Management and Labor in Imperial Germany: Ruhr Industrialists as Employers, 1896-1914

Management and Labor in Imperial Germany: Ruhr Industrialists as Employers, 1896-1914

Management and Labor in Imperial Germany: Ruhr Industrialists as Employers, 1896-1914

Management and Labor in Imperial Germany: Ruhr Industrialists as Employers, 1896-1914

Excerpt

No other social problem of Wilhelmian Germany has aroused as much interest and concern, both then and subsequently, as the question of the relationship of the industrial labor force to the rest of society. Speaking in Essen in 1912 on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the Krupp steelworks, Alfred Hugenberg, chairman of that firm's executive committee (Direktorium) from 1909 to 1919 and a key figure in this study, stated the problem as follows: "In whatever area of life we look, we face the task of integrating the workers of large-scale industry, a class of men which has grown to immense proportions in an unprecedented manner, into the slowly developing framework of our national life." No one then in a position of authority in the German Empire would have denied the central importance of this task, though there were differences of opinion as to how it might best be accomplished. The efforts of the ruling elites of the Second Reich to resolve this problem to their own satisfaction -- namely, to pacify the workers while excluding them from meaningful participation in decision making in industrial, communal, and national affairs -- is a theme of major significance in German history. Indeed, subsequent fateful developments in the twentieth century can be ascribed in no small measure to the bitter social and political legacy of this determined rear guard action.

Crucial to any assessment of the consequences for Imperial German society of the rapid emergence of a massive industrial labor force is an understanding of the actions of German employers. Given the importance of these actions, the response of industrial leaders to changes in the size, composition, aspirations, and expectations of the working class has not failed to attract scholarly attention. However, if for no other reason than the sheer magnitude and complexity of the question, investigations with the usual national focus have been able to illuminate only selected facets of the problem, particularly those relating to interest politics, social legislation, centralized antistrike tactics, and the fight against union recognition . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.