German federal election, 1912

German federal election, 1912

12 January 1912 (1912-01-12)

All 397 seats in the Reichstag
199 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 84.9%

  First party Second party Third party
 
Party SPD Centre NLP
Last election 43 seats 105 seats 54 seats
Seats won 110 91 45
Seat change 67 14 9
Popular vote 4,250,400 1,996,800 1,662,700
Percentage 34.8% 16.4% 13.6%
Swing 5.8% 3.0% 0.9%

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
Party FVP KP
Last election 49 seats[1] 60 seats
Seats won 42 43
Seat change 7 17
Popular vote 1,497,000 1,126,300
Percentage 12.3% 9.2%
Swing 1.4% 0.2%

Results of the 1912 Reichstag election.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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Foreign relations

Federal elections were held in Germany on 12 January 1912.[2] Although the Social Democratic Party (SPD) had received the most votes in every election since 1890, they had never won the most seats, and in the 1907 elections they had won fewer than half the seats of the Centre Party despite receiving over a million more votes.[3] However, this election saw the party win more than double the number of votes of the second-placed Centre Party and become the largest party, winning 110 of the 397 seats.[4]

The party breakdown in the newly elected Reichstag made possible a majority coalition of groups hostile or ambivalent to the ruling elites of the German Empire – the Social Democrats, the Centre Party, and the left-liberal Progressives between them commanded a majority. The effects of this possibility would be seen with the vote of no confidence in the government of Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg over the Saverne Affair in 1913 and the Reichstag Peace Resolution of 1917. Nonetheless, the Centre and the Progressives were unwilling to act consistently in opposition, leaving the government largely free to do as it wished.

Some historians, such as Fritz Fischer have theorized that the First World War was partially a result of the strategy of the conservative Prussian Junkers to deal with this result.[5] In an attempt to increase support for conservative parties and policies, to distract the population from the SPD they hoped to drum up patriotism in an external conflict with Russia or another east European state such as Serbia.

Georges Weill, the SPD candidate who won Metz in this election, defected to France at the start of World War I.

Results

Party Votes[a] % Seats +/–
Social Democratic Party4,250,40034.8110+67
Centre Party1,996,80016.491−14
National Liberal Party1,662,70013.645−9
Progressive People's Party1,497,00012.342−7
German Conservative Party1,126,3009.243−17
Polish Party441,6003.618−2
German Reich Party367,2003.014−10
Economic Union304,6002.510+5
Alsace-Lorraine Party162,0001.39+2
German-Hanoverian Party84,6000.85+4
German Reform Party51,9000.43New
Danish Party17,0000.110
German Agrarian League245,1002.02−6
Bavarian Peasants' League2+1
Others2−1
Invalid/blank votes53,100
Total12,260,6001003970
Registered voters/turnout13,352,90084.9
Source: Nohlen & Stöver, DGDB

a Figures for votes are rounded.[2]

Popular Vote
SPD
34.82%
Zentrum
16.81%
NLP
13.62%
FVP
12.26%
DKP
8.57%
Poles
3.62%
DRP
3.01%
Other
7.29%
Reichstag seats
SPD
27.71%
Zentrum
22.92%
NLP
11.34%
DKP
10.83%
FVP
10.58%
Poles
4.53%
DRP
3.53%
Other
8.56%

References

  1. Merger of the Free-minded People's Party (28 seats), Free-minded Union (14), and German People's Party (7).
  2. 1 2 Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p762 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  3. Nohlen & Stöver, pp774-789
  4. Nohlen & Stöver, p789
  5. Fischer, Fritz (1961). Germany's Aims in the First World War. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-09798-6.
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