraleftist party that split from the KPD in 1920. They rejected participation in the Parliament and called for immediate revolutionary action. Immediately after its formation the party endured a series of splinters and lost much of the little influence it had.
- Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD) — Formed out of a number of left-wing groups, including the left wing of the USPD and the Spartacist League. It was a Marxist-Leninist party that advocated revolution by the proletariat and the creation of a communist regime according to the example of the Soviet Union. The party's major paper was the Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag).
- Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (Opposition) (KPO) — Split from the KPD in 1928, representing the "Right Opposition" of the Bukharinist against the Stalinist "Center" and the Trotskyist "Left Opposition". It never intended to be a real political party, but to influence the KPD.
- Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (USPD) —, "Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany" - left wing faction that had split from the SPD in 1917. Parts of it split off, forming the Communist Party, while the majority reunited with the MSPD in 1922. It was a Marxist party that sought change through parliament and social progressive programs.
- Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands (SAPD) —, "Socialist Workers' Party of Germany" - left wing faction that had split from the SPD in 1931. Parts of the USPD and dissenters from the KPD and the KPO joined it, but it remained small. It's political positions were near to those of the USPD, wavering between the SPD and the KPD.
- Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) — (between 1917 and 1922 also called Mehrheitssozialdemokratische Partei (MSPD) - Majority Social Democrats); they supported the parliamentary system of democracy, and extensive social programs in the economy. Its party newspaper was the Vorwärts.
- Deutsche Demokratische Partei (DDP) — German Democratic Party. A social-liberal party. One of the two main liberal parties. Their party newspapers were the Vossische Zeitung and the Volkswacht.
- The German State Party (DStP) — Formed in 1930 by the DDP, the People's National Reich Association and remains of the Christian Trade Unionists. In 1930, it published a "Manifesto of the German State Party".
- Wirtschaftspartei. (Economic Party.)
- Zentrumspartei — The Centre Party was the continuation of the pre-Weimar Catholic party of the same name. Their party newspaper was Germania.
- Deutsche Volkspartei (DVP) — German People's Party. Originating from the pre-Weimar National Liberals, it was a centre-right national liberal party. Gustav Stresemann was its chairman.
- Bayerische Volkspartei (BVP) — Bavarian People's Party, a Catholic and conservative party
- Christlich-Nationale Bauern- und Landvolkpartei — Christian National Peasants' and Rural Peoples Party (splinter party)
- Deutsche anti-semitische Vereinigung — German Anti-Semitic League (splinter party)
- Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP) — The German Workers' Party was formed in 1919, by Anton Drexler with Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart and Karl Harrer, and derived in part from the Thule Society, the cover organization of the occult ariosophist Germanenorden. This party added the adjective "National Socialist" in its name and became the "National Socialist German Workers' Party" (NSDAP) in 1920.
- Deutsche Partei (DP) — German Party
- Deutsche Reformpartei — German Reform Party (splinter party).
- Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) — German Völkisch Freedom Party; this was the party of General Ludendorff. It campaigned for an authoritarian regime that would be very nationalistic and promoted socioeconomic questions. It also sought to close the stock exchanges and nationalize the banks. In May 1924, it obtained 6.4% of the vote in alliance with NSDAP, but fell to 3% in the next election, in December 1924.
- Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP) — German National People's Party. It presented itself as a Volksgemeinschaft or non-class party. It included remnants from the German Conservative Party, the Free Conservative Party, the Völkische movement, the Christian Social movement, and the Pan-German Association. It established two labor unions; one for the blue-collar worker (the DNAB) and one for the white-collar worker (DNAgB), which had been politically unimportant. The DNVP was the main authoritarian right party of Weimar Germany, but moved to the radical right after coming under the control of press baron Alfred Hugenberg in 1928. It organized the National Opposition in 1929, together with leaders of the Stahlhelm, Dr. Schacht, the president of the central bank and Hitler's Nazi Party, to oppose Chancellor Hermann Müller's Grand Coalition.
- Deutscher Volksverein — the German People's League was started in 1881 by Max Liebermann von Sonnenberg, a former officer, and Bernhard Förster, Nietzsche's brother in law.
- Deutsches Landvolk. Cover name for the Christian National Peasant/Rural Party in the 1930 Reichstag elections.
- Deutschsozialistische Partei (DSP) — The so-called "German-Socialist" Party. It was headed by Julius Streicher, and it was also highly organized, despite having a rather small size. In a controversial move, it dissolved itself in 1922 and many of its members entered the (then very new) Nazi Party.
- Volksnationale Reichsvereinigung (People's National Reich Association.)
- Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) — (National Socialist German Workers' Party or the Nazi Party) It advocated Volksgemeinschaft, a unity of all classes, following the corporatist fascist model.
- National Bolsheviks — Led by Ernst Niekisch, they combined ultranationalism with social radicalism by claiming to espouse both 'German' principles and much of the programme carried out by the Bolsheviks under Lenin.
Other political organizations
- League of Agrarians (Bund der Landwirte). It took the name Reichslandbund (RLB) after 1920.
- Allgemeiner Deutscher Beamtenbund (ADB) a civil servants league started by the SPD.
- Bavarian Peasants' League (Peasant League) operated throughout Germany but especially in its stronghold of Bavaria. It had democratic, anticlerical leanings and subscribed to a narrow Bavarian particularism
- Bauernvereine. Farmers' associations associated with the Center Party and were located in the Catholic west and south.
- Bauernverein. Peasant association located in Schleswig-Holstein. Without religious ties, it initially supported a liberal economic and political policy.
- Christian Social Movement
- Deutsche Landwirtschafsrat (German Agricultural Council)
- Federation of German Retail Business
- Green Front. An umbrella group which consisted of the Landbund (RLB), the Deutsche Bauernshaft (formerly Bauernbund), the Association of Christian-German Peasant Unions, and the German Agricultural Council. It too heavily promoted the Junkers interest and drove many farmers out.
- Landvolkbewegung (Landvolk) (Rural People's movement) A farmers' movement mainly in Schleswig-Holstein formed in the aftermath of the January 1928 demonstrations.
- Reichsbund der Deserteure — National Association of Deserters; led by Karl Liebknecht; formed before the breakup from the Independent Socialists.
- Reichslandbund — Natural Rural League
- Spartakusbund (Spartacist League) — (1918–1919) left wing of the USPD led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, became the German Communist Party.
- Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (ADGB)
- Allgemeiner freier Angestelltenbund (AfA) white-collar employee union affiliated with the SPD-dominated free trade unions.
- Deutscher Landarbeiterverband (German Agricultural Labor Union). SPD organized.
- Deutschnationaler Handlungsgehilfenverband (DHV) (National Association of Commercial Employees.) — the conservative white collar worker union. The DHV leadership did not fully support the NSDAP because it didn't recognize the independence of unions.
- Gesamtverband Deutscher Beamtengewerkschaften (GDB) was a conservative civil service union.
- Gewerkschaftsbund der Angestellten (GdA) was a Hirsch-Duncker union.
- Gewerkschaftsbund deutscher Angestelltenverbände (Gedag) Conservative white-collar union
- Reichsbund Deutscher Angestellten-Berufsverbände Conservative white-collar union.
- Vereinigung der chrislichen-deutschen Bauernvereine (Association of Christian-German Peasant Unions).
- Zentralverband der Angestellten (ZdA), an association of white-collar unions started by the SPD.
- Party of socialist national liberation (NSFP) (Combined list of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
- Nationalsozialistische Freiheitsbewegung (NSFB)(Combined list of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
- Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-German Association)
- Katholische Burschenvereine. Catholic youth associations that the Catholic Church started in southern Germany to provide Catholic youth with numerous activities.
- Deutsches Handwerk. German crafts organization headed by Zeleny. Zeleny advocated positions that would improve conditions for the old middle class. It would later back the NSDAP.
- Tatkreis movement
- Völkisch movement
- Organisation Consul (OC) — In July 1921, Captain Ehrhardt and several members of his brigade formed this organization to commit political assassinations.(2)
- Feme — an irregular tribunal based on ones from medieval Germany that at the time would administer justice when the government was too weak to maintain order. (Both of these organizations overlapped.)(2)
Reichstag election results
All vote numbers in thousands.
- Regional= Total for regional parties not listed individually
- Rightist= Total for right-wing parties not listed individually
- Splinter= Total for splinter parties not listed individually or among regional or rightist
6/6/1920 includes by-elections in Schleswig-Holstein and East Prussia (20/2/1921) and Upper Silesia (19/11/1922) Eligible 35,920 Turnout 28,196 % Voting 78.4 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 590 4 USPD 5047 83 SPD 6104 103 Centre 3910 64 BVP 1173 21 DDP 2334 39 WP 219 4 DVP 3919 65 DNVP 4249 71 Regional 709 5 Splinter 161 0 Total 28415 459
05/04/1924 Eligible 38,375 Turnout 29,282 % Voting 76.3 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 3693 45 USPD 235 0 SPD 6009 100 Centre 3914 65 BVP 947 16 DDP 1655 28 WP 530 10 DVP 2728 45 DNVP 5697 95 NSFP 1918 32 Regional 608 5 Rightist 666 10 Splinter 682 4 Total 29282 455
12/07/1924 Eligible 33,987 Turnout 30,290 % Voting 77.7 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 2709 45 USPD 99 0 SPD 7881 131 Centre 4092 69 BVP 1134 19 DDP 1920 32 WP 639 17 DVP 3049 51 DNVP 6206 103 NSFB 907 14 Regional 708 4 Rightist 545 8 Splinter 401 0 Total 30290 493
20/5/1928 Eligible 41,224 Turnout 30,754 % Voting 74.6 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 3265 54 SPD 9153 153 Centre 3712 61 BVP 946 17 DDP 1479 25 WP 1388 23 DVP 2680 45 DNVP 4382 73 NSDAP 810 12 Regional 956 3 Rightist 1025 23 Splinter 958 2 Total 30754 491
14/9/1930 Eligible 42,958 Turnout 34,971 % Voting 81.4 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 4592 77 SPD 8578 143 Centre 4128 68 BVP 1059 19 DDP 1322 20 WP 1362 23 DVP 1578 30 DNVP 2458 41 NSDAP 6383 107 Regional 683 3 Rightist 2373 46 Splinter 455 0 Total 34971 577
31/7/1932 Eligible 44,211 Turnout 36,882 % Voting 83.4 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 5283 89 SPD 7960 133 Centre 4589 75 BVP 1193 22 DDP 372 4 WP 147 2 DVP 136 7 DNVP 2177 37 NSDAP 13769 230 Regional 219 0 Rightist 552 9 Splinter 185 0 Total 36582 608
11/06/1932 Eligible 44,374 Turnout 35,471 % Voting 79.9 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 5980 100 SPD 7248 121 Centre 4230 70 BVP 1095 20 DDP 336 2 WP 110 1 DVP 661 11 DNVP 2959 52 NSDAP 11737 196 Regional 353 1 Rightist 510 10 Splinter 252 0 Total 35471 584
03/05/1933 Eligible 44,665 Turnout 39,343 % Voting 88.1 (Party, Votes, Seats) KPD 4848 81 SPD 7181 120 Centre 4425 74 BVP 1074 18 DDP 334 5 DVP 432 2 DNVP 3137 52 NSDAP 17277 288 Regional l246 0 Rightist 384 7 Splinter 5 0 Total 39343 647
List by abbreviation
- ADB — Allgemeiner Deutscher Beamtenbund
- AfA — Allgemeiner Freier Angestelltenbund
- BB — Bavarian Peasants' League
- BVP — Bavarian People's Party
- Center — Catholic Center Party
- CNBL — Christian-National Peasants' and Farmers' Party
- DAF — German Labor Front
- DAP — German Workers Party
- DBB — German Civil Service Federation
- DBP — German Farmers' Party
- DDP — German Democratic Party
- DHV — Deutschnatinaler Handlungsgehilfenverband (National Association of Commercial Employees).
- DNAP — Deutschnational Arbeiterband
- DNAgB — Deutschnationaler Angestelltenbund
- DNVP — German National People's Party
- DSP — German Socialist Party
- DStP — German State Party
- DVFP — German Völkisch Freedom Party
- DVP — German People's Party
- GdA — Gewerkschaftsbund der Angestellten
- GDB — Gesamtverband Deutscher Beamtengewerkschaften
- Gedag — Gewerkschaftsbund deutscher Angestelltenverbände
- KPD — Communist Party of Germany
- NSDAP — National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party)
- NSFP — National Socialist Freedom Party
- NSV — National Socialist People's Welfare
- OC — Organisation Consul
- RDA — Reichsbund Deutscher Angestellten-Berufsverbände
- RLB — Reichslandbund
- SPD — Social Democratic Party of Germany
- ZdA — Zentralverband der Angestellten
- WP — Wirtschaftspartei
- Weimar paramilitary groups
- Glossary of the Weimar Republic
- Glossary of the Third Reich
- Weimar Timeline
- The Logic of Evil, The Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925–1933, William Brustein, Yale University Press, New Haven, CN, 1996.
- Why Hitler, The Genesis of the Nazi Reich, Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., Praeger, Westport, CT, 1996. pg 72.