Federal elections were held in Germany on 6 November 1932. They saw a four percent drop in votes for the Nazi Party and slight increases for the Communists and the national conservative DNVP. It was the last free and fair all-German election before the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January 1933, as the following elections of March 1933 were already accompanied by massive suppression, especially against Communist and Social Democratic politicians.
The results of the November 1932 election were a great disappointment for the Nazis. Although they emerged once more as the largest party by far, they had fewer seats than before, and failed to form a government coalition in the Reichstag parliament.
Previously, Chancellor Franz von Papen, a former member of the Catholic Centre Party, had governed without parliamentary support relying on legislative decrees promulgated by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg according to Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. However, on 12 September 1932 Papen had to ask Hindenburg to dissolve the parliament in order to preempt a motion of no confidence tabled by the Communist Party, which was expected to pass (since the Nazis were expected to vote in favour, as they also desired new elections). Following this dissolution of parliament in September, the election of November 1932 was held. The DNVP, which had backed Papen, gained 15 seats as a result.
After the election, Chancellor Papen urged Hindenburg to continue to govern by emergency decrees. Nevertheless, on 3 December he was superseded by his Defence Minister Kurt von Schleicher who in talks with the left wing of the Nazi Party led by Gregor Strasser tried to build up a Third Position (Querfront) strategy. These plans failed when in turn Hitler disempowered Strasser and approached Papen for coalition talks. Papen obtained Hindenburg's consent to form the Hitler Cabinet on 30 January 1933.
The next free elections were not held until 1949 in West Germany and March 1990 in East Germany; by the time of the first postwar elections in East Germany in May 1949, a Communist regime was rapidly consolidating. The next free all-German elections took place in December 1990 after reunification.
|November 1932 German federal election|
All 584 seats in the Reichstag
293 seats needed for a majority
|Turnout||80.58% 3.52 pp|
Composition of the Reichstag after the election.
|National Socialist German Workers Party||11,737,021||33.09||196||–34|
|Social Democratic Party of Germany||7,247,901||20.43||121||–12|
|Communist Party of Germany||5,980,239||16.86||100||+11|
|German National People's Party||2,959,053||8.34||51||+14|
|Bavarian People's Party||1,094,597||3.09||20||–2|
|German People's Party||660,889||1.86||11||+4|
|Christian Social People's Service||403,666||1.14||5||+2|
|German State Party||336,447||0.95||2||–2|
|German Farmers' Party||149,026||0.42||3||+1|
|Reich Party of the German Middle Class||110,309||0.31||1||–1|
|Radical Middle Class||60,246||0.17||0||0|
|Thuringian Agricultural League||60,062||0.17||1||New|
|Christian-National Peasants' and Farmers' Party||46,382||0.13||0||–1|
|People's Justice Party||46,202||0.13||0||–1|
|Socialist Workers' Party of Germany||45,201||0.13||0||0|
|For Hindenberg and Pope||27,752||0.08||0||New|
|Kleinrentner, Inflationsgeschädigte und Vorkriegsgeldbesitzer||15,727||0.04||0||0|
|Free Economy Party of Germany||11,002||0.03||0||0|
|Schicksalsgemeinschaft deutscher Erwerbslosen, Kleinhandel und Gewerbe||9,250||0.03||0||New|
|Social Republican Party of Germany||8,395||0.02||0||New|
|Handwerker, Handel- und Gewerbetreibende||5,189||0.01||0||0|
|Radical Democratic Party||3,789||0.01||0||New|
|Kampfgemeinschaft der Arbeiter und Bauern||3,308||0.01||0||0|
|National Social Party of the Middle Class||3,052||0.01||0||New|
|National Freedom Party of Germany||1,810||0.01||0||0|
|Greater Germany People's Party||1,311||0.00||0||0|
|Interessengemeinschaft der Kleinrentner und Inflationsgeschädigten||1,086||0.00||0||0|
|Haus- und Landwirtepartei||461||0.00||0||New|
|National Communist Party of Germany||381||0.00||0||New|
|German Social Monarchist Party||355||0.00||0||0|
|German Reform Party||352||0.00||0||0|
|German Workers Party||308||0.00||0||0|
|Unitarianist Union of Germany||290||0.00||0||0|
|Greater German Middle Class Party for Middle Class Dictatorship||286||0.00||0||New|
|German National Citizen Bloc||192||0.00||0||New|
|Party for the Unemployed for Work and Bread||140||0.00||0||0|
|National German Catholic Reich Party||137||0.00||0||New|
|German Socialist Struggle Movement||101||0.00||0||0|
|German Reich against Interest Rate Movement||97||0.00||0||New|
|Middle Class Party||85||0.00||0||New|
|Kampfbund der Lohn- und Gehaltsabgebauten||63||0.00||0||New|
The German Democratic Party (German: Deutsche Demokratische Partei, DDP) was founded in November 1918 by leaders of the former Progressive People's Party, left-wing members of the National Liberal Party and a new group calling themselves the Democrats (German: Demokraten).
In 1930, the party changed to the German State Party (German: Deutsche Staatspartei).Reichstag fire
The Reichstag fire (German: Reichstagsbrand, listen ) was an arson attack on the Reichstag building, home of the German parliament in Berlin, on Monday 27 February 1933, precisely four weeks after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hitler's government stated that Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist, was found near the building, and they attributed the fire to communist agitators in general—though a German court decided later that year that van der Lubbe had acted alone, as he claimed. After the fire, the Reichstag Fire Decree was passed. The Nazi Party used the fire as a pretext that communists were plotting against the German government, and the event is considered pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. The term "Reichstag fire" has come to refer to false flag actions facilitated by an authority to promote their own interests through popular approval of retribution or retraction of civil rights.
The first report of the fire came shortly after 21:00, when a Berlin fire station received an alarm call. By the time that police and firefighters arrived, the main Chamber of Deputies was engulfed in flames. The police conducted a thorough search inside the building and found van der Lubbe. He was arrested, as were four communist leaders soon after. Hitler urged President Paul von Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to suspend civil liberties and pursue a "ruthless confrontation" with the Communist Party of Germany. After passing the decree, the government instituted mass arrests of communists, including all of the Communist Party parliamentary delegates. With their bitter rival communists gone and their seats empty, the Nazi Party went from being a plurality party to the majority, thus enabling Hitler to consolidate his power.
In February 1933, Bulgarians Georgi Dimitrov, Vasil Tanev, and Blagoy Popov were arrested, and they played pivotal roles during the Leipzig Trial, known also as the "Reichstag Fire Trial". They were known to the Prussian police as senior Comintern operatives, but the police had no idea how senior they were; Dimitrov was head of all Comintern operations in Western Europe. The responsibility for the Reichstag fire remains a topic of debate and research. Historians disagree as to whether van der Lubbe acted alone, as he said, to protest the condition of the German working class. The Nazis accused the Comintern of the act. Some historians endorse the theory proposed by the Communist Party that the arson was planned and ordered by the Nazis as a false flag operation. The building remained in its fire-damaged state until it was partially repaired from 1961 to 1964, then completely restored from 1995 to 1999.