July 1932 German federal election

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July 1932 German federal election

← 1930 31 July 1932 November 1932 →

All 608 seats in the Reichstag
305 seats needed for a majority
Registered44,211,216 Increase 2.9%
Turnout37,162,081 (84.1%) Increase 1.9 pp
  First party Second party Third party
  Hitler portrait crop.jpg Ottowelsportait.jpgArthur Crispien on the street.jpg
WP Hans Vogel.jpg
Ernst Thälmann 1932.jpg
Leader Adolf Hitler Otto Wels
Arthur Crispien
Hans Vogel
Ernst Thälmann
Leader since 28 July 1921 1919 October 1925
Last election 107 seats, 18.25% 143 seats, 24.53% 77 seats, 13.13%
Seats won 230 133 89
Seat change Increase123 Decrease10 Increase12
Popular vote 13,745,680 7,959,712 5,282,636
Percentage 37.27% 21.58% 14.32%
Swing Increase19.02% Decrease2.55% Increase1.19%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Ludwig Kaas Konkordatsunterzeichnung mini.jpg AlfredHugenberg1933 (cropped).jpeg Heinrich held 102 01176crop.png
Leader Ludwig Kaas Alfred Hugenberg Heinrich Held
Party Centre DNVP BVP
Leader since September 1928 1928 27 June 1924
Last election 68 seats, 11.81% 41 seats, 7.03% 19 seats, 3.23%
Seats won 75 37 22
Seat change Increase7 Decrease4 Increase3
Popular vote 4,589,430 2,178,024 1,192,684
Percentage 12.44% 5.91% 3.23%
Swing Increase0.63% Decrease1.12% Decrease0.14%

Reichstagswahl Juli 1932.svg
Constituencies coloured according to the party that received the largest share of the vote.

Chancellor before election

Franz von Papen

Elected Chancellor

None (von Papen remained as unelected Chancellor)

Federal elections were held in Germany on 31 July 1932, following the premature dissolution of the Reichstag. 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.


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,[1] while industrial production dropped by around 42%.[1] In March 1930, the governing grand coalition of the pro-republican parties (the Social Democratic Party (SPD), 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,[1] gaining 95 seats.

Brüning's policies, implemented via presidential decree and tolerated by parliament, failed to solve the economic crisis but weakened the parliamentary system. In March 1932, presidential elections pitted the incumbent Hindenburg, supported by pro-democratic parties, against Hitler and the Communist Ernst Thälmann. Hitler received around a third of the vote and was defeated in the second round in April by Hindenburg, who won a narrow majority.[1] 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 the opposition and had Hindenburg dissolve the Reichstag and called for new elections for 31 July so that the Reichstag could not dismiss him immediately.[2]


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.[2] Papen's minority government continued in office, leading to another early election in November.

Reichstag composition after July 1932 election.svg
Nazi Party13,745,68037.27230+123
Social Democratic Party7,959,71221.58133–10
Communist Party of Germany5,282,63614.3289+12
Centre Party4,589,43012.4475+7
German National People's Party2,178,0245.9137–4
Bavarian People's Party1,192,6843.2322+3
German People's Party436,0021.187–23
German State Party371,8001.014–16
Christian Social People's Service364,5430.993–11
Reich Party of the German Middle Class146,8760.402–21
German Farmers' Party137,1330.372–4
Agricultural League96,8510.262–1
German Country People90,5540.251–18
Socialist Workers' Party of Germany72,6300.200New
German-Hanoverian Party46,9270.130–3
People's Justice Party40,8250.111+1
Poland List33,4360.090New
Nationalsozialistische Kleinrentner, Inflationsgeschädigte und Vorkriegsgeldbesitzer14,8160.040New
Worker and Farmer Party of Germany/Christian Radical People's Front13,9500.040New
Free Economy Party of Germany12,2470.030New
Farmers, House and Property Owners9,4650.030New
Radical Middle Class8,6370.020New
Kampfgemeinschaft der Arbeiter und Bauern4,5510.010New
Interessengemeinschaft der Kleinrentner und Inflationsgeschädigten2,9320.010New
National Socialist People's Alliance for Truth and Justice2,4360.010New
Nationalsozialistische Handwerker, Handels- und Gewerbetreibende2,2210.010New
Nationalsozialistische Kriegsteilnehmer, Kriegsbeschädigte und Kriegshinterbliebene2,2130.010New
Nationalsozialistischer enteigneter Mittelstand2,1860.010New
Gerechtigkeitsbewegung für Parteienverbot – gegen Lohn-, Gehalts- und Rentenkürzungen – für Arbeitsbeschaffung2,0350.010New
German Free Economy Party1,9160.010New
Deutsche Einheitspartei für wahre Volkswirtschaft, Unterstützungsempfänger- Partei Deutschlands1,7090.000New
Schleswig Home1,5110.000New
Partei der Unzufriedenen1,3410.000New
Höchstgehalt der Beamten 5000 M. Für die Arbeitslosen und bis jetzt abgewiesenen Kriegsbeschädigten1,1410.000New
German Socialist Struggle Movement9470.000New
Liste gegen Kürzung der Invaliden-, Sozial- und Kriegsbeschädigtenrenten8870.000New
Unemployed Front8530.000New
Kampfbund gegen Hauszinssteuer7900.000New
German People's Community6180.000New
Greater Germany Schmalix List6100.000New
Schlesiens Handwerk und Gewerbe5980.000New
Der ernste evangelisch-lutherische Christ (Gerechtigkeits-Bewegung)5870.000New
Bund Bayerisches Handwerk und Gewerbe, Haus- und Grundbesitz und Landwirtschaft5770.000New
Schicksalsgemeinschaft deutscher Erwerbslosen5550.000New
Kampfgemeinschaft der Rentner, Sparer und Inflationsgeschädigten5320.000New
Nationale Rentner, Sparer und Inflationsgeschädigte5220.000New
Party of the Unemployed for Work and Bread4920.000New
Freiheitliche National-Soziale Deutsche Mittelstandsbewegung4800.000New
National Freedom Party of Germany3920.000New
National-Soziale Partei gegen die Hauszinssteuer3760.000New
Nationalsoziale Kampfgemeinschaft für Handwerk, Gewerbe, Hausbesitz und Landwirtschaft3340.000New
General Social-National Unity Worker Party of Germany2770.000New
Freiwirtschaftsbewegung für Freiland, Freigeld, Festwährung2700.000New
German Workers Party2570.000New
Nationaler Bürger- und Wirtschaftsblock2260.000New
Kampfbund der Lohn- und Gehaltsabgebauten und Auslandsgeschädigten1770.000New
Radical Party1540.000New
Kampfgemeinschaft der Lohn- und Gehaltsabgebauten1280.000New
Unitarianist Union of Germany810.000New
Mieter- und Volks-Reichspartei690.000New
German Social Monarchist Party660.000New
German Reform Party590.000New
Valid votes36,882,96499.25
Invalid/blank votes279,7270.75
Total votes37,162,691100.00
Registered voters/turnout44,211,21684.06
Source: Gonschior.de

See also[edit]