Weimar political parties

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In the thirteen years the Weimar Republic was in existence, some forty 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[edit]

Left-wing[edit]

  • 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). (Against the government)
  • Vereinigte Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (VKPD) (Against the government)
  • 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. (later splinter party) (Against the government)
  • 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. Its political positions were near to those of the USPD, wavering between the SPD and the KPD. (splinter party).
  • Sozialistischer Bund (splinter party).
  • 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. (Pro-Weimar Republic)

Centre[edit]

  • 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. (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • 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". (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Wirtschaftspartei. (Economic Party.)
  • Hanseatischer Volksbund (HVB)
  • Zentrumspartei — The Centre Party was the continuation of the pre-Weimar Catholic party of the same name. Their party newspaper was Germania. (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Volksnationale Reichsvereinigung (People's National Reich Association.) (Pro-Weimar Republic)

Right-wing[edit]

  • Konservative Volkspartei (KVP) — Conservative People's Party (splinter party) (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • 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. (moderate against the government)
  • Christliche Volkspartei (CVP) (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Bayerische Volkspartei (BVP) — Bavarian People's Party, a Catholic and conservative party (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Christlich-Sozialer Volksdienst (CSVD) (Against the government)
  • Christlich-Nationale Bauern- und Landvolkpartei — Christian National Peasants' and Rural Peoples Party (splinter party)
  • Deutsche anti-semitische VereinigungGerman 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. (Against the government)
  • Deutschsoziale Partei (DSP) (Against the government)
  • Deutsch-Hannoversche Partei (DHP) — German-Hanoverian 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. (Against the government)
  • Deutschvölkische Reichspartei (DVRP) (Against the government)
  • 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. (Against the government)
  • 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 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. (Against the government)
  • Großdeutsche Arbeiterpartei (GDAP) (Against the government)
  • 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. (Against the government)
  • 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[edit]

  • 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.
  • Kampfgemeinschaft Revolutionärer Nationalsozialisten (KGRNS) (Against the government)
  • 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. (Against the government)

Unions[edit]

  • Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (ADGB)
  • Allgemeiner freier Angestelltenbund (AfA) white-collar employee union affiliated with the SPD-dominated free trade unions. (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Christliche Volkspartei (CVP) — (Combined list of the Bavarian People's Party (BVP) and the Center Party (Z)) (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Christlich-föderalistische Reichswahlliste — (Combined list of the Bavarian People's Party (BVP) and the Christliche Volkspartei (CVP)) (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Deutscher Landarbeiterverband (German Agricultural Labor Union). SPD organized. (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • 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. (Against the government)
  • 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. (Pro-Weimar Republic)
  • Nationalsozialistische Freiheitspartei (NSFP) (Combined list of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)) (Against the government)
  • Nationalsozialistische Freiheitsbewegung (NSFB) (Combined list of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)) (Against the government)

Other Organizations[edit]

  • Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-German Association) (Against the government)
  • Harzburger Front (Against the government)
  • 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 (Against the government)

Secret societies[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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
4/5/1924
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
7/12/1924
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
6/11/1932	
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
5/3/1933	
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[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. The Logic of Evil, The Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925–1933, William Brustein, Yale University Press, New Haven, CN, 1996.
  2. Why Hitler, The Genesis of the Nazi Reich, Samuel W. Mitcham, Praeger, Westport, CT, 1996. pg 72.