German party

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German party
Logo (1949)
Party leader Heinrich Hellwege (1946–61)
founding 1945 as NLP
1946 DP
resolution 1961/1980
Alignment National conservatism
Bundestag seats
(until 1961)
Number of members 39,836 (1956)

The German Party ( DP ) was a right-wing political party in Germany . It was founded in 1945/1946 and reached its greatest importance in the 1950s. At that time she was also involved in the federal government .

The party continued the tradition of the Hanover regional party and had its strongholds in Lower Saxony , Bremen , Schleswig-Holstein and in northern Hesse . In 1961 it disbanded at the federal level after constantly losing supporters to the CDU . The party existed at the state level until 1980 as a party, then as an association. In 1993 a new party of the same name ( German Party ) was founded, a right-wing conservative to right-wing populist small party.

History 1946–1980

Prehistory 1866–1933

The German party goes back to the German-Hannoversche Party (DHP). It was founded after the Prussian annexation of the Kingdom of Hanover . She wanted Hanover to be re-established as a separate member state and a king from the Guelph dynasty. The DHP was continuously represented in the Prussian state parliament and at times also in the German Reichstag. In 1933 the ban and the forced dissolution followed.

Content profile

The DP was a party in the national-conservative part of the political spectrum. It saw itself in the Guelph tradition and represented Protestant conservatism. In the 1940s and 1950s, the DP campaigned primarily against communism and socialism , co-determination , the planned economy and land reform , and was mainly involved with former members of the armed forces and displaced persons . According to the social scientists Manfred Rowold and Stefan Immerfall, the DP represented “bourgeois voters from the conservative fringes on the threshold of right-wing extremism”.

The chairman Heinrich Hellwege himself had declared it to be an important goal of the party “to attract the forces of our people tending towards right-wing radicalism, to steer them through and with us into the path of a constructive policy”. Overall, it positioned itself next to the then partially national FDP , but distinguished itself from the neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party (SRP).

Re-establishment and early phase 1945–1949

In 1945 it was re-established as the Lower Saxony State Party (NLP). In March 1946, Heinrich Hellwege was elected chairman. The aim of the party was to merge the Lower Saxony parts of the country into a single Lower Saxony. After the state of Lower Saxony had been formed by the British military government in November 1946, the NLP was renamed the "German Party" and expanded to include the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Bremen.

In the 1940s, the DP benefited especially in Schleswig-Holstein (including Hans Ewers ) and Hamburg (including Erwin Jacobi and Wilhelm Ziegeler ) from the transfer of prominent members of the German Conservative Party - German Right Party (DKP-DRP) , which then corresponded to it Streams of voters fed in. In the run-up to the federal election in 1949 , negotiations with the NDP and the DKP-DRP about a merger took place, but these ultimately failed because the British occupying power in particular declared that a merger party consisting of the DP, NDP and DKP-DRP would not receive a license. In the first government of Lower Saxony, two members of the German party were represented, Hans-Christoph Seebohm and August Block .

Representation in the Bundestag and in governments from 1949 to 1960/1961

Ballot for the first federal election in 1949

In the 1949 federal election , the DP received more than 5% of the votes in each of the four states in which it ran: Schleswig-Holstein 12.1, Hamburg 13.1, Lower Saxony 17.8 and Bremen 18.0. She achieved her five direct constituencies exclusively in rural Protestant areas of Lower Saxony. A total of 4.0% and 17 mandates. Friedrich Klinge became a member of the Bundestag and chairman of the DP parliamentary group. However, he died that same year.

Btw results DP.JPG

For the 1953 election, there was a 5% threshold nationwide (instead of the state level in 1949) or a direct mandate. The DP received only 3.3% of the second vote, but won 10 direct mandates. In eight of these constituencies there were no direct candidates from the CDU or the FDP as a result of agreements. In the constituencies of Uelzen and Diepholz-Melle-Wittlage , the DP won without consultation and in two other constituencies in which the DP won, it was the strongest party even after second votes. In Lower Saxony and Bremen the results were still in double digits.

It had similar results in the 1957 election (3.4% nationwide). The DP won six direct mandates; in five of these constituencies there was no direct candidate for the CDU, which received significantly more second votes than the DP in all five constituencies. Without an agreement with the CDU, the DP would not have overcome the threshold clause of 5% or three direct mandates that has been in force since 1956.

In 1961 , it merged to form the All-German Party , still 2.8 percent and was also not represented through direct mandates.

The development was similar at the state level. She stayed the longest in the Bremen citizenship, to which she was elected in 1963 ; except in the countries already mentioned, it was relatively strong in West Berlin, where it failed in the 1954 election with 4.9%, just under the 5% hurdle. There she was able to gather national conservatives who were bothered by the fact that the CDU and FDP were forming a coalition with the SPD. In Schleswig-Holstein, the DP worked from 1950 to 1952 with the CDU and FDP in an electoral and parliamentary alliance. In the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein in 1954 , together with the Schleswig-Holstein community in the Schleswig-Holstein bloc , it almost skipped the 5 percent hurdle with 5.1% and finally failed significantly in 1958 at this hurdle.

In Lower Saxony she formed the Low German Union (1951–1955) with CDU representatives . Since it was only really anchored in Lower Saxony (and Bremen) and was otherwise hardly organized, its followers were finally absorbed by the CDU.

From 1949 to 1960 the DP was represented in the federal government, here the Adenauer II cabinet from 1953 with Heinrich Hellwege (2nd row, 2nd from left)

From 1949 the party provided federal ministers, namely Heinrich Hellwege until 1955, when he became Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, and since then Hans-Joachim von Merkatz and Hans-Christoph Seebohm . Both joined the CDU on July 1, 1960.

State minister had the party in:

  • State of Hanover: August 23, 1946 to December 9, 1946
  • Lower Saxony: December 9, 1946 to May 12, 1959; from 1955 to 1959 under DP Prime Minister Heinrich Hellwege
  • Schleswig-Holstein: September 5, 1950 to October 11, 1954
  • Hamburg: December 2, 1953 to December 4, 1957

As a party of the National Collection, the DP did not always manage to distance itself from right-wing extremism. In Hamburg, for example, the former Nazi police senator Alfred Richter became deputy party chairman, in Frankfurt am Main the former NSDAP mayor Friedrich Krebs became its party chairman and city councilor. The expansion to other federal states than Lower Saxony in turn led to tensions with the Guelph traditionalists. After the federal election in 1953, they split off as the German-Hanover Party. Horst W. Schmollinger characterizes the DP in this period as a “party of the indigenous Lower Saxony middle class”, which represented extremely “federalist, monarchist and sometimes also ethnic positions”.

In 1957 the Free People's Party joined the DP. Since the CDU refused to help the DP get direct mandates again in the 1961 general election , nine of the fifteen DP members of the Bundestag switched to the CDU in 1960, including the then incumbent DP ministers Seebohm and von Merkatz; only six remained with the chairman, who was surprised by this Heinrich Hellwege loyal.

The chairmen of the DP parliamentary group were:

From 1961

Former DP Federal Minister Hans-Joachim von Merkatz (center), at that time already a CDU member, in 1967 in the Lower Saxony state representation in Bonn. (To the left of Merkatz: Carlo Schmid )

On April 15, 1961, the federal party merged with the GB / BHE to form the GDP and Herbert Schneider and Frank Seiboth became one of the two equal chairmen of the GDP. Nevertheless, this GDP could not win any seats in the German Bundestag in the 1961 Bundestag election and could therefore no longer tie in with the national political importance of the German party. However, the state association of Bremen and some district associations of Lower Saxony opposed the merger and continued to re-establish the DP from June 24, 1962.

In the Bremen citizenship elections of 1963 , the DP with four members was able to enter a state parliament for the last time. A year later these MPs took part in the founding of the NPD . The member of parliament Friedrich Thielen also became its first federal chairman. In 1967 he returned to the DP and tried to reactivate it, but only achieved 0.9% of the vote in the general election . Subsequently, the party only took part in elections at state level in the Hamburg state elections in 1974 , when it remained insignificant with 0.1% of the vote.

In 1980 the DP lost its legal status as a party. It continued to exist as an association until it was re-established as a party in 1993.

State election results

State election results in percent
1946 n / A - n / A n / A n / A n / A n / A
1947 n / A - 3.9 1 17.7 n / A n / A n / A n / A n / A
1948 n / A -
1949 - 13.3
1950 3.7 - n / A n / A 1.7 9.6 n / A
1951 - 14.7 well 2 n / A
1952 - n / A n / A - -
1953 - well 3 - -
1954 - 4.9 n / A 1.2 0.0 5.1 - -
1955 - 16.6 12.4 n / A n / A - -
1956 - n / A - -
1957 - 4.1 - -
1958 - 3.3 n / A 3.5 1.6 2.8 - -
1959 - 14.5 12.4 n / A n / A - -
1960 - 1.6 - -
1961 - n / A - -
1962 - n / A n / A n / A n / A - -
1963 - n / A 5.2 3.4 n / A - -
1964 - n / A - -
1965 - n / A - -
1966 - n / A n / A n / A n / A - -
1967 - n / A 0.9 n / A n / A n / A - -
1968 - n / A - -
1969 - - -
1970 - n / A n / A n / A 0.0 4 n / A n / A - -
1971 - n / A n / A n / A n / A - -
1972 - n / A - -
1973 - - -
1974 - n / A 0.1 n / A n / A - -
  •  Entry into the state parliament
  •  highest result in the individual federal states, without entering the state parliament
  • 1 No 5% hurdle
    2 Together with the CDU as the Low German Union
    3Part of the Hamburg bloc formed from the CDU, FDP, BHE and DP
    4th as Lower Saxony state party

    Membership numbers

    Due to organizational inadequacies, full membership numbers are not available. In Lower Saxony, the most important state for the DP, 36,010 members were registered in 1948. The number rose to 41,815 in the following year and fell to 26,772 by the next federal election in 1953. After that the number fluctuated quite strongly; In 1960 35,722 members were registered. Within Lower Saxony, the districts of Lüneburg and Stade were most strongly represented, followed by Hanover and Hanover-Land.

    The year 1956 shows figures for all federal states at the time except for Baden-Württemberg. In total there were 39,836 members. After Lower Saxony (33,655), most of the members lived in Berlin (1,300) and a little less (around 1000) in Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. This was followed by Hamburg with 712 members. In Bavaria there were 165 members.

    Known members (selection)

    For other known members see category: DP member .


    • German Party (Ed.): Heinrich Hellwege 1908–1958. Speeches and writings. Festschrift for the 50th birthday of Heinrich Hellweges. Braunschweig 1958


    • Hermann Meyn : The German Party. Development and problems of a national-conservative right-wing party after 1945. Düsseldorf 1965.
    • Ingo Nathusius: On the right edge of the Union. The way of the German party until 1953. Dissertation, Univ. Mainz 1992, OCLC 905028499 .
    • Norbert Rode: On the genesis of the Lower Saxony State Party / German Party (NLP / DP). In: Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte , Volume 53 (1981), pp. 289-300.
    • Horst W. Schmollinger: German party . In: Richard Stöss (Ed.): Party Handbook. 2nd edition, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1986 (1983).
    • Rainer Schulze: Bourgeois Collection or Guelph Party? Additions to the history of the origins of the Lower Saxony state party 1945/46 - The conception of Wolfgang Bode. In: Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte , Volume 57 (1985), pp. 207–236.

    Web links

    Commons : German Party  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Andreas Schulze: Small parties in Germany. The rise and fall of non-established political associations. Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2004, p. 60.
    2. Manfred Rowold, Stefan Immerfall: In the shadow of power. Small non-established parties. In: Alf Mintzel, Heinrich Oberreuther: Parties in the Federal Republic of Germany. Opladen 1992, pp. 362-420, at p. 393.
    3. Heinrich Hellwege, 1949. Quoted from: Manfred Rowold, Stefan Immerfall: Im Schatten der Macht. Small non-established parties. In: Alf Mintzel, Heinrich Oberreuther: Parties in the Federal Republic of Germany. Opladen 1992, pp. 362-420, at p. 392.
    4. ^ Federal Returning Officer: Federal Parliament election 1953.
    5. ^ Federal Returning Officer: Bundestag election 1957.
    6. ^ Horst W. Schmollinger: The German Party. In: Richard Stöss (Ed.): Party Handbook. The parties in the Federal Republic of Germany 1945–1990. 2nd edition, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1986 (1983), Volume 2, pp. 1025-1111, here pp. 1091-1094.
    7. ^ Horst W. Schmollinger: The German Party. In: Richard Stöss (Ed.): Party Handbook. The parties in the Federal Republic of Germany 1945–1990. 2nd edition, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1986 (1983), Volume 2, pp. 1025-1111, here p. 1096.
    8. Horst W. Schmollinger: The German Party , in: Richard Stöss (Hrsg.): Party handbook. The parties in the Federal Republic of Germany 1945-1990. 2nd edition, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1986 (1983), Volume 2, pp. 1025-1111, here pp. 1071-1073, quoted on p. 1073.
    9. The waste - (see cover picture) . In: Der Spiegel . No. 29 , 1960, pp. 13 ( online ). Quote: “This DP refugee card had the names: Margot Kalinke, Hans-Joachim von Merkatz, Ludwig Preiss, Victor-Emanuel Preusker, Wilhelm Probst, Georg Ripken, Hans-Christoph Seebohm, Heinrich Schild and Willy-Steinmetz. Of the fifteen DP MPs - the minimum number for a parliamentary group according to the rules of procedure of the Bundestag - only Herbert Schneider, Heinz Matthes, Fritz Logemann, Ludwig Schneider (Lollar), Helmuth Schranz and Peter Tobaben did not sign. "
    10. ^ Carl-Wilhelm Reibel: German party. Membership and social structure. In: Oliver Gnad, Marion Hausmann and Carl-Wilhelm Reibel: Handbook on Statistics of Parliaments and Parties in the Western Occupation Zones and in the Federal Republic of Germany. Volume 12, Part III: FDP and smaller bourgeois and right-wing parties. Membership and social structure 1945–1990 , Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 2005, pp. 175–229, here pp. 221/222.