July 1932 German federal election

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July 1932 German federal election

← 1930 31 July 1932 (1932-07-31) Nov 1932 →

All 608 seats in the Reichstag
305 seats needed for a majority
Registered44,211,216 Increase 2.9%
Turnout37,162,691 (84.1%) Increase 2.1pp
  First party Second party Third party
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-10460, Adolf Hitler, Rednerposen (cropped).jpg
SPD 1932 leadership.jpg
Ernst Thälmann 1932.jpg
Leader Adolf Hitler Otto Wels
Arthur Crispien
Hans Vogel
Ernst Thälmann
Leader since 29 July 1921 1919 October 1925
Last election 18.3%, 107 seats 24.5%, 143 seats 13.1%, 77 seats
Seats won 230 133 89
Seat change Increase 123 Decrease 10 Increase 12
Popular vote 13,745,680 7,959,712 5,282,636
Percentage 37.3% 21.6% 14.3%
Swing Increase 19.0pp Decrease 2.9pp Increase 1.2pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Ludwig Kaas Konkordatsunterzeichnung mini.jpg
AlfredHugenberg1933 (cropped).jpeg
Heinrich Held, 1933 (cropped).jpg
Leader Ludwig Kaas Alfred Hugenberg Heinrich Held
Party Centre DNVP BVP
Leader since September 1928 1928 27 June 1924
Last election 11.8%, 68 seats 7.0%, 41 seats 3.0%, 19 seats
Seats won 75 37 22
Seat change Increase 7 Decrease 4 Increase 3
Popular vote 4,589,430 2,178,024 1,192,684
Percentage 12.4% 5.9% 3.2%
Swing Increase 0.6pp Decrease 1.1pp Increase 0.2pp

Results by district and independent city. Black lines delineate states and Prussian provinces.

Government before election

Papen cabinet

Government after election

Papen cabinet

Federal elections were held in Germany on 31 July 1932, following the premature dissolution of the Reichstag.[1] The Nazi Party made significant gains and became the largest party in the Reichstag for the first time, although they failed to win a majority. The Communist Party increased their vote share as well. All other parties combined held less than half the seats in the Reichstag, meaning no majority coalition government could be formed without including at least one of these two parties.


Campaigning in front of a polling place in Berlin

Since 1929, Germany had been suffering from the Great Depression; unemployment had risen from 8.5% to nearly 30% between 1929 and 1932,[2] while industrial production dropped by around 42%.[2] In March 1930, the governing grand coalition of the pro-republican parties–the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Centre Party and both liberal parties–collapsed. President Paul von Hindenburg appointed a minority government, headed by the Centre Party's Heinrich Brüning, which could only govern by using Hindenburg's emergency powers. The September 1930 elections produced a highly fragmented Reichstag, making the formation of a stable government impossible. The elections also saw the Nazi Party rise to national prominence,[2] gaining 95 seats.

Brüning's policies, implemented via presidential decree and tolerated by parliament, failed to solve the economic crisis and weakened the parliamentary system. In March 1932, the presidential elections began as a three-way race between the incumbent Hindenburg, supported by pro-democratic parties, against Hitler on the one hand and the Communist Ernst Thälmann on the other. Hitler received around a third of the vote and was defeated in the second round in April by Hindenburg, who won a narrow majority.[2] However, at the end of May 1932, Hindenburg was persuaded to dismiss Brüning as chancellor and replaced him with Franz von Papen, a renegade from the Centre Party, and a non-partisan "Cabinet of Barons". Papen's cabinet had almost no support in the Reichstag. Only three days after his appointment, he was faced with such opposition that he had Hindenburg dissolve the Reichstag and call new elections for 31 July so that the Reichstag could not dismiss him immediately.[3]


The election campaign took place under violent circumstances, as Papen lifted the token ban on the SA, the Nazi paramilitary, which Brüning had put in place during the last days of his administration. That inevitably led to clashes with the Communist paramilitary.


The elections resulted in significant gains by the Nazi Party; with 230 seats, it became the largest party in parliament for the first time, but lacked an overall majority. Neither the Nazi Party nor Hindenburg had a governing majority, and the other parties refused to co-operate, meaning no coalition government with a majority could be formed.[3] Papen's minority government continued in office, leading to another early election in November.

Nazi Party13,745,68037.27+19.02230+123
Social Democratic Party7,959,71221.58−2.95133−10
Communist Party of Germany5,282,63614.32+1.1989+12
Centre Party4,589,43012.44+0.6375+7
German National People's Party2,178,0245.91−1.1237−4
Bavarian People's Party1,192,6843.23+0.2022+3
German People's Party436,0021.18−3.337−23
German State Party371,8001.01−2.774−16
Christian Social People's Service364,5430.99−1.493−11
Reich Party of the German Middle Class146,8760.40−3.502−21
German Farmers' Party137,1330.37−0.602−4
Agricultural League96,8510.26−0.292−1
German Country People90,5540.25−2.921−18
Socialist Workers' Party of Germany72,6300.20New0New
German-Hanoverian Party46,9270.13−0.280−3
People's Justice Party40,8250.11–0.671+1
Poland List33,4360.09New0New
Kleinrentner, Inflationsgeschädigte und Vorkriegsgeldbesitzer14,8160.04New0New
Worker and Farmer Party of Germany/Christian Radical People's Front13,9500.04New0New
Free Economy Party of Germany12,2470.03New0New
Farmers, House and Property Owners9,4650.03New0New
Radical Middle Class8,6370.02New0New
Workers' and Farmers' Struggle Community4,5510.01New0New
Interessengemeinschaft der Kleinrentner und Inflationsgeschädigten2,9320.01New0New
National Socialist People's Alliance for Truth and Justice2,4360.01New0New
Handwerker, Handels- und Gewerbetreibende2,2210.01New0New
Kriegsteilnehmer, Kriegsbeschädigte und Kriegshinterbliebene2,2130.01New0New
Enteigneter Mittelstand2,1860.01New0New
Gerechtigkeitsbewegung für Parteienverbot – gegen Lohn-, Gehalts- und Rentenkürzungen – für Arbeitsbeschaffung2,0350.01New0New
German Free Economy Party1,9160.01New0New
Deutsche Einheitspartei für wahre Volkswirtschaft, Unterstützungsempfänger- Partei Deutschlands1,7090.00New0New
Schleswig Home1,5110.00New0New
Partei der Unzufriedenen1,3410.00New0New
Höchstgehalt der Beamten 5000 M. Für die Arbeitslosen und bis jetzt abgewiesenen Kriegsbeschädigten1,1410.00New0New
German Socialist Struggle Movement9470.00New0New
Liste gegen Kürzung der Invaliden-, Sozial- und Kriegsbeschädigtenrenten8870.00New0New
Unemployed Front8530.00New0New
Kampfbund gegen Hauszinssteuer7900.00New0New
German People's Community6180.00New0New
Schmalix Greater German List6100.00–0.0800
Schlesiens Handwerk und Gewerbe5980.00New0New
Der ernste evangelisch-lutherische Christ (Gerechtigkeits-Bewegung)5870.00New0New
Bund Bayerisches Handwerk und Gewerbe, Haus- und Grundbesitz und Landwirtschaft5770.00New0New
Schicksalsgemeinschaft deutscher Erwerbslosen5550.00New0New
Kampfgemeinschaft der Rentner, Sparer und Inflationsgeschädigten5320.00New0New
Nationale Rentner, Sparer und Inflationsgeschädigte5220.00New0New
Party of the Unemployed for Work and Bread4920.00New0New
Freiheitliche National-Soziale Deutsche Mittelstandsbewegung4800.00New0New
National Freedom Party of Germany3920.00New0New
National-soziale Partei gegen die Hauszinssteuer3760.00New0New
Kampfgemeinschaft für Handwerk, Gewerbe, Hausbesitz und Landwirtschaft3340.00New0New
General Social-National Unity Worker Party of Germany2770.00New0New
Freiwirtschaftsbewegung für Freiland, Freigeld, Festwährung2700.00New0New
German Workers' Party2570.00New0New
Nationaler Bürger- und Wirtschaftsblock2260.00New0New
Kampfbund der Lohn- und Gehaltsabgebauten und Auslandsgeschädigten1770.00New0New
Radical Party1540.00New0New
Kampfgemeinschaft der Lohn- und Gehaltsabgebauten1280.00New0New
Unitarianist Union of Germany810.00New0New
Mieter- und Volks-Reichspartei690.00New0New
German Social Monarchist Party660.00New0New
German Reform Party590.00New0New
Valid votes36,882,96499.25
Invalid/blank votes279,7270.75
Total votes37,162,691100.00
Registered voters/turnout44,211,21684.06
Source: Gonschior.de

Nazi Party vote share by constituency[edit]

Constituency %
East Prussia 47.1%
Berlin 24.6%
Potsdam II 33.0%
Potsdam I 38.1%
Frankfurt on the Oder 48.1%
Pomerania 47.9%
Breslau 43.5%
Liegnitz 48.0%
Oppeln 29.3%
Magdeburg 43.8%
Merseburg 42.6%
Thuringen 43.4%
Schleswig-Holstein 51.0%
Weser-Ems 38.4%
East Hanover 49.5%
South Hanover-Brunwsick 46.1%
North Westphalia 25.7%
South Westphalia 27.2%
Hessen-Nassau 43.6%
Cologne-Aachen 20.2%
Koblenz-Trier 28.8%
East Düsseldorf 31.6%
West Düsseldorf 27.0%
Upper Bavaria-Swabia 27.1%
Lower Bavaria 20.4%
Franconia 39.8%
Pfalz 43.7%
Dresden-Bautzen 39.3%
Leipzig 36.1%
Chemnitz-Zwickau 47.0%
Wurttemberg 30.3%
Baden 36.9%
Hessen-Darmstadt 43.1%
Hamburg 33.7%
Mecklenburg 44.8%
Total 37.3%
Source: Digi Zeit

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kerwin, Jerome G. (1932). "The German Reichstag Elections of July 31, 1932". American Political Science Review. 26 (5): 921–926. doi:10.2307/1947146. ISSN 0003-0554. JSTOR 1947146. S2CID 147155451.
  2. ^ a b c d The Holocaust Chronicle PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust. 2002.
  3. ^ a b Hornberger, Jacob G. How Hitler became a Dictator Archived 18 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine. 2004.