1912 German federal election

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, it had never won the most seats, and in the 1907 elections, it had won fewer than half the seats won by the Centre Party despite receiving over a million more votes.[3] However, the 1912 elections saw the SPD retain its position as the most voted-for party and become the largest party in the Reichstag, winning 110 of the 397 seats.[4]

1912 German federal election

 1907 12 January 1912 (1912-01-12) 1919 

All 397 seats in the Reichstag
199 seats needed for a majority
Registered14,442,387 8.16%
Turnout12,260,731 (84.89%) 0.24pp
  First party Second party Third party
Leader August Bebel
& Hugo Haase
Georg von Hertling Ernst Bassermann
Party SPD Centre NLP
Leader since 21 November 1892
& 1911
1909 1898
Last election 28.94%, 43 seats 18.79%, 101 seats 14.80%, 56 seats
Seats won 110 90 45
Seat change 67 11 11
Popular vote 4,250,400 1,988,504 1,662,700
Percentage 34.82% 16.29% 13.53%
Swing 5.88pp 2.50pp 1.27pp

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
Leader Ernst von Heydebrand und
der Lasa
Otto Fischbeck Ferdynand Radziwiłł
Party DKP FVP Polish Party
Leader since 1911 6 March 1910 1889
Last election 9.41%, 59 seats 10.66%, 50 seats[1] 4.03%, 20 seats
Seats won 41 41 18
Seat change 18 9 2
Popular vote 1,006,570 1,448,097 441,744
Percentage 8.25% 11.86% 3.62%
Swing 1.16pp 1.20pp 0.41pp

Map of results (by constituencies)

President of the Reichstag before election

Hans Graf von Schwerin-Löwitz

President of the Reichstag after election

Johannes Kaempf

Parties hostile or ambivalent to the ruling elites of the German Empire – the Social Democrats, the Centre Party, and the left-liberal Progressives – together won a majority of the seats. This allowed a successful 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. However, the Centre and the Progressives were unwilling to act consistently in opposition, which left the government largely free to do as it wished.

Some historians, such as Fritz Fischer, have theorized that the First World War was partly a result of the strategy of the conservative Prussian Junkers to deal with the result.[5] In an attempt to increase support for conservative parties and policies and to distract the population from the SPD, they hoped to drum up patriotism in an external conflict with Russia or another Eastern European state such as Serbia.

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

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article 1912 German federal election, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.