Sunday, February 10, 2013

Historical Elections

Teddy here again with another weekly special, this time scheduled for Sundays. This will be the only time when you'll get both a Saturday and Sunday update, as, I'll be using this to help full out the weekend on those weeks when there is nothing to update.

This series focuses on historical elections from Canada, it's Provinces, and around the world.

Today, I thought I'd focus on the German elections of 1912.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_1912

These elections took place just prior to the first World War, and were the last until the 1919 elections under the Weimar Republic.

The Wikipedia page will tell you the Social Democrats won, but that is not why I'm talking about the election. Of note is what happened in the various areas of Germany.

Full map: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Karte_der_Reichstagswahlen_1912_en.png

In the areas annex from France a few decades prior, the biggest victories went to local and regional parties; MPs were elected who were of the French community. Similar trends happened in areas that had a majority Polish vote. The third area that saw a large number of local and regional members elected as in Hanover. This had been annexed to Prussia, but, prior to that, had been it's own country, and, prior to the 1830's, had in fact shared Kings with the United Kingdom.

You may note that in the Hesse area, many anti-semetic candidates were elected. Only one of the MPs from this Parliament would go on to fully back the NAZIs. He would be named the President of Hesse, and in fact, survive the war and be "de-nazified" The simple fact that these people were elected in this parliament speaks to some of the deeper troubles within the German politik that helped cause the rise of Hitler.

If you check your history maps, you'll notice that the Conservatives have done very well in traditionally Prussian areas. You'll also notice that the Centre Party has swept in areas where Catholics are the majority. The Social Democrats did very well in Saxony, and areas to the north and west, while the Progressives managed to pick up seats just about everywhere.

What I find most interesting is the vote patterns for the National Liberals. They won an extremely small number of seats in Prussia, but did very well outside of Prussia.


What happened after is also of historic note. The Conservatives would evolve into a very right-wing party in the Weimar era. It was with their support that Hitler was able to command a majority when the Reichstag burned down. The party did not even attempt to re-form after WW2. The National Liberals would eventually evolve into the modern Liberals (FDP) in Germany. The Centre Party and Social Democrats both survived the first war, and were the two most powerful parties in the Weimar era, until the NAZI party knocked them both off. They both returned after the second world war as well. The Social Democrats are still around to this day. The Centre Party went though a change, with the rump of the party still in existence as a small meaningless group  but the majority of members having gone on to form the CDU, Germany's main Conservative party.The main difference was the CDU's appeal to all Germans, not just those who are Catholic.

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