The party was formed by a number of former CDU or German Centre Party members and Confessing Church supporters, who opposed the re-armament of Germany and a close co-operation with the Western powers. The forerunner of the party was the association Notgemeinschaft für den Frieden Europas, founded in November 1951 by Gustav Heinemann, former minister of the internal affairs (CDU member), who also became the leader of the GVP. Other noteworthy members of GVP were Carl Amery, Thea Arnold, Hans Bodensteiner, Erhard Eppler, Diether Posser, Johannes Rau, Robert Scholl, Jürgen Schmude, Ludwig Stummel and Helene Wessel.
In the first and only Bundestag election the party took part in - the 1953 election – they only managed to obtain 1.3 % of votes (for the common list with the left-leaning Bund der Deutschen (Alliance of Germans) of the former State Chancellor Joseph Wirth). The only electoral success of the GVP was the local election of North Rhine-Westphalia on October 28 1956 where the party got 78 seats. After they could only win 1.6% in the Baden-Württemberg legislative election of 1956, the GVP was formally disbanded on May 19 1957. The members of the party were suggested joining the Social Democratic Party of Germany (a step already made by Erhard Eppler, to be followed soon by Heinemann and others carrying on the political activities).
Joining the Social Democratic Party broke the interpretation, that the SPD was an atheist party and Christian policies were possible within the ranks of the CDU. As a result, the SPD became acceptable for parts of the bourgeoisie.