German federal election, 1912

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German federal election, 1912
German Empire
1907 ←
12 January 1912 (1912-01-12)
→ 1919

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 Increase67 Decrease14 Decrease9
Popular vote 4,250,400 1,996,800 1,662,700
Percentage 34.8% 16.4% 13.6%
Swing Increase5.8% Decrease3.0% Decrease0.9%

  Fourth party Fifth party
 
Party FVP KP
Last election 49 seats[1] 60 seats
Seats won 42 43
Seat change Decrease7 Decrease17
Popular vote 1,497,000 1,126,300
Percentage 12.3% 9.2%
Swing Increase1.4% Decrease0.2%

Karte der Reichstagswahlen 1912 en.png

Results of the 1912 Reichstag election.
Coat of arms of Germany.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Germany
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. Other authors, such as Niall Ferguson, feel that German conservatives were ambivalent about a war, worrying that losing a war would have disastrous consequences, and even a successful war might alienate the population if it were lengthy or difficult.[6]

Results[edit]

Party Votes[a] % Seats +/–
Social Democratic Party 4,250,400 34.8 110 +67
Centre Party 1,996,800 16.4 91 −14
National Liberal Party 1,662,700 13.6 45 −9
Progressive People's Party 1,497,000 12.3 42 −7
German Conservative Party 1,126,300 9.2 43 −17
Polish Party 441,600 3.6 18 −2
German Reich Party 367,200 3.0 14 −10
Economic Union 304,600 2.5 10 +5
Alsace-Lorraine Party 162,000 1.3 9 +2
German-Hanoverian Party 84,600 0.8 5 +4
German Reform Party 51,900 0.4 3 New
Danish Party 17,000 0.1 1 0
German Agrarian League 245,100 2.0 2 −6
Bavarian Peasants' League 2 +1
Others 2 −1
Invalid/blank votes 53,100
Total 12,260,600 100 397 0
Registered voters/turnout 13,352,900 84.9
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[edit]

  1. ^ Merger of the Free-minded People's Party (28 seats), Free-minded Union (14), and German People's Party (7).
  2. ^ a b Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (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. 
  6. ^ Ferguson, Niall (1999). The Pity of War: Explaining World War I. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-05712-8.