The Great Depression of 1929 had led to widespread poverty and hardship throughout Germany, resulting in the radicalisation of the electorate. The cabinet of Heinrich Brüning was governing by emergency presidential decree and the elections of 14 September 1930 were called in the hope of gaining parliamentary backing. However, the extremist parties of both the left and right were the main beneficiaries. The Communists (KPD) now held a 13.1 per cent share of the vote. But by far the biggest swing was for the National Socialists (NSDAP), whose share of the vote surged from 2.6 per cent to 18.25 per cent. Between them, these two radical extremes held 184 seats in the Reichstag, 32 per cent of the total seats. The radical upsurge was matched by a collapse in votes for the centre; the Social Democrats (SPD) lost 5.4 per cent of their support, with 25.4 per cent of the vote (143 seats). A parliamentary majority was looking every more elusive, and the Brüning cabinet continued to govern by emergency decree.
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