German People's Party

This article is about the German People's Party which existed between 1918 and 1933. For other parties with same name, see German People's Party (disambiguation).
German People's Party
Deutsche Volkspartei
Founded 1918
Dissolved 1933
Preceded by National Liberal Party
Succeeded by after 1945:
Free Democratic Party,
Christian Democratic Union
(West Germany)
(not legal successors)
Liberal Democratic Party,
Christian Democratic Union (East Germany)
(not legal successors)
Newspaper NA; supported by Kölnische Zeitung
Ideology National liberalism[1][2][3]
Conservative liberalism[4]
Constitutional monarchism[5]
Economic liberalism[6][7]
Civic nationalism[7]
Political position Center-right
Colors Black, white, red
(imperial colors)

The German People's Party (German: Deutsche Volkspartei, or DVP) was a national liberal party in Weimar Germany and a successor to the National Liberal Party of the German Empire. A right-wing liberal[8][9] or conservative-liberal[4][10][11] party, its most famous member was Chancellor and Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann, a 1926 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.


It was essentially the main body of the old National Liberal Party (mostly its centre and right factions) combined with some of the more moderate elements of the Free Conservative Party and the Economic Union,[12] and was formed in the early days of the Weimar Republic by Stresemann. During the Weimar Republic, it was one of two large liberal parties in Germany, the other being the left-liberal German Democratic Party.

The party was generally thought to represent the interests of the great German industrialists. Its platform stressed Christian family values, secular education, lower tariffs, opposition to welfare spending and agrarian subsides and hostility to "Marxism" (that is, the Communists, and also the Social Democrats). Due to its lukewarm acceptance of democracy, the party was initially part of the "national opposition" to the Weimar Coalition. However, Stresemann gradually led it into cooperation with the parties of the center and left.

The party wielded an influence on German politics beyond its numbers, as Stresemann was the Weimar Republic's only statesman of international standing. He served as foreign minister continuously from 1923 until his death in 1929 in nine governments (one of which he briefly headed in 1923) ranging from the center-right to the center-left.

Despite Stresemann's international standing, he was never really trusted by his own party, large elements of which never really accepted the republic. After Stresemann's death, the DVP veered sharply to the right. [13]


The party's dispute with the Social Democrats in 1930 over unemployment benefits toppled the Grand Coalition government of Hermann Müller. In the election of September 1930, the DVP was one of the biggest losers, losing 15 of its 45 parliamentary seats. The party's rightward turn accelerated soon afterward, and many of its more liberal members resigned. It began angling for a coalition of all "national" parties--including the Nazis.

The party saw further losses in the July 1932 election, falling to only seven seats. In a desperate bid to save the party, chairman Eduard Dingeldey entered a pact with Germany's largest conservative party, the German National People's Party, and put forward a joint list in the November 1932 election. It only netted four more seats, and nearly all of its remaining liberals resigned. The DVP broke the pact soon afterward, but this was not nearly enough to stave off collapse in the March 1933 election, in which it was reduced to only two seats.

After the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933, the party was subjected to increased harassment. In particular, civil servants resigned in droves out of fear for their jobs. Dingeldey fended off calls to merge with the Nazis only with difficulty. However, the harassment against the party grew to the point that Dingeldey was forced to dissolve the party on July 4 out of fear for its remaining members' safety.

Former elements of the DVP were involved in the creation of the Free Democratic Party after the Second World War.

Notable members


  1. Dittberner, Jürgen (2008), Sozialer Liberalismus: Ein Plädoyer, Logos, pp. 55, 58
  2. Neugebauer, Wolfgang (ed.) (2000), Handbuch der Preussischen Geschichte, 3, de Gruyter, p. 221
  3. Van De Grift, Liesbeth (2012), Securing the Communist State: The Reconstruction of Coercive Institutions in the Soviet Zone of Germany and Romania, 1944-48, Lexington Books, p. 41
  4. 1 2 Stanley G. Payne (1 January 1996). A History of Fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Pres. pp. 163–. ISBN 978-0-299-14873-7.
  5. Mommsen, Hans (1989), The Rise and Fall of Weimar Democracy, Propyläen Verlag, p. 51
  6. Gerstenberg, Frank: 27.6.1933: DVP und DNVP lösen sich auf, Kalenderblatt, Deutsche Welle
  7. 1 2 Lee, Stephen J. (1998), The Weimar Republic, Routledge, p. 23
  8. Dietrich Orlow (15 December 1986). Weimar Prussia, 1918–1925: The Unlikely Rock of Democracy. University of Pittsburgh Pre. p. 329. ISBN 978-0-8229-7640-0.
  9. Raffael Scheck (1998). Alfred Von Tirpitz and German Right-wing Politics: 1914 - 1930. BRILL. p. 87. ISBN 0-391-04043-X.
  10. Helena Waddy (14 April 2010). Oberammergau in the Nazi Era: The Fate of a Catholic Village in Hitler's Germany. Oxford University Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-19-970779-9.
  11. Jill Stephenson (26 April 2013). The Nazi Organisation of Women. Routledge. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-136-24748-4.
  12. Vincent E McHale (1983) Political parties of Europe, Greenwood Press, p421 ISBN 0-313-23804-9
  13. Evans, Richard J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich. New York City: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-0141009759.

See also

Preceded by
National Liberal Party (Germany)
German liberal parties
Succeeded by
Liberal Democratic Party of Germany
Succeeded by
Free Democratic Party of Germany
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