1912 German federal election

Federal elections were held in Germany on 12 January 1912. Although the Social Democratic Party had received the most votes in every election since 1890, it had never won the most seats, and in the 1907 elections, it had won fewer than half the seats won by the Centre Party despite receiving over a million more votes. However, the 1912 elections saw the SPD retain its position as the most voted-for party and become the largest party in the Reichstag, winning 110 of the 397 seats.
Parties hostile or ambivalent to the ruling elites of the German Empire – the Social Democrats, the Centre Party, and the left-liberal Progressives – together won a majority of the seats. This allowed a successful vote of no confidence in the government of Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg over the Saverne Affair in 1913 and the Reichstag Peace Resolution of 1917. However, the Centre and the Progressives were unwilling to act consistently in opposition, which left the government largely free to do as it wished.
Some historians, such as Fritz Fischer, have theorized that the First World War was partly a result of the strategy of the conservative Prussian Junkers to deal with the result. In an attempt to increase support for conservative parties and policies and to distract the population from the SPD, they hoped to drum up patriotism in an external conflict with Russia or another Eastern European state such as Serbia.
Georges Weill, an SPD candidate who won a seat in Metz, defected to France at the start of World War I.


Figures for votes are rounded.