Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Essay: The Remarkable 1928 German Election

This is one of those history lesson essays that I occasionally write.  The topic?  How to build the weakest coalition possible in German politics and lead right down the path for the Nazi vote in November of 1932.

So, in May of 1928.....the Germans held a federal election.  Roughly three-quarters of the public came and actually voted.  The public was charged up and feeling enthusiastic about the various promises on the table from different political parties.  The results with this election could be split into a couple of remarkable things.

First, there were forty-one parties across Germany in this election.  Roughly twenty-percent of the vote.....were for parties below the five-percent margin.  In these days, it didn't matter with that five-percent or better rule that Germany has today.

Fifteen parties walked into the new Bundestag after this election....with seats.  Amusing in some ways.....but it will detract from stability.

The Communist Party?  They took 10.6-percent of the vote.  Because of the twenty-percent vote for oddball minor parties, and the Communist Party's a problem to create a coalition authority in this new government.

So, the SPD does what is remarkable.....they build this coalition out of four political parties.  Just to suggest this meeting where all four are at the table and trying to form some agreements, and split the cabinet posts.....probably took an enormous amount of skill and patience.

A 'Grand Coalition' with the SPD, Centre Party, DDP, and DVP.  What most will say is that four came to some acceptable agreement on foreign policy, but marginally agreed to internal policy.

So when 1929 rolled around and the economic woes of Wall Street came to Germany.....these four members of the Grand Coalition were not in any position to be smart, agreeable, or prioritize the solution ahead.

What Germans were able to view over the period between the economic downfall and the November 1932 election....was crappy politics and weak leadership.  Why trust any of these players?

The election of 1928 laid down the framework for the Nazis to emerge as a potential solution to the woes of the country.

Thirty-one million Germans voted in 1928, and stood up one of the weakest possible government coalitions.  You can spends lots of time talking about Hitler speeches and Brown Shirts, but democracy itself.....helped to put the Nazis into the right place, at the right time, with the message that the public accepted.

No comments: