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100 years of “Reichsbanner” - Felgentreu: Stay vigilant

2024-02-21T05:13:42.953Z

Highlights: 100 years of “Reichsbanner” - Felgentreu: Stay vigilant. 100 years ago, the ReichsBanner Schwarz-Red-Gold was founded to protect the republic, then banned by the Nazis. “Democracy is never so consolidated that one could forego doing something to protect it,” warned the long-time SPD defense expert in an interview with the German Press Agency. With over 1.5 million members, it was the largest mass political organization in the Weimar Republic.



As of: February 21, 2024, 5:58 a.m

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Anton Erkelenz (DDP, later SPD) stands at the lectern during the Federal Constitutional Ceremony in Leipzig from August 13th to 14th, 1927.

© Karl Keil/Reichsbanner Black Red Gold/dpa

When the Social Democrats didn't call to arms: 100 years ago, the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Red-Gold was founded to protect the republic, then banned by the Nazis.

Berlin - The chairman of the “Reichsbanner Schwarz-Red-Gold” alliance, which was founded 100 years ago, Fritz Felgentreu, has called for a resolute commitment to the defense of democracy.

“Democracy is never so consolidated that one could forego doing something to protect it,” warned the long-time SPD defense expert in an interview with the German Press Agency.

The situation in Germany is not like it was in 1933. “But democracy is also threatened in our time.

Even in our time it has enemies.

And to be vigilant and ready to defend oneself is the crucial lesson from the history of the Reichsbanner.”

On February 22, 1924, the non-partisan and social democratic alliance to protect democracy was founded in Magdeburg.

Members of the liberal German Democratic Party and the Catholic Center Party were also there.

The Weimar Republic was on shaky ground from the start.

Left-wing and right-wing extremist coup attempts characterized the early years.

Democrats wanted to counteract this with the Reichsbanner.

At that time, so-called military associations were part of the leisure activities of many men.

The Stahlhelm, the association of frontline soldiers, was also founded in Magdeburg after the end of the First World War.

According to the German Historical Museum, this association acted “in clear opposition to the political system of the Weimar Republic”.

The Reichsbanner Black-Red-Gold, on the other hand, campaigned for the protection of parliamentary democracy, but did not set itself up as an armed militia and did not set up organized weapons depots.

The Reichsbanner embodied the party constellation of the “Weimar Coalition” and worked to protect the republic and its constitution, writes the German Historical Museum.

“It pursued both civilian and paramilitary goals and, with over 1.5 million members, was the largest mass political organization in the Weimar Republic.

The main opponent in the 1920s was the German nationalist Stahlhelm.

At the beginning of the 1930s, Reichsbanner members increasingly found themselves in sometimes fatal clashes with the National Socialist Sturmabteilung (SA).”

In March 1933 the Reichsbanner was banned by the Nazis.

Letters have also survived about how the predominantly unarmed Reichsbanner men - they were only men - demanded more determination and an announcement from the SPD leadership, but in vain.

Today, without knowing the historical background, the uniforms, flags and badges of the Democrats cannot be immediately grasped in their liberal essence.

Felgentreu is convinced that the thought patterns of the enemies of democracy “haven’t changed all that much.”

“There is such a fundamental unease towards democracy and its seemingly unbridled freedom that can always be mobilized.

But the channels of communication are different today.” In view of the battles on social media, “there is no clear dividing line that can be drawn” between the external enemy and the internal enemy.

The name Reichsbanner - like black, red and gold - triggers a “disturbing feeling” in many, said Felgentreu, who, after many years in the Bundestag, is now a teacher in the Berlin school service.

“When many people hear it for the first time, they associate it with a right-wing movement.

They associate this with Reich citizens and the like.

This feeling of disruption is something that we want to use productively in order to start a conversation about exactly the things that are important to us.” Because the first associations turn out to be wrong.

The association, which now has 800 members, stands up for the values ​​of democracy, “and that is what the colors black, red and gold stand for, which we don’t want anyone to dispute with us.”

dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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