1938 German parliamentary election and referendum

Parliamentary elections were held in Germany (including recently annexed Austria) on 10 April 1938.[1] They were the final elections to the Reichstag during Nazi rule and took the form of a single-question referendum asking whether voters approved of a single list of Nazi and pro-Nazi guest candidates for the 814-member Reichstag[2] as well as the recent annexation of Austria. Turnout in the election was officially 99.6% with 99.1% voting 'yes' in Germany and Austria.

1938 German parliamentary election

← 1936 10 April 1938 (1938-04-10)
4 December 1938 (1938-12-04)
West 1949 →
East 1949 →

All 814 seats in the Reichstag
408 seats needed for a majority
Registered49,634,569 Increase 9.2%
Turnout49,435,623 (99.6%) Increase 0.6pp
  Majority party
  Hitler portrait crop.jpg
Leader Adolf Hitler
Leader since 29 July 1921
Last election 98.8%, 741 seats
Seats won 814
(Sole legal party)
Seat change Increase 73
Popular vote 48,905,004
Percentage 99.1%
Swing Increase 0.3pp

Chancellor before election

Adolf Hitler

Chancellor after election

Adolf Hitler

The elections were held largely to rally official support from the new Ostmark (Austrian) province, although further elections for 41 seats were held in the recently annexed Sudetenland on 4 December.[1] NSDAP candidates and "guests" officially received 97.32% of the votes.[3]

The recently completed Kraft durch Freude cruise ship MV Wilhelm Gustloff was anchored in international waters near the United Kingdom to serve as a floating polling station for German and Austrian citizens living in the UK. On 10 April 1938, 1,978 voters (including 806 Austrians) were ferried from Tilbury, east of London. Only ten voted against annexation.[4]


Germany and AustriaEdit

Ballot reading: "Do you approve of the reunification of Austria with the German Reich accomplished on 13 March 1938 and do you vote for the list of our Führer, Adolf Hitler?"
Nazi Party and guests48,905,00499.08814
Valid votes49,359,95699.85
Invalid/blank votes75,6670.15
Total votes49,435,623100.00
Registered voters/turnout49,634,56999.60
Source: Direct Democracy, Direct Democracy


Ballot for the Sudeten election, carried out on 4 December after the annexation of the Sudetenland. It would be the last election under Nazi rule.
Nazi Party and guests2,464,68198.9041
Valid votes2,492,10899.78
Invalid/blank votes5,4960.22
Total votes2,497,604100.00
Registered voters/turnout2,532,86398.61
Source: Direct Democracy


The new Reichstag, the last of the German Reich, convened for the first time on 30 January 1939, electing a presidium headed by incumbent President of the Reichstag Hermann Göring. It convened only a further seven times, the last on 26 July 1942. On 25 January 1943, Hitler postponed elections for a new Reichstag until after the war, with the inaugural to take place after another electoral term, subsequently on 30 January 1947—by which point the body, and the Nazi state, had ceased to exist. They were the final elections held in a united Germany prior to 1990 after German reunification.[5]


  1. ^ a b Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p762 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ "Reichstagshandbücher, 1938/1: Verzeichnis der Mitglieder des Reichstags". Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  3. ^ Zimmermann, Volker: Die Sudetendeutschen im NS-Staat. Politik und Stimmung der Bevölkerung im Reichsgau Sudetenland (1938–1945). Essen 1999. ISBN 3-88474-770-3
  4. ^ "The Wilhelm Gustloff Story". www.wilhelmgustloffmuseum.com. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  5. ^ Max Domarus (2007) The Essential Hitler: Speeches and Commentary, Bolchazy-Carducci, p292

External linksEdit