Known as the ‘inflation election’, the second Reichstag elections of 4 May 1924 resulted in a minority coalition, composed of the DVP (German People’s Party), Centre (Zentrum) Party and DDP (German Democratic Party). The election came in the wake of a period of intense hyperinflation (1921–23), when the German mark became virtually worthless, war reparations could not be paid, and the Ruhr workers went on a general strike. Beset by feelings of social and economic insecurity, the voters turned away from the republican parties towards the extreme left and extreme right. The greatest gains were made by the KPD (the Communist Party), whose share of the vote rose from 10.5 to 12.6 per cent. Right-wing parties, such as the DNVP (German National People’s Party) and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) exploited a wave of right-wing nationalist propaganda, spurred on by the general strike and resentment at the Dawes Plan, an attempt by the Allies to resolve the question of outstanding reparations. The DNVP (the German National People’s Party) became the second largest parliamentary group, with a 19.5% share of the vote and 95 deputies. With 6.5 per cent of the vote, the combination of the People’s Freedom Party and the National Socialists were a political force for the first time. This was at the expense of the parties of the Weimar Coalition, who all lost ground.
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