||The 1932 German Elections Ephemera Collection comprises one box containing 171
printed publications, including leaflets, broadsides, periodical issues, and
periodical issue reprints issued on behalf of several political parties seeking
representation in the German political system, or by groups named or unnamed in
opposition to specific political interests. Most of these publications address
specific points of political action and are not generalized statements of policy
political theory. The materials are in German and the physical condition is on
whole very good, particularly remarkable considering that nearly all of the items
present were printed on newsprint.
||This material is related to four elections held in Germany in the year 1932. These
were the presidential election (13 March and 10 April 1932), the election to the
Prussian state Landtag or Parliament (24 April 1932), and the two elections to
German Reichstag (31 July and 6 November 1932).
||These four elections are significant in German history as they were held in the final
year of representative government under the Weimar constitution. The role of the
Nazi party in German political life grew tremendously during 1932 as the political
reaction to economic dislocation and political instability increasingly showed
inability of German representative government to resist the demands by the Nazis
effective control of Germany's political and economic life.
||The German presidential election, 13 March and 10 April 1932. This was the third
presidential election under the Weimar constitution, and pitted the incumbent
von Hindenburg against Adolf Hitler (Nazi) and Ernst Thälmann (Communist) in the
first round and Hindenburg and Hitler in the April runoff. Hindenburg, who at
had wanted to stand down as the president at the end of his term which began in
1925, permitted his name to be placed in nomination in a successful endeavor to
Hitler from the office.
||The Weimar constitution granted, via its Article 48, emergency executive powers of
great magnitude to the president, including the power to dismiss and appoint
chancellors. Hindenburg had increasingly made use of his executive powers in the
face of the inability to govern that the Reichstag demonstrated as the depression
deepened and opposition to political moderation and traditional parliamentary
government grew. This collection includes fifteen items relating to the 1932
presidential election, six of them pro-Hindenburg, eight pro-Hitler, and one
||Election to the Prussian state Landtag (24 April 1932). In the election for seats in
the Prussian Landtag the Nazis increased their representation from nine seats
162, making them the largest party in the body, despite which plurality they fell
short of a voting majority. As Prussia represented nearly 62% of the land area
Weimar Germany this legislative success was perceived as a bellwether by the
||The collection contains twenty eight items relating to the Prussian election. Of
these, eight were issued on behalf of the Social Democratic Party, with most of
rest from several small parties. None of this material is of Nazi origin, although
two were issued on behalf of the Communist party.
||The German Reichstag election, 31 July 1932. In Germany's continuing parliamentary
crisis President Hindenburg dissolved the seated Reichstag in June 1932 after
appointing Franz von Papen as chancellor. Von Papen now headed a conservative
essentially anti-democratic) coalition which, as a "presidential government" was
govern via Article 48 and President Hindenburg's continuing sufferance. Von Papen
initially counted on Hitler throwing his support behind the von Papen government,
but the strength of the Nazi party in the vote of 31 July 1932 was such (230 seats
won, largest in the Reichstag at 37% of the total) that Hitler, on 13 August 1932
refused to join any coalition government. Hitler further demanded the chancellorship
||After Hindenburg absolutely turned down Hitler's demands the stage was set for a very
brief life for the Reichstag elected on 31 July. When the Reichstag convened in
September 1932 its sole act was to pass a vote of no confidence in the von Papen
government. Von Papen in turn asked Hindenburg to dissolve the newly seated
Reichstag. The president complied with the request and set elections for November
||Eighty-two pieces of printed matter concerned with the 31 July 1932 Reichstag
election are found in the collection. Forty-six of these were issued by or on
of the Nazi party, and nine each are of Social Democratic or Communist origin.
||The German Reichstag election, 6 November 1932. While Nazi representation in the
Reichstag dropped from 37% to 32% in the election of November 1932 the deadlock
between President Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler continued. During discussions with
Hindenburg and von Papen Hitler could obtain no concession beyond that of a
potential vice chancellorship in a government with von Papen. For his part, Hitler
continued his demand for the chancellorship.
||In December 1932 von Papen committed a tactical political error which compelled his
resignation as chancellor, his protection by President Hindenburg notwithstanding.
After an interval Von Papen convinced himself and, at length President Hindenburg,
that he could control Hitler in a multi-party cabinet in which, while Hitler was
chancellor, the overall composition of the cabinet would be largely non-Nazi.
Hindenburg, who trusted von Papen more than any of his potential alternatives,
reluctantly endorsed this plan and swore Hitler in as the chancellor of Germany
30 January 1933.
||Within a short period of time Hitler had outflanked von Papen and the non-Nazi
members of the "Government of National Concentration," as well as succeeding in
having Hindenburg approve a series of Article 48 measures intended to suspend
liberty in Germany. On 23 March 1933, President Hindenburg signed the Enabling
of 1933 into law, thereby giving decrees of Chancellor Hitler the force of law.
||At this point the Nazi Machtergreifung (seizure of power) was essentially complete,
and henceforward Hitler's main concern was to maintain civil relations with the
increasingly frail Hindenburg while awaiting his death, which occurred on 2 August
1934. Upon Hindenburg's passing the offices of president and chancellor were merged
and Hitler, now the head of state as well as the head of government, took the
leader and chancellor (Führer und Reichskanzler).
||The Reichstag election of 6 November 1932 is represented in this collection by
forty-six pieces of printed matter. Twenty-two of these were of Nazi origin and
were published by the Social Democratic party; the remaining eighteen pieces
represent five different political parties.
||Note on periodicals. There are several serial issues present in the collection that
warrant specific mention: three publications of the Nazi party: Der Angriff (16
issues present), Deutschland erwache! (6 issues), and Die Volksfront (3 issues).
Vorwärts (6 issues) published by the Social Democratic Party, The Communist Party's
Die Rote Fahne (2 issues), and Germania (5 issues) of the German Center Party are
Provenance and History
||The 1932 German Elections Ephemera Collection was acquired by the University of Texas
from the book dealer Paul Gottschalk. A pencil notation on the verso of Gottschalk's
prospectus directed that the material be ordered and was signed and dated "DC
/ 3 Ja
38" (for, probably, Donald Coney, the university library director at that time;
actual date was 3 January 1939). No record exists of the material's disposition
use in following decades until it became a part of the Ransom Center holdings
||Berlin-born Paul Gottschalk (1880-1970) entered the book business in 1899 and by 1906
was in a position to pursue the rare book trade with regular visits to the United
States, selling from his small stock and soliciting orders. After World War One
military service he added scholarly serials to his rare books as the growth and
increasing book budgets of American college and university libraries suggested
path to him.
||In 1936, after Hitler's rise to power in Germany, Gottschalk as a Jew was obliged
liquidate his Berlin-based business. By means of a mock sale of his Berlin stock
the firms of Bernard Quaritch in Britain and Martinus Nijhoff in the Netherlands
Gottschalk was able to remove a half million rare books and scholarly publications
from Germany. From 1937 until the German invasion of Western Europe in 1940, he
operated his business from The Hague in the Netherlands. Gottschalk was in the
United States at the time of the German invasion, and it became his place of
residence and principal place of work for the remainder of his active years. He
became an American citizen in 1947.