German National People's Party

The German National People's Party (German: Deutschnationale Volkspartei, DNVP) was a national-conservative party in Germany during the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the Nazi Party, it was the major conservative and nationalist party in Weimar Germany. It was an alliance of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch and antisemitic elements supported by the Pan-German League.[33]

German National People's Party
Deutschnationale Volkspartei
Other nameGerman National Front (1933)[1]
ChairmanOskar Hergt (1918–24)[2]
Johann Winckler (1924–26)[3]
Kuno von Westarp (1926–28)[4]
Alfred Hugenberg (1928–33)[5]
Founded24 November 1918
Dissolved27 June 1933[6]
Merger ofGerman Conservative Party
Free Conservative Party
German Fatherland Party[7][8]
National Liberal Party (right-wing faction)
German Völkisch Party [de][9]
Christian Social Party[9]
Succeeded byDeutsche Rechtspartei[10][11]
NewspaperHugenberg Group[12][13]
Youth wingBismarckjugend
Paramilitary wingsKampfstaffeln,[14] Kampfring junger Deutschnationaler[15]
Policy institutePan-German League
Women’s wingQueen Louise League (unofficial)[16]
Membership950,000 (c. 1923)
IdeologyGerman nationalism[17]
National conservatism[18][19]
Right-wing populism[20][21]
Constitutional monarchism[22]
Political positionRight-wing[27][28] to far-right[29][30]
Political alliance  Anti-Young Plan coalition (1929)[31]
  Harzburg Front (1931)[32]
Electoral allianceKampffront Schwarz-Weiß-Rot (1933)
Colours  Black   White   Red
(official, German Imperial colours)
  Light blue (customary)
Party flag

It was formed in late 1918 after Germany's defeat in World War I and the November Revolution that toppled the German monarchy. It combined the bulk of the German Conservative Party, Free Conservative Party and German Fatherland Party with right-wing elements of the National Liberal Party. The party strongly rejected the republican Weimar Constitution of 1919 and the Treaty of Versailles which it viewed as a national disgrace, signed by traitors. The party instead aimed at a restoration of monarchy, a repeal of the dictated peace treaty and reacquisition of all lost territories and colonies.

During the mid-1920s, the DNVP moderated its profile, accepting republican institutions in practice (while still calling for a return to monarchy in its manifesto) and participating in centre-right coalition governments on federal and state levels. It broadened its voting base—winning as much as 20.5% in the December 1924 election—and supported the election of Paul von Hindenburg as President of Germany (Reichspräsident) in 1925. Under the leadership of the populist media entrepreneur Alfred Hugenberg from 1928, the party reclaimed its reactionary nationalist and anti-republican rhetoric and changed its strategy to mass mobilisation, plebiscites and support of authoritarian rule by the President instead of work by parliamentary means. At the same time, it lost many votes to Adolf Hitler's rising Nazi Party. Several prominent Nazis began their careers in the DNVP.

After 1929, the DNVP co-operated with the Nazis, joining forces in the Harzburg Front of 1931, forming coalition governments in some states and finally supporting Hitler's appointment as Chancellor (Reichskanzler) in January 1933. Initially, the DNVP had a number of ministers in Hitler's government, but the party quickly lost influence and eventually dissolved itself in June 1933, giving way to the Nazis' single-party dictatorship, the majority of its former members joining the Nazi party. The Nazis allowed the remaining former DNVP members in the Reichstag, the civil service, and the police to continue with their jobs and left the rest of the party membership generally in peace.

During the Second World War, several prominent former DNVP members, such as Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, were involved in the German resistance against the Nazis and took part in the 20 July assassination plot against Hitler in 1944.