Social Democratic Party of Germany
|Social Democratic Party of Germany|
|Secretary General||Lars Klingbeil|
|Federal Managing Director||Jessika Wischmeier|
|Federal Treasurer||Dietmar Nietan|
|Honorary Chairman||Willy Brandt (†)|
May 23, 1863 ( ADAV )
August 8, 1869 ( SDAP )
May 27, 1875 (unification)
October 12 - 18, 1890 (SPD)
|Place of foundation||
Halle (Saale) (SPD)
Willy Brandt House
|Party-affiliated foundation||Friedrich Ebert Stiftung|
|Colours)||Red ( HKS 14 ), purple ( Pantone 234C; accent color)|
|Seats in state parliaments|
|Government grants||54,378,689.41 euros (2020)|
|Number of members||approx. 419,300
(as of December 2019)
|Minimum age||14 years|
|Average age||60 years
(as of December 31, 2015)
|Proportion of women||32.0 percent
(as of December 31, 2015)
Progressive Alliance (full member)
Socialist International (observer status)
|European party||Party of European Socialists (PES)|
|EP Group||Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D)|
The first forerunners of the party are the General German Workers' Association, founded in 1863, and the Social Democratic Workers' Party , founded in 1869 , which merged in 1875 to form the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany . The party gave itself its current name in 1890. It is considered to be the oldest still existing party in Germany . From 1890 to 1930 it was always the party with the strongest vote in all Reichstag elections and in the Weimar Republic , Friedrich Ebert, was the first republican head of state in German history .
The SPD was banned during the National Socialist dictatorship and was re-established in October 1945. In the Soviet occupation zone , the SPD there was forcibly united with the KPD to form the SED . In West Germany and thus later in the reunified republic , it was able to establish itself as one of two large people's parties. She was from 1966 to 1982, from 1998 to 2009 and has been a member of the federal government again since 2013 and provided three of the eight Federal Chancellors with Willy Brandt , Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schröder .
Despite heavy losses since 1990, the SPD, with around 420,000 members, is still the largest party in Germany, ahead of the CDU . In the 2017 federal election , the SPD achieved its worst result since the Second World War, but continued the grand coalition with the Union parties ( CDU / CSU ) that had existed since 2013 due to the failure of the Jamaica negotiations . She provides six of the fifteen federal ministers in the Merkel IV cabinet , including Olaf Scholz , who is also the candidate for chancellor for the 2021 federal election , as the vice-chancellor . The party chairmen have been Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans since December 6, 2019 .
At the state level , it is the only party represented in all state parliaments with parliamentary groups. In ten countries, it is at the government involved in seven, it represents the head of government . It forms coalition governments with Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen ( red-green coalition ), the CDU ( red-black coalition ), the FDP ( social liberal coalition ), the left ( red-red coalition ) or several of the above parties ( red- red coalition ) green coalition , traffic light coalition , Kenya coalition , black-red-yellow coalition ).
The SPD sends sixteen members from the S&D parliamentary group to the European Parliament . At the international level, she is a member of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the Progressive Alliance . It also has observer status in the Socialist International (SI).
The SPD sees “its roots in Judaism and Christianity , humanism and the Enlightenment , Marxist analysis of society and the experiences of the labor movement ” and sees itself as a “ left people 's party ”.
From 1950 the party's federal headquarters were located in a temporary building on the site of the Erich-Ollenhauer-Haus in Bonn , which was inaugurated in 1975 and which was replaced as federal headquarters in 1999 by the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Berlin .
The self- image of the SPD, which it also tries to pass on in its party programs, includes a concentration on political content and long-term goals that do not want to be given up in favor of a short-term personal impact. She understands her basic program as “moral justification for her politics”.
The following basic programs were adopted:
- 1869 - Eisenach program of the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP)
- 1875 - Gothaer Program : Unification party conference of the two workers' parties ADAV and SDAP
- 1891 - Erfurt program : mixture of Marxism and revisionism
- 1921 - Görlitz program : SPD and USPD split
- 1925 - Heidelberg Program : Demand for a United States of Europe
- 1959 - Godesberg program : change from a workers' party to a people's party
- 1989 - Berlin program : environmental and peace policy
- 2007 - Hamburg program
Initially, the SPD was a socialist workers' party. Increasingly, up to the Godesberg program, it is transformed into a social democratic people's party.
The SPD's current party program, the “Hamburg Program”, was adopted in 2007. In it the goal is set down to govern with the help of the "solidary majority". The democratic socialism is described as "an order of business, government and society in the civil, political, social and economic rights are guaranteed for all people, all people a life without exploitation, oppression and violence, so in social and human security can lead ”as well as a“ vision of a free, just and solidary society ”, the“ realization ”of which is emphasized as a“ permanent task ”. "Social democracy" serves as the "principle of action".
According to the Hamburg program, freedom , justice and solidarity are the basic values of democratic socialism for the SPD . So is the social justice one of its main policy guideline values. The coordinated social market economy is to be strengthened, and its income is to be distributed fairly, as this is seen as necessary for the prosperity of the population as a whole. The SPD believes that a strong state and an effective welfare state are necessary in the future in order to be able to protect weaker sections of the population. To this end, it attaches great importance to a financial policy that is designed “not at the expense of future generations” and that ends or reduces national debt in the long term . Under the heading of a preventive welfare state , changes to the social system are welcomed, which are intended to strengthen personal responsibility and were implemented within the framework of Agenda 2010 .
In terms of social policy, the SPD advocates civil rights , opening up society and citizen participation according to its program . In terms of foreign policy, it wants to strengthen peace in the world by balancing interests. Globalization should be shaped “through a democratic policy”. She tries to expand and deepen European unification .
The SPD sees peacekeeping at the center of its foreign policy. In doing so, it builds on dialogue and civil conflict resolution. She wants to secure human rights. In doing so, it sees itself as a partner of the West and NATO . The SPD advocates military operations by the Bundeswehr if diplomacy has been used sufficiently and no solution has been found. She rejects arms exports to dictatorships.
Security and Defense Policy
Until recently, the SPD has been promoting active and pragmatic security and defense policy, such as the former Federal Defense Ministers Helmut Schmidt , Georg Leber , Hans Apel , Peter Struck , and despite current government participation, it is moving in the direction of a pacifist defense and alliance policy , to the Bundeswehr and NATO clearly distanced basic attitude. The military and security policy views of the SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich stand in sharp contrast to the western-oriented, NATO-friendly attitude of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas .
The SPD sees education as the key to social participation and prosperity. The central goal is educational equality and the opportunity for advancement for children from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. She is critical of the federal and state ban on cooperation. She sees the expansion of comprehensive schools as a way of making the education system more permeable . The SPD strictly rejects tuition fees and has either abolished them or not introduced them at all in the federal states it governs. Early childhood education has a high priority within social democratic education policy. She wants to integrate children from migrant families into society.
The SPD rejects nuclear power. As a result, under the red-green federal government, it decided on the energy turnaround and would like to switch from limited energy sources to inexhaustible and from pollutant to low-pollutant resources. Jobs in industry, craft and service professions as well as in agriculture and forestry are to be created as a result. The SPD sees coal and gas-fired power plants as a bridge energy option in order to avoid a further increase in energy costs. It therefore stands for a climate-friendly energy policy that should be as inexpensive as possible. According to the SPD, the costs should be paid fairly by everyone.
The SPD sees itself as a progressive European party. The European integration is to be promoted and national sovereignty be handed over to the European Union. The European Parliament is to be strengthened in its rights, for example through the introduction of the right to make proposals. The European Commission is to be developed into a real government. The direct election of the Commission President is supported. To avoid wage dumping, Europe-wide minimum standards are to be introduced, depending on the respective member state. In the euro crisis, the SPD supports the rescue policy through the ESM and the fiscal pact , but at the same time wants targeted investments in the infrastructure and economy of the crisis countries in order to reduce unemployment.
The SPD recognizes and welcomes the change in the roles of men, women and the classic family image towards more flexible and individual life plans. Families should be promoted more specifically in their individual designs.
She sees means, among other things, in a higher relief contribution for single parents and in an expansion of the splitting of spouses to a partner tariff that promotes families regardless of the chosen way of life. To this end, full equality between homosexual partners should be achieved. The marriage for all and the joint adoption rights for married same-sex couples were approved in the summer of 2017 by the SPD.
Domestic politics should respect and safeguard the freedom and security of the citizens. Thus coexistence in society should be guaranteed through domestic politics. Crime is to be fought and the security apparatus to be expanded without affecting civil rights. The integration of immigrants is welcomed. The state should guarantee the participation and equal opportunities of the migrants. The SPD would like to achieve a welcoming culture. Educational qualifications obtained abroad should therefore also be recognized in Germany and receive dual citizenship. Asylum seekers should be accepted by Germany and municipalities should receive greater support from the federal government in their financial burden. Within the SPD, a points system is being discussed as an immigration right. Legal policy should promote a modern and tolerant society. To this end, for example, a statutory quota for women should promote the emancipation of women. The SPD supports direct citizen participation in democracy and referendums, also at the federal level.
Labor and social policy are central to social democratic politics. The welfare state should act preventively and support people in the event of illness, disability or unemployment. The SPD relies on the principle of “promote and demand”, according to which recipients of unemployment benefit should enjoy financial security and at the same time be required to perform by reducing benefits if a job is rejected. People should be able to make a living from their work, which is why the SPD introduced a minimum wage of € 8.50, which has now been raised to € 9.19. Jobs are to be created and the long-term unemployed in particular are to be reintegrated into the labor market. Rents should only be allowed to rise up to a certain degree, which is why the SPD is calling for a rent brake.
The SPD stands for an economic policy that is about common good and progress. Since the economic and financial crisis, the SPD has stood for the regulation of international financial markets in order to restore the primacy of politics over the economy. The German social market economy is to be expanded internationally. "[S] o much competition as possible, as much regulating state as necessary" is required. That is why the democratic state must remain capable of acting. Environmental sustainability and a targeted reduction in debt are welcomed.
The SPD wants to help refugees and offer them prospects. She advocates creating legal migration routes for asylum seekers and combating the causes of flight . The federal states and municipalities are to be supported in the accommodation and care of refugees and asylum seekers. The SPD advocates controlled family reunification for those only entitled to subsidiary protection . In the EU Parliament, the SPD is campaigning for family reunification to be extended to adult and married siblings.
The 350 sub-districts are in turn organized in 20 districts, which regularly hold district party conferences, of which 600 delegates are sent to the federal party conference. If an SPD district is congruent with a federal state, it is called a state association. In federal states with several districts, the districts together form a state association. In addition, each district sends representatives to the party council .
In addition to this basic structure, there are a few additional structural levels, which were mostly created for local political expediency, do not exist everywhere and in some cases only have limited rights (e.g. the right to apply for party congresses or cash management), for example the sections below the local association level . This includes in particular district associations as a subdivision of sub-districts that comprise more than one district ; However, the name "Kreisverband" is sometimes also used by subdistricts themselves if their layout corresponds exactly to a district. In Bavaria, Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, below the level of the regional association, which corresponds to the district in the sense used above, there are also so-called regions or (conceptually ambiguous) districts. In Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, these regions represent the old party districts that existed until they were merged into a state district. In Bavaria, the district associations correspond to the administrative districts , which together with the district councils form an independent communal body there.
The federal party congress is the highest organ of the party. It determines the basic lines of SPD policy, adopts the party program, elects the party executive, the control commission and the federal arbitration tribunal. It also decides on the organizational statute , the statutes of the SPD.
The party executive directs the official business between the party congresses. Most recently, he was elected by the delegates at the regular federal party conference from December 6 to 8, 2019 in Berlin . From the party executive committee emerges as the executive committee the party presidium, to which the two chairmen, the deputy chairmen, the general secretary, the treasurer and the person responsible for the European Union as well as other assessors elected from the board members belong.
|Chairperson||Saskia Esken , Norbert Walter-Borjans|
|vice-chairman||Klara Geywitz , Hubertus Heil , Kevin Kühnert , Serpil Midyatli , Anke Rehlinger|
|Secretary General||Lars Klingbeil|
|Responsible for the European Union||Udo Bullmann|
|Presidium members||Doris Ahnen , Katja Pähle|
|Assessor||Leni Breymaier , Martin Dulig , Michaela Engelmeier , Wiebke Esdar , Franziska Giffey , Kerstin Griese , Uli Grötsch , Gustav Horn , Oliver Kaczmarek , Heiko Maas , Bettina Martin , Matthias Miersch , Aydan Özoğuz , Boris Pistorius , Michael Roth , Sarah Ryglewski , Svenja Schulze , Dagmar Schmidt , Alexander Schweitzer , Andreas Stoch , Johanna Uekermann , Dietmar Woidke|
Data from the regional associations
(as of end of 2016)
in relation to those entitled to join
|Result of the last election of the state parliament||Result of the 2017 federal election||SPD head of government|
|Baden-Wuerttemberg||Andreas Stoch||34,138||0.36%||11.0% ( 2021 )||16.4%||No|
|Bavaria||Natascha Kohnen||58,296||0.52%||9.7% ( 2018 )||15.3%||No|
|Berlin||Franziska Giffey||17,145||0.55%||21.6% ( 2016 )||17.9%||Michael Müller ( Senate Müller II ), since 2014|
|Brandenburg||Dietmar Woidke||5,995||0.27%||26.2% ( 2019 )||17.6%||Dietmar Woidke ( Woidke III cabinet ), since 2013|
|Bremen||Sascha Karolin Aulepp||4.140||0.70%||24.9% ( 2019 )||26.8%||Andreas Bovenschulte ( Senate Bovenschulte ), since 2019|
|Hamburg||Melanie Leonhard||10,405||0.66%||39.2% ( 2020 )||23.5%||Peter Tschentscher ( Senate Tschentscher I ), since 2018|
|Hesse||Nancy Faeser||52.007||0.96%||19.8% ( 2018 )||23.5%||No|
|Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania||Manuela Schwesig||2,721||0.19%||30.6% ( 2016 )||15.1%||Manuela Schwesig ( Schwesig Cabinet ), since 2017|
|Lower Saxony||Stephan Weil||56,886||0.82%||36.9% ( 2017 )||27.4%||Stephan Weil ( Weil II cabinet ), since 2013|
|North Rhine-Westphalia||Thomas Kutschaty||108.205||0.69%||31.2% ( 2017 )||26.0%||No|
|Rhineland-Palatinate||Roger Lewentz||36,308||1.02%||35.7% ( 2021 )||24.2%||Malu Dreyer ( Dreyer II cabinet ), since 2013|
|Saarland||Anke Rehlinger||18,131||2.04%||29.6% ( 2017 )||27.2%||No|
|Saxony||Martin Dulig||4,295||0.12%||7.7% ( 2019 )||10.5%||No|
|Saxony-Anhalt||Juliane Kleemann||3,397||0.17%||10.6% ( 2016 )||15.2%||No|
|Schleswig-Holstein||Serpil Midyatli||16,911||0.67%||27.2% ( 2017 )||23.3%||No|
|Thuringia||Georg Maier||3,726||0.20%||8.2% ( 2019 )||13.2%||No|
Federal Arbitration Commission
The Federal Arbitration Commission is the highest party arbitration court of the SPD. It was set up to arbitrate and resolve disputes between the SPD or its branches and individual members and disputes about the interpretation and application of the statutes (in particular the organizational statute, electoral regulations). They serve to safeguard internal party democracy, guarantee the membership rights of party members and safeguard the party's order.
The SPD has set up working groups for a number of target groups and subject areas; they have the right to submit applications to the SPD party congresses and work partially autonomously. Every SPD member who is younger than 35 is automatically a member of the Jusos . The ASF includes all female members of the SPD, the AG 60 plus automatically includes all SPD members who are older than 60 years. Membership in all other working groups is not automatic or compulsory. All working groups have the option of becoming a full member without belonging to the SPD (so-called supporter membership).
Working groups and forums
The SPD has working groups, forums and project groups for some subject areas and target groups. There is the working group of formerly persecuted and imprisoned social democrats , the working group of Christians in the SPD , the working group of Jewish social democrats and the working group of Muslim social democrats. These four organizations are organized in a similar way to the working groups (with federal executive boards, federal conferences and regional sub-organizations), but do not have their rights. An initiative to found a secular working group was rejected by the party executive in 2018.
The objectives of the working groups are more internally oriented, they should enable SPD members of certain target groups or in certain subject areas to work together; some of the working groups also appear externally. The forums, on the other hand, have the primary goal of expanding the networking of the SPD with organizations in certain subject areas.
In contrast, the SPD Economic Forum is not a party forum, but a registered association closely related to the SPD .
To increase the proportion of women in management positions, a gender quota of 40% was introduced in 1988. This quota means that all board members and delegations must be at least 40% of each gender. Since considerably fewer women than men are involved as members of the SPD - the proportion of women among the members is 32% - this results in a disadvantage for men in internal party elections. For this reason, there is often talk of a “ women's quota ”. The Bundestag and Europalists are drawn up using the " zip fastener " method, in which women and men are drawn up alternately.
The SPD publishes the members' newspaper Vorwärts . The publisher is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft . Vorwärts was founded in 1876 by Wilhelm Liebknecht and others, initially as a daily newspaper and later converted into a weekly magazine. Today it appears monthly.
Logo and colors
The color red , which characterizes the logo and corporate design of the party, is of paramount importance in the external communication of the SPD . White, purple, dark red and cyan blue complement the color scheme.
for the 2021 federal election : Logo with claim "Social policy for you."
The total income of the SPD in 2014 amounted to 161,826,665.18 euros. Its main sources of income include membership fees and government funds . The party donations are traditionally low in the SPD. The SPD has comparatively high income from business activities, investments and other assets.
|Income of the SPD in 2014||EUR||proportion of|
|Mandate holder contributions and similar regular contributions||24,458,914.48||15.11%|
|Donations from natural persons||12,575,615.99||7.77%|
|Donations from legal entities||2,532,489.27||1.57%|
|Income from business activities and investments||2,134,003.78||1.32%|
|Income from other property||7,706,715.27||4.76%|
|Events, distribution of pamphlets and publications and other income-related activities||12,791,866.48||7.91%|
Between 30% and 40% of donations from legal entities came from large donations of more than € 20,000 per donation. The following companies and associations were among the largest donors (legal entities, total donation sums from 2000 to 2008, from 2007 only donations of 50,000 euros or more):
- € 1,371,143 Daimler Chrysler AG
- BMW AG € 657,522
- Allianz SE € 638,393
- Porsche AG € 365,820
- Chemical Industry Association e. V. 302,115 €
- Deutsche Bank AG € 300,000
- E.ON AG € 300,000
- B.TV Television GmbH & Co. KG € 281,211
- Südwestmetall € 277,258
- Commerzbank AG € 250,000
The party assets of the SPD amount to over 207 million euros (2014). This makes it the wealthiest party in Germany. Like the fortunes of most large parties , this has grown significantly in recent years.
The SPD is the only political party in Germany that has large media holdings. Via the media holding Deutsche Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft (ddvg), the SPD holds stakes in over 70 newspapers with a total circulation of over 6 million copies and 12 million readers, including Neue Westfälische , which was taken over 100% in 2016. The SPD has a 65.67% stake in Öko-Test Holding AG . This in turn is the sole owner of Öko-Test Verlag GmbH (magazine Öko-Test ) and Öko-Test Media GmbH.
From May 2004 to 2006 ddvg held a 90 percent stake in Frankfurter Rundschau ; the newspaper had financial difficulties. The takeover was controversial; Critics expressed concern that a buyer could influence the reporting. In 2006 she sold 50% of the shares and one vote to the Cologne-based publishing group M. DuMont Schauberg .
The net income of ddvg 2008 amounted to 15.5 million euros in 2007 and 17.2 million euros, of which 11.4 million to the SPD as a shareholder paid were.
The minimum age of 14 years and the commitment to the goals of the party are membership requirements. Germans who live permanently abroad and foreigners who live in Germany can also expressly become members.
According to the inventory of April 2018, the SPD had 457,700 members. 54% of the SPD members are older than 60 years, 8% are younger than 30 years. 68% of the members are male, 32% female. 34% pensioners , 23% civil servants , 15% employees , 8 % blue-collar workers , 5% unemployed , 5% housewives , 4% self-employed , 2% freelancers , 2% schoolchildren and 2% no information.
In terms of language, it is common for SPD members to use a consistent duet and since the 1990s it has also been common practice to use their first name . They also consider and refer to one another as comrades . Members of the SPD are colloquially referred to as Sozis or (then often somewhat derogatory) Sozen.
Immediately after the end of the war, the SPD took over many members of socialist and social democratic exile and resistance organizations. In the first federal election in 1949 it had around 750,000 members again, until 1951 a temporary high of around 820,000 members was reached. In the course of the 1950s that number fell and in 1958 it reached around 590,000 people.
The number of members of the SPD has recovered since the 1960s and exceeded one million for the first time in 1977. The party lost members in the 1980s but remained above the 900,000 mark. For a short time, the SPD recorded a slight increase in membership as a result of German unity . Since 1990, the SPD has suffered drastic membership losses of more than half, leaving it with a good 419,300 in 2019. The weighting of the social origins of the members has shifted significantly since the end of the 1950s, partly as a result of demographic developments. Until then, the majority of the members were mainly workers and small employees, but in the following years this shifted in favor of civil servants and pensioners.
Membership in the SPD is or was incompatible with membership in one of the following organizations:
- Confederation free Germany
- Democratic cultural association of Germany
- Mutual aid community of members of the former Waffen SS
- Socialist German workers' youth
- Church of Scientology
- Association of those persecuted by the Nazi regime ; this resolution was repealed on October 25, 2010
The following organizations are prohibited from working together:
- German Communist Party and Free German Youth (Berlin)
- Committee for Peace, Disarmament and Cooperation
- Committees against professional bans
In addition, as with most other parties in Germany, membership in a party, civic association or group that is competing in elections is not permitted.
Internal party currents
Internally, the SPD can be divided into more left-wing social democrats, who are organized in the Forum Democratic Left 21 and the parliamentary left , and moderately conservative social democrats who have come together in the Seeheimer Kreis . Most recently, a new generation has joined forces with the Berlin Network , which opposes the traditionalist wing formation. While the moderately conservative Social Democrats that of Gerhard Schröder endorse initiated reforms almost without reservation that left Socialists fight for a classic left and social welfare policy from which the SPD in its view in recent years mainly by the Agenda 2010 and as too economically liberal perceived Course has moved away.
1863 to 1918: Empire
1863 to 1914: foundation, socialist laws
The SPD has several possible founding dates. She herself refers to the establishment of the General German Workers' Association (ADAV) by Ferdinand Lassalle , which took place on May 23, 1863 in the Leipzig Pantheon . The ADAV was led by Wilhelm Hasenclever from 1871 to 1875 . The Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP), founded by August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht in Eisenach , had existed since 1869 . The year 1875 is often mentioned as the actual constitution date, when the ADAV and the SDAP merged to form the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (SAP) at the end of the unification party congress from May 22nd to 27th in Gotha .
From 1883, Die Neue Zeit, a theory magazine of the party existed, which was initially published covertly. The publication founded by Karl Kautsky would later become the scene of the most important theoretical debates of socialism and Marxism ( revisionism dispute ) and receive high attention worldwide. The recruitment took place in 1923.
After the Socialist Law was repealed in autumn 1890, the party changed its name to "Social Democratic Party of Germany". A year later, she adopted the program of the same name at her party conference in Erfurt . The guidelines drafted by Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein rejected reformism and came closer to Marxism again.
The early SPD was close to the trade unions and, like most socialist and social democratic parties in Europe in the 19th century, was ideologically oriented towards revolutionary Marxism . At the end of the 19th / beginning of the 20th century, Eduard Bernstein opposed his theory of revisionism to the SPD, which was still largely revolutionary . The revisionism theory prevailed in the party at the latest after the First World War . Essentially, this theory contains the desired socialist transformation of society through reforms after a democratically legitimized takeover of government through elections.
A similar fundamental dispute was the mass strike debate , which broke out under the influence of European strike movements, especially the Russian Revolution of 1905. Here the left wing around Rosa Luxemburg and partly the revisionist with the reformist trade unions grappled with the question of whether a strike as a means of political combat could also be used beyond the struggle to improve working conditions. The debate was formally ended in 1906 with the bow to the trade unions in the Mannheim Agreement .
The historical disputes over the Social Democrats (persecution, repression, especially under the Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck - see Socialist Law ) led to the fact that the party structure of the SPD developed most intensively and achieved a high level of efficiency. Due to their critical social situation, the huge population group of workers had a high political potential. The SPD soon became the party with the largest number of members in Germany at the time. The state saw this as a threat. For example, Field Marshal Alfred Graf von Waldersee , who had made a name for himself as a “political officer” and was a reactionary representative of state power, demanded violent action by the state against the Social Democrats. Or the Royal Prussian and Grand Ducal Hessian Railway warned against social democratic leaflets in their official gazette.
|Share of votes and number of seats of the Social Democrats
in the Reichstag elections 1871–1912
|ADAV together with SDAP|
The SPD gained more and more influence among the workers and therefore also in the Reichstag despite persecution and oppression during the Bismarck era - partly because of its closeness to the trade unions . In 1890 - immediately after the Socialist Law was repealed - the party already received 19.8% of the vote, making it the party with the largest number of voters in the Reich for the first time. In 1912 it replaced the center as the strongest parliamentary group in the Reichstag with 34.8% (110 members) . After Bebel's death in 1913, who was seen as an integrating figure and mediator between the revolutionary and reformist wing of the SPD, the clearly moderate Friedrich Ebert took over the leadership of the party he shared with Hugo Haase .
1914 to 1919: First World War, split, November Revolution
After the SPD first organized large-scale demonstrations against an impending war and wanted to use its international contacts to mediate, the SPD parliamentary group finally agreed to grant war bonds for the First World War , as the opinion spread within the SPD that war was inevitable. Only Karl Liebknecht ( Wilhelm Liebknecht's son ), who had been a member of the Reichstag for the SPD since 1912, voted against the loans in December 1914, after he had not taken the first vote on them due to the party season. In 1915 he was followed by Otto Rühle . After an anti-war demonstration, Liebknecht was arrested in 1916 and sentenced to prison, from which he was only released immediately before the end of the war. Many members of the SPD, like party chairman Hugo Haase, increasingly disagreed with the war-approving attitude of their party, the so-called Burgfriedenspolitik , and founded the USPD (Independent SPD).
The left-wing revolutionary Spartakusbund , which was founded in 1916 under the leadership of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg after the exclusion of Liebknecht and others from the SPD as "Gruppe Internationale" and had agitated against the war, also joined the USPD and formed its left wing.
Not only the left “anti-revisionists” around Rosa Luxemburg migrated to the USPD, but also Karl Kautsky , the long-time editor of the journal Die Neue Zeit , and leading theorists of the reform wing such as the father of revisionism , Eduard Bernstein . In the remaining “majority SPD” ( MSPD ), instead of Kautsky and Bernstein, the former left anti-revisionists of the Lensch-Cunow-Haenisch group , who were close to the German-Russian publicist Alexander Parvus , influenced the theoretical debates from 1915 onwards . Their goal was to use the hoped-for German victory in the First World War to implement the socialist social order in Europe and to liberate the Eastern European peoples from the “yoke of tsarism”.
Heinrich Cunow , ethnologist and lecturer at the party school of the SPD, replaced Kautsky in 1917 as editor of the Neue Zeit . He was later to become a co-author of the Görlitz and Heidelberg programs of the SPD. After 1918 Konrad Haenisch was initially Prussian minister of education, then district president in Wiesbaden and finally one of the founders of the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold , a non-partisan alliance of parliamentary-democratic parties dominated by the SPD to protect the Weimar Republic against its enemies on the political fringes. When many Social Democrats realized from 1917 onwards that the war would lead to defeat, the group's influence waned.
At the end of the First World War, when the military leadership of the Empire had already admitted the German defeat, the November Revolution followed the mutiny of the sailors in Wilhelmshaven and Kiel in 1918 , as a result of which the Kaiser abdicated and fled to Holland. The MSPD under Friedrich Ebert , to whom the government of Prince Maximilian von Baden had been handed over in the course of the revolutionary events , gave in to the pressure of events more than it was prepared to take over government. Ebert's considerations to forego the abolition of the monarchy in order to prevent a civil war turned out to be illusory.
The Spartakusbund and parts of the USPD advocated the formation of a soviet republic , as had been enforced in Russia a year earlier during the October Revolution . But of the active revolutionary soldiers 'and workers' councils that supported the revolution, only a minority had in mind the model of the successful overthrow of the Russian Bolsheviks . The majority of them wanted to end the war and military rule. With this aim, they first stood behind the SPD leadership, which they trusted, and demanded the reunification of the majority SPD with the independent SPD. The SPD leadership then offered the USPD the formation of a council of people's representatives as the new government. This revolutionary government under the leadership of Ebert and Haase, with equal numbers of MSPD and USPD members, saw itself as a provisional solution for the phase of revolutionary upheaval and committed itself to a national assembly that would result from general elections soon as the constituent body.
At the end of 1918, the coalition between the MSPD and the USPD failed due to the dispute over the use of the military against the sailors of the People's Navy Division in Berlin. The MSPD, now in government alone, felt that the unauthorized actions of individual councils were a betrayal of the democratic principles of the labor movement. Attempts to build up a democratic people's armed forces or to give majority social democratic volunteer associations a chance failed. When the People's Commissar Government was attacked during the Spartacus uprising in January 1919, the decision was made to trust the military of the old officers and the new Freikorps leaders.
With the bloody suppression of the Spartacus uprising and the Munich Soviet Republic by right-wing nationalist free corps recruited by Gustav Noske around the turn of the year 1918/19, the majority Social Democrats prevailed. Gustav Noske , who later became the first Reichswehr Minister of the Weimar Republic, was given the nickname "Bloodhound", which he basically gave himself when, when asked to put down the revolution, he said: "Someone has to give up the bloodhound". He was politically responsible for numerous murders committed by the Freikorps of many known and unknown, including supposed revolutionaries, including the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht on January 15, 1919, carried out by free corps soldiers led by Waldemar Pabst .
The role of Ebert, Noske and Scheidemann during the months of the November Revolution and its suppression has led to the historical accusation of various parliamentary and above all extra-parliamentary active left groups and parties against the SPD, the revolution and thus to a large extent their own supporters to have betrayed. The Communist Party of Germany (KPD) was founded by January 1, 1919 from the Spartakusbund and other left-wing revolutionary groups . This brought about the final separation between the revolutionary and reformist wings of social democracy.
The USPD, which was initially still relatively influential, and which in recognition of its contribution to the resistance against the Kapp Putsch was able to achieve 17.9% of the vote in the 1920 Reichstag election , joined the KPD a few months after this election with its strong left-wing revolutionary wing (→ VKPD ) and was further ground up in the following years between the KPD and the SPD. After 1922, when a large part of the USPD returned to the SPD after another split, it only played a marginal role as a small party in the Weimar Republic until it was absorbed into the SAP, which was founded in 1931 .
1919 to 1933: Weimar Republic
In the young Weimar Republic , the SPD provided Friedrich Ebert as the Reich President from 1919 to 1925 and was represented in all Reich governments ( Friedrich Ebert , Philipp Scheidemann , Gustav Bauer , Hermann Müller ) until 1920 . On September 24, 1922, the reunification with the majority of the USPD took place at the unification party conference in Nuremberg; up to and including 1924, the party took part in elections under the abbreviation VSPD ( United Social Democratic Party of Germany ). From then on, the SPD only participated in a few Reich governments, most recently from 1928 to 1930 in the Müller II cabinet ( Grand Coalition ) under Reich Chancellor Hermann Müller , while in Prussia with Otto Braun it was the prime minister almost continuously from 1920 to 1932.
As a “constructive opposition ”, the SPD tried to maintain its influence on Reich politics because it feared that it would lose even more disappointed workers voters to the KPD through frequent government participation. Their social basis during the Weimar Republic was mainly the trade unionized skilled workers.
During the rise of the NSDAP , the SPD was able to keep its electorate, but it had little to oppose to the votes gained by the National Socialists, a large part of which came from the reservoir of non-voters and young voters. Due to its organizational encrustation, the impossibility of working with the KPD, which called the SPD “social-fascist” , and - with the exception of the center - the marginalization of the bourgeois parties, it found no allies for the resistance against the approaching National Socialism.
|Share of votes of the SPD in the election to the National Assembly in
1919 and in the Reichstag elections 1920–1933
The toleration politics of the SPD parliamentary faction of the government Brüning from 1930 to 1932 resulted mainly in parts of the party youth and the left wing of the party to anwachsender criticism of party and faction leaders and resulted in 1931 in the spin-off of part of the party's left, which are the Socialist Workers Party of Germany ( SAP) formed.
In 1932 the SPD was robbed of its last bastion by the “ Prussian strike ”.
1933 to 1945: National Socialism and World War II
On March 22, 1933 - a few weeks after taking office as Chancellor of the German Reich - Adolf Hitler presented his Enabling Act , which represented the most important step of the National Socialists in the abolition of the democratic constitutional state in a formally legal way, to the Reichstag. The SPD chairman Otto Wels also recognized this decisive blow against the constitution and thus the step to eliminate the Reichstag . The latter sharply criticized Hitler and accused him of violating the constitution. Despite the election terror by the SA, the 94 SPD MPs present, who had not been arrested or who had not fled, decided unanimously against the bill. The remaining 444 parliamentarians present agreed. The SPD's no votes preserved the honor of the democratic parties through the personal courage of a few, but since all the bourgeois parties approved this law, Hitler was able to achieve his goal and also formally remove the parties from the legislature.
During the Nazi era, the Social Democrats were among the first groups to be persecuted by the Nazis. After the party's facilities had already been confiscated and a large part of the party executive had emigrated, a rump group of the SPD parliamentary group in the Reichstag voted on May 17, 1933, under the impression of death threats, in favor of Adolf Hitler's foreign policy declaration . Due to the call by the SPD leadership to overthrow the National Socialist regime, Reich Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick banned the SPD on June 22, 1933 as an "anti-people and subversive organization"; in the following days all other parties with the exception of the NSDAP dissolved themselves. On July 7th, the “Ordinance to Safeguard State Management” by Reich Minister of the Interior Frick repealed all SPD mandates in the Reichstag, in the state parliaments and local parliaments, and on July 14th the law against the formation of new parties followed .
A professional ban was issued against individual SPD members, and the party's assets were confiscated. Numerous Social Democrats were subsequently taken into “ protective custody ” or abducted. Many members who could not or did not want to flee into exile died in concentration camps and prisons . A minority of the members of the SPD, partly as members of illegally continued party or Reich banner structures , partly in groups that were critical of the party executive, such as Neu Beginnen , the Revolutionary Socialists of Germany , the Socialist Front or the Red Shock Troop, resisted the Nazi regime . Individual well-known SPD members such as Julius Leber , Adolf Reichwein or Wilhelm Leuschner were involved in the planning that led to the attempted uprising on July 20, 1944 , or belonged to the Kreisau Circle . The majority of the party members remained resistant to the National Socialist ideology and maintained solidarity with one another, but were not involved in direct resistance activities. The exile organization SoPaDe was founded in Prague and later relocated to Paris and then to London.
1945 to 1949: post-war period
After the war, the rebuilding of the party began with the establishment of a central committee on June 15, 1945 in Berlin and local initiatives in all parts of the country. The chairman of the central committee was Otto Grotewohl , other prominent representatives were Gustav Dahrendorf , Annedore Leber , Erich W. Gniffke and Max Fechner . Kurt Schumacher worked from Hanover, starting from the office of Dr. Schumacher , against the recognition of the Central Committee in Berlin as a national rallying point and strove for an SPD limited exclusively to the western zones ; His office had no contact with Social Democrats in the Soviet Zone . At the Wennigs conference in Wennigsen from October 5 to 8, 1945, the SPD was re-established. Social Democrats from all parts of Germany, as well as the exiled executive committee in London, came together for what was known as the first central gathering of social democrats. Schumacher pushed through that the central committee should only be responsible for the Soviet zone of occupation, and that he was appointed "representative for the western zones". After discussions and correspondence between Schumacher on the one hand and Otto Brenner and Willi Eichler on the other, most of the members of the Socialist Workers' Party (SAP) and International Socialist Combat League (ISK) groups represented by them continued to join the SPD (again) in the western zones .
In West Germany
From May 9 to 11, 1946, the first party conference after the end of the war took place in a Hanomag hall in Hanover . The 258 delegates came from the three western zones and the four Berlin sectors. The eastern zone was not represented. In his programmatic speech on the tasks and goals of German social democracy , Kurt Schumacher repeated the criticism of the policies of the KPD / SED and raised the right to represent the social democrats in the Soviet Zone at the party congress. After Schumacher's speech, Viktor Agartz spoke about a socialist economic policy. At the party congress, which had previously adopted the new organizational statute, the delegates elected Kurt Schumacher as first chairman and Erich Ollenhauer and Wilhelm Knothe as deputy chairmen.
In East Germany
The KPD , whose new leadership, who had returned from Moscow, initially took sharp action against the spontaneous initiatives to form a unified workers' party, changed its attitude towards the end of 1945 and urged the SPD to unite the two parties, which was reinforced by reprisals from the Soviet occupying power . The KPD wanted power in East Germany, and the SPD had the necessary base of 600,000 members. Otto Grotewohl's efforts to organize a Germany-wide party congress of the SPD, which was supposed to discuss and decide on this unification proposal, was resolutely rejected by Schumacher. The reestablishment of the party in the national framework is only possible after an all-German government has been formed, said Schumacher. Instead, he called on the central committee to dissolve the SPD in the Soviet occupation zone and to form a separate SPD in the western sectors of Berlin . He did not achieve the former, but then organized the latter himself together with some district chairmen from the western sectors. After the occupying powers had approved both workers' parties for the election to the city council of Greater Berlin (October 20, 1946), the SPD received 48.7% and the SED 19.8% of the vote.
Before that, at a party congress on April 21 and 22, 1946, the SPD and KPD were forced to unite to form the SED ( Socialist Unity Party of Germany ) in the Soviet Zone . This happened at the so-called “Unification Party Congress”, at which some SPD delegates from the Soviet Zone and KPD delegates from all over Germany were under the control of the Soviets. Numerous East German Social Democrats who refused to bow to the pressure fled to the western zones (such as Wilhelm Korspeter and Franz Unikower, who later became a member of the Central Council of Jews in Germany ). In many cases there were arrests (such as in the case of Dieter Rieke , Albert Thormann , Werner Rüdiger and Hugo Hose ) and executions of social democrats by communists such as B. in the case of the young Günter Malkowski . The local branches of the SPD in the Soviet-occupied sector of Berlin , consisting of members who had not joined the SED, existed until the construction of the Wall in 1961. As part of the transformation of the SED into a " party of a new type ", a hierarchically structured cadre party in Since the “party conferences” that were not provided for in the statute of the SED played a decisive role, the Social Democrats who remained in the SED were pushed further and further into the background. Many fell victim to the purges ordered by Joseph Stalin .
→ For the background and the further development, see the history of the SED .
1949 to 1990: Bonn Republic
1949 to 1966: Opposition in the Bundestag
In the first general election in 1949 in the Federal Republic of Germany , the SPD led by Kurt Schumacher was just behind the CDU / CSU led by Konrad Adenauer . It thus became an opposition party, which it remained until 1966.
In West Germany, the SPD was initially extremely critical of the social market economy designed by the federal government and called for the nationalization of all basic industries. In contrast to Adenauer's policy of integration into the West , the SPD placed the reunification requirement overly closely related to the USA and Western Europe. SPD concepts on Germany policy from this period consider Germany's political neutrality to be possible and are strictly against rearming the country. In contrast, a group of remigrants led by Brandt and Ernst Reuter , mainly from West Berlin , campaigned for the SPD to be more oriented towards the West. They were supported by a group of liberal American occupation officers around Shepard Stone .
After disappointing election results for the Social Democrats in the federal elections in 1953 and 1957 , in which Erich Ollenhauer both times defeated Chancellor Adenauer as candidate for chancellor , there were signs of a change in policy. The Godesberg program of 1959 marked programmatically the change from a workers' party to a people 's party, which had long since taken place . With a keynote address on foreign policy by Wehner in 1960, the SPD finally accepted ties to the West and dropped its 1959 plan for Germany .
1966 to 1969: First Grand Coalition
As part of the grand coalition from December 1966 to the federal election in September 1969 , the SPD appointed government members for the first time in the post-war period (see Kiesinger cabinet ); under Chancellor Kiesinger it was a junior partner with Willy Brandt as foreign minister . The FDP was due to their small number of seats hardly opposition Labor afford. An increasingly socialist-revolutionary-minded extra - parliamentary opposition (APO) developed, among other things from the student movement , which was mainly supported organizationally by the Socialist German Student Union ( SDS ). In 1967/1968 in particular, in the course of student protests against the planned emergency legislation, there were massive demonstrations and sometimes militant riots against the government of the grand coalition.
On the agenda of the first grand coalition were the introduction of the emergency laws , the continued payment of wages in the event of illness , the stability law and the creation of community tasks . The introduction of a majority electoral system , originally planned by the SPD and above all by the Union, failed due to resistance from the SPD base. At its party congress in Nuremberg in 1968, for example, the SPD voted to postpone the reform of the electoral law, which was then no longer implemented due to the social-liberal coalition.
In terms of economic policy, the SPD set new trends , especially with its Minister of Economics, Karl Schiller . The Stability Act implemented a new, demand-oriented economic policy in Germany, through which the Federal Republic was able to leave its first recession from 1966 behind.
Despite all the great differences between the governing parties, the Kiesinger government worked together relatively closely and was able to implement almost all of its projects despite the very short term of not even a full legislative period. A good example is the cooperation between Karl Schiller and the then Federal Minister of Finance Franz Josef Strauss (CSU), which together became known as " Plisch and Plum ".
Nonetheless, this coalition was always viewed as a “marriage of convenience” and a temporary solution.
1969 to 1974: Social-liberal coalition under Willy Brandt
In the election of the German Federal President in 1969 on March 5, an SPD politician became Federal President for the first time , the previous Federal Minister of Justice Gustav Heinemann . This majority was made possible by Willy Brandt and the FDP chairman Walter Scheel , who negotiated that the FDP members of the Federal Assembly vote for Heinemann. Heinemann was only able to prevail in the third ballot. In his inaugural speech, he spoke of a “piece of power change”.
Due to the outcome of the 1969 Bundestag election , the SPD was able to appoint the Federal Chancellor for the first time. The SPD and FDP together received a majority against the CDU / CSU. Although Helmut Schmidt and Herbert Wehner voted against such a coalition, Willy Brandt formed a social-liberal coalition with the FDP under the motto Dare to dare more democracy and was then elected Chancellor ( Brandt cabinet ).
Under Willy Brandt as part of the follow Ostverträge a detente with the states of the Warsaw Pact and a comprehensive program of reforms in the legal policy , the education policy and family policy . It is precisely because of these reforms that the social-liberal coalition was viewed by the general public after 20 years of government participation by the Union parties as a “new beginning”.
The kneeling of Warsaw on December 7, 1970 at the memorial of the ghetto uprising of 1943, which received worldwide attention , symbolically initiated the policy of détente which later resulted in the Eastern treaties with Poland and the Soviet Union. In addition, there was the basic treaty with the GDR. In 1970 he met with the chairman of the GDR Council of Ministers, Willi Stoph , in Erfurt, initially for the first German-German summit in the Erfurter Hof and then in Kassel . The Erfurt “Willy, Willy” calls were clearly related to Brandt and irritated the GDR rulers. An agreement with Czechoslovakia followed . Brandt received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his Ostpolitik .
The new Ostpolitik met with opposition from some of the members of the governing coalition. Some of them switched to the opposition CDU / CSU, which meant that the coalition lost its majority. The attempt by the opposition to replace Willy Brandt with Rainer Barzel by means of a constructive vote of no confidence in 1972 failed, however, surprisingly. Today we know that two members of the Bundestag were bribed by the East German Ministry for State Security ("Stasi"). In the new elections that followed , the SPD won the highest percentage of votes in its history and became the strongest parliamentary group for the first time .
In the wake of the oil crisis in 1973, the second recession of the postwar German history and the Guillaume affair , in which the narrow Brandt Leaders Guenter Guillaume as DDR - Spy in the Chancellery unmasked, Willy Brandt joined in May 1974 as Chancellor back (totally for most surprising), but remained party chairman. Helmut Schmidt became chancellor.
1974 to 1982: Social-liberal coalition under Helmut Schmidt
Schmidt continued the reforms of Willy Brandt in his government policy and at the same time was able to overcome the first oil crisis, whereby the Federal Republic was able to cope with the resulting recession a lot better than most other industrial nations.
Schmidt prevailed against Helmut Kohl in the 1976 general election . The CDU / CSU became the strongest force, but the SPD, together with the FDP, was able to win an absolute majority of the Bundestag mandates and thus continue the social-liberal coalition.
In September and October 1977 there was the so-called German Autumn , which was marked by attacks by the Red Army Faction (RAF). Helmut Schmidt appointed the Great Crisis Team , to which members of all parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag belonged, thereby creating a bipartisan consensus. The government took a tough line against the terrorists, "The state should not allow itself to be blackmailed".
In the 1980 federal election , the social-liberal coalition prevailed over the Union parties, led by Franz Josef Strauss.
On September 17, 1982, however, the FDP terminated the coalition. There is no consensus in historical studies about the reasons: while Henning Köhler emphasizes the neoliberal turn of the FDP, which Otto Graf Lambsdorff marked with his concept for a policy to overcome weak growth and fight unemployment , Joachim Scholtyseck believes that this is in the background The SPD has increasingly turned away from the NATO double decision - against the line of Helmut Schmidt.
1982 to 1990: Again in the opposition
The first years in the opposition were marked by a content-related readjustment of the party and the goal of adapting the content to the changing society, whereby this readjustment sometimes triggered emotional debates within the party.
On October 7, 1989, the Social Democratic Party in the GDR (SDP) was founded in Schwante near Berlin . September 1990 was absorbed by the SPD. The founding members of the SDP included Angelika Barbe , Martin Gutzeit , Markus Meckel , Stephan Hilsberg and Ibrahim Böhme .
Saarland's Prime Minister Oskar Lafontaine criticized the planned expansion of the area of validity of the D-Mark in the GDR on July 1, as he feared a significant increase in unemployment in East Germany in the event of rapid monetary union . In addition, in contrast to Kohl, he advocated a tax increase, since in his opinion it would otherwise not be possible to finance German unity without a sharp rise in national debt. In contrast, the SPD chairman and internal party competitor Hans-Jochen Vogel took a positive stance on the currency reform. A skeptical attitude towards rapid economic reunification initially received support in the party and in the surveys, and in January 1990 the SPD also achieved its best result in Saarland in the state elections in Saarland under Lafontaine with 54.4%. As a result, Lafontaine was elected Chancellor candidate of the SPD in March with clear approval, also from Hans-Jochen Vogel. The situation changed for the SPD, however, with the unification process, during which Lafontaine was temporarily suspended due to an assassination attempt in which he was critically injured. Chancellor Helmut Kohl received consistent praise from the media for his foreign policy, including after the state visit to Gorbachev and the signing of the two-plus-four contract , and the SPD candidacy was already judged to be hopeless. In this spirit of optimism, the media and voters, especially in East Germany, largely followed the government's optimistic ideas (“ Blossoming Landscapes ”). In addition, the problem arose for the SPD in the east that it was portrayed by the media as close to the SED during the election campaign. In view of the situation, Richard Schröder, as the parliamentary group leader of the Eastern SPD, also relied on speed in realizing a monetary union in order to achieve unity as quickly as possible. Willy Brandt also changed his previously skeptical attitude and welcomed the rapid unification: "Now what belongs together is growing together". The historian Heinrich August Winkler describes the SPD as a Janus-headed party because of its attitude towards the national unity of Germany : "One of its faces was the patriotic of Willy Brandt, the other the postnational that of Oskar Lafontaine."
In the GDR, the Social Democratic Party obtained only 21.7% of the vote on March 18, 1990 in the election to the People's Chamber . She then participated from April 12 to August 20, 1990 as a junior partner in the first free and democratically elected government of the GDR under Prime Minister Lothar de Maizière (CDU).
Since 1990: Berlin Republic
1990 to 1998: All-German opposition
In the first all-German federal election in reunified Germany on December 2, 1990, the SPD was defeated by the black-yellow coalition with 33.5% of the votes. The party united since September 26, 1990 achieved 35.7% in the electoral area West and 24.3% in the electoral area East .
In the following opposition years, the positions on the right to asylum and on foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr were controversial within the party , with the position in the media for the restrictions on rights and approval of the deployments predominating. With the so-called Petersberger Wende , the SPD finally agreed to limit the number of asylum seekers and Bundeswehr missions abroad.
From May 1991 to May 1993, Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Björn Engholm was federal chairman of the SPD and also the party's candidate for Chancellor . He resigned prematurely from his offices after it became known that he had made a false statement in the context of the Barschel affair (see also “ Drawer affair ”). In this situation, the federal party decided on a completely new procedure for determining the next party chairman. For the first time, a member survey was carried out on the party leadership among the SPD members, which Rudolf Scharping won with around 40% ahead of Gerhard Schröder and Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul .
The Chancellor candidate Scharping stood in the election campaign together with Gerhard Schröder and Oskar Lafontaine as a so-called Troika . Determining topics of the government program for the election were among other things plans to reduce unemployment and the development towards an "ecological market economy". The SPD also explicitly criticized the fact that a large part of the costs of the unit were passed on to the social security funds and turned against privatization plans in the healthcare system. In the 1994 federal election , the SPD received 36.4% of the vote. It was thus able to increase its votes, but in spite of the sobering development of the unity, after the sobering development of the unit, it did not achieve a majority. In 1995, Scharping was defeated by the then Saarland Prime Minister Oskar Lafontaine in the vote for the party chairmanship.
1998 to 2005: Red-Green under Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder
It was not until the federal election in 1998 that the SPD succeeded in returning to the government with the then Prime Minister of Lower Saxony , Gerhard Schröder , as candidate for chancellor , this time in a red-green coalition with Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen . This was a novelty in the history of Germany. For the first time, parties that traditionally classify themselves as “left of center” received more than 50% of the vote. For the first time, a federal government was completely voted out.
Due to the fact that representatives of the new social movement came to the government for the first time, people soon spoke of the “Red-Green Project”, which was supposed to embody a change in the political culture of Germany.
The SPD chairman Oskar Lafontaine became finance minister , but resigned from all political and party offices in March 1999 because of differences with Schröder. Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder then became the new SPD chairman.
During the Red-Green government, all political fields were renewed, such as the modernization of citizenship law, tax reform, pension reform , nuclear phase-out , eco-tax , the introduction of the partnership institute or reforms in the education sector.
In the federal election in 2002 , the Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber ( CSU ) ran as the Union's candidate for chancellor against Chancellor Schröder. The SPD lost 2.4 percentage points and the Greens gained 1.9 percentage points; red-green received 1.2 percentage points more votes than the Union and FDP combined. The PDS failed at the five percent hurdle . Despite almost the same number of second votes with the Union parties (SPD: 18,488,668; CDU / CSU: 18,482,641), the SPD was just about the strongest parliamentary group due to overhanging mandates .
The government strictly refused to allow Germany to participate in the Iraq war , which gave Gerhard Schröder a reputation as "peace chancellor".
In 2003 the Agenda 2010 was presented. A huge reform package of the German social system and labor market , which was implemented by 2005. Among other things, it provided for social cuts and a liberalization of the economy in order to combat unemployment. It was perceived as negative by large parts of the SPD supporters due to the social cut. Today the SPD sees the agenda as a decisive factor for the subsequent positive economic development in Germany. The extent to which Agenda 2010 actually contributed is, however, controversial; Other factors, such as wage restraint that began before Agenda 2010, could also have been the cause.
After losing state elections , the SPD received 21.5% in the European elections on June 13, 2004, its lowest result in a nationwide election since the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany. Regular voters felt alienated by the politics of Agenda 2010 and stayed away from the election. Many others perceived the course of the SPD, which met criticism not only from other parties but also within the SPD membership, as divided. The decline in membership that began in the early 1980s accelerated. Sections of the left wing, close to the trade union, split off after heated debates and first founded the association Wahlalternative Arbeit und Sozialeighelle in 2004 , from which a new party, WASG , emerged in January 2005 , which was politically to the left of the “ New Center ” SPD .
On May 25, 2005, immediately after the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia ( North Rhine-Westphalia ) that the SPD had lost , the former party chairman Oskar Lafontaine resigned because of the government's policy ( Agenda 2010 , Hartz IV ) , which he believed was incompatible with the principles of social democracy the SPD and a few weeks later became a member of the WASG , after the latter had entered into a left-wing alliance with the PDS for the federal election in autumn 2005.
An early federal election had been announced by the Chancellor and the SPD party leadership after the defeat in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia. The goals of the SPD for the elections on September 18, 2005 were: Remain in government responsibility and continue the reforms with greater consideration of social aspects.
2005 to 2009: Second Grand Coalition
After the SPD had become almost as strong as the Union parties in the Bundestag election and the Union was unable to form a coalition with the FDP, the CDU, CSU and SPD agreed after lengthy exploratory talks on a grand coalition under Angela Merkel as Chancellor.
Other coalitions had also been discussed beforehand. A traffic light coalition made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP and the so-called Jamaica coalition between the CDU / CSU, the FDP and the Greens were discussed. A red-red-green coalition made up of the SPD, the Left Party and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen was excluded from all parties.
Reasons for the loss of the red-green majority were seen mainly in the fact that a party “left” of the SPD (Left Party) was able to establish itself for the first time.
After the successful signing of the coalition agreement, Chancellor Angela Merkel, elected by 397 members of the German Bundestag , proposed eight SPD ministers to join the grand coalition , including Franz Müntefering as Minister of Labor and Vice Chancellor . After the appointment by Federal President Horst Köhler , the 8 federal ministers of the SPD now formed the first Merkel cabinet with the 7 other federal ministers of the Union and the Federal Chancellor Merkel .
The Second Grand Coalition, like the first, undertook special main tasks in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by absolute majorities in the Bundestag and Bundesrat. The first was to achieve a balanced budget, i.e. a budget without net borrowing, by 2011. One measure was the increase in VAT to 19% (January 1, 2007), which the SPD rejected in the 2005 election campaign. In the federalism reform , the relationship between the Federation and the Länder was reorganized. In addition, the Konrad shaft was decided to be the first repository for light and medium-level radioactive waste and thus for 90% of the nuclear waste generated in Germany.
The Brandenburg Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck , who had taken over the party chairmanship from Franz Müntefering after an internal party dispute over the election of the General Secretary, resigned as SPD chairman on April 10, 2006 after five months for health reasons. His successor was the Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate, Kurt Beck , who until then was one of the deputy chairmen.
On September 7, 2008, Kurt Beck announced his resignation as party chairman at a closed meeting of the party leadership. His deputy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier , who was nominated as candidate for chancellor for the 2009 Bundestag election on the same day , took over the party chairmanship on a provisional basis until Franz Müntefering, nominated by the party presidency, was elected as the new chairman at a special party conference. On July 30, 2009, Steinmeier presented his “Team Steinmeier” for the federal election, which, in addition to the then federal ministers with SPD party membership, only included politicians who were relatively unknown at the time.
2009 to 2013: renewed opposition
In the federal election on September 27, 2009, the SPD dropped from 34.2% to 23.0% of the votes, so that a majority for a government coalition made up of CDU / CSU and FDP was possible. As a result of the election defeat, party chairman Franz Müntefering announced his resignation at the party congress in November 2009. Former Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel was elected as his successor, and the previous deputy party chairman Andrea Nahles became the new general secretary. The former Federal Ministers Peer Steinbrück and Frank-Walter Steinmeier also resigned as deputy party chairmen, followed by Manuela Schwesig , Klaus Wowereit , Olaf Scholz and Hannelore Kraft . Two years later, the ranks of vice-chairmen were expanded to include Aydan Özoguz , who is of Turkish origin . Chancellor candidate Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on the other hand, was elected as the new leader of the SPD parliamentary group just two days after the federal election.
In the following state elections, the SPD was able to achieve primarily successes. In North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, Hannelore Kraft, Olaf Scholz, Torsten Albig and Stephan Weil succeeded in replacing their Christian Democratic predecessors as heads of government. In Baden-Württemberg, the Social Democrats, as junior partners of the Greens , succeeded in attaining government participation and in sending the CDU, which had ruled since 1953, into the opposition. In 2012 , the opposition was able to take on the role of junior partner of the CDU in Saarland . In the remaining elections to the state parliaments, the SPD was able to maintain its status as a senior or junior partner in the respective state government . In the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2011 alone , the party lost its absolute majority in the mandate and has since led a coalition with the Greens . Thus, the then black-yellow coalition no longer had a majority in the Federal Council. Instead, there is currently a majority of the SPD, Greens, Left and SSW .
Since the CDU has recorded an even more rapid loss of membership in recent times, the SPD has again been the party with the largest number of members in Germany since July 2012.
During a joint press conference, party leader Sigmar Gabriel and parliamentary group leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced in the presence of former Federal Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück that Steinbrück would run as a candidate for Chancellor in 2013 against Chancellor Angela Merkel. He was unanimously nominated on October 1, 2012 by the SPD party executive. Steinbrück announced that he was aiming for a new edition of the red-green coalition at the federal level. Steinbrück ruled out alliances of his party with the Pirate Party Germany or the party Die Linke after the federal election in 2013 . He also stated that he did not want to become minister again under Chancellor Angela Merkel. On December 9th Steinbrück was elected Chancellor candidate of the SPD with 93%.
2013 to 2017: Third Grand Coalition
In the 2013 federal election , the SPD only managed to gain 25.7% of the votes, which was not enough for a red-green government. However, the FDP , the previous coalition partner of the CDU and CSU parties , did not gain enough votes to remain in the Bundestag. Thus, the Union was looking for a new party to play the role of coalition partner, which led to exploratory talks with the SPD.
Before the federal election, the SPD decided to hold a member vote for the first time on the content of a possible coalition agreement . Its result should be implemented if at least 20% of the SPD members would take part in the vote.
After a good three quarters of the votes cast had voted in favor of a grand coalition with a turnout of over 70%, the SPD re-entered a coalition with the CDU / CSU. On December 17, 2013, the new federal government was sworn in in the Merkel III cabinet. SPD party leader Sigmar Gabriel took over the position of Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics. As in 2005 to 2009, Frank-Walter Steinmeier was again Federal Foreign Minister. He held the office until the end of January 2017 and then resigned from office due to his candidacy in the election of the Federal President on February 12, 2017 . His successor was Sigmar Gabriel, whose office as Federal Minister of Economics was again taken over by Brigitte Zypries .
The SPD was able to assert itself in the coalition agreement on many topics, for example the introduction of a minimum wage of € 8.50, a statutory quota of 40% for women in listed companies, network expansion, a reform of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), a Nursing reform, Elterngeld Plus , the expansion of day-care centers, the introduction of a rent brake, the abolition of the obligation to opt in favor of dual citizenship and a pension reform (including minimum pension, pension at 63).
For the 2014 European elections , the European party families are providing Europe-wide top candidates for the office of Commission President for the first time . The President of the European Parliament , the German Martin Schulz, stood for European social democracy . The SPD posted the second best result after the Union with 27.3% and thus improved by 6.5% compared to 2009.
At the beginning of the 2017 election year, Sigmar Gabriel renounced the candidacy for chancellor and spoke out in favor of Martin Schulz as the top candidate and SPD chairman. After Schulz was nominated by the SPD party executive on January 29, 2017, the SPD increased significantly in surveys nationwide, in some cases by up to 8%. Within a few days, the SPD also had several thousand party entries. The surge in popularity known as the “Schulz-Zug” lasted only a few months, and the SPD lost the state elections in Saarland , Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia .
Since 2018: Fourth Grand Coalition
In the 2017 Bundestag election , the SPD received its worst result in a Bundestag election with 20.5%. Immediately after the result, the SPD declared that it would not be available for a new edition of the grand coalition and would go into the opposition.
From the state elections in Lower Saxony on October 15, the SPD emerged as the strongest force and has since led a coalition with the CDU.
After the negotiations for a black-yellow-green alliance (“Jamaica coalition”) made up of the CDU / CSU, FDP and Greens failed on November 19, the SPD executive committee initially renewed its refusal to join a new government. After a meeting between Schulz and Federal President Steinmeier, then Secretary General Hubertus Heil declared that they would “not shut themselves off from talks”.
On November 30, the party leaders of the SPD, CDU and CSU met for a conversation with the Federal President, in which the possibility of forming a government was discussed. After five and a half days of exploratory talks, the party leaders presented a 28-page paper on January 12, 2018. On January 21, at a special party congress of the SPD in Bonn, 56.4% of the delegates voted in favor of entering into coalition negotiations with the CDU / CSU.
On February 7, 2018, the leaders of the Union and the SPD agreed on a coalition agreement . After Martin Schulz's resignation as party leader, Olaf Scholz took over the post of SPD party chairman on February 13 as the longest-serving party vice-president until a successor was elected by a federal party congress. In the member vote, the result of which was announced on March 4, 2018, 66% of the SPD members opted for a grand coalition. On March 9, the SPD presented its ministers to the Merkel IV cabinet , which was sworn in on March 14.
On April 22, 2018, another SPD special party conference elected Andrea Nahles as the new chairman. In a battle vote against the Mayor of Flensburg, Simone Lange (27.5%), Nahles received around 66% of the delegate's votes, the second worst result in the history of an SPD chairman election, but the best in an election with several candidates. On October 14, 2018, the SPD achieved 9.7% in the state elections in Bavaria, its worst result to date in a state election in Germany. The SPD also suffered significant losses in the state election in Hesse , which took place shortly afterwards, and for the first time only became the third strongest force in Hesse.
The subsequent election year of 2019 was also marked by heavy defeats for the party. In the European elections, with 15.8 percent, it achieved the worst overall German result since 1887 and for the first time in the history of the Federal Republic is only the third strongest force in a nationwide election. The following state elections also ended without exception with losses for the party, although in Bremen it was behind the CDU for the first time since the Second World War and only had single-digit results in Saxony and Thuringia . With 7.7 percent in Saxony, it not only got its worst state election result, but is also the smallest parliamentary group in a state parliament consisting of more than three parliamentary groups for the first time.
After Andrea Nahles' resignation as party and franchise leader on June 3, 2019, the new party leadership was determined in a member survey . In the runoff election in November 2019, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans prevailed against Klara Geywitz and Olaf Scholz with 53.1 to 45.3 percent of the vote . The formal election took place at the federal party conference on December 6, 2019. Esken was elected with 75.9 percent of the delegate's votes and Walter-Borjans with 89.2 percent of the delegate's votes. The choice of Esken and Walter-Borjans is sometimes characterized as a "shift to the left".
On August 10, 2020, the party executive nominated Olaf Scholz as candidate for chancellor for the federal election in 2021 at the suggestion of party chairmen Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans . At the time, he was the most popular SPD politician in polls, but was controversial among the left wing of the party.
|Reichstag election results 1871–1912|
Elections in the Weimar Republic 1919–1933
|Reichstag election results 1919–1933|
|year||Share of votes||Seats|
|Bundestag election results|
|year||Number of votes||Share of votes||Seats||Chancellor candidate|
European elections since 1979
|European election results|
|year||Number of votes||Share of votes||Seats||Top candidate|
The SPD attracts votes from all walks of life, but there is still a high proportion of certain groups in the electorate. If, for historical reasons, it was mainly the “little man” who voted for the SPD in the past, the proportion of voters who come from the working class and low-income groups is much lower today than when it was founded. The proportion of employees with a higher school qualification and the self-employed has also risen steadily.
The party performed best in the over-60s group. Women and men are almost equally represented in the electorate.
Geographically, the electorate is concentrated in more Protestant areas in the west and north of the republic. Due to the strength of the Union in the south and the successes of the Left Party in the east, the SPD was barely able to gain a foothold in these areas. Furthermore, the SPD is increasingly chosen by people from a metropolitan area. It provides 42 of the 50 mayors of the most populous cities in Germany (as of 2019).
Federal Cabinet Members
|Surname||Office||Beginning of the term of office||Parl. State Secretary or Minister of State|
|Olaf Scholz||Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor||March 14, 2018||
Bettina Hagedorn (SPD)
Sarah Ryglewski (SPD)
|Heiko Maas||Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs||March 14, 2018||
Niels Annen (SPD)
Michelle Müntefering (SPD)
Michael Roth (SPD)
|Christine Lambrecht||Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection||June 27, 2019||
Rita Hagl-Kehl (SPD)
Christian Lange (SPD)
|Hubertus Heil||Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs||March 14, 2018||
Kerstin Griese (SPD)
Anette Kramme (SPD)
|Franziska Giffey||Federal Minister for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth||March 14, 2018||
Caren Marks (SPD)
Stefan Zierke (SPD)
|Svenja Schulze||Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety||March 14, 2018||
Florian Pronold (SPD)
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter (SPD)
Heads of government in the countries
|Surname||country||Beginning of the term of office||Cabinet or Senate||Belonging to the state parliaments|
|Malu Dreyer||Rhineland-Palatinate||January 16, 2013||Dreyer II cabinet||
|Stephan Weil||Lower Saxony||19th February 2013||Cabinet Weil II|
|Dietmar Woidke||Brandenburg||August 28, 2013||Cabinet Woidke III|
|Michael Müller||Berlin||December 11, 2014||Senate Müller II|
|Manuela Schwesig||Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania||4th July 2017||Schwesig cabinet|
|Peter Tschentscher||Hamburg||March 28, 2018||Tschentscher II Senate|
|Andreas Bovenschulte||Bremen||15th August 2019||Senate Bovenschulte|
The following politicians are deputy prime ministers in their countries under a head of government of the CDU or the left:
- Petra Grimm-Benne in Saxony-Anhalt under Reiner Haseloff (CDU) since the state elections on March 13, 2016
- Anke Rehlinger in Saarland under Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Tobias Hans (both CDU) since the state elections on March 26, 2017
- Martin Dulig in Saxony under Michael Kretschmer (CDU) since the state election on September 1, 2019
- Wolfgang Tiefensee in Thuringia under Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke) since the state election on October 27, 2019
Until the Second World War, the SPD was led by several chairmen at the same time. Therefore, the terms of office overlap.
(1890 to 1892)
(1890 to 1911)
(1892 to 1913)
(1911 to 1916)
(1913 to 1919)
(1917 to 1919)
(1919 to 1928)
(1919 to 1939
(exile from 1933))
(from the USPD))
(1931 to 1945
(exile from 1933))
Western zones / Federal Republic of Germany
(September 27, 1952 to
December 14, 1963)
(February 16, 1964 to
June 14, 1987)
(June 14, 1987 to
September 26, 1990)
SBZ / GDR
(October 7, 1989 to
February 23, 1990)
(February 23, 1990 to
April 1, 1990)
(April 8, 1990 to
June 9, 1990 (provisional))
(June 9, 1990 to
September 26, 1990)
On September 27, 1990, the SPD united with its West German counterpart in the GDR.
(September 27, 1990 to
May 29, 1991)
(May 29, 1991 to
May 3, 1993)
(May 3, 1993 to
June 25, 1993 (provisional))
(June 25, 1993 to
November 16, 1995)
(November 16, 1995 to
March 12, 1999)
(March 12, 1999 to
March 21, 2004)
(March 21, 2004 to
November 15, 2005 and
October 18, 2008 to
November 13, 2009)
(November 15, 2005 to
April 10, 2006)
(April 10, 2006 to
September 7, 2008)
(September 7, 2008 to
October 18, 2008 (provisional))
(November 13, 2009 to
March 19, 2017)
(March 19, 2017 to
February 13, 2018)
(February 13, 2018 to
April 22, 2018 (provisional))
(April 22, 2018 to
June 3, 2019)
(June 3, 2019 to
December 6, 2019 (provisional))
(June 3, 2019 to
September 30, 2019 (provisional))
(June 3, 2019 to
September 10, 2019 (provisional))
(since December 6, 2019)
(since December 6, 2019)
Federal Managing Director
(October 2, 1968 to
December 18, 1971)
(January 24, 1972 to
October 12, 1976)
(December 15, 1976 to
February 23, 1981)
(February 23, 1981 to
June 15, 1987)
(June 15, 1987 to
May 30, 1991)
(May 30, 1991 to
August 16, 1993)
(August 16, 1993 to
September 29, 1995)
(October 16, 1995 to
November 2, 1998 and
September 6, 1999 to
December 13, 1999)
(November 2, 1998 to
September 6, 1999)
(December 13, 1999 to
December 31, 2002)
(January 1, 2003 to
March 21, 2004)
(March 21, 2004 to November 16, 2005 and
September 16, 2008 to
November 15, 2009)
(November 16, 2005 to
September 16, 2008)
(November 15, 2009 to
May 31, 2012)
(May 15, 2016 to
October 23, 2017)
(December 11, 2017 to
April 23, 2018)
(April 23, 2018 to
December 16, 2019)
(since December 16, 2019)
(December 7, 1999 to
October 20, 2002)
(October 20, 2002 to
March 21, 2004)
Klaus Uwe Benneter
(March 21, 2004 to
November 15, 2005)
(November 15, 2005 to
November 13, 2009 and
June 2, 2017 to
December 8, 2017)
(November 13, 2009 to
January 26, 2014)
(January 26, 2014 to
December 11, 2015)
(December 11, 2015 to
June 2, 2017)
(since December 8, 2017)
(September 6, 1949 to
August 20, 1952)
(October 7, 1952 to
December 14, 1963)
(March 3, 1964 to
February 22, 1967)
(March 14, 1967 to
October 22, 1969)
(October 22, 1969 to
March 8, 1983)
(March 8, 1983 to
November 12, 1991)
(November 12, 1991 to
October 18, 1994)
(October 18, 1994 to
October 20, 1998)
(October 20, 1998 to July 25, 2002 and
November 21, 2005 to
September 29, 2009)
(July 25, 2002 to
September 24, 2002)
(September 24, 2002 to
November 21, 2005)
(September 29, 2009 to
December 16, 2013)
(December 16, 2013 to
September 27, 2017)
(September 27, 2017 to
June 4, 2019)
(since June 4, 2019)
Reich or federal level
Heads of state
The following SPD politicians were or are heads of state in Germany:
(July 1, 1999 to
June 30, 2004)
(since March 19, 2017)
Deputy Heads of State
Georg-August Zinn President of the
(September 7, 1953 to
September 6, 1954)
Willy Brandt President of the
(November 1, 1957 to
October 31, 1958 and
November 1, 1964 to
October 31, 1965)
Wilhelm Kaisen President of the
(November 1, 1958 to
October 31, 1959)
Georg Diederichs President of the
(November 1, 1958 to
October 31, 1959)
Klaus Schütz President of the
(November 1, 1967 to
October 31, 1968)
Herbert Weichmann President of the
(November 1, 1968 to
October 31, 1969)
Hans Koschnick President of the
(November 1, 1970 to
October 31, 1971 and
November 1, 1981 to
October 31, 1982)
Heinz Kühn President of the
(November 1, 1971 to
October 31, 1972)
Alfred Kubel President of the
(November 1, 1974 to
October 31, 1975)
Albert Osswald President of the
(November 1, 1975 to
October 20, 1976)
Dietrich Stobbe President of the
(November 1, 1978 to
October 31, 1979)
Hans-Ulrich Klose President of the
(November 1, 1979 to
October 31, 1980)
Johannes Rau President of the
(November 1, 1982 to
October 31, 1983 and
November 1, 1994 to
October 31, 1995)
Holger Börner President of the
(November 1, 1986 to
April 24, 1987)
Björn Engholm President of the
(November 1, 1988 to
October 31, 1989)
Walter Momper President of the
(November 1, 1989 to
October 31, 1990)
Henning Voscherau President of the
(November 1, 1990 to
October 31, 1991)
Oskar Lafontaine President of the
(November 1, 1992 to
October 31, 1993)
Klaus Wedemeier President of the
(November 1, 1993 to
October 31, 1994)
Gerhard Schröder President of the
(November 1, 1997 to
October 27, 1998)
Hans Eichel President of the
(November 1, 1998 to
April 7, 1999)
Kurt Beck President of the
(November 1, 2000 to
October 31, 2001)
Klaus Wowereit President of the
(November 1, 2001 to
October 31, 2002)
Matthias Platzeck President of the
(November 1, 2004 to
October 31, 2005)
Harald Ringstorff President of the
(November 1, 2006 to
October 31, 2007)
Jens Böhrnsen President of the
(November 1, 2009 to
October 31, 2010)
Hannelore Kraft President of the
(November 1, 2010 to
October 31, 2011)
Stephan Weil President of the
(November 1, 2013 to
October 31, 2014)
Malu Dreyer President of the
(November 1, 2016 to
October 31, 2017)
President of the Federal Council
(November 1, 2017 to
October 31, 2018)
Dietmar Woidke President of the
(November 1, 2019 to
October 31, 2020)
Heads of government
The following SPD politicians were heads of government in Germany:
August 14, 1919 to
March 26, 1920
(March 27, 1920 to
June 8, 1920 and
June 28, 1928 to
March 27, 1930)
(May 16, 1974 to
October 1, 1982)
(October 27, 1998 to
November 22, 2005)
Deputy Heads of Government ( Vice Chancellor )
(May 10, 1921 to
November 14, 1922)
(August 13, 1923 to
November 3, 1923)
(December 1, 1966 to
October 21, 1969)
(September 17, 1982 to
October 1, 1982)
(November 22, 2005 to
November 21, 2007)
(November 21, 2007 to
October 28, 2009)
(December 17, 2013 to
March 14, 2018)
(since March 14, 2018)
Presidents of Parliament
Paul Löbe President of the
(1920 to 1924 and
1925 to 1932)
President of the Bundestag
(December 13, 1972 to
December 14, 1976)
President of the Bundestag
(October 26, 1998 to
October 18, 2005)
Vice-Presidents of Parliament
(September 7, 1949 to
December 1, 1966 and
October 20, 1969 to
December 13, 1972)
(October 17, 1961 to
October 20, 1969)
(December 14, 1966 to
October 20, 1969)
(October 20, 1969 to
August 2, 1979)
(December 14, 1976 to
December 20, 1990)
(September 12, 1979 to
March 29, 1983)
(March 29, 1983 to
December 20, 1990)
(December 20, 1990 to
November 10, 1994)
(December 20, 1990 to
November 10, 1994)
(November 10, 1994 to
October 26, 1998)
(October 26, 1998 to
October 17, 2002)
(October 17, 2002 to
October 27, 2009)
(October 18, 2005 to
October 22, 2013)
(October 22, 2013 to
October 24, 2017)
(October 22, 2013 to
October 24, 2017)
(October 24, 2017 to
October 25, 2020)
(since November 26, 2020)
The following SPD politicians were chairmen of the parliamentary group of the Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats in the European Parliament :
(1959 to 1964)
(1964 to 1967)
(1975 to 1979)
(1984 to 1989)
(July 5, 2004 to
January 17, 2012 and
June 18, 2014 to
July 1, 2014)
(March 20, 2018 to
June 18, 2019)
President of the European Parliament
The following SPD politicians were President of the European Parliament :
(March 9, 1971 to
March 13, 1973)
(July 19, 1994 to
January 14, 1997)
(January 17, 2012 to
June 18, 2014 and
July 1, 2014 to
January 17, 2017)
Vice-President of the European Parliament
Johannes Wilhelm Peters
(July 25, 1989 to
July 19, 1994)
(January 14, 1997 to
July 20, 1999)
(July 20, 1999 to
July 20, 2004)
(July 20, 2004 to
January 16, 2007 and
July 14, 2009 to
January 17, 2012)
(January 16, 2007 to
July 14, 2009)
(January 17, 2017 to
July 3, 2019)
(since July 3, 2019)
The following SPD politicians represented Germany in the European Commission :
(July 2, 1967 to
January 5, 1985)
(January 6, 1985 to
August 1, 1987)
(January 23, 1995 to
September 15, 1999)
(September 16, 1999 to
February 9, 2010)
Prime Minister / Mayor
(December 9, 1946 to
July 8, 1947 and
August 3, 1947 to
August 13, 1947 (acting))
(March 17, 1919 to
March 14, 1920)
(September 28, 1945 to
December 21, 1946 and
December 14, 1954 to
October 16, 1957)
(December 5, 1946 to
April 17, 1947)
(May 8, 1947 to
December 7, 1948 (acting))
(December 7, 1948 to
September 29, 1953)
(January 11, 1955 to
August 30, 1957)
(October 3, 1957 to
December 1, 1966)
(December 14, 1966 to
October 19, 1967)
(October 19, 1967 to
May 2, 1977)
(May 2, 1977 to
January 23, 1981)
(January 23, 1981 to
June 11, 1981)
(March 16, 1989 to
January 24, 1991)
(May 30, 1990 to
January 11, 1991)
(January 11, 1991 to
January 24, 1991 (provisional))
(June 16, 2001 to
December 11, 2014)
(since December 11, 2014)
(December 20, 1946 to
December 5, 1949)
(November 1, 1990 to
June 25, 2002)
(June 25, 2002 to
August 28, 2013)
(since August 28, 2013)
(August 1, 1945 to
July 19, 1965)
(July 20, 1965 to
November 27, 1967)
(November 28, 1967 to
September 17, 1985)
(September 18, 1985 to
July 3, 1995)
(July 4, 1995 to
November 7, 2005)
(November 7, 2005 to
July 15, 2015)
(July 15, 2015 to
August 15, 2019)
(since August 15, 2019)
(November 15, 1946 to December 2, 1953; December 4, 1957 to
December 31, 1960)
(January 1, 1961 to
June 9, 1965)
(June 9, 1965 to
June 9, 1971)
(June 9, 1971 to
November 4, 1974)
(November 12, 1974 to
May 25, 1981)
Klaus von Dohnanyi
(June 24, 1981 to
June 8, 1988)
(June 8, 1988 to
October 8, 1997)
(November 12, 1997 to
October 31, 2001)
(March 7, 2011 to
March 13, 2018)
(since March 28, 2018)
(December 20, 1946 to
December 14, 1950)
(December 14, 1950 to
October 3, 1969)
(October 3, 1969 to
October 3, 1976)
(October 12, 1976 to
April 23, 1987)
(April 5, 1991 to
April 7, 1999)
(December 9, 1946 to
July 20, 1951)
(November 3, 1998 to
October 5, 2008)
(October 5, 2008 to
July 4, 2017)
(since July 4, 2017)
(May 6, 1945 to
May 7, 1946)
(May 7, 1946 to
November 23, 1946 and
July 8, 1970 to
February 6, 1976)
Hinrich Wilhelm Kopf
(August 23, 1946 to
May 26, 1955 and
May 12, 1959 to
December 21, 1961)
(December 29, 1961 to
July 8, 1970)
(June 21, 1990 to
October 27, 1998)
(October 28, 1998 to
December 15, 1999)
(December 15, 1999 to
March 4, 2003)
(since February 19, 2013)
(February 20, 1956 to
July 20, 1958)
(December 8, 1966 to
September 19, 1978)
(September 20, 1978 to
May 26, 1998)
(May 27, 1998 to
October 20, 2002)
(November 6, 2002 to
June 21, 2005)
(July 14, 2010 to
June 27, 2017)
(May 21, 1991 to
October 26, 1994)
(October 26, 1994 to
January 16, 2013)
(since January 16, 2013)
(April 9, 1985 to
October 27, 1998)
(November 10, 1998 to
September 28, 1999)
(January 21, 1919 to
May 4, 1920)
(May 4, 1920 to
March 21, 1923)
(March 21, 1923 to
October 29, 1923)
(October 31, 1923 to
January 4, 1924)
(January 4, 1924 to
June 26, 1929)
(July 4, 1945 to
June 13, 1947)
(July 21, 1994 to
May 16, 2002)
(April 29, 1947 to
August 29, 1949)
(August 29, 1949 to
September 5, 1950)
(May 31, 1988 to
May 4, 1993)
(May 19, 1993 to
April 27, 2005)
(June 12, 2012 to
June 28, 2017)
(June to July 1945)
- Social Democratic Community for Local Politics
- Reichsbanner black-red-gold
- Socialist youth in Germany - The Falcons
- Nature lovers
- Workers welfare
- Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
- Wilhelm Dröscher Foundation
- Lassalle circle
- Rad- und Kraftfahrerbund Solidarity
All chairmen of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) and most of the chairmen of the branch unions were or are members of the SPD, however, unlike its predecessor , the DGB is committed to the principle of the unified union from the beginning and there are also some chairmen of other parties like the first chairman of the GEW Max Traeger (FDP), the former chairman of ver.di Frank Bsirske (B'90 / Greens), the former GdP chairman Hermann Lutz (CDU) or the board member of GdP Berlin Steve Feldmann ( BFB ).
- The archive of the SPD was integrated into the archive of social democracy in 1969 .
- Manfred Bissinger , Wolfgang Thierse (ed.): What would Bebel say about that? On the current situation of social democracy. Steidl, Göttingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-86930-670-4 .
- Manfred Blänkner and Axel Bernd Kunze (eds.): Red flags, colorful ribbons. Corporated Social Democrats from Lassalle to the present day , Dietz Successor, Bonn 2016, ISBN 978-3-8012-0481-5 .
- Programmatic documents of the German social democracy . Edited and introduced by Dieter Dowe and Kurt Klotzbach . JHW Dietz Nachf., Berlin, Bonn-Bad Godesberg 1973. ISBN 3-8012-1068-5 .
- Annekatrin Gebauer: The dispute over the direction of the SPD. Seeheimer Kreis and New Left in the intra-party power struggle. VS - Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14764-1 (At the same time: Koblenz-Landau (Pfalz), University, dissertation, 2003).
- Timo Grunden, Maximilian Janetzki and Julian Salandi: The SPD. Anamnesis of a party. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2017, ISBN 978-3-8329-5362-1 .
- Robert Hofmann: Critical history of the German social democracy 1863-2014: From the socialist future hope to neoliberal arbitrariness, Createspace 2015, ISBN 978-1-5142-2466-3
- Willy Huhn : The statism of social democracy. On the prehistory of Nazi fascism. ça ira, Freiburg (Breisgau) 2003, ISBN 3-924627-05-3 .
- Ralf Hoffrogge : Socialism and the labor movement in Germany. From the beginning until 1914. Schmetterling-Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-89657-655-2 .
- Anja Kruke, Meik Woyke (ed.): German social democracy in motion. 1848-1863-2013. JHW Dietz Nachf., Bonn 2012, ISBN 978-3-8012-0431-0 (2nd, improved edition, ibid 2013).
- Detlef Lehnert: Social democracy between protest movement and ruling party 1848 to 1983 (= Edition Suhrkamp. Es. 1248 = NF 248). Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1983, ISBN 3-518-11248-1 .
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