Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 101 (July 1947)
Scammon, Richard M.
Germany votes, pp. 9-10 PDF (1.2 MB)
finds its strength in the larger towns and cities, especially with middle-class and professional people. Having neither the church (CDU), nor the organized working class (SPD, KPD) on which to base their "apparatus," the Democrats are much less wqll- organized than the other parties and their membership figures are the lowest -of all the major party organizations. A S for the Communists, (KPD), they are at one and the same time the most active and the least effective of the major parties. Though their member- ship is numerous and constantly en- gaged in political ,work-meetings, parades, demonstrations-the result of these efforts has not been very en- couraging. Throughout the western zones the percentage of Communist votes goes above 10 only in the larger industrial cities such as Mannheim, in industrial suburbs (as in Frankfurt), and in the complex of industry in the Ruhr area. Though the Communists in the western zones are based largely on the industrial worker, they have made strenuous efforts to enlist support from other elements as well-middle- class, young people, farmers, "new citizens" - all these groups have been the aim of specially-devised Commu- nist propaganda. While these efforts to secure sup- port from non-industrial working class groups have had consider- able success in other countries in Western Europe (in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and in the Scandi- navian countries local Communist parties have registered huge gains in post-war elections), they have had little success in western Germany. In the Wuerttemberg-Hohenzollern area (Wahlkreis 31 in pre-Hitler days), the KPD polled nine percent of the total valid vote in Landtag elections in the OIS and French Zones into which it is now divided. In the three Reichstag elections of 1932-1933, the Commu- nists polled 11.0, 14.5, and 9.2 percent, getting more support in the March 1933 voting, in which they were virtu- ally outlawed as a party, tAan they have today. In northern Germany, in Schleswig- Holstein, a similar example may be cited. In this area (Wahlkreis 13 for pre-Hitler Reichstag voting), the 1932 to 1933 KPD vote of 10.7, 13.3, and 10.7 percent fell to 4.5 percent in last April's Landtag balloting. In the whole of Bavaria "east of the Rhine" the Communists polled 8.0 percent in the July 1932 Reichstag voting, but drop- ped to 6.1 in the December 1946 Land- tag elections. In Hamburg, a strong point of German Communism and home of the late party leader and Presidential candidate in 1932, Ernst Thaelmann, the KPD polled 17.7, 21.9, and 17.6 percent in the 1932-1933 Reichstag elections, but fell to 10.4 in last October's election of a Hamburg council. EVEN in Berlin's city council elec- tions in October 1946 the SED, despite its allegations to be the "unit- ed" socialist party, polled but two- thirds of the pre-Hitler Communist vote. Outside Berlin, in the Soviet zone proper, the SED (Socialist Unity party) did well, but it has a special character as a "government" party which makes difficult any comparisons with the KPD, its western zone sister party. The Social-Democrats are not authorized in the Soviet Zone and the two competitors of the SED, the Chris- tian Democrats and the Liberal- Democrats, operate on a limited scale and as a quasi-"loyal opposition." As among the major geographical areas of western Germany the lines of political cleavage indicated in this seven months' series of Landtag elec- tions is about as might be expected from the economic and religious char- acter of the various Laender. In the far south, in Bavaria, South Laden, and South Wuerttemberg, the strong Catholic feeling of the population and its predomninantly rural status ensured a clear Christian Democratic majority. In Bavaria the CDU holds 104 seats in a Landtag of 180, in South Baden 34 out of 60, in South Wuerttemberg 34 out of 62. In Bavaria the Social-Demo- crats are the major competitors of the CDU, the SPD polling heaviest in such industrial centers as Munich, Augs- burg, and Nuremberg, but in the two French Zone states the Democrats ran a very good third, especially in South Wuerttemberg. THE large Catholic population of the southern Rhineland nearly gave the CDU a clear majority in the Rhein- land-Pfalz Landtag as well as in the southern Laender, but heavy voting WEEKLY INFORMATION BULLETIN for the SPD in the larger cities in the Pfalz and Rheinhesse '(Kaiserslautern, Ludwigshafen, Frankenthal, Worms) cut down the CDU seats in the legis- lature to 47 out of 100, with 34 Social- Democrats, 11 Democrats, and eight Communists filling out the total. T HE four states running north-south from Bremen to the French-US zonal boundary (Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, and Wuert- temberg-Baden) formed a fairly defin- able pattern: wherever there were large concentrations of Catholic voters, rural or urban, the CDU obtained a heavy vote; in non-Catholic rural areas the CDU tended to be the largest- party, with opposition from the SPD, save in those districts in which one of the other non-Marxist parties became the main representative of anti-social- ist opinion. This was particularly true in Lower Saxony (where the NLP, of Lower Saxon State party, has emerged as a party of protestant rural elements) and in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the CDU and the Democrats (in this state called "Free Democrats") formed an election alliance. The Social-Democrats carried almost all the cities in these four states, ex- cepting only those largely Catholic in religious feeling or those with special interests (such as the university city of Heidelberg), and heavy Communist voting was confined to the industrial centers. The various Democratic par- ties had varying luck in these states, their best showing coming in Wuert- temberg-Baden where they won nearly one-fifth of the Landtag seats. It is typical of the political contest in this four-state area that in no one of these Laender did any single poli- tical party win a clear, over-all major- ity of the seats in a Landtag. In Pro- testant Lower Saxony and Hesse the Social-Democrats are the plurality party (65 out of 149 in Lower Saxony, 38 out of 90 in Hesse), but the CDU is a strong second alone in Hesse and nearly equals the strength of the SPD in Lower Saxony with the addition of the NLP seats. In both states the addi- tion of the Democrats to the CDU (plus the NLP in Lower Saxony) gives the anti-SPDers actually more members than those of Dr. Schumacher's organi- zation, though an SPD-Communist co- (Continued to page 14) 14 JULY 1947 10'I
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