Historical Social Research

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Jürgen W. Falter: Wählerbewegungen zur NSDAP 1924-1933.Methodische Probleme – Empirisch abgesicherte Erkenntnisse – Offene Fragen [1980]

»Voter Movements to the NSDAP 1924-1933. Methodical Problems –Empirircally Founded Insights – Unresolved Questions«. Although extensive research on National Socialist voting behavior has been conducted on a national as well as an international scale, a critical view of the results show that today’s knowledge of NSDAP voters has not yet reached a sufficient empirical foundation. A far-reaching consensus on the social and economic situation, party political background and personal motivations of NSDAP voters still relies on a fragmentary, incomplete basis. Particularly the German research landscape needs to catch up with the progress of the international academic community working on NSDAP voting behavior. Two errors are characteristic and frequent in historical election research: the error of ‘arbitrary’ selection and the error of naive disaggregation. Both lead to a mix of social-statistic correlations with individual correlations resulting in intuitive interpretations that are often unfounded. A closer look on statistical data and the application of methods used in modern election research would help to avoid common false conclusion.