Liberal Democratic Party of Germany

Liberal Democratic Party of Germany

The Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (German: "Liberal-Demokratische Partei Deutschlands" (LDPD)) was a political party in East Germany. Like the other allied parties of the SED in the National Front it had 52 representatives in the Volkskammer.


The history of the party dates back to June 1946, when a group led by Waldemar Koch took the initiative in refounding "German Democratic Party". At first there were some speculation of forming a united liberal party with the Christian Democrats, but the idea was abandoned soon and in July, 5 1946, the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany was officially founded.

It was first of all aimed at uniting Weimar Republic-era members of the German Democratic Party, German People's Party and German National People's Party. Unlike the CDU, the Liberal Democratic Party was firmly for private ownership and opposed to nationalization of important private enterprises. Among the new anti-fascist parties, Liberal Democratic Party was the most right-wing at the time.

After internal fighting and under pressure from Soviet authorities, the first chairman Waldemar Koch was replaced with pro-Soviet Wilhelm Külz in November 1945.

In the last free election, of 1946, the Liberal Democrats finished third, behind the SED and the CDU. At the end of 1948, during the culmination of their opposition to the SED seizure of power, Liberal Democratic Party had more than 200,000 members, 23% of whom were younger than 25.

Unification attempts

In July 1946 the LDP and the liberal parties in the Western Zones founded a joint Coordination committee with the aim of forming an All-Germany liberal party ("Deutsche Demokratische Partei", DPD). The founding of the Democratic Party of Germany began with a conference in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in March 17, 1947. Wilhelm Külz and Theodor Heuss (representing Western liberals) acted as co-chairman. Such undertakings failed quickly, owing to Külz's participacion in the SED-sponsored "German People's Congress for Unity and True Peace". Although the LDP's "Vorstand" or leadership criticized that participation, it refused to take any further steps demanded by the West German liberals.

The failure of unification became imminent when on the session of the united leadership of DPD that took part in January 18, 1948 and which Külz refused to attend, Theodor Heuss argued that Liberal Democrats' unwillingness to take any measures against Külz proved their commitment to 'the Russian conception of German unity'. Upon in, Arthur Lieutenant, the spokesman of LDPD on the matter, declared that under those circumstances and concerning reproaches laid against East German liberals, any co-operation had been made impossible. This was in fact the end of DPD.

A "Blockpartei"

After 1949 it shared the fate similar to other legal East German parties. As a block party ("Blockpartei") it was essentially subordinated to the SED. Along with the LDPD there was another block party the NDPD, which appealed to almost the same social groups.
Manfred Gerlach was the Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party from 1967 to his resignation in 1990. The central newspaper of LDPD used to be daily "Der Morgen".

Originally its used the name Liberal Democratic Party ("Liberal-Demokratische Partei (LDP)"), but in October, 1951 it was ordered to add the "D" for "Germany" (Deutschland) into its name in order to serve the all-German propaganda of that time of the SED.

Around the German Reunification, in an extraordinary party congress held 9-10 February, 1990 in Dresden it returned to genuine liberalism policies and restored its name to the Liberal Democratic Party, (Liberal-Demokratische Partei (LDP)). On 12 February, 1990 it joined the Association of Free Democrats which finally merged into the Free Democratic Party in 11 August, 1990.

Chairmen of the LDPD

ImageSize = width:250 height:380PlotArea = width:200 height:340 left:40 bottom:10Colors = id:lightgrey value:gray(0.9)DateFormat = yyyyPeriod = from:1945 till:1990TimeAxis = orientation:verticalScaleMajor = unit:year increment:5 start:1945ScaleMinor = unit:year increment:1 start:1945 gridcolor:lightgrey

TextData = pos:(5,375) fontsize:M text:Chairmen of LDPD

PlotData= bar:Leaders color:orange width:15 mark:(line, black) align:left fontsize:S

from:start till:1945 shift:(15,-5) text:Waldemar Koch from:1945 till:1948 shift:(15,-2) text:Wilhelm Külz from:1948 till:1949 shift:(15,-4) text:Arthur Lieutenant from:1949 till:1952 shift:(15,0) text:Karl Hamann, Hermann Kastner from:1952 till:1960 shift:(15,0) text:Hans Loch from:1960 till:1967 shift:(15,0) text:Max Suhrbier from:1967 till:1989 shift:(15,0) text:Manfred Gerlach from:1989 till:end shift:(15,-5) text:Rainer Ortleb

ee also

*Contributions to liberal theory
*Liberalism worldwide
*List of liberal parties
*Liberal democracy
*Liberalism in Germany

External links

* [ Liberal Democratic Party of Germany from "chronik der wende"]
* [ FDP takes 'Block flutes' over (In German)]

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