THE WEIMAR ERA (II)
UNION INVOLVEMENT in national affairs during political or economic crises resumed in the declining years of the Weimar Republic. The advent of the Great Depression in 1929 threatened the hard-won gains of the unions. To cope with rising unemployment and decreasing state support, the unions began protest actions and lobbied hard to keep their gains. We must examine their degree of political involvement and success or defeat in the kaleidoscope of cabinets ranging from Müller and Brüning to Papen, Schleicher, and Hitler.
In 1929 and 1930, the Social Democratic-led coalition cabinet of Hermann MÜller was overwhelmed with grave economic problems. 1 For the unions, widespread unemployment or underemployment among their members endangered their organizational and financial strength, not to speak of the personal hardships facing jobless members. The unions' strategy lay in fighting legislative measures that would affect their membership adversely. Their resistance symbolically centered on unemployment insurance, an issue of concern to the cabinet and the political parties in the Reichstag as they grappled with overall budget estimates.
In March 1930, the cabinet decided that public expenditures had
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Publication information: Book title: Socialist Labor and Politics in Weimar Germany:The General Federation of German Trade Unions. Contributors: Gerard Braunthal - Author. Publisher: Archon Books. Place of publication: Hamden, CT. Publication year: 1978. Page number: 55.
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