The Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold at a Mass Rally in Potsdam (October 26, 1924)
The Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold was a group of war veterans whose mission was to defend Germany’s new parliamentary democracy against its enemies on both the radical right and left. The group was formed on the initiative of the SPD, but its membership included supporters of other parties as well. Founded in Magdeburg in 1924, the Reichsbanner eventually grew into one of the largest mass organizations in the Weimar Republic, counting more than three million members by 1932. Its members included prominent politicians such as Hugo Preuß, Otto Wels, and Kurt Schumacher. This photo from October 1924 shows Reichsbanner members during a rally in Potsdam. In terms of organization and appearance, the militarist Reichsbanner differed little from right-wing extremist organizations like the SA [Sturmabteilung], which it was determined to fight. In 1932, the Reichsbanner, the Independent Labor Unions, and several other associations combined into the Eiserne Front [Iron Front] organization, which was eventually banned by the National Socialist regime.