National Democratic Party of Germany (East Germany)

National Democratic Party of Germany (East Germany)
The flag of NDPD

The National Democratic Party of Germany (German: Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or NDPD) was an East German political party that acted as an organisation for former members of the NSDAP, the Wehrmacht and middle classes. It should not be confused with the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), which was a party in West Germany and continues in modern united Germany.

Contents

History

The NDPD was co-founded by Lothar Bolz, who became its general secretary, Wilhelm Adam and others. It was intended to reach out to social groups that had been attracted by the Nazi Party before 1945 (such as military men and some of the middle classes) and provide them with a political outlet, so that they would not be tempted to support the far-right again. However, according to Klaus Schroeder,[1] the NDPD had fewer former Nazis among its ranks than the communist SED had. This was due to the NDPD being much smaller than the SED.

NDPD house in East Berlin in 1950 with a slogan calling for the release of 15-year old peace activist Erika Thürmer, who had been arrested in the French Sector of West Berlin.

The NDPD was recognized by the Soviet Military Administration in Germany on 16 August 1948 and later sent 52 delegates to the East German parliament, the Volkskammer, as part of the National Front. None of these ever voted against the government on any issue, similarly to other block parties which were effectively puppets of the ruling party, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Nonetheless, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it became an independent agent in politics, participating in the only free Volkskammer election ever held (March 18, 1990). NDPD was not included to the electoral cartel of the other liberal-to-be parties in East Germany and entered the race alone. The results were a debacle, though: with 44,292 votes (0.38%) they received fewer votes than they (nominally) had members. After these results, they soon merged with the West German Free Democrats.[2]

The NDPD programme demanded, among other things, the promotion of the middle class and an end to discrimination against former members of the Nazi Party.[citation needed] Its founding leader Lothar Bolz was not a former Nazi and was, in fact, a member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany until he founded the new party. He had previously been a member of the Communist Party of Germany until it was suppressed by the Nazis. The NDPD was established by the communist authorities with the aim of claiming support among these ranks of society. The NDPD was organised on democratic centralist grounds and had 110,000 members in the late 1980s.

The party was supposed to represent liberalism, like the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany, and (at least initially) also played with the German national sentiment, but the NDPD was even more loyal to the SED and was reluctant to criticise the government even when the changes began to emerge in 1989.

In 27 March 1990 the NDPD became part of the Bund Freier Demokraten, a short-lived organization that eventually merged in the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP).

Foreign contacts

The NDPD had contacts with the Party of Slovak Revival in the Eastern bloc and with the National Coalition Party in then-neutral Finland[citation needed].

Chairmen of the NDPD

Lothar Bolz 1948–1972
Heinrich Homann 1972–1989
Günter Hartmann 1989–1990
Wolfgang Glaeser 1990
Wolfgang Rauls 1990

See also

References

  1. ^ Klaus Schroeder: Der SED-Staat. Partei, Staat und Gesellschaft 1949–1990, 2. Auflage, Propyläen: München 2000 (1998), S. 42/43.
  2. ^ Udo Leuschner Geschichte der FDP http://www.udo-leuschner.de/liberalismus/fdp26.htm

External links

Preceded by
-
liberal German parties
1948-1990
Succeeded by
Free Democratic Party (Germany)

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