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German People’s Party (DVP) Election Poster (1924)
In December 1918, the German People’s Party (DVP) was formed as a merger of the National Liberal Party’s [Nationalliberale] right wing led by Gustav Stresemann (1878-1929) and the Progressive Party [Fortschrittliche Partei]. The DVP agenda consisted primarily in fighting both Social Democrats and Communists, and, as a result, opposition to the SPD-led government was the primary focus of its election campaigns. This election poster serves as an example. The Berlin Bear representing the capital is portrayed as freeing himself from the Social Democrat-dominated government by tearing off a pair of symbolically red pants. The poster reads: “Off with it! Vote for: Deutsche Volkspartei.” This campaign poster was created for the Reichstag elections of May 1924, in which the DVP and other parties representing the bourgeoisie lost a significant number of seats, while the SPD once again emerged as the strongest party. Although the DVP initially rejected the parliamentary republic and aimed for a reinstatement of the monarchy, it became part of the government coalition in 1920 and, under the leadership of Stresemann, began to reconcile itself with the republic. Within the DVP, which received substantial financial support from leading industrialists, the right wing never lost influence, however. Since Stresemann’s cooperation with the SPD met with disapproval among these circles, a large number of those party members joined more extreme right-wing parties, such as the DNVP or the NSDAP.