Christian Social Party, German

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CHRISTIAN SOCIAL PARTY, GERMAN (Christlichsoziale Partei ), originally the Christian Social Workers' Party, Christlichsoziale Arbeiterpartei, founded in Berlin in 1878 by the court preacher A. *Stoecker. Based "on Christian beliefs and the love of king and country," it rejected social democracy as "unchristian and unpatriotic" and aimed at "narrowing the abyss between rich and poor." The party's first meeting (January 1878) in the working-class district of Berlin was a fiasco, as was its bid for the workers' vote at the following general election. The party strategy to separate the workers from the Social Democratic Party was terminated and the word "workers'" pointedly dropped from its official name (1881), with a turn for support to other discontented elements – artisans, shopkeepers, and clerks – the typical members of the lower-middle classes. Though prone to occasional radical outbursts, this sector of the population was basically loyal to church and state, and, unlike the workers, highly receptive to antisemitism. When Stoecker's meetings began to attract the lower-middle class rather than the workers, his party became explicitly antisemitic. He had already made his own views clear in 1878 in the last paragraph of his election manifesto: "We respect the Jews as fellow citizens and honor Judaism as the lower stage of divine revelation, but we firmly believe that no Jew can be a leader of Christian workers in either a religious or an economic capacity." Antisemitism rapidly became one of the basic planks of the CSP's platform and soon paid political dividends. The "respectable" variety of antisemitism adopted by Stoecker paved the way for the racial antisemitism preached by agitators like E. Henrici and T. *Fritsch. Towards the end of the 19th century the csp lost much of its support and in 1917 merged with the Conservatives and the Deutsch-voelkische Partei to form the right-wing dnvp (Deutsch-Nationale Volkspartei).


P.W. Massing, Rehearsal for Destruction… (1949, repr. 1967), passim; P.G.J. Pulzer, Rise of Political Anti-semitism in Germany and Austria (1964), index; K. Wawrzinek, Die Entstehung der deutschen Anti-semitenparteien (1873–1890) (1927), 18–29; U. Tal, Yahadut ve-Naẓrut ba-"Raykh ha-Sheni" (1870–1914) (1969), Heb. with Eng. summary. add. bibliography: D.A.J. Telman, "Adolf Stoecker, Anti-Semite with a Christian Mission," in: Jewish History, 9, 2 (1995), 93–112; K. Wand, "Theodor Fritsch (1852–1933) – Der vergessene Antisemit," in: Israel als GegenueberStudien zur Geschichte eines wechselvollen Zusammenlebens (2000), 458–88; M.I. Zimmermann, "Two Generations in the History of German Antisemitism – The Letters of Theodor Fritsch to Wilhelm Marr," in: Leo Baeck Institut Yearbook, 23 (1978), 89–99.

[Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]

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Christian Social Party, German

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