The party was generally thought to represent the interests of the great German industrialists. Its platform stressed Christian family values, secular education, lower tariffs, opposition to welfare spending and agrarian subsides and hostility to "Marxism" (that is, the Communists, and also the Social Democrats). Due to its lukewarm acceptance of democracy, the party was initially part of the "national opposition" to the Weimar Coalition. However, Stresemann gradually led it into cooperation with the parties of the center and left. The party wielded an influence on German politics beyond its numbers, as Stresemann was the Weimar Republic's only statesman of international standing. He served as foreign minister continuously from 1923 until his death in 1929 in nine governments (one of which he briefly headed in 1923) ranging from the center-right to the center-left. After Stresemann's death, the DVP gradually moved back towards the right.
The party's dispute with the Social Democrats in 1930 over unemployment benefits toppled the Grand Coalition government of Hermann Müller. In the election of September 1930, the DVP was one of the biggest losers, losing 15 of its 45 parliamentary seats. The DVP was ultimately abolished after the Nazi take-over in 1933.
Former elements of the DVP were involved in the creation of the Free Democratic Party after the Second World War, although the FDP is much more to the center than the DVP.
Although the party was considered a liberal party in the Weimar Republic, its policies would appear conservative by modern European standards today.