In the ban proceedings: The two deputy chairmen of the SRP (Socialist Reich Party) Otto Ernst Remer (left) and Count Wolf von Westarp (middle) with the party chairman Fritz Dorls during the trial before the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe in 1951.
Image: Picture Alliance

Party bans have only been discussed in the Federal Republic since the AfD and NPD. The Federal Constitutional Court has already intervened twice. How did that happen?

FFor the cabinet meeting of May 8, 1951, the minutes for Konrad Adenauer record a sentence that can often be heard in the debate about a ban on the AfD: It should not happen again that democracy, as happened in 1933, die because of democratic principles. This is how the proceedings against the Socialist Reich Party of Germany (SRP) began, which led to the first of two party bans in the Federal Republic to date. In Lower Saxony, the SRP had received eleven percent of the vote and four direct mandates in the state elections two days earlier. The party hardly made any secret of its spirit: uniformed hall stewards, the “Badenweiler March” – Hitler’s signature tune, red flags with a black imperial eagle instead of the forbidden swastika and “Reich speakers” characterized its events.

The continuity of personnel was also obvious: the party's leadership was mainly made up of former NSDAP officials. Their most prominent figure was Otto Ernst Remer. As commander of the “Greater Germany” guard battalion in Berlin, he made a significant contribution to the suppression of the attempted coup on July 20, 1944.