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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 101 (July 1947)

Scammon, Richard M.
Germany votes,   pp. 9-10 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 10

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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