Very interesting original map printed in the aftermath of the 1949 West German Federal elections, the first free elections held in Germany since 1933. These elections were overseen by American, British, and French military supervisors, and this French-language map documents the results of the election in the French military zone.
The map shows the results of the election in the Wurtemberg and Palatinate of the Rhine districts, which were heavily carried by the Christian Democratic Union. When compared to the national result, in which the Socialist Party led the popular vote, this reveals the more conservative nature of this region.
The map contains two insets, one in the lower left that shows the administrative subdivisions of the French zone, and one in the upper right that shows the French occupation zone around Tyrol and Innsbruck in Austria.
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 edition for governmental use.