SPD Election Poster (1932)
Shortly after the presidential election of March/April 1932, in which Hindenburg was reelected, voters were called upon to vote in a Reichstag election on July 31, 1932. This SPD election poster warns of the threat posed by National Socialists (symbolized by the swastika crown), on the one hand, and the noble, military, industrial, and national conservative elites (symbolized by the monocle), on the other. It was feared that the election of either would endanger the well-being of the people. During an election campaign marked by riots and extremist violence, several cities saw street fighting and battles in meeting halls between the SA, the Communist Rotfrontkämpferbund, and the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, in which numerous people were killed. The government reacted by declaring a state of emergency in the capital of Berlin, where riots were considered particularly dangerous. This enabled the ouster of the Social Democrat-led Prussian government as part of the so-called Preußenschlag [Prussian campaign]. On election day, voter turnout was remarkably high at 84.1%. The SPD lost about 3% of votes compared to the 1930 election and became the second strongest party in the Reichstag after the NSDAP. The third place finisher was the KPD, which, like the NSDAP, gained votes. The drastic loss of support for the democratic center parties proved to be particularly fateful for the Republic. Since no government could be formed due to the distribution of mandates, new elections were held in November of the same year. This did not change the distribution of power much, however. The November 1932 election turned out to be the last free election of the Weimar period.