The Tragedy of European Labor, 1918-1939

The Tragedy of European Labor, 1918-1939

The Tragedy of European Labor, 1918-1939

The Tragedy of European Labor, 1918-1939

Excerpt

The time is probably approaching when the history of European labor during and after World War II ought to be written. Indeed, there is some danger in delay; memories fade (and memories are probably at this time the only record of much of this history), and in the fast-moving kaleidoscope of the postwar scene history is no doubt being assiduously rewritten to fit later insights and necessities. Pending this major piece of history writing, however, a few significant trends perhaps deserve immediate, though brief, attention, particularly as they refer to the main developments outlined in this book.

The end of hostilities in Europe has been followed by a major attempt to unify the trade-union movement in those countries in which it has traditionally been split according to political philosophies. This effort was the result of a number of factors: the Socialist-Communist division, sharply accentuated by the RussoGerman pact of 1939, had lost a good deal of its acerbity after June, 1941, when the Communists once again changed their "line" and became the most enthusiastic advocates of resistance to Hitlerism; under the Nazi occupation the labor groups -- Socialists, Communists, and Catholics -- coöperated wholeheartedly in the "Resistance"; after June, 1941, the Communists developed a new stage in their United Front policy, which was intended to bring about the merger of all anti-Nazi unions, clearly in the hope of dominating the united organizations; lastly and less significantly, the German Labor Front, despite its objectionable basic features, had demonstrated what powerful means of action -- financial and otherwise -- a unified labor organization might have at its disposal.

The attempt to merge Socialists, Communists, and Catholics in . . .

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