Reichstag (time of National Socialism)

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The Kroll Opera House in Berlin , the seat of the Reichstag from 1933

The German Reichstag was a sham parliament from 1933 to 1945 during the National Socialist dictatorship . After the last Reichstag election , in which more than one party participated, the new Reichstag under Adolf Hitler passed the Enabling Act on March 23, 1933 . In doing so, he effectively ceded his legislative powers to the Reich government ( Hitler's cabinet ). From July of the same year, the NSDAP formed the only parliamentary group. The President of the Reichstag was Hermann Göring . With the annexation of Austria , the pseudo parliament in Berlin was renamed the Greater German Reichstag in 1938 . In the absence of essential parliamentary competencies and because of the regular singing of the national anthem , it was sometimes mockingly called the “most expensive choral society in Germany”.


Election poster with Reich President Hindenburg and Reich Chancellor Hitler for the election in November 1933 :
The Marshal and the Corporal fight with us for peace and equality




After the election on March 29, 1936, a new count of the legislative periods was decreed. The third electoral term began. The 8th electoral period (March to November 1933) and the IX. Election periods (November 1933 to March 1936) were subsequently reinterpreted in the 1st and 2nd electoral periods in order to make the "caesura with Hitler's rise to power clear."

On January 25, 1943, Hitler extended the fourth electoral term of the Reichstag through the law extending the electoral term of the Greater German Reichstag until January 30, 1947. This avoided having to hold elections during the war. Due to the outcome of the war , there was no further polling.

Significance of the election results

The results of the Reichstag elections and referendums, in which the NSDAP always received overwhelming approval, cannot be regarded as an authentic expression of popular opinion.

In the elections from November 1933, only the NSDAP stood for election. All other parties had been banned in the previous legislative period until July 1933 or had decided to dissolve themselves. In each of the three elections, a unified list was drawn up (cf. Reich election proposal ), on which a number of non - party members , referred to as guests , stood for candidates. As with the referendums , there was only the possibility of approval or rejection.

Elections were always scheduled after the regime's foreign policy successes (occupation of the Rhineland, annexation of Austria), i.e. in situations in which Hitler's popularity reached its peak. Many critics and opponents of the regime also voted for the NSDAP's list out of justified fear of breaching voting secrecy. In some places the elections were used to systematically identify the names of the no voters. Occasionally, voters who voted “no” were beaten up afterwards. Even the prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp voted 99.5% for the official list in November 1933.

MPs and number of seats

According to the regulations of the Weimar Election Act, one seat was granted for every 60,000 votes cast . Since the turnout was very high, but also because of the new territories that had come to the Reich, Parliament assumed significantly larger proportions than at the beginning of 1933. At last there were 876 members; Adolf Hitler himself was there No. 433, elected in Reichstag constituency 24 ( Upper Bavaria - Swabia ).

After the partly free election in March 1933, 3.8% women from various parties, but not the NSDAP, entered parliament. In the three following elections there were no female candidates and therefore no more female MPs (see also Women during the National Socialist era ). The same was true for Jewish candidates of both sexes. Jews also lost de jure as a result of the Reich Citizenship Act (1935) the active and passive right to vote , as they were no longer considered "Reich Citizens".


Reichstag session on July 19, 1940

As a result of the arson attack in February 1933 , the Reichstag building was unusable. That is why the performance hall in the Kroll Opera House opposite was converted into a conference hall. After the move, the Reichstag sessions took place there.

According to the Enabling Act, the Reichstag met nineteen times. Only seven laws were passed at these meetings - compared to 986 laws that were passed by the government alone based on the powers of the Enabling Act. Two of these concerned the extension of the four-year authorization law. The remaining five were:

The Reichstag met for the last time on April 26, 1942. The unanimous decision taken at this meeting abolished the last remnants of the civil servants' prerogatives and also made the “ Führer ” the final decision-making body.

See also


  • Ralph Jessen and Hedwig Richter : Voting for Hitler and Stalin. Elections under 20th Century Dictatorship. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2011.
  • Peter Hubert: Uniformed Reichstag. The history of the pseudo-popular representation 1933–1945 . Droste Verlag , Düsseldorf 1992, ISBN 3-7700-5167-X .
  • Joachim Lilla , Martin Döring, Andreas Schulz: extras in uniform. The members of the Reichstag 1933–1945. A biographical manual. Including the ethnic and National Socialist members of the Reichstag from May 1924. Droste, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7700-5254-4 .
  • Otmar Jung: Plebiscite and dictatorship: the referendums of the National Socialists. The cases "Leaving the League of Nations" (1933), "Head of State" (1934) and "Anschluss Austria" (1938). Mohr Siebeck Verlag , Tübingen 1995.
  • Detlef Peitz: Parliamentary Stenographers and Nazi Dictatorship. Part 2: The Reichstag and its stenographer's office 1933 to 1945. In: Neue Stenografische Praxis , 62nd volume (2014), 2nd issue, pp. 48–59.
  • Marcel Stepanek: Election campaign under the sign of dictatorship. The staging of elections and votes in National Socialist Germany. Leipzig 2014.

Web links

Commons : Reichstag (Time of National Socialism)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Stolleis : The history of public law in Germany . Vol. 3: Constitutional and Administrative Law Studies in the Republic and Dictatorship 1914–1945 . Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-37002-0 , p. 317.
  2. Hans-Ulrich Wehler : Germany's fatal revolution , Der Tagesspiegel , January 30, 2003.
  3. ^ Detlef Peitz: Parliamentary stenographers and Nazi dictatorship. Part 2: The Reichstag and its stenographer's office 1933 to 1945. In: Neue Stenografische Praxis , Heft 2, vol. 62, p. 52.
  4. ^ Law on the extension of the electoral term of the Greater German Reichstag. Reichsgesetzblatt , Part 1, January 25, 1943, accessed November 26, 2016 .
  5. Michael Grüttner : The Third Reich. 1933–1939 (=  Gebhardt. Handbook of German History . Volume 19). Klett-Cotta Verlag , Stuttgart 2014, p. 548 f.
  6. ^ Joachim Lilla, Martin Döring, Andreas Schulz: extras in uniform. The members of the Reichstag 1933–1945. A biographical manual. Including the ethnic and National Socialist members of the Reichstag from May 1924. Droste, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7700-5254-4 , pp. 771–772.
  7. Mechtild Fülles: women in the party and Parliament, publisher of science and politics , publishing science and politics, Cologne 1969th
  8. ^ Reichstag in National Socialism on , accessed on October 30, 2012.
  9. This sixth session of the legislature to adopt the Nuremberg Laws took differing not in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin , but in the context of the Nazi Party in Nuremberg place at the local cultural club house (see Reichstag Protocols, p 4 and p 62ff ).
  10. Hans Schneider: The Enabling Act of March 24, 1933. Report on the creation and application of the law. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 1st year (1953), 3rd issue ( PDF; 1.2 MB ).