German federal election, 1920

The Reichstag election of June 6, 1920, the second choice during the Weimar Republic and the first to a regular German Reichstag. Here, the Weimar coalition lost its majority. The SPD suffered very heavy losses, the left-liberal DDP even lost more than half their rate of profit. The figures for the Centre Party ( Z) is to be noted that the BVP time in competition took to her.

The loss of the majority of the Republic of supporting parties of the Weimar Coalition was, as it turned out, last.


Although the first regular parliamentary election was scheduled until the fall of 1920, it was clear then in most voting areas, whether they remained part of the German Empire or not, the government bowed under Hermann Müller the request of the rights after the end of the Kapp Putsch to holding of the election at an earlier date. This meant that the elections had to be rescheduled in the remaining areas in Germany vote.

The Kapp Putsch and the consequences about the Ruhr uprising but also the Treaty of Versailles and the tax reform had a significant impact on the outcome of the election. In the left bearing these events caused a radicalization. On the left you have the state-supporting parties criticized because they could grow strong the forces of reaction. In the middle resulted in the internal troubles to yearning for authoritarianism and a turning to the right parties. The rights of the Weimar coalition has been accused of violating the national honor and ownership interests.


First of all, one towards the lower election to the National Assembly by 4 % turnout has to be stated. The republican parties have personally sustained a severe defeat. The biggest losses were in the MSPD and the DDP. The moderate Social Democrats received 37.9 % held only 21.6% of the vote. The DDP decreased from 18.5 % to 8.3%. Low were the losses of the Centre Party.

Of the losses benefited the right and left parties. The German People's Party increased its share from 4.4% to 13.9%. The DNVP increased from 13.3 % to 15.1%. On the left side of the political spectrum, the USPD has improved from 7.6% to 17.9%. Added to 2.1% were used for the KPD, which ran for the first time. Overall, the anti-republican or at least critical parties of DVP, DNVP, USPD and KPD came to 49% of the vote. Only one year after the revolution of 1918 was thus a large part of the population against the new state at least distant.

The reconstruction of the voter migration shows that the MSPD had lost mainly votes to the USPD. Particularly strong were the losses of the MSPD and the profits of the USPD in the big cities. Losses suffered by the MSPD but also in the country. In East Prussia, where the elections were rescheduled in 1921, bought the farm workers who had voted in 1919 for the SPD, now reinforced the DNVP. In the bourgeois camp changed many voters of the DDP for DVP. Anton Erkelenz brought the voting behavior on a plastic formula. In 1919, the membership card of the DDP would have been regarded as " life insurance policy with the feared St. Bartholomew's Day "; in 1920, however, a membership card of the DVP would have served as " insurance policy against division of property ."

The outcome of the election meant that the Weimar Coalition had called the actual bearer of the Republic lost its majority. In the following elections should point out that this was a permanent development. Politically had won the forces that had not supported the class compromise of 1919.

Results and regional division

  • KPD: 4
  • USPD: 84
  • SPD: 102
  • DDP: 39
  • Z: 64
  • BVP: 21
  • DVP: 65
  • DNVP: 71
  • Otherwise:. 9

With 35.949 million voters 28.463 million valid votes were cast. The turnout was thus 79.2 %.

In terms of regional party preference was shown by constituency to constituency a heterogeneous picture. Seven parties were in at least one constituency strongest force. The SPD received in eleven constituencies the most votes, including in Northern Germany and Lower Silesia, while the USPD achieved their best results in central Germany. In the majority Catholic areas such as the Rhineland and Upper Silesia, the center was strongest in Bavaria, the Bavarian People's Party. The strongholds of the DNVP were in Pomerania and East Prussia. The DVP won two constituencies. In the constituency Osthannover a regional party uniting the highest number of votes, namely the German - Hanoverian Party ( DHP).

After the election, the Reichstag was composed as follows:

1) The votes of 19.7 % as compared with the number of the election to the German National Assembly in 1919 is common for the center and the BVP.

Government formation

After the election, the unclear political situation led to protracted negotiations on forming a government. Finally, a bourgeois minority cabinet of DDP, DVP and Centre came into existence after the DVP had promised to act on the basis of the constitution. The SPD refused participation in government, because they no longer wanted to their electorate accept responsibility for unpopular measures. Another aspect was that the party did not want to cooperate with the DVP, but this had led a decidedly anti-social democratic campaign and represented large industrial interests. Reich President Friedrich Ebert appointed Konstantin Fehrenbach from the center to the Chancellor. Although the SPD did not participate in the government, but this was dependent on the toleration by the Social Democrats.