Persuading the Protestant <i>Mittelstand</i>: Left Liberalism in Schleswig-Holstein

Alastair P. Thompson

in Left Liberals, the State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780198205432
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676635 | DOI:
Persuading the Protestant Mittelstand: Left Liberalism in Schleswig-Holstein

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If Wilhelmine left liberalism was being ground inexorably between left and right then Schleswig-Holstein might be expected to exemplify the process of decay. The area's liberal political and economic traditions were threatened from left and right. Altona had been an SPD stronghold since the 1880s. Kiel, which for years had elected the liberal notable Albert Hänel to the Reichstag, from 1903 returned the equally archetypal figure of trade union leader Carl Legien with an unassailable majority. The SPD also attracted support in small towns and amongst rural labourers. Even the relative weakness of the Conservatives in Schleswig-Holstein was deceptive, for the province's National Liberal Party often proved the functional equivalent of a right-wing party. Left liberals in Schleswig-Holstein depended on rural as well as urban voters. They were also able to attract support from the right, even in run-off elections where the SPD had already been eliminated.

Keywords: Schleswig-Holstein; left liberalism; left liberals; SPD; elections; National Liberal Party; Altona; Kiel; right

Chapter.  17202 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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