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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 101 (July 1947)

German reactions,   pp. 13-14 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 14

(Continued from page 10)
Germany Votes
alition would have a clear majority in
Hesse and come close to it in Lower
Saxony.
In Catholic North Rhine-Westphalia
the CDU, like the SPD in Lower
Saxony, has a plurality without a
clear majority. In a Landtag of 216
members the Christian Democrats
have 92 seats and their Free Demo-
cratic associates an even dozen. On
the other side of the fence are the
SPD with 64 and the Communists with
28, the 'latter's strongest represent-
ation in any Landtag in the western
zones. With 104 members being classed
as "anti-Maixist" and 92 as "Marxist,"
the balance of power in the Duessel-
dorf parliament lies with the newly-
organized Zentrumspartei. Unlike its
namesake of Weimar and Imperial
days, the new Center party dis-
associates itself from formal religious
ties and supports a quasi-socialist
policy.
A S in North Rhine-Westphalia, the
A   balance of power in Wuerttem-
berg-Baden, most southerly of this
group of four states, lies with a centrist
group, though here it is the Demo-
crats who occupy this strategic parlia-
mentary position. Unlike their counter-
parts in several of the other Laender-
notably in Hesse and in the British
Zone as a whole-the Democratic
Peoples' party in Wuerttemberg-Baden
has  taken  a   "middle-of-the-road"
stand, joining the CDU to vote down
any leftist economic measures but
joining equally with the left against
the CDU on most other questions, not-
ably on the matter of state versus
church schools. In a Landtag of just
100 members, the CDU holds 39 and
the two leftist parties 42 (32 SPD and
10 Communists), so the 19 DVP mem-
bers are nearly always in a position
to call the turn on most controversial
issues. It is no accident that the only
Minister-President of the western
zones who is not a member of one of
the major parties is the Wuerttem-
berg-Baden DVP leader, Dr. Reinhold
Maier.
In the three far northern Laender
(Bremen, Hamburg, and Schleswig-
Holstein), the political composition of
the legislature has been complicated
by the introduction of a strong meas-
ure of plurality voting into the pro-
portional systems used elsewhere. In
the various elections to choose repre-
sentative bodies in these states the
Social-Democrats polled 48.4 percent
in Bremen and Wesermuende-Bremer-
haven, 43.1 percent in Hamburg, and
44.4 percent in Schleswig-Holstein.
Due to the favoring of the plurality
party by the special systems of voting
adopted, however, the SPD now holds
65 of the 100 seats in the provisional
Bremen Landtag,- 83 of 110 in the Ham-
burg municipal assembly, and 43 of 70
in the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag.
Under these conditions, the SPD, over-
represented in each instance, has no
challenge to its control of the govern-
ment.
Opposition in the northern states
is largely CDU in Schleswig-Holstein
(with a Schleswig autonomous move-
ment having some support in the
northern Kreise bordering on Den-
mark), and CDU-Democratic in Bremen
and Hamburg. In these last two areas
the Democrats have an especially
good chance to develop, since the
Catholic population is small and the
interest of both cities are industrial
and commercial in nature. While the
KPD has little strength in Schleswig-
Holstein, it is somewhat stronger in
Bremen and Hamburg, due to this
same industrial-commercial character,
though it is not yet as strong in either
city as it was in the years imme-
diately preceding Hitler's seizure of
power.
lTHOUGH the electoral contest in
1 the Soviet Zone states was super-
Ficially much the same as in the western
zones, the liquidation of the SPD in
the five Laender of that zone, the re-
striction of political activity to but
three authorized parties (SED-, CDU,
and LDP) and certain minor "demo-
cratic anti-fascist organizations" of
farmers, women, young people, work-
ers, and so forth, and the special
position of the SED as a "government
party" make comparisons difficult In
all five Soviet Zone Landtage the SED
holds approximately one-half of the
total seats. With the exception of a
few seats won in each ot fhe assem-
blies by the Peasants' Mutual Aid
group, the remainder -are divided
between the CDU and the LDP, the
latter having the margin in Thuringia
and in Sachsen-Anhalt, the former in
Brandenburg and in Mecklenburg-Vor-
pommern. In Saxony itself the two
'opposition" parties are virtually equal,
the CDU having 28 members, the Liber
al-Democrats 30.
T HOUGH in the pre-Hitler period
there were wide variations in po-
litical sentiment in the areas now
-included within the Soviet Zone, these
do not appear today. "Red" industral
cities of Saxony, triumphantly so-
cialist long before the first World
War and farming communities of
Mecklenburg with centuries old neo-
feudal political leanings, both turned
in about the same SED margins of
victory. In some instances, the in-
dustrial cities- actually showed less
enthusiasm than the farmer for the
new Socialist Unity party. With the
elimination of the SPD in the Soviet
Zone and given the role of the SED
as "government party", normal poli-
tical analyses become very difficult in
terms of the social, economic, and
religious interests which normally
motivate political action in a demo-
cratic society. All that can actually be
set down as the end result of the
Landtag voting in the Soviet Zone
20 October is that the SED has a major-
ity, or very close to it, in each of the
five Landtage and that opposition,
such as it is, cannot be expected to be
very effective.
In Berlin itself the situation is quite
different. There, efforts to merge the
SPD with the KPD were frustrated by
an overwhelming vote of the SPD
membership and the party continues
to enjoy a separate existence. In the
municipal elections held last fall the
Social-Democrats not only came out
the leading party, but their 48.7 per-
cent of the total vote won them very
nearly an over-all majority in the city
council. Among all 17 German states
the SPD vote was highest in the city
of Berlin. Equally high, on a relative
basis, was the SED vote bf 19.8 per-
cent. In the western zones the best
the Communists could do was 14 per-
cent in North Rhine-Westphalia, largely
as a result of votes cast in the Ruhr
district. Even so, the SED vote fell far
below the 45 to 50 percent polled in
the Soviet Zone.
WEEKLY INFORMATION BULLETIN
14 JULY 1947
14


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