Reichstag election in March 1933

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Nov. 1932Reichstag election in March 1933Nov. 1933
(in %)
Otherwise. i
Gains and losses
compared to November 1932
 % p
Otherwise. i
Template: election chart / maintenance / notes
i Thereof DBP 0.3% (−0.1%), Landbund 0.2% (−0.3%; all other parties −1.4%).
81 120 73 19th 4th 52 288 
A total of 647 seats

The Reichstag election on March 5, 1933 was the election for the eighth German Reichstag in the Weimar Republic . It was the last Reichstag election in which more than one party participated. In the beginning of the dictatorship of National Socialism , dictatorial means were used. During the election campaign, members of the NSDAP committed attacks on political opponents from the KPD and SPD to a very large extent . Counter-demonstrations were banned, communist and social democratic newspapers were not allowed to appear for days, election posters were pasted over and practically all political opposition was increasingly suppressed. In addition, state persecution began. The government ( Hitler's cabinet ) also benefited from the fire in the Reichstag from February 27 to 28, 1933. The ordinance of the Reich President for the protection of the people and the state ("Reichstag Fire Ordinance ") issued the next day suspended the basic rights, and the structures of the KPD were practically smashed. In the election itself, the NSDAP was able to gain a lot, but did not receive the absolute majority it had hoped for. Together with the Black-White-Red fighting front , an electoral alliance dominated by the DNVP , the government had a parliamentary majority after the election and was able to pave the way to dictatorship based on this. The next election in November 1933 only envisaged a NSDAP unity list in connection with a referendum on leaving the League of Nations .

Election campaign

Police and SA men patrol as auxiliary policemen on the day of the election
Ballot for the Reichstag election in March 1933

The election took place a good five weeks after Adolf Hitler's so-called seizure of power . H. his appointment as Chancellor on January 30th, and had become necessary due to the dissolution of the Reichstag on February 1st. This was justified by the fact that it had not been possible to form a coalition between the NSDAP and the Center Party . On the evening of February 1, Hitler gave a radio speech in which he was angry about "fourteen years of Marxism" in Germany.

With the help of the emergency ordinance law, the government issued the “ Ordinance of the Reich President for the Protection of the German People ” on February 4th . This meant that meetings and publications could be banned.

The Social Democrats opened the election campaign on February 7 with a large gathering in Berlin. On the same day the Central Committee of the KPD met under conspiratorial conditions because of the political persecution that was already beginning. Around 200,000 people gathered in Berlin on that day in the Lustgarten to demonstrate against the restrictions on civil rights. In the imperial capital in Prussia, the executive government of the Free State of Prussia , which was no longer supported by a parliamentary majority, was replaced by Chancellor Franz von Papen as Reich Commissioner as early as July 20, 1932, by a first emergency decree by the Reich President . A second ordinance of the same day gave the Reichswehr Minister executive power in Prussia and restricted basic rights. The so-called Prussian strike was later tellingly also seen as a coup in Prussia . Thus state authority in the largest country in the German Empire, led by the Prussian coalition under the Social Democrat Otto Braun , had already been transferred to the Reich government of Franz von Papen. All civil society as well as state possibilities of protest or resistance had already been declared illegal by the Reich President Paul von Hindenburg . The result of the putsch in Prussia was the weakening of the federal constitution of the Weimar Republic . This later made it easier for Hitler to gain power and also to centralize the Reich through him. The most important result, however, was initially the elimination of the last possible resistance of the largest German state in terms of area to Papen's policy of establishing a “new state” while suppressing Weimar democracy and returning to the monarchy. On February 10th, Adolf Hitler opened the election campaign with a speech in the Berlin Sports Palace . In it he sharply attacked the main parties of the Weimar Republic. He asked voters to give him four years and then judge him. In a pathetic and downright religious way he conjured up the national resurrection.

All other political parties were allowed to vote, but the election campaign was already taking place under the auspices of the dictatorship. The supporters of the NSDAP committed numerous acts of political terror with impunity, most of which were directed against social democrats and communists. Hermann Göring, acting as Prussian interior minister, gave the order to the police on February 17th to use the firearm regardless of the situation. A few days later the members of the SA , SS and Stahlhelm were made auxiliary policemen .

The communists were able to hold their last major election campaign event on February 23, with Wilhelm Pieck as the top candidate in Prussia. But Pieck could not finish his speech because the event was broken up by the police. On February 27th the Reichstag fire broke out . Regardless of whether the fire was started by a lone perpetrator or staged by the National Socialists themselves, they took advantage of the process politically by blaming the communists for it. The day after the fire, the communist press and the SPD press were banned for two weeks. The offices of the KPD were closed and members of parliament and officials were taken into “ protective custody ”. The Reichstag Fire Ordinance was issued on the same day . The previous rule of law was thereby eliminated. Leaders from the KPD and SPD were arrested. On March 3rd, through treason, Ernst Thalmann was found. Intellectuals critical of the regime were also arrested. These included Carl von Ossietzky , Erich Mühsam , Ludwig Renn , Egon Erwin Kisch and Max Hodann . Many prisoners were interned and physically abused in the concentration camps that had been set up in February 1933 . There was no formal dissolution of the KPD, despite the fact that its ability to act had been destroyed, because the government did not expect any practical advantages.

For its election campaign, the NSDAP received 3 million Reichsmarks from industry at the secret meeting on February 20, 1933 .


The turnout increased to 88.74% (+ 8.2 percentage points). The National Socialists benefited primarily from this. Compared to the Reichstag elections of November 1932, the NSDAP became the strongest party with a vote gain of over five million and a clear lead over the SPD and the KPD. It increased by 10.8 percentage points, but fell short of the absolute majority at 43.9% - surprising for many observers. The DNVP , which had now started under the name of Battle Front Black-White-Red, lost a good half a million voters. But with its 8% the Hitler-Papen government had a parliamentary majority.

The biggest loser in the election after the terror of the past few weeks was the KPD with a loss of around one million votes. This corresponded to a loss of 4.2 percentage points. The SPD's losses were relatively small at 2.1 percentage points. The two “Marxist parties” remained stable, especially in their strongholds such as Berlin or in the Free State of Saxony . Wherever the SPD could gain, it did so at the expense of the KPD. There was probably a direct migration of voters from the KPD to the NSDAP. Especially in East Prussia , which with 56% now had the highest shares for the NSDAP, there were movements by the SPD and KPD towards the Hitler party. Especially those voters who only joined the left-wing parties during the global economic crisis tended to switch to the NSDAP. An essential element for the break-ins of the KPD was the terror and the hindrances by the NSDAP. The center and BVP remained largely stable. They continued to have their strongholds in West Germany and the South. The (greater) constituencies of Cologne-Aachen and Koblenz-Trier were the only ones in which the center was the strongest party, not the NSDAP. The two liberal parties DVP and DStP were meaningless. The electoral successes of the NSDAP could not be overlooked in North and East Germany, where it won well over 50 percent of the votes. Strikingly, the party succeeded in generating strong increases in votes in Catholic Bavaria, which can be interpreted as an indication that Catholic resistance to National Socialism had collapsed. The Catholic Center and the Social Democrats were generally able to keep their share of the vote despite the repression.

Parties with the strongest votes by constituency (the percentage of the strongest party is given). The NSDAP was the strongest party in 33 of 35 constituencies
Political party Votes (change) Seats in the Reichstag (change) Proportion of seats
National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) 17,277,180 43.9% + 10.8 288 + 92 44.5%
Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 7,181,629 18.3% - 2.1 120 - 1 18.5%
Communist Party of Germany (KPD) 4,848,058 12.3% - 4.6 81 - 19th 12.5%
German Center Party (Center) 4,424,905 11.3% - 0.6 73 + 3 11.3%
Combat front black-white-red (electoral alliance of DNVP / Stahlhelm / Landbund ) 3,136,760 8.0% - 0.5 52 + 1 8.0%
Bavarian People's Party (BVP) 1,073,552 2.7% - 0.4 19th - 1 2.9%
German People's Party (DVP) 432,312 1.1% - 0.8 2 - 9 0.3%
Christian Social People's Service (CSVD) 383,999 1.0% - 0.1 4th - 1 0.6%
German State Party (DStP) 334.242 0.9% - 0.1 5 + 3 0.8%
German farmers party 114.048 0.3% - 0.1 2 - 1 0.3%
Landbund 83,839 0.2% - 0.3 1 - 2nd 0.2%
German-Hanover party 47,743 0.1% - 0.1 0 - 1 -
Socialist combat community 3,954 0.0% - 0 0 -
Combat community of workers and peasants 1.110 0.0% - 0 0 -
Other 0 0.0% −1.1 0 - 1 -
Total 39,655,029 100.0%   647 + 63 100.0%


Even before the first (constituent) session of the newly elected Reichstag, the mandates of the KPD were canceled, so that the parliament comprised 566 members. This step brought the NSDAP an absolute majority; In order to be able to implement their next project - the transfer of the legislative power of the Reichstag to the government with the help of the so-called Enabling Act - it required a two-thirds majority. The National Socialists succeeded in persuading the parties in the center to approve this law. On March 23, 1933, the Enabling Act passed the Reichstag against the votes of the SPD, which from then on was meaningless. The next step, the ban on all parties except the NSDAP, was completed in July 1933 with the law against the formation of new parties . For the following Reichstag election in November 1933 , there was only a list of the NSDAP , on which a few non - party members , designated as guests , ran.

Voting cards

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Gonschior: The German Empire. Reichstag election 1933 .
  2. ^ Andreas Gonschior: The German Empire. Reichstag election November 1932 .
  3. Comparative value of the KSWR for November 1932 = DNVP .
  4. a b Heinrich August Winkler: The way into the disaster. Workers and the labor movement in the Weimar Republic. Bonn 1990, p. 876.
  5. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: The way into the disaster. Workers and the labor movement in the Weimar Republic. Bonn 1990, p. 877.
  7. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: The long way to the west. Vol. 2, Bonn 2005, p. 8.
  8. ^ A b Heinrich August Winkler: The long way to the west. Vol. 2, Bonn 2005, p. 9.
  9. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: The way into the disaster. Workers and the labor movement in the Weimar Republic. Bonn 1990, p. 879.
  10. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: The way into the disaster. Workers and the labor movement in the Weimar Republic. Bonn 1990, p. 882.
  11. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: The way into the disaster. Workers and the labor movement in the Weimar Republic. Bonn 1990, pp. 884-888.