Reichstag election 1928

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Dec. 1924Reichstag election 19281930
(in %)
Otherwise. j
Gains and losses
compared to December 1924
 % p
Otherwise. j
Template: election chart / maintenance / notes
h December 1924 as NSFB
j 1928: VRP 1.6%, DBP 1.6%, Reichslandbund 0.7%, DHP 0.6%, SLV 0.4%
54 153 25th 8th 4th 61 17th 23 45 73 12 
A total of 491 seats

The Reichstag election of May 20, 1928 was the election for the 4th German Reichstag . It ended with the weakening of the bourgeois parties and gains for the SPD and KPD. Seven small parties received even fewer votes than the regional party Bavarian People's Party (BVP) with 3.1%, but were still able to win seats. Together these 7 splinter parties got 9.4% of the vote and thus 40 seats in the Reichstag (out of 491).


Election poster of the SPD
Election poster of the KPD

After the election in December 1924, Hans Luther became (non-party) Chancellor for the first time . His first cabinet ruled until January 20, 1926; his second cabinet until May 18, 1926. This was followed by the Marx III cabinet (until February 1, 1927) and the Marx IV cabinet (see here for the end of the coalition ).

The Reichstag election was preceded by far-reaching disputes between the parties of the bourgeois coalition . The trigger was the draft of a new school law with Christian tendencies. According to Article 146 of the Reich Constitution , priority was given to cross-denominational community schools over schools for children of individual denominations. In 1927, the Center Party submitted a draft of a new school law, which instead provided for the equality of denominational schools with community schools. The BVP and the DNVP contributed to this. The German People's Party was strictly against it . The center in particular attached great importance to the school issue. Neither side gave in on the question; on February 15, 1928, the failure of the bill was declared. This meant the end of the coalition. Reich President Paul von Hindenburg dissolved the Reichstag a few weeks later and ordered new elections for May 20, 1928.

Election campaign

The left-wing parties put the fight against the construction of Ironclad A at the center of their election campaign. Ernst Thälmann , the chairman of the KPD , opposed shipbuilding with the popular demand for free school meals. The old coalition had previously rejected the cost of 5 million Reichsmarks . The SPD and KPD used the popular slogan "Child feeding instead of armored cruiser ".

Since the party congress in Kiel in 1927, the SPD had left no doubt about its willingness to take over government, also to prevent a new right-wing cabinet. It was internally much more closed than in 1924. The Saxony dispute ended in 1926 after Max Heldt and his supporters, who had joined together in the Old Social Democratic Party , were excluded . The party left around Paul Levi rejected an alliance with bourgeois parties in principle, but held back from making public statements.

The DDP agreed to the criticism of the building of the armored cruiser as a pointless prestige project and pleaded for a grand coalition. The center held back with coalition statements against it. The party had not forgotten the incursion of the left-wing parties into the Catholic workforce on the occasion of the vote on the expropriation of the princes in 1926. In a center-left coalition, she saw no way to enforce her denominational school law. During the election campaign, the DVP relied on Gustav Stresemann's popularity . “What do the others concern you - you vote like Gustav Stresemann?” Was one of their slogans. For Stresemann himself it was clear that there was no sensible alternative to a grand coalition. In Bavaria in particular, he was sharply attacked by the NSDAP . The DNVP also sharply attacked Stresemann's policy of understanding. In the power struggle that had been waged at the head of the party since 1927, the extreme group of the Pan-German publisher Alfred Hugenberg had gained more and more influence, and the DNVP tried to win back or keep disappointed voters through radicalism. The NSDAP had consolidated itself on the extreme right. Adolf Hitler had largely eliminated potential opponents of the brothers Otto and Gregor Strasser at the Bamberger Führertagung in 1926.

In social and economic terms, the election took place at the height of the economic stabilization of the Weimar Republic . The economy developed positively and unemployment figures were lower than in previous years. Only in parts of agriculture did the fall in pig prices in 1927 herald the beginning of a global agricultural crisis.

Election result

The election ended with the defeat of the parties of the previous civic bloc. Compared to the December 1924 election, the DNVP's losses were particularly high , losing around 1.8 million votes. The party fell from 20.5% to 14.2%. The center fell slightly from 13.6% to 12.1%. The DVP came to only 8.7% instead of 10.1%. In addition to the coalition parties, the DDP also lost. In 1924 it had reached 6.3%, now it was only 4.9%.

The real winner of the election was the SPD. The party managed to gain almost 1.3 million votes. Their share rose from 26% to 29.8%. The KPD was also able to increase slightly from 9% to 10.6%.

Various small interest parties such as the business party were also able to win votes. These parties had come together to 5.5% in December 1924, now it was 11.1%. Among them were mainly from the Rural People's Movement benefit CNBL that reached from the prior 1.9%, the DBP, which compared with the Bavarian Farmers Association was up 0.6%, the SLV, which reached from the prior 0.6% , on the other hand the LB lost 0.9%.


With the weakening of the DNVP in particular, the result meant that the parties of the former Weimar coalition loyal to the republic achieved their best result after the election to the National Assembly in 1919 with a total of 46.8% . At the same time, the established middle-class middle parties were weakening. These could not benefit from the defeat of the DNVP, but had to accept losses themselves. Many middle-class voters of the middle parties as well as the DNVP turned instead to the interest parties. This continued a trend that was already apparent in 1924. Although the NSDAP was a small splinter party with 2.6% at the Reich level, it was able to benefit from the agricultural crisis, especially in rural areas of northern Germany. In individual communities in Holstein, for example, the party came to 36.8%.

It was also of considerable importance that the voter turnout at 75.6% was the lowest in Reichstag elections during the Weimar Republic. After all, 10 million eligible voters did not take part. Many of the non-voters are likely to have been young and first-time voters. They formed a politically not yet bound voter potential, of which it would only become clear in the future what preferences it would have.

Government formation

A continuation of the previous bourgeois coalition was no longer an option after the result. The only realistic constellation was a grand coalition from the SPD to the DVP. The leadership came to the victorious SPD. In contrast to various earlier occasions, the latter was also prepared to take over government responsibility. Hermann Müller was commissioned to form a government . The coalition negotiations turned out to be extremely difficult. It is thanks in particular to Gustav Stresemann that an agreement was finally reached. The Müller II cabinet finally included representatives of the SPD, the BVP, the DDP, the center and the DVP. In domestic politics in particular, there was a lack of consensus from the start.


Political party Votes (absolute) Votes (in percent) modification Sit in the Reichstag modification
Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 9,152,979 29.8% + 3.8% 153 +22
German National People's Party (DNVP) 4,381,563 14.3% −6.2% 73 −30
German Center Party (Center) 3,712,152 12.1% −1.5% 61 −8
Communist Party of Germany (KPD) 3,264,793 10.6% +1.7% 54 +9
German People's Party (DVP) 2,679,703 8.7% −1.4% 45 −6
German Democratic Party (DDP) 1,479,374 4.8% −1.5% 25th −7
Reich party of the German middle class 1,397,129 4.5% + 2.2% 23 +11
Bavarian People's Party (BVP) 945,644 3.1% −0.6% 17th −2
National Socialist German Workers' Party - Hitler Movement (NSDAP) 810.127 2.6% −0.4% 12 −2
Christian National Peasant and Rural People's Party 571,891 1.9% - 9 +9
Reich Party for People's Law and Appreciation (People's Law Party) 483.181 1.6% - 2 +2
German Farmers Party (DBP) 481.254 1.6% + 0.6% 8th +3
Reichslandbund 199,548 0.7% −0.9% 3 −5
German-Hanoverian Party (DHP) 195,555 0.6% −0.3% 4th ± 0
Saxon country people 127,700 0.4% - 2 +2
Others 880.181 2.9% + 0.6% 0 ± 0
Total 30,753,247 100.0%   491 −2

See also


  • Gerhard A. Ritter (Hrsg.): History of the workers and the workers' movement in Germany since the end of the 18th century. Volume 10: Heinrich August Winkler : The appearance of normality. Workers and the labor movement in the Weimar Republic 1924 to 1930. Dietz, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-8012-0094-9 .
  • Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy. Revised edition. Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-44037-1 .
  • Ludger Grevelhörster: A short history of the Weimar Republic. 1918-1933. An overview of the problem history. 4th edition, special edition. Aschendorff, Münster 2003, ISBN 3-402-05363-2 ( Aschendorff Paperbacks ).

Web links

Commons : Reichstag election 1928  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The German Empire. Reichstag election 1928 , Andreas Gonschior.
  2. The German Empire. Reichstag election December 1924 , Andreas Gonschior.
  3. Art. 146 WRV on