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Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft Collected Records

Identifier: SCPC-CDG-B-Germany-Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft

Scope and Contents

Most of this collection consists of photocopies of pamphlets and other published items, with a few originals mixed in.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1897-1991


Language of Material

Materials are in German and English.

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use


Historical note

The Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft (German Peace Society) was founded in 1892 by the journalist Alfred Fried and the renowned pedagogue Wilhelm Foerster. In 1914 Ludwig Quidde, chairman of the society's Bavarian branch, became national president; he retained the position until 1929. By the eve of World War I there were about 10,000 members in 98 sections; many of these dissolved during the war, but the society did not disband. A Historical Dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933 by C. Paul Vincent states: "Defeat fortified the movement. But while Quidde continued to lead the society and the new Friedenskartell (Peace Cartel), the movement assumed two personalities: the prewar pacifists trusted in international arbitration and the League of Nations; the young pacifists, often from the USPD, believed that war must be prevented by conscientious objection and revolution. Portrayed by Carl von Ossietzky, who joined the society in 1912, as unrealistic and dogmatic, Germany's young pacifists never proved as popular as their Western European counterparts. Yet the authorities feared and respected them. Although members were terrorized and murdered, the society consistently worked to combat militarism. Through its Bund Neues Vaterland—renamed the Deutsche Liga fur Menschenrechte (German League for Human Rights) in January 1922—it aided unjustly accused or imprisoned leftists, exposed the assassinations that claimed such victims as Matthias Erzberger and Walther Rathenau, and published information on Germany's illegal rearmament. The pacifists seemed to lose their raison d'etre after the 1925 Locarno Treaties. Exhibitions and protests were abandoned for lack of public support, and as belief in the reality of peace grew among the old pacifists, many resigned from a crusade deemed unnecessary. The younger radicals encroached upon Quidde's authority in 1927 when they forced a triumvirate upon the society in which the president shared power with Paul von Schoenaich, a retired general, and Friedrich Küster, editor of Das andere Deutschland. At an extraordinary congress in the spring of 1929, Küster's triumph over Quidde was complete: faced with the radicalization of the organization, Quidde and his friends Hellmut von Gerlach and Harry Kessler resigned. The new leaders were so extreme that even Kurt Hiller, an erstwhile radical, was expelled in 1930 for attacking various members as "agents" of French and Russian imperialism. When the society began supporting radical socialist organizations, it forfeited its traditional support with the SPD and the DStP (formerly the DDP) and lost the backing of the liberal press. By January 1933 it retained fewer than five thousand members."

Suppressed by the Nazis, the organization was refounded in November 1945. in 1968, it merged with Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner (IdK, War Resisters' International). It still exists and is known as the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegnerinnen (German Peace Society - United War Resisters), or DFG-VK.

Das Andere Deutschland was the publication organ of the German Peace Society. During the Weimar Republic, Kurt Tucholsky, Erich Kästner, Heinrich Ströbel, Berthold Jacob, Carl Mertens, and Friedrich William Foerster, among others, wrote for the newspaper. It was shut down on March 11, 1933; although it was initially supposed to be banned for three months, the Nazis' subsequent abrogation of remaining civil liberties kept it shuttered for the rest of the Nazi era. Küster was arrested and held in concentration camps from 1933 to 1938. At the end of World War II, Küster resumed publication of the paper. In 1969, three years after Küster's death, the newspaper ran its final issue.


0.625 linear ft. (7.5 linear inches.)


The Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft (German Peace Society) was founded in 1892 and still exists today as the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegnerinnen or DFG-VK.


Records are arranged chronologically.

Other Finding Aids

For the catalog record for this collection, and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog.

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for the archives of the Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquisition information is unknown.

Related Materials

  1. Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner Collected Records (CDG-B Germany)
  2. Ludwig Quidde Collected Papers (CDG-B Germany)
  3. Helene Stöcker Papers (DG 035)

Separated Materials

  1. Das Andere Deutschland (1925-1969) and other newsletters removed to the Periodical Collection.
  2. Seal "Para Pacem...." removed to the Stamp/Sticker/Seal/Envelope Collection (#0355).
  3. Sticker "Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte Kriegsdienstgegner" removed to the Stamp/Sticker/Seal/Envelope Collection (#0353).
  4. Pin "Pax...." removed to the Button/Pin/Ribbon Collection (#00623)
  5. Photo/s removed to the Photograph Collection (5" x 8" size).
  6. Postcards removed to Subject File #1: Art in War and Peace.
  7. Posters (23), circa 1932-1948, undated, removed to the Poster Collection.

Legal Status

Copyright may have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection or may have been retained by the creators/authors (or their descendants), in this collection, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Please contact the SCPC Curator for further information.

Processing Information

Finding aid produced by Anne M. Yoder, Archivist, May 2014.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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