Social Democratic Party of Germany
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Social Democratic Party of Germany

Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
General SecretaryLars Klingbeil
Deputy Leaders
Founded23 May 1863 (158 years ago) (1863-05-23)
Merger ofGeneral German Workers' Association
Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany
HeadquartersWilly-Brandt-Haus D-10911 Berlin, Germany
Student wingJuso-Hochschulgruppen
Youth wingJusos
Women's wingAssociation of Social Democratic Women
Paramilitary wingReichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold (1924-1933)
Membership (November 2020)Decrease 404,305[1]
IdeologySocial democracy
Political positionCentre-left[2]
European affiliation
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
European Parliament groupProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours  Red
State Parliaments
European Parliament
Ministers-president of states
Party flag
Flag of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.svg

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD; [zo'tsi?a:ldemo?k?a:t pata? 'dt?lants]) is a social democratic[3][4][5] political party in Germany. It is one of the two major parties of contemporary Germany along with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans have been the party's leaders since the 2019 leadership election. It is the second-largest party in the Bundestag with 152 out of 709 seats, having won 20.5% of votes cast at the 2017 federal election. The SPD is a junior member of the federal government along with the CDU/CSU which was first formed after the 2013 federal election and renewed in 2017. The SPD is a member of 11 of the 16 German state governments and is a leading partner in seven of them.

Established in 1863, the SPD is by far the oldest existing political party represented in the Bundestag and was one of the first Marxist-influenced parties in the world. From the 1890s through the early 20th century, the SPD was Europe's largest Marxist party and was consistently the most popular party in Germany.[6] During the First World War, the party split between a pro-war mainstream and the anti-war Independent Social Democratic Party, of which some members went on to form the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). The SPD played a leading role in the German Revolution of 1918-1919 and was chiefly responsible for the foundation of the Weimar Republic. SPD politician Friedrich Ebert served as the first President of Germany and the SPD was the strongest party until 1932. After the rise of the Nazi Party to power it was the only party in the Reichstag to vote against the Enabling Act of 1933; the SPD was subsequently banned, and operated in exile as the Sopade. After the Second World War, the SPD was re-established. In East Germany, it was forced to merge with the KPD to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. In West Germany, the SPD became one of two major parties alongside the CDU/CSU. In the Godesberg Program, the SPD dropped its commitment to Marxism, becoming a big tent party of the centre-left. The SPD led the federal government from 1969 to 1982 and again from 1998 to 2005. It served as a junior partner to the CDU/CSU from 1966 to 1969, 2005 to 2009 and again since 2013.

The SPD holds pro-EU stances and is a member of the Party of European Socialists and sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament.[7][8] With 16 MEPs, it is the third largest party in the group. The SPD was a founding member of the Socialist International, but the party left in 2013 after criticising its acceptance of authoritarian parties. The SPD subsequently founded the Progressive Alliance[9][10][11] and was joined by numerous other parties around the world. Previously, the SPD was a founding member of both the Second International and the Labour and Socialist International.


SPD membership statistics (in thousands) since 1945

The SPD finds its origins in the General German Workers' Association, founded in 1863, and the Social Democratic Workers' Party, founded in 1869. The two groups merged in 1875 to create the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (German: Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands). From 1878 to 1890, the Anti-Socialist Laws banned any grouping or meeting that aimed at spreading socialist principles, but the party still gained support in elections. In 1890, when the ban was lifted and it could again present electoral lists, the party adopted its current name. The SPD was the largest Marxist party in Europe and consistently the most popular party in German federal elections from 1890 onwards, although it was surpassed by other parties in terms of seats won in the Reichstag due to the electoral system.[12]

In the years leading up to World War I, the SPD remained ideologically radical in official principle, although many party officials tended to moderation in everyday politics. According to Roger Eatwell and Anthony Wright, the SPD became a party of reform, with social democracy representing "a party that strives after the socialist transformation of society by the means of democratic and economic reforms". They emphasise this development as central to understanding 20th-century social democracy, of which the SPD was a major influence.[13] In the 1912 federal election, the SPD won 34.8% of votes and finally became the largest party in the Reichstag with 110 seats, although it was still excluded from government.[14] Despite the Second International's agreement to oppose militarism,[15] the SPD supported the German war effort and adopted a policy, known as Burgfriedenspolitik, of refraining from calling strikes or criticising the government.[16][17] Internal opposition to the policy grew throughout the war. Anti-war members were expelled in 1916 and 1917, leading to the formation of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD).[18]

The SPD played a key role in the German Revolution of 1918-1919. On 9 November 1918, leading SPD member Friedrich Ebert was appointed Chancellor and fellow Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed Germany a republic.[19] The government introduced a large number of reforms in the following months, introducing various civil liberties and labor rights.[20] The SPD government, committed to parliamentary liberal democracy, utilised military force against more radical communist groups, leading to a permanent split between the SPD and the USPD (later the Communist Party of Germany, KPD).[21] The SPD was the largest party during the first 13 years of the new Weimar Republic. It decisively won the 1919 federal election with 37.9% of votes, and Ebert became the first President in February.[22] The position of Chancellor was held by Social Democrats until the 1920 federal election, when the SPD lost a substantial portion of its support, falling to 22% of votes. After this, the SPD yielded the Chancellery to other parties, although it remained part of the government until 1924. Ebert died in 1925 and was succeeded by conservative Paul von Hindenburg. After making gains in the 1928 federal election, the SPD's Hermann Müller became Chancellor.[23]

As Germany was struck hard by the Great Depression, and unable to negotiate an effective response to the crisis, Müller resigned in 1930. The SPD was politically sidelined as the Nazi Party gained popularity and conservatives dominated the government, assisted by President von Hindenburg's frequent use of emergency powers. The Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, the SPD's paramilitary wing, was frequently involved in violent confrontations with the Nazi Sturmabteilung.[24] The Nazis overtook the SPD as the largest party in July 1932 and Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January 1933. Of the parties present in the Reichstag during the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933, the SPD was the only one to vote against; most of the Communist deputies had been arrested ahead of the vote.[25] The SPD was formally banned in June. Many members were subsequently imprisoned and killed by the Nazi government while others fled the country. In exile, the party used the name Sopade.[26]

After the end of World War II, the re-establishment of the SPD was permitted in the Western occupation zones in 1945. In the Soviet occupation zone, the SPD was forcibly merged with the KPD in 1946 to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). The SED became the ruling party of East Germany until 1989.[27] In West Germany, the SPD became one of two major parties, alongside the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). In the inaugural 1949 federal election, it placed second with 29.2% of votes and led the opposition to the CDU government.[28] In its 1959 Godesberg Program, the party dropped its commitment to Marxism and sought to appeal to middle-class voters, becoming a big tent party of the centre-left.[29]

Even though it was strongly leftist, the SPD was willing to make compromises, and only due to its support did the governing CDU/CSU pass a de-Nazification law that the other governing Free Democratic Party (FDP), which had strong ex-Nazi presence and supported the release of Nazi war criminals, and the oppositional far-right German Party voted against.[30] At the same time, the SPD opposed the pro-West integration of West Germany because they believed that made a re-unification of Germany impossible. Austria could have become a sovereign neutral state in 1956, but a 1952 Soviet suggestion for Germans to form a neutral state was ignored by the CDU/CSU-FDP government. After 17 years in opposition, the SPD became the junior partner in a grand coalition with the CDU/CSU which lasted from 1966 to 1969. After the 1969 federal election, the SPD's Willy Brandt became Chancellor in a coalition with the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). His government sought to normalise relations with East Germany and the Eastern Bloc, a policy known as Ostpolitik.[31] The party achieved its best ever result of 45.8% in 1972, one of only three occasions in which it formed the largest Bundestag faction.[32] After Brandt's resignation in 1974, his successor Helmut Schmidt served as Chancellor until 1982, when the SPD returned to opposition.[33]

During the Peaceful Revolution in East Germany, the East German SPD was refounded. It merged with the West German party in 1990, shortly before German reunification.[34] The SPD returned to government under Gerhard Schröder after the 1998 federal election in a coalition with The Greens.[35] This government was re-elected in 2002 but defeated in 2005.[36] The SPD then became junior partner of a grand coalition with the CDU/CSU until 2009. After a term in opposition, they again served as junior partner to the CDU/CSU after the 2013 federal election.[37] This arrangement was renewed after the 2017 federal election.[38]

Party platform

Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of Germany (2013-2018) and former chairman of the SPD

The SPD was established as a Marxist party in 1875. It underwent a major shift in policies, reflected in the differences between the Heidelberg Program of 1925 which called for "the transformation of the capitalist system of private ownership of the means of production to social ownership"[39] and the Godesberg Program of 1959 which aimed to broaden the party's voter base and to move its political position toward the political centre.[40] After World War II, the SPD was reformed in West Germany after being banned by the Nazi regime; in East Germany, it merged with the Communist Party of Germany to form the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Under the chairmanship of Kurt Schumacher, the SPD was a socialist party representing the interests of the working class and of trade unions. With the 1959 Godesberg Program, the party evolved from a socialist working-class party to a modern social-democratic party working within democratic capitalism. The SPD's Hamburg Programme, adopted in 2007, describes democratic socialism as "an order of economy, state and society in which the civil, political, social and economic fundamental rights are guaranteed for all people, all people live a life without exploitation, oppression and violence, that is in social and human security" and as a "vision of a free, just and solidary society", the realization of which is emphasized as a "permanent task". Social democracy serves as the "principle of action".[41]

The party platform of the SPD espouses the goal of social democracy, which it envisions as a societal arrangement in which freedom and social justice are paramount. According to the party platform, political freedom, justice and social solidarity form the basis of social democracy.

  • The coordinated social market economy should be strengthened and its output should be distributed fairly. The party sees that economic system as necessary in order to ensure the affluence of the entire population.
  • The SPD also tries to protect society's poor with a welfare state.
  • Concurrently, it advocates a sustainable fiscal policy that does not place a burden on future generations while eradicating budget deficits.
  • In social policy, the Social Democrats stand for civil and political rights in an open society.
  • In foreign policy, the party aims at ensuring global peace by balancing global interests with democratic means; European integration is one of the main priorities of the party.
  • The SPD supports economic regulations to limit potential losses for banks and people. They support a common European economic and financial policy to prevent speculative bubbles as well as to foster environmentally sustainable growth.[42]

Internal factions

The SPD is mostly composed of members belonging to either of the two main wings, namely the Keynesian social democrats and Third Way moderate social democrats belonging to the Seeheimer Kreis. While the more moderate Seeheimer Kreis generally support the Agenda 2010 programs introduced by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Keynesian social democrats continue to defend classical left-wing policies and the welfare state. The classical left-wing of the SPD claims that in recent years the welfare state has been curtailed through reform programs such as the Agenda 2010, Hartz IV, and the more economic liberal stance of the SPD which were endorsed by centrist social democrats.[43][44] In reaction to Agenda 2010, an inner-party dissident movement developed, leading to the foundation of the new party Labour and Social Justice - The Electoral Alternative (Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit - Die Wahlalternative, WASG) in 2005, which later merged into The Left (Die Linke) in 2007.[45] The Parlamentarische Linke comprises left-wing SPD Members of the German Bundestag.

Base of support

Social structure

Before World War II, as the main non-revolutionary left-wing party the Social Democrats fared best among non-Catholic workers as well as intellectuals favouring social progressive causes and increased economic equality. Led by Kurt Schumacher after World War II, the SPD initially opposed both the social market economy and Konrad Adenauer's drive towards Western integration fiercely, but after Schumacher's death it accepted the social market economy and Germany's position in the Western alliance in order to appeal to a broader range of voters. It still remains associated with the economic causes of unionised employees and working class voters. In the 1990s, the left and moderate wings of the party drifted apart, culminating in a secession of a significant number of party members which later joined the socialist party WASG, which later merged into The Left (Die Linke).

Geographic distribution

Geographically, much of the SPD's current-day support comes from large cities, especially of northern and western Germany and Berlin. As of 2019, 10 of the country's 15 biggest cities are led by SPD mayors. The metropolitan area of the Ruhr Area, where coal mining and steel production were once the biggest sources of revenues, have provided a significant base for the SPD in the 20th century. In the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, the SPD has governed without interruption since 1949. In southern Germany, the SPD typically garners less support except in the largest cities. At the 2009 federal election, the party lost its only constituency in the entire state of Bavaria (in Munich).

Small town and rural support comes especially from the traditionally Protestant areas of northern Germany and Brandenburg (with notable exceptions such as Western Pomerania where CDU leader Angela Merkel has her constituency) and a number of university towns. A striking example of the general pattern is the traditionally Catholic Emsland, where the Social Democrats generally gain a low percentage of votes, whereas the Reformed Protestant region of East Frisia directly to the north, with its strong traditional streak of anti-Catholicism, is one of their strongest constituencies. Further south, the SPD also enjoys solid support in northern Hesse, parts of Palatinate and the Saarland. The social democrats are weakest in the south-eastern states of Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, where the party's percentage of votes dropped to single-digit figures in the 2018 and 2019 elections.

Post-war leadership

The federal leader is supported by six Deputy Leaders and the party executive. As of 2021, the leaders are Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans. The previous leader was Andrea Nahles, who announced her pending resignation on 2 June 2019. As Germany is a federal republic, each of Germany's states have their own SPD party at the state level.

Party leaders

Leader Year
1 Kurt Schumacher 1946-1952
2 Erich Ollenhauer 1952-1963
3 Willy Brandt 1964-1987
4 Hans-Jochen Vogel 1987-1991
5 Björn Engholm 1991-1993
6 Rudolf Scharping 1993-1995
7 Oskar Lafontaine 1995-1999
8 Gerhard Schröder 1999-2004
9 Franz Müntefering
(First term)
10 Matthias Platzeck 2005-2006
11 Kurt Beck 2006-2008
(9) Franz Müntefering
(Second term)
10 Sigmar Gabriel 2009-2017
11 Martin Schulz 2017-2018
12 Andrea Nahles 2018-2019
13 Saskia Esken &
Norbert Walter-Borjans

Leaders in the Bundestag

Leader Year
1 Kurt Schumacher 1949-1952
2 Erich Ollenhauer 1952-1963
3 Fritz Erler 1964-1967
4 Helmut Schmidt 1967-1969
5 Herbert Wehner 1969-1983
6 Hans-Jochen Vogel 1983-1991
7 Hans-Ulrich Klose 1991-1994
8 Rudolf Scharping 1994-1998
9 Peter Struck
(First term)
10 Ludwig Stiegler 2002
11 Franz Müntefering 2002-2005
(9) Peter Struck
(Second term)
12 Frank-Walter Steinmeier 2009-2013
13 Thomas Oppermann 2013-2017
14 Andrea Nahles 2017-2019
15 Rolf Mützenich 2019-present

Federal Presidents

Gustav Heinemann 1969-1974
Johannes Rau 1999-2004
Frank-Walter Steinmeier 2017-present

Federal Chancellors

Chancellor of Germany Time in office
Willy Brandt 1969-1974
Helmut Schmidt 1974-1982
Gerhard Schröder 1998-2005


Vice-Chancellor of Germany Time in office
Willy Brandt 1966-1969
Egon Franke 1982
Franz Müntefering 2005-2007
Frank-Walter Steinmeier 2007-2009
Sigmar Gabriel 2013-2018
Olaf Scholz 2018-present


Election results

Election results and governments since 1949

The SPD, at times called SAPD, participated in general elections determining the members of parliament. For the elections until 1933, the parliament was called Reichstag, except for the one of 1919 which was called the National Assembly and since 1949 the parliament is called Bundestag. Note that changes in borders (1871, 1919, 1920, 1949, 1957 and 1990) varied the number of eligible voters whereas electoral laws also changed the ballot system (only constituencies until 1912, only party lists until 1949 and a mixed system thereafter), the suffrage (women vote since 1919; minimum active voting age was 25 till 1918, 20 till 1946, 21 till 1972 and 18 since), the number of seats (fixed or flexible) and the length of the legislative period (three or four years). The list begins after the SPD was formed in 1875, when labour parties unified to only form the SPD (then SAPD, current name since 1890).

Imperial Germany (Reichstag)

Election Votes % Seats +/- Status
1877 493,447 9.1 (4th)
1878 437,158 7.6 (5th)
Decrease 4 Opposition
1881 311,961 6.1 (7th)
Increase 4 Opposition
1884 549,990 9.7 (5th)
Increase 11 Opposition
1887 763,102 10.1 (5th)
Decrease 13 Opposition
1890 1,427,323 19.7 (1st)
Increase 24 Opposition
1893 1,786,738 23.3 (1st)
Increase 9 Opposition
1898 2,107,076 27.2 (1st)
Increase 12 Opposition
1903 3,010,771 31.7 (1st)
Increase 25 Opposition
1907 3,259,029 28.9 (1st)
Decrease 38 Opposition
1912 4,250,399 34.8 (1st)
Increase 67 Opposition

Weimar Republic (Reichstag)

Election Votes % Seats +/- Status
1919 11,509,048 37.9 (1st)
Increase 55 Coalition
1920 6,179,991 21.9 (1st)
Decrease 63 External support
External support
May 1924 6,008,905 20.5 (1st)
Decrease 2 Opposition
Dec 1924 7,881,041 26.0 (1st)
Increase 31 Opposition
External support
1928 9,152,979 29.8 (1st)
Increase 22 Coalition
1930 8,575,244 24.5 (1st)
Decrease 10 Opposition
Jul 1932 7,959,712 21.6 (2nd)
Decrease 10 Opposition
Nov 1932 7,247,901 20.4 (2nd)
Decrease 12 Opposition
Mar 1933 7,181,629 18.3 (2nd)
Decrease 1 Opposition
Nov 1933
Banned. The National Socialist German Workers Party was the sole legal party.
Banned. The National Socialist German Workers Party was the sole legal party.
Banned. The National Socialist German Workers Party was the sole legal party.

Federal parliament (Bundestag)

Election Constituency Party list Seats +/- Status
Votes % Votes %
1949 6,934,975 29.2 (2nd)
1953 8,131,257 29.5 (2nd) 7,944,943 28.8 (2nd)
Increase 22 Opposition
1957 11,975,400 32.0 (2nd) 11,875,339 31.8 (2nd)
Increase 19 Opposition
1961 11,672,057 36.5 (1st) 11,427,355 36.2 (1st)
Increase 22 Opposition
1965 12,998,474 40.1 (1st) 12,813,186 39.3 (1st)
Increase 14 Opposition (1965-1966)
CDU/CSU-SPD (1966-1969)
1969 14,402,374 44.0 (1st) 14,065,716 42.7 (1st)
Increase 20 SPD-FDP
1972 18,228,239 48.9 (1st) 17,175,169 45.8 (1st)
Increase 5 SPD-FDP
1976 16,471,321 43.7 (1st) 16,099,019 42.6 (1st)
Decrease 18 SPD-FDP
1980 16,808,861 44.5 (1st) 16,260,677 42.9 (1st)
Increase 4 SPD-FDP (1980-1982)
Opposition (1982-1983)
1983 15,686,033 40.4 (2nd) 14,865,807 38.2 (1st)
Decrease 26 Opposition
1987 14,787,953 39.2 (1st) 14,025,763 37.0 (1st)
Decrease 9 Opposition
1990 16,279,980 35.2 (2nd) 15,545,366 33.5 (2nd)
Increase 46 Opposition
1994 17,966,813 38.3 (1st) 17,140,354 36.4 (1st)
Increase 13 Opposition
1998 21,535,893 43.8 (1st) 20,181,269 40.9 (1st)
Increase 43 SPD-Greens
2002 20,059,967 41.9 (1st) 18,484,560 38.5 (1st)
Decrease 47 SPD-Greens
2005 18,129,100 38.4 (1st) 16,194,665 34.2 (1st)
Decrease 29 CDU/CSU-SPD
2009 12,077,437 27.9 (2nd) 9,988,843 23.0 (2nd)
Decrease 76 Opposition
2013 12,835,933 29.4 (2nd) 11,247,283 25.7 (2nd)
Increase 42 CDU/CSU-SPD
2017 11,426,613 24.6 (2nd) 9,538,367 20.5 (2nd)
Decrease 40 CDU/CSU-SPD

European Parliament

Election Votes % Seats +/-
1979 11,370,045 40.8 (1st)
1984 9,296,417 37.4 (2nd)
Decrease 1
1989 10,525,728 37.3 (1st)
Decrease 2
1994 11,389,697 32.2 (1st)
Increase 10
1999 8,307,085 30.7 (2nd)
Decrease 7
2004 5,547,971 21.5 (2nd)
Decrease 10
2009 5,472,566 20.8 (2nd)
Steady 0
2014 7,999,955 27.2 (2nd)
Increase 4
2019 5,914,953 15.8 (3rd)
Decrease 11

State Parliaments (Länder)

State parliament Election Votes % Seats +/- Status
Baden-Württemberg 2021 535,462 11.0 (3rd)
Steady 0 Opposition
Bavaria 2018 1,317,942 9.7 (5th)
Decrease 20 Opposition
Berlin 2016 352,369 21.6 (1st)
Decrease 10 SPD-Left-Greens
Brandenburg 2019 331,238 26.2 (1st)
Decrease 5 SPD-CDU-Greens
Bremen 2019 365,315 24.9 (2nd)
Decrease 7 SPD-Greens-Left
Hamburg 2020 1,554,760 39.0 (1st)
Decrease 4 SPD-Greens
Hesse 2018 570,166 19.8 (3rd)
Decrease 8 Opposition
Lower Saxony 2017 1,413,990 36.9 (1st)
Increase 6 SPD-CDU
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2016 246,393 30.6 (1st)
Decrease 2 SPD-CDU
North Rhine-Westphalia 2017 2,649,205 31.2 (2nd)
Decrease 30 Opposition
Rhineland-Palatinate 2021 691,055 35.7 (1st)
Steady 0 SPD-Greens-FDP
Saarland 2017 157,841 29.6 (2nd)
Steady 0 CDU-SPD
Saxony 2019 167,289 7.7 (5th)
Decrease 8 CDU-Greens-SPD
Saxony-Anhalt 2021 89,475 8.4 (4th)
Decrease 2 CDU-SPD-FDP
Schleswig-Holstein 2017 400,635 27.2 (2nd)
Decrease 1 Opposition
Thuringia 2019 90,984 8.2 (4th)
Decrease 4 Left-SPD-Greens

Results timeline

Year Germany
European Union
Bremen (state)
Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia
Grand Duchy of Baden
Flag of Württemberg-Baden.svg
1946 N/A N/A 31.9 28.6
[a] 47.6
43.1 42.7 [a] [a] [a] [a]
1947 22.4
    20.8 Decrease 41.7        43.4 32.0 34.3 32.8 43.8
1948     Increase 64.5
1949 29.2 Decrease 42.8
1950 Increase 33.0
Decrease 28.0
Decrease 44.7 N/A   Increase 44.4 N/A Increase 32.3 N/A N/A Decrease 27.5 N/A
1951     Decrease 39.1   Decrease 33.7 Decrease 34.0
1952 28.0
        Decrease 32.4
1953 Decrease 28.8      Increase 45.2
1954 Increase 28.1 Decrease 44.6 Decrease 42.6 Increase 34.5 Increase 33.2
1955         Increase 47.8    Increase 35.2 Decrease 31.7 Decrease 20.1
1956 Increase 28.9            
1957 Increase 31.8      Increase 53.9    
1958 Increase 30.8 Increase 52.6    Increase 46.9 Increase 39.2 Increase 35.9
1959    Increase 54.9    Increase 39.5 Increase 34.9
1960 Increase 35.3        Increase 30.0
1961 Increase 36.2 Increase 57.4
1962 Increase 35.3    Increase 50.8 Increase 43.3 Increase 39.2
1963 Increase 61.9 Decrease 54.7    Increase 44.9 Increase 40.7
1964 Increase 37.3         
1965 Increase 39.3 Increase 40.7
1966       Increase 35.8 Increase 59.0 Increase 51.0 Increase 49.5
1967 Decrease 56.9 Decrease 46.0     Decrease 43.1    Decrease 36.8 Increase 39.4
1968 Decrease 29.0         
1969 Increase 42.7   
1970    Decrease 33.3 Decrease 55.3 Decrease 45.9 Increase 46.3 Decrease 46.1 Increase 40.8
1971 Decrease 50.4 Increase 55.3            Increase 40.5 Increase 41.0
1972 Increase 45.8 Increase 37.6    
1974 Decrease 30.2 Decrease 45.0 Decrease 43.2 Decrease 43.1
1975 Decrease 42.6 Decrease 48.8       Decrease 45.1 Decrease 38.5 Increase 41.8 Decrease 40.1
1976 Decrease 42.6 Decrease 33.3        
1978 Increase 31.4 Increase 51.5 Increase 44.3 Decrease 42.2
1979 40.8 Increase 42.7
Decrease 48.8      Increase 42.3 Increase 41.7
1980 Increase 42.9 Decrease 32.5   Increase 48.4 Increase 45.4
1981    Decrease 38.3  
1982 Increase 31.9 Decrease 42.7 Decrease 42.8 Decrease 36.5
Increase 51.3
1983 Decrease 38.2 Increase 51.3   Increase 46.2 Decrease 39.6 Increase 43.7
1984 Decrease 37.4 Decrease 32.4    
1985 Decrease 32.4 Increase 52.1 Increase 49.2
1986 Decrease 27.5 Decrease 41.7 Increase 42.1    
1987 Decrease 37.0 Decrease 50.5 Increase 45.0 Decrease 40.2 Decrease 38.8 Increase 45.2
1988 Decrease 32.0      Increase 54.8
1989 Decrease 37.3 Increase 37.3
1990 Decrease 33.5 Decrease 26.0 Decrease 30.4 38.2 Increase 44.2 27.0 Decrease 50.0 Increase 54.4 19.1 26.0 22.8
1991        Decrease 38.8 Increase 48.0
Increase 40.8      Increase 44.8  
1992 Decrease 29.4           Decrease 46.2
1993    Decrease 40.4  
1994 Increase 36.4 Decrease 32.2 Increase 30.0 Increase 54.1    Increase 44.3 Increase 29.5 Decrease 49.4 Decrease 16.6 Increase 34.0 Increase 29.6
1995 Decrease 23.6   Decrease 33.4 Decrease 38.0      Decrease 46.0        
1996 Decrease 25.1             Decrease 39.8 Decrease 39.8
1997 Decrease 36.2      
1998 Increase 40.9 Decrease 28.7    Increase 47.9 Increase 34.3 Increase 35.9
1999    Decrease 30.7 Decrease 22.4
Decrease 39.3 Increase 42.6 Decrease 39.4      Decrease 44.4 Decrease 10.7   Decrease 18.5
2000       Decrease 42.8 Increase 43.1
2001 Increase 33.3    Increase 36.5    Increase 44.8   
Increase 29.7
2002 Decrease 38.5    Increase 40.6    Decrease 20.0
2003    Decrease 19.6 Decrease 42.3 Decrease 29.1 Decrease 33.4   
2004 Decrease 21.5 Decrease 31.9    Decrease 30.5 Decrease 30.8 Decrease 9.8 Decrease 14.5
2005 Decrease 34.2    Decrease 37.1    Decrease 38.7
2006    Decrease 25.2 Increase 30.8 Decrease 30.2 Increase 45.6 Increase 21.4   
2007    Decrease 36.7        
2008 Decrease 18.6    Increase 34.1 Increase 36.7 Decrease 30.3
2009 Decrease 23.0 Decrease 20.8 Increase 33.0 Decrease 23.7 Decrease 24.5 Increase 10.4 Decrease 25.4 Increase 18.5
2010    Decrease 34.5
2011 Decrease 23.1 Decrease 28.3 Increase 38.6 Increase 48.4 Increase 35.6 Decrease 35.7 Increase 21.5
2012               Increase 39.1    Increase 30.6    Increase 30.4
2013 Increase 25.7 Increase 20.6 Increase 30.7 Increase 32.6          
2014    Increase 27.3 Decrease 31.9    Increase 12.4 Decrease 12.4
2015    Decrease 32.8 Decrease 45.6       
2016 Decrease 12.7 Decrease 21.6       Decrease 30.6 Increase 36.2 Decrease 10.6
2017 Decrease 20.5     Increase 36.9    Decrease 31.2     Decrease 29.6     Decrease 27.3
2018    Decrease 9.7 Decrease 19.8      
2019 Decrease 15.8 Decrease 26.2 Decrease 24.9 Decrease 7.7 Decrease 8.2
2020         Decrease 39.2        
2021 TBD Decrease 11.0 TBD    TBD Decrease 35.7
Decrease 8.4
Year Germany
European Union
Bremen (state)
Lower Saxony
North Rhine-Westphalia
Bold indicates best result to date.
  Present in legislature (in opposition)
  Junior coalition partner
  Senior coalition partner


  1. ^ a b c d e The eastern sections of the SPD were forcibly merged into the SED prior to the 1946 elections in the eastern zone.

See also


  1. ^ "Party members: Greens gain, AfD and SPD lose". RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (in German). 14 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Greek debt crisis: Violence in Athens ahead of Germany vote". BBC News Online. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ Merkel, Wolfgang; Petring, Alexander; Henkes, Christian; Egle, Christoph (2008). Social Democracy in Power: the capacity to reform. London: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-43820-9.
  4. ^ Almeida, Dimitri (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. CRC Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0. Retrieved 2013.
  5. ^ Ashley Lavelle (2013). The Death of Social Democracy: Political Consequences in the 21st Century. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4094-9872-8. Retrieved 2013.
  6. ^ Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), p. 7.
  7. ^ "Where German parties stand on Europe". Politico. 28 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Germany's SPD targets voters' emotions with EU poll campaign". Financial Times.
  9. ^ "Progressive Alliance: Sozialdemokraten gründen weltweites Netzwerk". Der Spiegel. Hamburg, Germany. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ Sattar, Majid (22 May 2013). "Sozialdemokratie: "Progressive Alliance" gegründet". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ "Sozialistische Internationale hat ausgedient: SPD gründet "Progressive Alliance"". 22 May 2013. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Poicy, September 1939-March 1942 (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press and Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2004), p. 7.
  13. ^ Eatwell, Roger; Wright, Anthony (1999). Contemporary Political Ideologies (2nd ed.). London: Continuum. p. 87. ISBN 9781855676053.
  14. ^ "GHDI". Nohlen & Stöver.
  15. ^ In, for example, the International Socialist Congress, Stuttgart 1907.
  16. ^ V. R. Berghahn, Germany and the Approach of War in 1914 (1974) pp 178-85
  17. ^ Dieter Groh, "The 'Unpatriotic Socialists' and the State." Journal of Contemporary History 1.4 (1966): 151-177. online.
  18. ^ Winkler, Der lange Weg nach Westen, Beck Verlag Munich, 2000, p. 362
  19. ^ Haffner, Sebastian (2002). Die deutsche Revolution 1918/19 (German). Kindler. ISBN 3-463-40423-0.
  20. ^ The Social Democratic Party of Germany 1848-2005 by Heinrich Potthoff and Susanne Miller
  21. ^ Heiden, Konrad (1944). Der Fuehrer: Hitler's Rise to Power. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 23-24.
  22. ^ Kolb, Eberhard (2005). The Weimar Republic. Psychology Press. p. 226. ISBN 978-0-415-34441-8. Retrieved 2012.
  23. ^ "Biografie Hermann Müller(-Franken) (German)". Bayerische Nationalbibliothek. Retrieved 2013.
  24. ^ "Die Eiserne Front". Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Kitson, Alison. Germany, 1858-1990: Hope, Terror, and Revival, pages 153-154 (Oxford U. Press 2001).
  26. ^ William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Touchstone Edition) (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990)
  27. ^ Entscheidung für die SED 1946 - ein Verrat an sozialdemokratischen Idealen?, in: Jahrbuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, No. I/2004.
  28. ^ . Federal Returning Officer Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ "Godesberg Program in English (PDF)" (PDF). German History Documents.
  30. ^ "Schwarz-weiß-rot mit braunen Flecken - Die FDP muß erkennen, daß es rechts von der CDU/CSU nicht viel zu holen gibt". Retrieved 2021.
  31. ^ Hofmann, Arne. The emergence of détente in Europe: Brandt, Kennedy and the formation of Ostpolitik. (Routledge, 2007).
  32. ^ . Federal Returning Officer Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ Jan Eisel (28 September 2012). "Deutscher Bundestag - Das Misstrauensvotum gegen Helmut Schmidt".
  34. ^ Wolfgang Grof: "In der frischen Tradition des Herbstes 1989". Die SDP/SPD in der DDR: Von der Gründung über die Volkskammerarbeit zur deutschen Einheit
  35. ^ . Federal Returning Officer Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ "Analysis: German Coalition Deal". BBC News. 15 November 2005. Retrieved 2015.
  37. ^ "Bundeskanzlerin und Bundeskabinett vereidigt" [Federal Chancellor and cabinet sworn in] (in German). Deutscher Bundestag.
  38. ^ "Bundestag reelects Merkel as chancellor". Politico Europe. 14 March 2018.
  39. ^ Brustein, William (1996). Logic of Evil: The Social Origins of the Nazi Party 1925-1933. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. p. 131.
  40. ^ Cooper, Alice Holmes. Paradoxes of Peace: German Peace Movements since 1945. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. p. 85.
  41. ^ Social Democratic Party of Germany (28 October 2007). "Hamburg Programme. Principal guidelines of the Social Democratic Party of Germany" (PDF). Hamburg: Social Democratic Party of Germany. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 October 2012. Retrieved 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ Cliffe, Jeremy (1 December 2019). "The SPD's new left-wing leadership could prove just the jolt Germany needs". New Statesman America.
  44. ^ Knight, Ben (2 May 2019). "Collectivization remarks split German Social Democrats". Deutsche Welle.
  45. ^ Nils Schnelle (2007). Die WASG - Von der Gründung bis zur geplanten Fusion mit der Linkspartei. Munich.

Further reading

  • Orlow, Dietrich. Common Destiny: A Comparative History of the Dutch, French, and German Social Democratic Parties, 1945-1969 (2000) online.
  • Carl E. Schorske, German Social Democracy, 1905-1917: The Development of the Great Schism (Harvard University Press, 1955).
  • Vernon L. Lidtke, The Outlawed Party: Social Democracy in Germany, 1878-1890 (Princeton University Press, 1966).
  • Berlau, Abraham. German Social Democratic Party, 1914-1921 (Columbia University Press, 1949).
  • Maxwell, John Allen. "Social Democracy in a Divided Germany: Kurt Schumacher and the German Question, 1945-1952." Ph.D dissertation, West Virginia University, Department of History, Morgantown, West Virginia, 1969.
  • McAdams, A. James. "Germany Divided: From the Wall to Reunification." Princeton University Press, 1992 and 1993.
  • Erich Matthias, The Downfall of the Old Social Democratic Party in 1933 pages 51-105 from Republic to Reich The Making of the Nazi Revolution Ten Essays edited by Hajo Holborn, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972).
  • Eric D. Weitz, Creating German Communism, 1890-1990: From Popular Protests to Socialist State. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.
  • David Priestand, Red Flag: A History of Communism," New York: Grove Press, 2009.

External links

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