Propaganda Posters


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  • December 1918

A Summons to Socialism

Ever since the elections of 1904, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands or SPD) was the largest political party in the country. Prevented from participating in any state or federal government by the organized opposition of the conservative and liberal parties, the SPD became a traditional party of opposition. Although a few of its members did achieve office in municipal elections, the bulk of the party's leaders were inexperienced in government.

Through a lengthy internal debate, the SPD had officially come to adopt a "revisionist" approach to the triumph of socialism -- through the ballot box, not through revolution. In this spirit, the party had voted for the war credits in 1914, and continued to support the government through the anguishing years of the war.

Now suddenly the Empire had disappeared, and the SPD "inherited" the leadership of the federal government and those of most of the individual states [Länder]. Its program, however, was extremely vague, as is well captured by this typical poster. It calls the German people to Socialism, but without spelling out any details at all.


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