Party list election results by state: the lighter blue denotes states where CDU/CSU had the plurality of votes; darker blue denotes states where CDU/CSU had the absolute majority of the votes; and pink denotes states where the SPD had the plurality of votes
For the first time, the SPD announced a "chancellor-candidate", who was not chairman of the party: Willy Brandt, the Governing Mayor of West Berlin. After the building of the Berlin Wall, he gained more and more sympathy, while chancellor Konrad Adenauer was criticised for not showing enough support for the people of West Berlin. Adenauer had to save the absolute majority of CDU and CSU, but, considering his age and his long term as chancellor, there were big doubts if he should lead the country in a fourth term.
The absolute majority was lost by the conservative union due to the gains of the liberal FDP under Erich Mende.
Konrad Adenauer remained Chancellor, building a coalition between the CDU/CSU-FDP. In 1962 he had to announce a fifth cabinet: The FDP had temporarily left the coalition after the secretary of defense, Franz Josef Strauß (CSU), had ordered the arrest of five journalists for publishing a memo detailing alleged weaknesses in the German armed forces (known as the Spiegel scandal). In 1963 Adenauer finally resigned; Ludwig Erhard took over his position as head of the coalition and government.