In the years prior to World War I, political and social conflicts intensified and Heilbronn was no exception. The social democratic party became the strongest political force in the industrial city. However, the liberal camp was also successful. In the 1907 Reichstag elections, Friedrich Naumann, one of Germany’s leading liberals at the time, was elected to parliament as a member for Heilbronn.
World War I first-and-foremost affected the poorer classes of the city. Social initiatives such as the “Work Provision for Soldiers’ Wives” organisation headed by Elly Heuss-Knapp were established to try and alleviate hardship.