How Far Can Germany's Social Democrats Bend Before They Break?

BERLIN—For Germany’s beleaguered Social Democrats (SPD), party unity seems to be in short supply these days. Following a turbulent, six-hour special conference at Bonn’s World Conference Center on Sunday to decide whether the SPD should enter a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel, delegates of the center-left party stood together to sing “When We Stride Side by Side,” their traditional hymn. Appearances aside, however, this was no kumbaya moment.

Earlier that day, Martin...

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