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Election maps and assorted others

Ares96

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Nope - East Berlin was a sui generis district that probably came closer to a Bezirk than a Kreis in its powers. Also, I think it's fair to say it was named for its seat of government - "Hauptstadt der DDR" was less a part of the name and more a title of the sort that German municipalities quite often adopt (Universitätsstadt, Hansestadt, Landeshauptstadt etc.)
 

Makemakean

Mr Makemean
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Logical, unlike those in German
Nope - East Berlin was a sui generis district that probably came closer to a Bezirk than a Kreis in its powers. Also, I think it's fair to say it was named for its seat of government - "Hauptstadt der DDR" was less a part of the name and more a title of the sort that German municipalities quite often adopt (Universitätsstadt, Hansestadt, Landeshauptstadt etc.)
Hamelin is actually officially Rattenfängerstadt Hameln, which is just taking this tradition to eleven.
 

Ares96

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Here’s a fun fact: the Saalkreis was one of two districts in the GDR not to be named after their seat of government. Can you guess the other one?
The answer, BTW, is Rügen. Originally it was divided into two districts, based in (and named for) the towns of Bergen and Putbus, but when they were merged in 1956, the new district was just named for the island.
 

Ares96

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Saxony is a bit harder, partly because I haven't been able to find any old municipal borders outside the three big cities, and partly because Wikipedia's basemaps of it are in a completely different projection from the S-A, Thüringen and Brandenburg ones. With that in mind, I've decided to try to do it piecemeal rather than all at once, so here's Bezirk Leipzig with its districts:

ddr-gemeinden-1989.png

Blank areas are present-day (well, 2011) municipalities that were split between more than one district in 1989. For obvious reasons, sorting those out and getting municipal borders done within the districts are both going to be quite hard.
 
Austria 1983/1986

Ares96

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In 1983, after twelve years of single-party government, the SPÖ lost their majority. It had been quite an achievement to win an overall majority in the first place, and in every election since 1971 they'd gone in with plans for what to do if they lost it - the plan being to form a coalition with the FPÖ. This might seem odd to us today, but at the time the FPÖ was mostly a liberal party along the lines of the FDP in Germany, although they still had a large ex-Nazi element (as did the FDP in its early days, for that matter). This had brought controversy in 1975, when the FPÖ was still led by former SS officer Friedrich Peter, but by 1983 he'd retired and been replaced with Norbert Steger, a young liberal-minded lawyer who seemed to genuinely want to clean up his party. The SPÖ-FPÖ coalition became a reality, just a year after its German counterpart had been toppled in a confidence vote. But Bruno Kreisky, who was now 72 years old and rapidly losing kidney function, would not be leading this new government. Instead the task fell to Fred Sinowatz, a Burgenland Croat who'd served as Kreisky's education minister. Kreisky would spend his retirement sniping at his party colleagues and suing Simon Wiesenthal for defamation, and finally died in 1990.

val-at-1983.png

Sinowatz would not be long-lived as Chancellor. In 1986, two major events happened that shattered the governing coalition. In June, the presidential election saw Kurt Waldheim, former Wehrmacht intelligence officer and Secretary General of the UN, win office in spite of revelations that he'd been extensively involved in Nazi war crimes (which somehow didn't surface over the ten years he spent at the UN). Although Kreisky, ever the weird unit when it came to the Nazi legacy, supported Waldheim against his accusers, Sinowatz and several of his ministers decided their conscience wouldn't let them serve under Waldheim, and so they resigned as soon as he was elected. Sinowatz would be succeeded as Chancellor by Franz Vranitzky, who would in time become the first Austrian head of government to seriously reckon with the country's role in World War II and the Holocaust. That was still some years away, however, and the immediate crisis was still not over. In September 1986, at the FPÖ conference, Norbert Steger was overthrown by the "German-national" wing of the party. In his place, the party was taken over by Jörg Haider, the son of two actual pre-Anschluss Austrian Nazis (we hate Austrian Nazis), who advocated a hard line against immigrants, Islam, welfare fraud and big finance - a blueprint that would be followed by a generation of right-wing populists across Europe. Even though Kreisky (again) had praised Haider's political acumen, his ideological position meant that the SPÖ couldn't possibly govern with him, and Vranitzky chose to dissolve the National Council rather than try to work with the FPÖ any longer. The result was mixed - the SPÖ made no gains, but neither did the opposition ÖVP. Indeed, the two-party system began to buckle for the first time since the war, with the FPÖ nearly reaching ten percent of the vote and the Greens (newly united after contesting the 1983 election as two separate parties) entering the Council for the first time with around five percent and eight seats.

val-at-1986.png

The 1986 election saw a return to the grand coalition, as neither the SPÖ nor the ÖVP wanted to work with Haider and there was no other path to a majority without him. This time, it would last fourteen years, seeing Austria through to the end of the millennium.
 

Ares96

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As a little byproduct of the above, here's a rough map showing the states and provinces to which each municipality belonged as of circa 1945.

deutschland-1945.png

In green, Thüringen
In orange-brown, Saxony
In lime, the Prussian Province of Saxony (merged into Sachsen-Anhalt in 1946)
In teal, the Free State of Anhalt (merged into Sachsen-Anhalt in 1946)
In yellow, the parts of the Free State of Brunswick were in the Soviet zone (also merged into S-A)
In blue, the Prussian region of Erfurt (removed from the Province of Saxony and placed under the administration of the Reichsstatthalter for Thüringen in 1944, then definitively merged into it by the Soviets after the war) as well as those tiny parts of Brandenburg currently in S-A
In matte brown, the parts of the Province of Hessen-Nassau (also merged into Thüringen by the Soviets)

Lighter shades indicate independent cities - at some point I may do some recolouring of borders to indicate the Landkreise, although I most likely won't actually try to map the municipalities. As it turns out, quite a few were merged as part of the 1952 boundary reform, and Thüringen had unorganised forest districts that were abolished around the same time.
 
Bayern 1924

Ares96

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And now for something completely different.

The 1924 Bavarian Landtag election was a big sign of things to come for Germany, held as it was just days after the verdict in the "Hitler Trial" was announced. The previous year, as most of you are likely aware, a clique of right-wing nationalists led by Adolf Hitler and Erich von Ludendorff had attempted to stage a putsch in Munich with the goal of overthrowing the state government and marching on Berlin - they got as far as occupying a beer hall and marching most of the way to the Ministry of Defence (which Bayern obviously had - German federalism is weird) before the police stopped them, killing 16 putschists and sending Hitler and Ludendorff to jail. The resulting treason trial went from late February until the 1st of April, famously giving Hitler the best platform he could ever hope for to get his message out into the press and the public record. Ludendorff ended up acquitted, but Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison, of which he only ended up serving nine months. Once again, he used his time shrewdly, and when he was released in December, he had a finished manuscript for Mein Kampf, his political memoir, ready to be published.

By the time Hitler's verdict was announced, however, the campaign for the state elections was in full swing. After their putsch failed, Hitler and Ludendorff's supporters went to work organising a political movement that could carry on their ambitions and prove that their views held sway with the German people. Although the "Völkischer Block" ("völkisch" is very hard to translate, but "nationalist" is close enough for government work) only received moderate success nationally, winning around seven percent of the vote in the May 1924 Reichstag election, their results in Bayern were far more encouraging. The state campaign had benefited hugely from the publicity surrounding the trial, and as polling day was less than a week after the verdict came out, momentum was still on the VB's side. They reached a staggering 17%, nearly wresting second place from the SPD and inflicting serious blows against nearly all parties of the centre-right. In particular, supporters of the liberal parties abandoned ship en masse to vote tactically against the VB, presaging the similar developments on the federal level after the 1929 financial crash.

The emergency government installed following the Hitler-Ludendorff putsch resigned after the elections, giving way to a BVP-BB coalition under BVP leader Heinrich Held. Although not having a majority, the coalition was tolerated by the Landtag, and indeed Bayern became one of the most politically stable states in Germany during the late 20s and early 30s - a powerful contrast to its status in the early 20s.

val-de-by-1924.png

1920 here
 
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Reichstagswahl 1932/I (Franken)

Ares96

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I found out that Nürnberg maintains a statistics website that includes election reports going back to 1928. Among them - a breakdown of the July 1932 election results in Franken.

This is, of course, the most depressing free election held in the Weimar Republic, with the Nazis getting 37 percent of the vote and becoming the strongest party by far in Germany. We can see this very clearly in Franken, which as the home of the NSDAP congress grounds in Nürnberg-Dutzendteich and the offices of Der Stürmer, the Nazi tabloid (whose editor Julius Streicher was also the head of the local party organisation), was a key region for the Nazis. Coburg was the first city to fly the swastika flag from its town hall, the party having won an overall majority in the 1929 local elections, and in January 1932 gave Hitler honorary citizenship. In April, Hitler failed to be elected President, losing by a 15-point margin to Paul von Hindenburg, the incumbent, who had the backing of every party but the Nazis and the KPD. Even so, the Nazis looked with confidence to the next Reichstag elections, which came surprisingly soon - the emergency government of Heinrich Brüning was dismissed in May, and the new cabinet under Franz von Papen looked likely to be toppled by the Reichstag if it were allowed to meet, so Hindenburg and Papen gambled on an early dissolution.

The result was disastrous for pretty much everyone except the Nazis, or possibly including the Nazis - with the NSDAP holding over a third of the seats and the KPD another sixth, there was no path to a majority for anyone. With only the KPD, SPD, Centre/BVP, DNVP and NSDAP breaking into double figures of seats, the usual formula of a centre-right government relying on passive support from the centre-left or vice versa was completely unfeasible, and the SPD and KPD's mutual distrust made a popular front a nonstarter even if such an alliance could've won majority support (it probably wouldn't have, unless the Centre somehow got on board - considering Brüning and his faction were in ascendance at this point, I'd rate that unlikely). The only option left was another early election, which came in November and yielded another inconclusive result.

Returning to Franken, the religious split within the region is on clear display here. The former prince-bishoprics of Würzburg, Bamberg and Eichstätt showed strong majorities for the BVP (in grey), mirroring the general pattern in Catholic Germany, while the Protestant regions around Ansbach and Bayreuth (both formerly Hohenzollern principalities) were equally strong for the Nazis. The only areas not to vote for either were the small industrial cities of Schwabach and Schweinfurt, which both voted SPD by narrow margins - Nürnberg and Fürth, which had been SPD cities until then, came out with small Nazi pluralities due to the vote split between the SPD and KPD.

val-de-1932-i-ny.png
 

Thande

Bündnis für Freizeit, Garagetigkeit und Nachmittag
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I found out that Nürnberg maintains a statistics website that includes election reports going back to 1928. Among them - a breakdown of the July 1932 election results in Franken.

This is, of course, the most depressing free election held in the Weimar Republic, with the Nazis getting 37 percent of the vote and becoming the strongest party by far in Germany. We can see this very clearly in Franken, which as the home of the NSDAP congress grounds in Nürnberg-Dutzendteich and the offices of Der Stürmer, the Nazi tabloid (whose editor Julius Streicher was also the head of the local party organisation), was a key region for the Nazis. Coburg was the first city to fly the swastika flag from its town hall, the party having won an overall majority in the 1929 local elections, and in January 1932 gave Hitler honorary citizenship. In April, Hitler failed to be elected President, losing by a 15-point margin to Paul von Hindenburg, the incumbent, who had the backing of every party but the Nazis and the KPD. Even so, the Nazis looked with confidence to the next Reichstag elections, which came surprisingly soon - the emergency government of Heinrich Brüning was dismissed in May, and the new cabinet under Franz von Papen looked likely to be toppled by the Reichstag if it were allowed to meet, so Hindenburg and Papen gambled on an early dissolution.

The result was disastrous for pretty much everyone except the Nazis, or possibly including the Nazis - with the NSDAP holding over a third of the seats and the KPD another sixth, there was no path to a majority for anyone. With only the KPD, SPD, Centre/BVP, DNVP and NSDAP breaking into double figures of seats, the usual formula of a centre-right government relying on passive support from the centre-left or vice versa was completely unfeasible, and the SPD and KPD's mutual distrust made a popular front a nonstarter even if such an alliance could've won majority support (it probably wouldn't have, unless the Centre somehow got on board - considering Brüning and his faction were in ascendance at this point, I'd rate that unlikely). The only option left was another early election, which came in November and yielded another inconclusive result.

Returning to Franken, the religious split within the region is on clear display here. The former prince-bishoprics of Würzburg, Bamberg and Eichstätt showed strong majorities for the BVP (in grey), mirroring the general pattern in Catholic Germany, while the Protestant regions around Ansbach and Bayreuth (both formerly Hohenzollern principalities) were equally strong for the Nazis. The only areas not to vote for either were the small industrial cities of Schwabach and Schweinfurt, which both voted SPD by narrow margins - Nürnberg and Fürth, which had been SPD cities until then, came out with small Nazi pluralities due to the vote split between the SPD and KPD.

View attachment 45759
There has to be some joke in here about Schweinfurt's ball bearing factory and Hitler only having one...you get the idea.
 

Ares96

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So in the end, due to library mixups, the only book I was able to get a hold of was the 1928 election - some would say the most normal one held under the Weimar Republic, and no I'm not just saying that because it was the SPD's best election, shut up.

Our first constituency is East Prussia, which was isolated from the rest of the country as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, and so formed a pretty natural community of interest - uniquely, it was also not part of a Wahlkreisverband for seat distribution purposes, instead sending its rest votes directly to the national level.

The most obvious geographic division we can see on this map is between the former Prince-Bishopric of Warmia (Ermland), which was mostly Catholic and voted for the Centre Party, and the rest of the province, which was overwhelmingly Protestant and tended to follow the urban-rural split seen across much of eastern Germany, with the SPD doing well in urban and industrialised areas while the DNVP won majorities in most of the countryside. This is, of course, because of the prevalence of large landed estates and the patronage politics that followed, but in East Prussia there was also a particular sense of national identity at play. This is especially true along the Polish border, where the border polls in 1920 had whipped up powerful German nationalist sentiment, and in 1928 those areas continued to vote overwhelmingly for the DNVP, giving the party a narrow overall plurality over the SPD across the province. The district of Oletzko (in the southeast - one of the darkest DNVP shades on the map), where only two (2) votes were cast supporting a transfer to Poland, was renamed Treuburg (treu meaning "loyal") by the Nazis when they took over in 1933.

Two of the free cities stand out - Königsberg, the provincial capital and one of the twenty largest cities in Germany, voted for the right-liberal DVP by a narrow margin, largely because it was the second-best city in the province for the KPD. Their best city was Tilsit, where they actually won a narrow plurality of the votes. In general, the pattern is similar to that of most of the rest of Europe during this time - with the exception of Catholic Allenstein, the SPD did better in the mid-sized regional towns than they did in the major cities (well, the major city, in this case).

val-de-1928-ny.png
 

Ares96

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Our second (and last for tonight) province is Brandenburg, which was significantly more populous than East Prussia and so divided into four constituencies, which were in turn grouped into two Wahlkreisverbände (WKV). This is, of course, the province that included Berlin, although Berlin was administratively separate from the province and sent its own representatives to the Staatsrat (eight delegates) and Reichsrat (one delegate). In 1920, Berlin was massively expanded to include its entire built-up area and significant amounts of countryside, boosting its population from two to four million (more people than currently live in Berlin!) and making it the most populous city proper in Europe after London. The constituency boundaries, however, were not changed to reflect the new boundaries, and as such several of Berlin's municipal districts had portions in two different constituencies. Which makes the map a tad messy, but there we go.

Berlin was, of course, very left-wing, but the 1920 expansion took in several municipalities that were wealthy and conservative, and so we see a DNVP-voting region on the map in the southwest corner of the city. This region - the districts of Wilmersdorf, Zehlendorf and Steglitz - remains the richest part of Berlin, and one of the most CDU-friendly. Other than that, the main divide within Berlin was whether to vote SPD or KPD. The KPD would become the biggest party in the city in the early 30s, but in 1928 most of it still voted SPD. The big exception was Wedding, already known as the "Red Wedding" (der rote Wedding - I shit you not), which returned some 40% for the KPD and another 35% or so for the SPD. Friedrichshain wasn't far behind it, and the section of Treptow north of the Spree gives us another bit of purple on the map.

Outside Berlin, Brandenburg was a heterogeneous province - you had the classic Prussian landed estates in the north (the Uckermark) and east (the Neumark), more industrialised, SPD-voting areas surrounding Berlin itself and in the mining region around Cottbus and Calau, the Sorbian-speaking forests and marshlands of the Spreewald, and even some Catholic, Polish-speaking regions along the new Polish border. The latter made the Frankfurt/Oder constituency look a bit awkward on the map, as the Treaty of Versailles did not take existing provincial boundaries into consideration and left significant chunks of Posen and West Prussia in Germany, separated from their provincial capitals. These areas were hastily cobbled together into a new province, creatively dubbed Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen ("Posen-West Prussia Border Area"), with its seat in the nondescript town of Schneidemühl (now Piła), and this was tacked onto the Frankfurt/Oder constituency in its entirety.

val-de-1928-bbr.png

A note on the little mans, since I'm not putting any keys on these WIP maps - the green-bordered ones (I may change the colour before this is done) are the ones where the party didn't get 60,000 votes (or a multiple thereof) in the constituency, but did get a surplus of more than 60,000 at the WKV level. The seats thus awarded were then awarded to whichever constituency within the WKV had the highest surplus, after which point the remaining surplus votes were moved up to the national level.
 

Ares96

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Mecklenburg and Pomerania each formed one constituency, with the Mecklenburg constituency including both Mecklenburg states (which were only merged in 1934, despite there being no earthly reason for them to stay separate with the dukes having been overthrown) as well as the Free City of Lübeck, which made its western border extremely gory. The two constituencies formed a single WKV, which was a bit dysfunctional since Pomerania had about twice Mecklenburg's population, and so tended to get all of the surplus seats.

In general, these two provinces (well, Pomerania was a province while Mecklenburg was three separate states, but yeah) were pretty similar, being divided between very left-wing port cities, seaside towns that tended to swing between SPD and DNVP, and rural areas dominated by landed estates that voted heavily right-wing. This was especially true of Eastern Pomerania, which was quite probably the biggest DNVP stronghold in the Reich. In 1928 specifically, though, Mecklenburg looked quite different. Although the SPD were stronger there than in Pomerania generally, the collapse of the Mecklenburg-Schwerin DNVP (for reasons I don't understand) made the map look very red. The WP (right-leaning middle class interests party) and CNBL (the more conservative wing of the peasants' movement) both won around 8% of the vote in Mecklenburg-Schwerin specifically, while the DNVP only got just over 16%. Although the right overall (defined as everyone but the SPD and KPD) very narrowly won out in the constituency, the SPD won a huge majority over any individual right-wing party, and because of how the Weimar electoral system worked, this meant that they won three out of four seats assigned. Meanwhile, the DVP and WP both got big surpluses, but their surpluses in Pomerania were bigger, and so the WKV assigned their surplus seats to Pomerania.

val-de-1928-meckpomm.png
 

Ares96

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Of the provinces lost to Germany in 1945, Silesia was by far the largest and wealthiest. In 1914, it was the second-largest Prussian province after the Rhineland, and Breslau was its third-largest city after Berlin and Köln (although Essen later overtook it owing to municipal restructuring). It was only taken by Prussia in the War of the Austrian Succession, which made it a bit different from the other eastern provinces - notably, it had a large Catholic population, especially in Upper Silesia where a narrow majority of the population spoke Polish. Even the German-speakers in Silesia spoke a highly distinctive regional dialect that took a large number of loanwords from Polish and Czech. After the First World War, Poland laid claim to Upper Silesia citing its large Polish-speaking population, and after three separate Polish uprisings, the League of Nations eventually organised a plebiscite in 1921. The result was an overall majority in favour of staying in Germany, but not as overwhelming as in the East Prussian plebiscites the previous year (largely because Poland wasn't in imminent danger of collapse when the vote was held), and eventually it was agreed to cede a number of border districts to Poland while leaving the majority of the region (including a couple of areas that had voted to join Poland) in German hands.

Lower Silesia had mostly been a liberal region during the German Empire, but the SPD gained the upper hand very quickly after 1918. Breslau in particular went from being a liberal stronghold to an SPD stronghold in a few years, and would switch again to the Nazis as the Depression set in after 1929. The SPD were also buoyed by a strong industrial presence along the foothills of the Sudetes, stretching from Görlitz in the west to the start of Catholic dominance immediately south of Breslau. This stood in contrast to their position in Upper Silesia, where they fell behind the KPD from very early on.

If the Mecklenburg-Pommern WKV was dysfunctional and tended to assign seats unevenly, the Silesian WKV was very highly effective due to being composed of three different constituencies, which meant reaching quota was much, much easier. The Centre Party even got two quotas in the WKV, which led to both Liegnitz and Oppeln receiving surplus seats for the party.

val-de-1928-schlesien.png
 
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