Nazis Fail to Win Reichstag Majority in Last Free Elections of Weimar Germany

Nazis Fail to Win Reichstag Majority in Last Free Elections of Weimar Germany

Book-Burning in Berlin (May 10, 1933)

In the last free elections of German democracy, 88.8% of all eligible votes come to the polls and the Nazis fail to win their desired a majority in the Reichstag. They only have 288 out of 647 seats, or 44% of the votes. Even worse, they lose votes from the last elections despite having declared a state of emergency in which most political opposition was suppressed.

The communists win 12% of the Reichstag and the socialists win 18%, which are amazing numbers given the political and social repression they were operating against. The whole point of calling elections again was so that they could win a majority by themselves, but with the 52 seats held by members of the Nationalist Party, the Nazis are able to create a 51.9% majority coalition and thus begin the destruction of German democracy in earnest.

During his testimony to the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, Franz von Papen talks about these elections:

"This election became extremely significant for later developments. First of all, I should like to state that this election was a truly free one, for it was conducted together with the old functionaries of the Republic; and that it was actually free is also shown by the fact that the votes of the Communists and of the Social Democrats did not decrease at all.

I, personally, had expected that the NSDAP would be successful at the polls. In November 1932 I had taken away 36 of its seats in the Reichstag, and I expected that it would regain some of those seats. I had also hoped that my own voting bloc would be very successful. I hoped that the people would realize the necessity of creating a counterbalance. However, this did not happen."

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