Fantastic vintage map showing the results of the 1949 West German elections in the southeastern region of Bavaria. This modern German state is the largest in the country and is composed of the historical sub-regions of Swabia, Franconia, the High Palatinate, and High and Low Bavaria, and the results for the election in each of these regions are broken down. The results are shown for six of the major political parties.
This electoral map is important for showing the results of the first free postwar elections in one of the most politically critical parts of Germany. Any student of history will know that Munich, the most populous city in Bavaria, was home to the nascent Nazi party and fostered its early growth to power. This town had been also been home to the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic that existed for one month in 1919.
In other, more moderate, regards the politics of Bavaria has always been slightly disconnected from the rest of the country. This map shows the pro-Bavarian independence Bayern Partei polling at 20.9% of the total votes for the region. While the push for Bavarian independence has diminished since the 1940s and 1950s, Bavaria still has its own political faction, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, which polls with the national Christian Democratic Union (Merkel's Party) but has slightly more right-of-center tendencies.
The 1949 West German Elections
Held in August 1949, four and a half years after the fall of Berlin, these elections were the first free and fair polls held in Germany since 1933 and the ascension of the National Socialist party. Prior to these elections, West Germany had been split into three zones, with British, French, and American administrations. The allied anti-Communist powers spent their four years of occupation trying to introduce democracy by persuasion rather than unilaterally, and the 1949 elections were the first test of their efforts.
Political parties had been allowed to operate in Germany as early as late 1945, and local elections first occurred in October 1946, as part of the process of decentralizing the German state. Initially, there was a great deal of friction between the occupied peoples and their military rulers, but the utter discrediting of the Nazi government in the eyes of the German people allowed for democratic ideas to be reintroduced. Following several years of negotiations between leading German politicians and western Allies, a mixed, decentralized electoral system was established.
From a western Allied point of view, the elections were a success, with parties supportive of liberal democracy winning a vast majority of votes. Two major parties emerged, the Social Democratic Party, which won a plurality of seats, and the Christian Democratic Union, which, allied with the Christian Social Union, won control of the Bundestag. This was an upset result, as Schumacker, a pro-reunification socialist, was more popular domestically, and had been historically more agitated against both the Nazi party and the Allied occupants than his rival. Of course, Adeneaur would become Chancellor, and his pro-market and pro-western policies would come to dominant West German policy until well past unification.
We have been unable to trace any additional examples of this map. It appears to have been printed in a limited run for governmental use.