Center Party [Zentrum] Election Poster (1924)
Since its founding in 1870, the Center party [Zentrum] represented the interests of political Catholicism across all strata of German society. While it rejected revolution as a political means, it did embrace the Republic and its constitution. Along with the SPD and the DDP, it formed the Weimar Coalition, and it was part of every government until 1932, forging alliances with parties across the political spectrum. The political orientation of the five Zentrum politicians who served as Reich Chancellor (Fehrenbach, Wirth, Marx, Brüning, and von Papen) also differed significantly. This poster from the campaign for the December 1, 1924, Reichstag election depicts a farmer ploughing a field; the Rhine and the silhouette of Cologne are visible in the background. The featured slogan, which translates to “Freedom through Sacrifice and Labor,” refers to a widely published speech by Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann at the DVP party conference in March 1924, shortly before the Dawes Plan was signed. His words speak to the policy of fulfilling the stipulations laid down in the Versailles Treaty in the hopes of reduced reparations and Germany’s reintegration into the international community in the long term. While the Center party apparently supported this foreign policy in 1924, it later adopted a more conservative, revisionist stance. In 1933, before its dissolution, Zentrum was among those parties that voted for the Enabling Act.