A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a vote on a ballot question; some definitions of'plebiscite' suggest that it is a type of vote to change the constitution or government of a country. However, some other countries define it differently. For example, Australia defines'referendum' as a vote to change the constitution, and'plebiscite' as a vote that does not affect the constitution. In Ireland, the vote to adopt its constitution was called a "plebiscite", but a subsequent vote to amend the constitution is called a'referendum', so is a poll of the electorate on a non-constitutional bill; the word referendum is a general word used for both legislative referrals and initiatives.'Referendum' is the gerundive form of the Latin verb refero "to carry back". As a gerundive is an adjective, not a noun, it cannot be used alone in Latin and must be contained within a context attached to a noun such as Propositum quod referendum est populo, "A proposal which must be carried back to the people".
The addition of the verb sum to a gerundive, denotes the idea of necessity or compulsion, that which "must" be done, rather than that, "fit for" doing. Its use as a noun in English is thus not a grammatical usage of a foreign word, but is rather a freshly coined English noun, which therefore follows English grammatical usage, not Latin grammatical usage; this determines the form of the plural in English, which according to English grammar should be "referendums". The use of "referenda" as a plural form in English is thus insupportable according to the rules of both Latin and English grammar alike; the use of "referenda" as a plural form is posited hypothetically as either a gerund or a gerundive by the Oxford English Dictionary, which rules out such usage in both cases as follows: Referendums is logically preferable as a plural form meaning'ballots on one issue'. The Latin plural gerundive'referenda', meaning'things to be referred' connotes a plurality of issues, it is related to the political agenda, "those matters which must be driven forward", from ago, to drive.
The name and use of the'referendum' is thought to have originated in the Swiss canton of Graubünden as early as the 16th century. The term'plebiscite' has a similar meaning in modern usage, comes from the Latin plebiscita, which meant a decree of the Concilium Plebis, the popular assembly of the Roman Republic. Today, a referendum can often be referred to as a plebiscite, but in some countries the two terms are used differently to refer to votes with differing types of legal consequences. For example, Australia defines'referendum' as a vote to change the constitution, and'plebiscite' as a vote that does not affect the constitution. In contrast, Ireland has only held one plebiscite, the vote to adopt its constitution, every other vote has been called a referendum. Plebiscite has been used to denote a non-binding vote count such as the one held by Nazi Germany to'approve' in retrospect the so-called Anschluss with Austria, the question being not'Do you permit?' but rather'Do you approve?' of that which has most already occurred.
The term referendum covers a variety of different meanings. A referendum can be advisory. In some countries, different names are used for these two types of referendum. Referendums can be further classified by who initiates them: mandatory referendums prescribed by law, voluntary referendums initiated by the legislature or government, referendums initiated by citizens. A deliberative referendum is a referendum designed to improve the deliberative qualities of the campaign preceding the referendum vote, and/or of the act of voting itself. From a political-philosophical perspective, referendums are an expression of direct democracy. However, in the modern world, most referendums need to be understood within the context of representative democracy. Therefore, they tend to be used quite selectively, covering issues such as changes in voting systems, where elected officials may not have the legitimacy or inclination to implement such changes. Since the end of the 18th century, hundreds of national referendums have been organised in the world.
Italy ranked second with 72 national referendums: 67 popular referendums, 3 constitutional referendums, one institutional referendum and one advisory referendum. A referendum offers the electorate a choice of accepting or rejecting a proposal, but not always; some referendums give voters the choice among multiple choices and some use Transferable voting even. In Switzerland, for example, multiple choice referendums are common. Two multiple choice referendums were held in Sweden, in 1957 and in 1980, in which voters were offered three options. In 1977, a referendum held in Australia to determine a new national anthem was held in which voters had four choices. In 1992, New Zealand held a five-option referendum on their electoral system. In 1982, Guam had referendum that used six options, with an additional blank option for anyone wishing to vote for their own seventh option. A multiple choice referendum pose
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956. Founded in the aftermath of the First World War by socialists opposed to the war, led by Rosa Luxemburg, after her death the party became ever more committed to Leninism and Stalinism. During the Weimar Republic period, the KPD polled between 10 and 15 percent of the vote and was represented in the Reichstag and in state parliaments; the party directed most of its attacks on the Social Democratic Party of Germany, which it considered its main opponent. Banned in Weimar Republic one day after Adolf Hitler emerged triumphant in the German elections in 1933, the KPD maintained an underground organization but suffered heavy losses; the party was revived in divided postwar West and East Germany and won seats in the first Bundestag elections in 1949, but its support collapsed following the establishment of a communist state in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany.
In East Germany, the party was merged, by Soviet decree, with the Social Democratic Party to form the Socialist Unity Party which ruled East Germany until 1989–1990. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, reformists took over the SED and renamed it the Party of Democratic Socialism; the KPD was banned in West Germany in 1956 by the Constitutional Court. Some of its former members founded an smaller fringe party, the German Communist Party, in 1969, which remains legal, multiple tiny splinter groups claiming to be the successor to the KPD have subsequently been formed. Before the First World War the Social Democratic Party was the largest party in Germany and the world's most successful socialist party. Although still claiming to be a Marxist party, by 1914 it had become in practice a reformist party. In 1914 the SPD members of the Reichstag voted in favour of the war. Left-wing members of the party, led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg opposed the war, the SPD soon suffered a split, with the leftists forming the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany and the more radical Spartacist League.
In November 1918, revolution broke out across Germany. The leftists, led by Rosa Luxemburg and the Spartacist League, formed the KPD at a founding congress held in Berlin in 30 December 1918 – 1 January 1919 in the reception hall of the City Council Apart from the Spartacists, another dissent group of Socialists called the International Communists of Germany dissenting members of the Social Democratic party, but located in Hamburg and Northern Germany, joined the young party; the Revolutionary Shop Stewards, a network of dissenting socialist trade unionists centered in Berlin were invited to the Congress, but did not join the party because they deemed the founding congress leaning into a syndicalist direction. There were seven main reports given at the founding congress: Economical Struggles — by Paul Lange Greeting speech — by Karl Radek International Conferences — by Hermann Duncker Our Organization — by Hugo Eberlein Our Program — by Rosa Luxemburg The crisis of the USPD — by Karl Liebknecht The National Assembly — by Paul LeviThese reports were given by leading figures of the Spartakus League, however members of the Internationale Kommunisten Deutschlands took part in the discussions Under the leadership of Liebknecht and Luxemburg, the KPD was committed to a revolution in Germany, during 1919 and 1920 attempts to seize control of the government continued.
Germany's Social Democratic government, which had come to power after the fall of the Monarchy, was vehemently opposed to the KPD's idea of socialism. With the new regime terrified of a Bolshevik Revolution in Germany, Defense Minister Gustav Noske formed a series of anti-communist paramilitary groups, dubbed "Freikorps", out of demobilized World War I veterans. During the failed Spartacist uprising in Berlin of January 1919, Liebknecht and Luxemburg, who had not initiated the uprising but joined once it had begun, were captured by the Freikorps and murdered; the Party split a few months into two factions, the KPD and the Communist Workers Party of Germany. Following the assassination of Leo Jogiches, Paul Levi became the KPD leader. Other prominent members included Clara Zetkin, Paul Frölich, Hugo Eberlein, Franz Mehring, August Thalheimer, Ernst Meyer. Levi led the party away from the policy of immediate revolution, in an effort to win over SPD and USPD voters and trade union officials; these efforts were rewarded when a substantial section of the USPD joined the KPD, making it a mass party for the first time.
Through the 1920s the KPD was racked by internal conflict between more and less radical factions reflecting the power struggles between Zinoviev and Stalin in Moscow. Germany was seen as being of central importance to the struggle for socialism, the failure of the German revolution was a major setback. Levi was expelled in 1921 by the Comintern for "indiscipline." Further leadership changes took place in the 1920s. Supporters of the Left or Right Opposition to the Stalin-controlled Comintern leadership were expelled. A new KPD leadership more favorable to the Soviet Union was elected in 1923; this leadership, headed by Ernst Thälmann, abandoned the goal of immediate revolution, from 1924 onwards contested Reichstag elections, with some success. During the years of the Weimar Republic, the KPD was the largest communist party in Europe and was seen as the "
Cabinet of Germany
The Cabinet of Germany is the chief executive body of the Federal Republic of Germany. It consists of the cabinet ministers; the fundamentals of the cabinet's organization as well as the method of its election and appointment as well as the procedure for its dismissal are set down in articles 62 through 69 of the Grundgesetz. In contrast to the system under the Weimar Republic, the Bundestag may only dismiss the Chancellor with constructive vote of no-confidence and can thereby only choose to dismiss the Chancellor with his or her entire cabinet and not individual ministers; these procedures and mechanisms were put in place by the authors of the Basic Law to both prevent another dictatorship and to ensure that there will not be a political vacuum left by the removal of Chancellor through a vote of confidence and the failure to elect a new one in his or her place, as had happened during the Weimar period with the Reichstag removing Chancellors but failing to agree on the election of a new one.
If the Chancellor loses a simple confidence motion, this does not force him or her out of office, but allows the Chancellor, if he wishes to do so, to ask the President of Germany for the dissolution of the Bundestag, triggering a snap election within 60 days, or to ask the President to declare a legislative state of emergency, which allows the cabinet to use a simplified legislative procedure, in which bills proposed by the cabinet only need the consent of the Bundesrat. The President is however not bound to follow the Chancellor's request in both cases. Members of the cabinet are member of the Bundestag; the Chancellor is elected by the federal parliament on proposal of the President of Germany with a majority of all members of the Bundestag. However, the Bundestag is free to disregard the President's proposal, in which case the parliament may within 14 days elect another individual, which the parties in the Bundestag can now propose themselves, to the post with the same so called Chancellor-majority, whom the President is obliged to appoint.
If the Bundestag fails to do so, a last ballot will be held on the 15th day: If an individual is elected with the Chancellor-majority, the President must appoint him or her as Chancellor. If not, the President is free to either appoint the individual, who received a plurality of votes on this last ballot, as Chancellor or to dissolve the Bundestag. Following his or her election in the Bundestag, the Chancellor-elect will visit Bellevue Palace, the residence of the President, to receive a certificate of appointment. After this short appointent-ceremony, the Chancellor returns to the Bundestag, in order to take the oath of office. Having taken the oath, the Chancellor will once again visit Bellevue Palace, this time joined by the individuals, he or she intends to propose as members of his or her cabinet; the President will appoint the new cabinet members, again handing over certificates of appointment. After the ministers are appointed, they return to the Bundestag and take their oaths of office, completing the appointment-process.
The Chancellor is Germany's chief executive leader. Therefore, the whole cabinet's tenure is linked to the Chancellor's tenure: The Chancellor's term automatically ends, if a newly elected Bundestag sits for the first time, or if he or she is replaced by a constructive vote of no confidence, resigns or dies. Apart from the case of a constructive vote of no confidence, which by nature invests a new Chancellor, the Chancellor and his or her ministers stay in office as an acting cabinet on the President's request, until the Bundestag has elected a new Chancellor. An acting cabinet and its members have the same powers as an ordinary cabinet, but the Chancellor may not ask the Bundestag for a motion of confidence or ask the President for the appointment of new ministers. If an acting minister leaves the cabinet, another member of government has to take over his or her department; the Chancellor is responsible for deciding its political direction. According to the principle of departmentalization, the cabinet ministers are free to carry out their duties independently within the boundaries set by the Chancellor's political directives.
The Chancellor may at any time ask the President to appoint a new minister. The Chancellor decides the scope of each minister's duties and can at his own discretion nominate ministers heading a department and so called ministers for special affairs without an own department, he can lead a departmend himself, if he decides so. The Chancellors freedom to shape his cabinet is only limited by some constitutional provisions: The Chancellor has to appoint a Minister of Defence, a Minister of Economic Affairs and a Minister of Justice and is implicitly forbidden to head one of these departments himself, as the constitution invests these ministers with some special powers: The Minister of Defence is commander-in-chief during peacetime, the Minister of Economic Affairs may veto decisions by the Federal Cartel Office and the Minister of Justice appoints and dismisses the Public Prosecutor General. If two ministers disagree on a particular point, the cabinet resolves the conflict by a ma
President of Germany (1919–1945)
The Reichspräsident was the German head of state under the Weimar constitution, in force from 1919 to 1945. In English he was simply referred to as the President of Germany; the German title Reichspräsident means President of the Reich, the term Reich referring to the federal nation state established in 1871. The Weimar constitution created a semi-presidential system in which power was divided between the president, a cabinet and a parliament; the Reichspräsident was directly elected under universal adult suffrage for a seven-year term. It was intended that the president would rule in conjunction with the Reichstag and that his emergency powers would be exercised only in extraordinary circumstances, but the political instability of the Weimar period, a paralysing factionalism in the legislature, meant that the president came to occupy a position of considerable power, capable of legislating by decree and appointing and dismissing governments at will. In 1934, after the death of President Hindenburg, Adolf Hitler Chancellor, assumed the Presidency, but did not use the title of President – ostensibly out of respect for Hindenburg – and preferred to rule as Führer und Reichskanzler, highlighting the positions he held in party and government.
In his last will in April 1945, Hitler named Joseph Goebbels his successor as Chancellor but named Karl Dönitz as Reichspräsident, thus reviving the individual office for a short while until the German surrender. The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany established the office of Federal President, which is, however, a chiefly ceremonial post devoid of political power. † denotes people. A Hans Luther, Chancellor of Germany, was acting head of state of Germany from 28 February 1925 to 12 March 1925. B Walter Simons, President of the Supreme Court of Germany, was acting head of state of Germany from 12 March 1925 to 12 May 1925. C Adolf Hitler was served as Führer of Germany from 2 August 1934 to 30 April 1945. Upon Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg's death, Adolf Hitler merged the offices of Chancellor and head of state in his person, he did not use the title of Reichspräsident. Upon his suicide on 30 April 1945, Hitler nominated Großadmiral Karl Dönitz to be President. Dönitz was arrested on 23 May 1945 and the office was dissolved.
Under the Weimar constitution, the President was directly elected by universal adult suffrage for a term of seven years. The law provided that the presidency was open to all German citizens who had reached 35 years of age; the direct election of the president occurred under a form of the two round system. If no candidate received the support of an absolute majority of votes cast in a first round of voting, a second vote was held at a date. In this round the candidate who received the support of a plurality of voters was deemed elected. A group could nominate a substitute candidate in the second round, in place of the candidate it had supported in the first; the President could not be a member of the Reichstag at the same time. The constitution required that on taking office the president swore the following oath: I swear to devote my energy to the welfare of the German people, to increase its prosperity, to prevent damage, to hold up the Reich constitution and its laws, to consciously honour my duties and to exercise justice to every individual.
Only two regular presidential elections under the provisions of the Weimar Constitution occurred, in 1925 and 1932: The first office-holder, the Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert was elected by the National Assembly on 11 February 1919 on a provisional basis. Ebert intended to stand in presidential elections in 1922 when the outcry about assassination of Walther Rathenau seemed to generate a pro-republican atmosphere. However, National Liberal politician Gustav Stresemann persuaded the other centrist parties that the situation was still too turbulent to hold elections. Hence, the Reichstag extended Ebert's term to June 30, 1925 in late 1922, which required a constitutional change. Ebert died in office in February 1925; the first presidential election was held in 1925. After the first ballot had not resulted in a clear winner, a second ballot was held, in which Paul von Hindenburg, a war hero nominated by the right-wing parties after their original candidate had dropped out after the first ballot, managed to win a majority.
Hindenburg served a full term and was reelected in 1932, this time nominated by the pro-republican parties who thought only he could prevent the election of Adolf Hitler to the office. Hindenburg died in office in August 1934, a little over two years after his reelection, having since appointed Hitler as Chancellor. Hitler assumed the powers of head of state, but did not use the title of President until his own death, when he named Karl Dönitz his successor as President in his Final Political Will and Testament. Appointment of the Government: The Reichskanzler and his cabinet were appointed and dismissed by the president. No vote of confirmation was required in the Reichstag before the members of the cabinet could assume office, but any member of the cabinet was obliged to resign if the body passed a vote of no confidence in him; the president could appoint and dismiss the chancellor at will, but all other cabinet members could, save in the event of a no confidence motion, only be appointed or dismissed at the chancellor's request.
Dissolution of the Reichst
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has come to wield more power; the lower house is the larger of the two chambers, i.e. its members are more numerous. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral. In comparison with the upper house, lower houses display certain characteristics. Powers In a parliamentary system, the lower house: In the modern era, has much more power based on restrictions against the upper house. Able to override the upper house in some ways. Can vote a motion of no confidence against the government, as well as vote for or against any proposed candidate for head of government at the beginning of the parliamentary term. Exceptions are Australia, where the Senate has considerable power approximate to that of the House of Representatives, Italy, where the Senate has the same powers as the Chamber of Deputies.
In a presidential system, the lower house: Debatably somewhat less, the lower house has exclusive powers in some areas. Has the sole power to impeach the executive. Initiates appropriation/supply-related legislation. Status of lower house Always elected directly, while the upper house may be elected directly, indirectly, or not elected at all, its members may be elected with a different voting system to the upper house. Most populated administrative divisions are better represented than in the upper house. Elected more frequently. Elected all at once, not by staggered terms. In a parliamentary system, can be dissolved by the executive. More members. Has total or initial control over budget and monetary laws. Lower age of candidacy than the upper house. Many lower houses are named in the following manner: House/Chamber of Representatives/the People/Commons/Deputies. Chamber of Deputies Chamber of Representatives House of Assembly House of Representatives House of Commons House of Delegates Legislative Assembly National Assembly Representative democracy
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London; the city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, contiguous with its capital, Potsdam; the two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions. Berlin straddles the banks of the River Spree, which flows into the River Havel in the western borough of Spandau. Among the city's main topographical features are the many lakes in the western and southeastern boroughs formed by the Spree and Dahme rivers. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. About one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, gardens, rivers and lakes; the city lies in the Central German dialect area, the Berlin dialect being a variant of the Lusatian-New Marchian dialects.
First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of two important historic trade routes, Berlin became the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich. Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II and its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, the city was divided. East Berlin was declared capital of East Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all of Germany. Berlin is a world city of culture, politics and science, its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a complex public transportation network; the metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries include IT, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology and electronics.
Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras and entertainment venues, is host to many sporting events. Its Zoological Garden is one of the most popular worldwide. With the world's oldest large-scale movie studio complex, Berlin is an popular location for international film productions; the city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. Since the 2000s Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene. Berlin lies in northeastern Germany, east of the River Saale, that once constituted, together with the River Elbe, the eastern border of the Frankish Realm. While the Frankish Realm was inhabited by Germanic tribes like the Franks and the Saxons, the regions east of the border rivers were inhabited by Slavic tribes; this is why most of the villages in northeastern Germany bear Slavic-derived names. Typical Germanised place name suffixes of Slavic origin are -ow, -itz, -vitz, -witz, -itzsch and -in, prefixes are Windisch and Wendisch.
The name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today's Berlin, may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl-. Since the Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär, a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city, it is therefore a canting arm. Of Berlin's twelve boroughs, five bear a Slavic-derived name: Pankow, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Treptow-Köpenick and Spandau. Of its ninety-six neighborhoods, twenty-two bear a Slavic-derived name: Altglienicke, Alt-Treptow, Buch, Gatow, Kladow, Köpenick, Lankwitz, Lübars, Marzahn, Prenzlauer Berg, Schmöckwitz, Stadtrandsiedlung Malchow, Steglitz and Zehlendorf; the neighborhood of Moabit bears a French-derived name, Französisch Buchholz is named after the Huguenots. The earliest evidence of settlements in the area of today's Berlin are a wooden beam dated from 1192, remnants of a house foundation dated to 1174, found in excavations in Berlin Mitte; the first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century.
Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920. The central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document, Berlin, across the Spree in what is now called the Nikolaiviertel, is referenced in a document from 1244. 1237 is considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties, profited from the staple right on the two important trade routes Via Imperii and from Bruges to Novgorod. In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external policy, their internal administrations still being separated. In 1415, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. During the 15th century, his successors established Berlin-Cölln as capital of the margraviate, subsequent members of the Hohenzol
Reichstag (Nazi Germany)
The Reichstag the Großdeutscher Reichstag after 1938, was the pseudo-Parliament of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. Following the Nazi seizure of power and the passing of the Enabling Act of 1933, it met only as a rubber stamp for the actions of Adolf Hitler's dictatorship — always by unanimous consent — and to listen to Hitler's speeches. In this purely ceremonial role, the Reichstag convened only 20 times, the last on 26 April 1942; the President of the Reichstag throughout this period was Hermann Göring. During this period, the Reichstag was sometimes derisively referred to by the German public as the "teuerste Gesangsverein Deutschlands" due to frequent singing of the national anthem during sessions. To avoid holding scheduled elections during World War II, in 1943 Hitler extended the term of office of the current Reichstag to serve a special eight-year term ending on 30 January 1947. In 1920–1923 and from 1930 on, the Weimar Republic's democratically elected Reichstag could be circumvented by two legal instruments not provided by the constitution: The use of special powers granted to the President of Germany under an Emergency Decree in Article 48 of the constitution The use of Enabling acts during 1919–1923 and finally in 1933The former practice became more and more common after 1930.
Due to the Reichstag's complex system of proportional representation, it was difficult for a government to have a stable majority. When a Chancellor was voted out of office, his successor could not be assured of a majority; as a result, Chancellors were forced to use Article 48 to conduct the ordinary business of government. Following the Reichstag fire on 27 February 1933, Hitler used the President's Decree for the Protection of People and State to suspend civil rights; when elections in March did not yield a Nazi majority, Hitler pressured the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act of 1933, which allowed the government — in practice the Chancellor — to enact laws on its own authority for a four-year period. With certain exceptions, those laws could deviate from articles in the constitution. Though formally only the Government as a whole could enact laws, Hitler in effect exercised that right by himself; the Nazis used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to arrest all deputies from the Communist Party of Germany and detain several deputies from the Social Democratic Party.
Several other SPD deputies fled into exile. The Enabling Act passed by a margin of 444–94, with only the SPD voting against it. However, the Nazis had negotiated with other parties so that if all 81 KPD deputies and 120 SPD deputies had been present, the Enabling Act would have still passed by more than the two-thirds majority required. Before the summer was out, all other parties had either been banned or intimidated into closing down, the Nazi Party was the only permitted party in Germany. In the parliamentary elections of 12 November 1933, voters were presented with a single list from the Nazi Party under far-from-secret conditions; the list carried with 92.1 percent of the vote. As a measure of the great care Hitler took to give his dictatorship the appearance of legal sanction, the Enabling Act was subsequently renewed by the Reichstag in 1937 and 1941; the Reichstag only met 12 times between 1933 and 1939, enacted only four laws—the Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich of 1934 and the three Nuremberg Laws of 1935.
All passed unanimously. It would only meet eight more times after the start of the war; the actual Reichstag building was unusable after the Reichstag fire, so the Kroll Opera House was modified into a legislative chamber and served as the location of all parliamentary sessions during the Third Reich. It was chosen both for its convenient location facing the Reichstag building and for its seating capacity; the Kroll Opera House was devastated by Allied bombing on November 12, 1943. It was essentially destroyed in the Battle of Berlin in 1945; the federal election in March 1933 was the last all-German election prior to World War II, at least free. From on, while elections were still held, voters were presented with a single list comprising Nazis and "guests" of the party; these "guests," however supported Hitler. Elections during this time were not secret. Under the circumstances, the Nazi list carried with well over 90 percent of the vote each time; until enactment of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, Jews and other ethnic minorities still held nominal citizenship rights.
Not only were they allowed to vote, but in districts known to have large populations of minorities the Nazis abstained from engaging in tactics used elsewhere to compel the electorate to vote in favour of the regime. In essence, the Nazis tacitly encouraged minorities to vote against them so that their propaganda could cite the unfavourable results in districts known to have large minority populations as proof of disloyalty to the Reich. Following the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws and other ethnic minorities were excluded from the electoral process altogether and the number of negative and invalid votes recorded fell – from more than five million in the referendum held in 1934 to half a million in the vote held in 1936. Special referendums were he