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1 Social Democracy in Government: Measures of Reform in Theory and Practice

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Chapter Summary

The German Social Democrats (SPD) were in government nationally for a total of five years out of the 14 years of the Weimar Republic's uneasy survival. Their ability to pursue their own distinctive policies, however, was restricted for most of the time by the presence of non-socialist coalition partners. There was also greater pressure than later from forces to the left of them, both inside and outside the Party. Hence many more Social Democratic measures of reform were passed. This chapter deals with Social Democracy's first two years in government after 1918. This theme is provided by the interplay between the responsibilities of power and the pressure of mass action. This process can be summed up in general terms as a conflict between Majority Social Democracy (MSPD) and the parties to the left of it for the allegiance of the working class.

Keywords: economic reform; German Social Democrats (SPD); Majority Social Democracy (MSPD); non-socialist coalition partners; Weimar Republic



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