Pretty much what the title says. Hitler apparently wasn't noted for any parliamentary activity; either he was never a member of the Reichstag (MR), or he was a quite non-notable MR.

Ballots of the Reichstag elections show his name under the party name of the NSDAP, so I suppose he was a candidate. But perhaps I am wrong.

So, in detail, the doubts are:

  • Was Hitler ever a candidate to the Reichstag, or his name in the ballot was merely symbolic?
  • If he was a candidate, was he in the position it appears in the ballot, as the first on the list, or again this was merely to facilitate the identification of the party, so that voters who would vote "for Hitler" but would have trouble identifying him with the NSDAP, and in fact he was placed much lower in the list?
  • If he was a candidate, and was elected (which if he was first of list he certainly was) did he ever took charge of his parliamentary seat, or did he decline (probably because his policy was that he would be Reichskanzler or nothing?
  • If he was elected and seated, did he ever make any speech on the floor, or fostered any bill or other kind of parliamentary project?
  • 4
    Hitler wasn't a German citizen until 1932. I remember this from school, but if you need a better source, a quick search on Google on this gave the first link to the German newspaper Spiegel, which mentions that. So I presume because of that Hitler never was a MP, because on January, 30 (IIRC) 1933 he became the chancellor.
    – d.k
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 10:50
  • 1
    though, I still might be wrong. In many countries it is usual to a future prime minister to be elected to the parliament only in order to step down from this post, when his party is able to form the government and the parliament votes for him as the PM. In 1932 (IIRC in November) there were elections in Germany, so probably Hitler could be elected but then he was appointed as the PM and stepped down as a member of parliament
    – d.k
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 10:59
  • 1
    @user907860 - there were two German legislative elections in 1932, the first in July, the second in november. Since Hitler run for president in March 1932, he apparently was electable in July. So either the NSDAP didn't run him for parliament, or they run him but in a low position in the list, or they run him, and he was elected. In the latter case, either he was elected but not seated, or he was elected and seated, but was a quite ineffective representative. And, in Hamlet's words, that is the question... Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


I searched the internet, and found no reference to Hitler's being a Reichstag deputy or sponsoring legislation up to 1933. This tallies with my personal recollection of no such activity. A commenter found a source (John Toland's biography of Hitler) that supports an inference that he was a deputy up to 1928 (in the early days, before the Nazis' power became "national" in scope.) But there is a reason why he would have been "otherwise engaged" after 1928.

There are actually two governing "tracks" in Germany, even to this day; President, which is head of state; and Chancellor, which is the head of government.

It is noteworthy that on his first attempt at high office, Hitler ran for President (against Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg) rather than Chancellor, winning 37% of the vote. Hindenburg remarked ironically that he had lost most of his "own" (right-wing) vote to Hitler, and had been elected by the votes of Socialists and Communists (that he despised), as the "not Hitler." (The Communist candidate, Thalman, received only three-quarters of his party's vote.)

Hitler became Chancellor, as the result of a brokered deal between himself, Hindenburg, and Franz von Papen, whom HIndenburg favored. (Von Papen was made Vice-Chancellor and given 8 out of 11 seats in the Cabinet.) But it turned out that Hitler had the upper hand, because von Hindenburg was 86 years old. Hitler was gambling, correctly as it turned out, that HIndenburg would die during his four seven year term.

Hitler called a new round of Reichstag elections that he cast as a vote of confidence on himself. The Nazis won 44% of the vote, their highest proportion ever, and the single largest party bloc. By forming a coalition with the Nationalists (8%), they had a majority.

Hitler's next step was the passage of the so-called Enabling Act. That essentially stripped everyone of their power except the Chancellor (himself), for at least four years, making that role the supreme role. He needed a two-thirds majority to do this, but obtained it by arresting the Communists (reducing the denominator) and tricking the Catholic Center Party to support him (increasing the numerator). Once he did this, he was, in effect, Germany's Chief Executive, not Hindenburg. When Hindenburg died, he anointed himself Fuhrer. It was in this role that he addressed the Reichstag, notably in declaring war against the U.S.

  • 1
    Documentation please for the claim that Hindenburg was senile in 1933. Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 1:23
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens: I have removed the reference to "senile." and replaced it with a reference that Hitler was gambling (correctly) on Hindenbur'g's death during his four year term.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 23:57
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens: Added your observation to the end of my first paragraph as an alternate view.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 12:15
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens: OK, removed the reference to "consolation prize/" Also, if Hitler had beaten HIndenburg, he probably would have used that route to power.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 12:20
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens you must mean the 1932 presidential election, as there was no presidential election in 1930. Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 3:24

Not till 1933. Germany Wikipedia has lists of all Reichstag members; Hitler only became a member in 1933 after he was already chancellor. In the Weimar Republic the chancellor didn't have to be a member of the Reichstag (contrary to the Federal Republic, where the chancellor must be a member of the Bundestag).

  • 2
    Great find. Here is the 1933 results showing Hitler now as a Reichstag member. I knew this was around somewhere, but none of my English search terms could turn it up. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 8:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.