German National Elections December, 1924

November 7, 1924
Entire Report

Causes of Dissolution of Reichstag

The German elections to be held on December 7 were made necessary by the decree of President Ebert, dated October 20th, dissolving the Reichstag which was elected only last May. This presidential decree was issued, according to German constitutional practice upon the recommendation of the present chancellor, Dr. Marx. The action of the chancellor was directly caused by the failure of his efforts to extend the present coalition government to include the Nationalist party. In a broader sense, however, the present crisis is merely the latest manifestation of the complicated political situation in Germany. With a Reichstag made up of seven major parties, Government is possible only by coalition. The weakness of the Marx government, based on a coalition of the Center, the Democrats and the People's Party, supported by two minor groups, was that it depended for its existence in emergencies upon the support either of the Nationalists or the Socialists. It was Chancellor Marx's desire to put an end to this uncertain situation which led to his negotiations with the Nationalists and the subsequent necessity of dissolution.

In addition to the above causes there was the common desire of all the moderate parties, and especially of the Socialists to hold a new election under more normal conditions than existed last May, when the country was in a state of feverish uncertainty. The French were then still maintaining a claim to semi-permanent occupation of the Ruhr and the obvious burdens laid on Germany by the Dawes report, rather than its possible benefits, were uppermost in the minds of the voters. Now that the Ruhr menace has apparently been removed and comparative financial stability has been achieved, the extremists on both sides are considered likely to lose some of the strength which they gained under more unsettled conditions.

Composition of Reichstag

The recently dissolved Reichstag was composed as follows:

Ludendorff Party 32
Nationalists 105
People's Party 45
Center 65
Bavarian People's Party
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Regional Political Affairs: Europe