German federal election, 1912

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German federal election, 1912

← 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
  August Bebel c1910.jpg
Hugohaase.jpg
Georg von Hertling portrait (cropped).jpg Ernst Bassermann.jpg
Leader August Bebel
& Hugo Haase
Georg von Hertling Ernst Bassermann
Party SPD Centre NLP
Leader since 21 November 1892
& 1911
1909 1898
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 Sixth party
  Ernst von Heydebrand und der Lasa by E. Bieber.jpg Otto Fischbeck.jpg Ferdynand Radziwiłł c1914.jpg
Leader Ernst von Heydebrand und der Lasa Otto Fischbeck Ferdynand Radziwiłł
Party KP FVP PP
Leader since 1911 6 March 1910 1889
Last election 60 seats 49 seats[1] 20 seats
Seats won 43 42 18
Seat change Decrease17 Decrease7 Decrease2
Popular vote 1,126,300 1,497,000 441,600
Percentage 9.2% 12.3% 3.6%
Swing Decrease0.2% Increase1.4% Decrease0.3%

Karte der Reichstagswahlen 1912 en.png
Results of the 1912 Reichstag election.

President of the Reichstag before election

Hans Graf von Schwerin-Löwitz
KP

Elected President of the Reichstag

Johannes Kaempf
FVP

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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.

Georges Weill, the SPD candidate who won Metz in this election, defected to France at the start of World War I.

Results

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%
PP
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%
PP
4.53%
DRP
3.53%
Other
8.56%

References

  1. ^ Merger of the Free-minded People's Party (28 seats), Free-minded Union (14), and German People's Party (7).
  2. ^ a b Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (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.
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