1936 German parliamentary election and referendum

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1936 German parliamentary election

← November 1933 29 March 1936 1938 →

All 741 seats in the Reichstag
371 seats needed for a majority
Turnout99.00% Increase 3.7 pp
  Majority party
  Hitler portrait crop.jpg
Leader Adolf Hitler
Leader since 29 July 1921
Last election 661 seats, 92.11%
Seats won 741
(Sole legal party)
Seat change Increase80
Popular vote 44,462,458
Percentage 98.80%
Swing Increase6.69%

German Reichstag, 1936.svg
Reichstag composition

Chancellor before election

Adolf Hitler


Adolf Hitler

Parliamentary elections were held in Germany on 29 March 1936.[1] They took the form of a single-question referendum, asking voters whether they approved of the military occupation of the Rhineland and a single party list for the new Reichstag composed exclusively of Nazis and nominally independent 'guests' of the party. Like previous votes in the Nazi era, it was rigged,[2] with a claimed turnout of 99% and 98.8% voting in favour. In a publicity stunt, a number of voters were packed aboard the airships Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg, which flew above the Rhineland as those aboard cast their ballots.[3]

This was the first German election held after enactment of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, which had removed citizenship rights (including the right to vote) from Jews and other ethnic minorities. In the previous elections and referendums under Nazi rule, Jews, Poles and other ethnic minorities had been allowed to vote without much interference, and even tacitly encouraged to vote against the Nazis (especially in districts that were known to have large populations of ethnic minorites). On 7 March 1936, Jews and Gypsies lost their right to vote.[4] Their removal from the electoral process accounted for much of the large drop in invalid and negative votes,[citation needed] which fell from over five million in 1934 to barely half a million in 1936. The Nazis also lowered the voting age, in large part so as to ensure that the electorate was about the same size as in 1934 but also to exploit the relatively enthusiastic support of younger Germans for the Nazi regime.

Electoral slip from the constituency of Upper BavariaSwabia, Hitler's home constituency, with seven prearranged candidates[a]. Voters only had to accept or dismiss this option, as no other lists were available.

The new Reichstag convened for formulary procedures on 30 January 1937 to re-elect its Presidium and Hermann Göring as President of the Reichstag.


Choice Votes % Seats
For 44,462,458 98.80 741
Against 540,244 1.20
Total 45,002,702 100 741
Registered voters/turnout 45,455,217 99.00
Source: Nohlen & Stöver



  1. ^ Nohlen, Dieter; Stöver, Philip (2010). Elections in Europe: A data handbook. p. 762. ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7.
  2. ^ Richard J. Evans (26 July 2012). The Third Reich in Power, 1933 - 1939: How the Nazis Won Over the Hearts and Minds of a Nation. Penguin Books Limited. p. 637. ISBN 978-0-7181-9681-3.
  3. ^ "Germans for Hitler 99 Per Cent Strong: All Ballots Against Nazi Held Invalid". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Associated Press. 30 March 1936. p. 1.
  4. ^ Robert Gellately; Nathan Stoltzfus (27 May 2001). Social Outsiders in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Press. p. 216. ISBN 0-691-08684-2.

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