Nazis Take 33.1 Percent of Vote in Reichstag Elections

11/6/1932

In the Reichstag elections in 1924, the Nazis received only 3 percent of the votes and were considered a phantom party. The political and economic crises that swept Germany in the late 1920s animated a dramatic Nazi ascent in the 1930s, the party's parliamentary strength increasing apace. In the so-called "disaster elections" in 1930, the Nazis took 18.3 percent of the vote. As parliamentary crises continued to afflict Germany, new elections were called in July 1932; this time, the Nazis earned 37.3 percent of the vote and became the largest party in the Reichstag. President Paul von Hindenburg, who had misgivings about Hitler, refused to appoint him to the chancellorship; Hitler, in turn, refused to join any coalition. The Conservative minority government did not hold on, and the electorate went to the polls again in November. In these elections, the strength of the Nazi Party slipped to 33.1 percent; many believed that the party had passed its peak and would begin to decline. The Conservative leader, Franz von Papen, held the chancellorship a little longer but was forced to resign amidst increasingly frequent coalition crises. In early December, the Defense Minister, Kurt von Schleicher, was named chancellor. His government, too, was not long-lived, and it fell on January 28, 1933. Hindenburg had little choice but to appoint Hitler to the premiership.