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Red SaxonyElection Battles and the Spectre of Democracy in Germany, 1860-1918$
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James Retallack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199668786

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199668786.001.0001

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“Red Saxony!”

“Red Saxony!”

(p.318) 8 “Red Saxony!”
Red Saxony

James Retallack

Oxford University Press

The long build-up to the Reichstag elections of 1903 produced a dramatic outcome when Social Democrats scored an overwhelming victory. The epithet “Red Saxony” was born overnight, and thereafter it remained a triumphal shout for Social Democrats and a nightmare for their enemies. This chapter begins by examining the 1903 election in its local, regional, and national contexts. The SPD’s organizational strength and élan are considered in light of the shock this election produced. The election also restarted a suffrage reform debate that convulsed Saxon political society until 1909. The Saxon government presented a complicated, hybrid suffrage proposal at the end of 1903. It was torpedoed by the anti-socialist parties in the Landtag. But by 1905 this defense of Saxony’s three-class suffrage had confounded National Liberal attempts to challenge Conservative hegemony, and it fueled further working-class protests.

Keywords:   Imperial Germany, Saxony, suffrage, Reichstag, Landtag, anti-socialism, Social Democracy, Bülow, Metzsch

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