National Front (GDR)
The National Front of the German Democratic Republic (until 1973 National Front of Democratic Germany ) was an amalgamation of parties and mass organizations in the GDR . According to the official claim, all social groups should be able to influence socio-political processes through the National Front. In fact, however, the National Front was a means of disciplining the bloc parties and mass organizations and consolidating the supremacy of the SED in the state.
The National Front of the GDR was responsible for the ideological and organizational preparation of the elections and the creation of the common lists of candidates.
People's Chamber Deputy
The following parties and organizations were united to form the National Front and represented by members of the People's Chamber :
- Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED)
- Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD)
- Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
- Democratic Peasant Party of Germany (DBD)
- National Democratic Party of Germany (NDPD)
The parties that were united in the National Front alongside the SED were also known as bloc parties . There were no other parties in the GDR until 1989.
- Free German Trade Union Confederation (FDGB)
- Free German Youth (FDJ)
- Democratic Women's Federation of Germany (DFD)
- Kulturbund (KB)
- Association of Mutual Farmers Aid (VdgB)
Other mass organizations
In addition, the following mass organizations, which were not represented in the People's Chamber, belonged to the National Front:
- Society for German-Soviet Friendship (DSF)
- Committee of the Anti-Fascist Resistance Fighters (KdAW)
- People's Solidarity (VS)
- Pioneer organization Ernst Thälmann
- Writers' Association of the GDR (DSV)
Associations, societies and associations
Representatives of the following associations, societies and associations belonged to the National Front:
- Society for Sport and Technology (GST)
- Peace Council of the GDR
- Association of allotment gardeners, settlers and small animal breeders (VKSK)
- Association of the GDR consumer cooperatives
- German Gymnastics and Sports Federation of the GDR (DTSB)
- Solidarity Committee of the GDR
- German Red Cross of the GDR
- Chamber of Technology
- GDR Committee for Human Rights
- Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired in the GDR
- Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the GDR
- Association of theater workers in the GDR
- Association of Visual Artists of the GDR
- Association of Lawyers in the GDR
- Association of Jewish Communities
- League for Friendship of Peoples
- League for the United Nations
- Association of composers and musicologists of the GDR
- Association of film and television professionals in the GDR
- Association of Architects of the GDR
- Association of Journalists of the GDR
- Central committee for youth consecration
Even before the founding of the GDR there was a forerunner of the National Front, the anti-fascist bloc , also known as the democratic bloc , which was founded in 1945 . At the Third German People's Congress in May 1949, the National Front was brought into being. At the 9th meeting of the German People's Council on October 7, 1949, the manifesto of the National Front of Democratic Germany was presented.
The concept of “national resistance” was also established as the program of the National Front. Core principles were the resistance to the occupation statute , the rearmament of West Germany and the importation of American goods, as well as the “education about American and English war propaganda” and the support of all “struggles of the workers to secure their livelihood and all resistance actions of the working population against Tax pressure, price gouging and other plundering ”.
The constituent meeting took place on January 7, 1950. In February 1950, the National Council of the National Front was appointed. The National Front took on an important role in the Volkskammer and Landtag elections on October 15, 1950 : only the candidates for the National Front on the unified lists were allowed to take part in the 'election'. At first the National Front also dealt with all-German issues; since 1968 its main task has been to unite all parties and mass organizations on a “common socialist path”.
Since then, the main importance of the National Front has been the organization of sham elections, in which there was only the “unified list” of the National Front, which was usually elected in the bloc. The actual election was postponed to the nomination of candidates by the National Front, which were also exchanged in exceptional cases. The allocation of the places to be filled to the parties and mass organizations was determined in advance and remained the same over many electoral periods. The SED, together with the representatives of the mass organizations belonging to the SED, always had an absolute majority .
Other activities of the National Front
300,000 people volunteered in the structural units of the National Front, the 17,000 committees at various levels down to the residential area committees . They also developed local activities in some places and, in cooperation with the city and local councils, were responsible for order and cleanliness in their residential areas. Among other things, they organized collections of recyclable materials and held residential area parties. The National Front was the sponsor of the communal competition Beautiful our cities and municipalities - take part! and the competition for the golden house number . Successful municipalities and house communities received non-material and material awards such as monetary bonuses or the National Front badge in silver or bronze. The aim of these activities was to reach sections of the population that were otherwise not involved in structures such as parties or mass organizations and to mobilize them for the " building of socialism ". Meritorious personalities in social life have been awarded the National Front Medal of Honor in Silver by the National Front . These honors usually took place in the stone hall of the National Council in East Berlin .
The highest body of the National Front was the National Council, headed by the President and Secretary General. The National Council had its seat at Otto-Grotewohl-Straße 49, now Wilhelmstraße , in Berlin-Mitte . Today part of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is in this building .
Presidents of the National Council of the National Front were:
Press organ of the National Council
Between December 1947 and 1961, the National Front published a magazine designed by the Kongreß-Verlag Berlin , weekly until 1953 under the title “Deutschlands Voice”, then only fortnightly until 1959 under the title “Voice of the Patriot”, the last two Years under the title "The Voice".
- Gerd Dietrich: Kulturbund. In: Gerd-Rüdiger Stephan u. a. (Ed.): The parties and organizations of the GDR. A manual , Dietz, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-320-01988-0 .
- National Front of Democratic Germany: National Front of Democratic Germany Information Service , (series) Kongreß-Verlag, Berlin from 1949.
- Small Political Dictionary , new edition 1988, Dietz Verlag, Berlin (East) 1989, p. 660.
- Hanns Jürgen Küsters , Federal Ministry of the Interior (ed.), Documents on Germany Policy : The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, September 7 to December 31, 1949 , Oldenbourg, Munich 1996, ISBN 978-3-486-56159 -3 , p. 91.
- Hanns Jürgen Küsters , Daniel Hofmann, Alexander Fischer, Karl Dietrich Bracher, Ernst Deuerlein: Documents on Germany policy . Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-486-56172-3 , p. 298 ff . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
- Anjana Buckow, Between Propaganda and Realpolitik: the USA and the Soviet-occupied part of Germany 1945–1955 , Franz Steiner Verlag, 2003, ISBN 978-3-515-08261-7 , p. 215 f.
- Germany's Voice , Voice of the Patriot , The Voice in the German National Library.