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Secret Reports on Nazi GermanyThe Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort$
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Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer, and Raffaele Laudani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134130

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134130.001.0001

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Status and Prospects of German Trade-Unions and Works Councils

Status and Prospects of German Trade-Unions and Works Councils

(May 27, 1946)

(p.557) 30 Status and Prospects of German Trade-Unions and Works Councils
Secret Reports on Nazi Germany

Herbert Marcuse

Princeton University Press

This chapter evaluates the status and prospects of trade unions and works councils in Nazi Germany. The report details that the German trade-union movement has developed in a different direction from American unionism. The German unions were affiliated with political parties: the Free Trade-Unions with the Social Democratic Party; the Christian-National Trade-Unions with the Center Party and the German National People's Party; and the German Trade Associations (Hirsch-Duncker) with the Democratic Party. The chapter first provides an overview of trade unionism in Germany prior to Adolf Hitler's ascension to power before discussing the spontaneous revival of trade unionism after the collapse of the Nazi regime. It then considers trade-union development in the Allied zones of occupation and in the Soviet zone of occupation, along with the revival of the works councils or shop stewards movement. It also addresses the question of the “political neutrality” of the trade-union movement.

Keywords:   trade unions, works councils, Nazi Germany, Social Democratic Party, Christian-National Trade-Unions, German Trade Associations, Allied zones of occupation, Soviet occupation, political neutrality, political parties

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