Germany: a Self-Portrait: A Collection of German Writings from 1914 to 1943

By Harlan R. Crippen | Go to book overview

state. Chief of these was the greater freedom to speak and organize. Trade-union membership reached a peak of nine millions during the revolutionary upsurge of 1919. The crisis years from 1920 to 1924 reduced this total by two millions, but the trade unions retained enough strength to bulk large in German life. The establishment of the eight hour day, the formation of state employment agencies, and the improvement and extension of the social-insurance system were real gains. However, the fundamental change that the German worker expected from the revolution, socialization of large industry, was never forthcoming.

Committees established to study the problem of socialization, assisted by frightened Socialist leaders, eventually smothered all such proposals under a bureaucratic flood of reports and statistics. The economic councils established by the Reichstag were supposed to provide some of the advantages of socialization. The law guaranteed labor a voice in the control of industry to protect workers against unfair discharge, assure equal opportunity of employment, and safeguard the interests of the consumer and the nation. Council members were to be represented on corporation boards, a regulation which industry subverted by having executives deal directly with large stockholders rather than with the boards. Plant councils were shorn of their limited powers during the inflation, and unions were successfully excluded from many plants and industries. National councils in the coal, potash, and iron industries were eventually converted into cartels for the fixing of prices and the curtailment of production. The national commission which was appointed to study socialization, on which industrialists were well represented, came to an end with the industrialists promising to give thoughtful consideration to the matter. Naturally they decided that they were indispensable.


A LABORER IN LEUNA

a report from the newspaper Berliner Tageblatt, 4 December 1927

HEAVY FOG blankets the plains of Central Germany. It lies unbroken from Halle to Naumburg, Zeitz, and beyond that to Leip

-229-

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Germany: a Self-Portrait: A Collection of German Writings from 1914 to 1943
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Book One - Iron Cross 1
  • Order of the Crown, Fourth Class 26
  • Into the Abyss 43
  • Verdun 57
  • The Judgment 73
  • On Leave 79
  • Letters from Prison 83
  • Homecoming 104
  • Book Two - Reluctant Republic 111
  • The Ninth of November 115
  • 'Groener Speaking . . .' 121
  • The Spartacus Manifesto 126
  • Our New Masters 133
  • The Constitution of the German Reich Of 11 August 1919 142
  • Look Through the Bars 157
  • Black Armies 169
  • Fever Dance 185
  • Adventure in a Beer Hall 201
  • The Way of the New Germany 217
  • A Laborer in Leuna 229
  • Lampion's Reply 237
  • A Fairy Tale for Christmas 244
  • The Program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party 257
  • My Personal and Financial Relations With the Nazi Party 261
  • The Landslide 270
  • These Literary Anti-Semites 289
  • Invaders and Exiles 302
  • Book Three - Crooked Cross 311
  • Fire in Leipzig 315
  • 'Peaceful Night, Holy Night . . .' 331
  • Family Portrait 342
  • The Age of the Fish 352
  • An Exchange of Letters 370
  • Who Shall Tell Us Today 377
  • Hans Zauner Becomes a Soldier 382
  • Fritz Giga 406
  • Shelter 423
  • The Ballad of the German Soldier's Bride 432
  • Letter from Moscow 433
  • Self-Bondage 452
  • The Blossoming to Come 457
  • Acknowledgments 459
  • Bibliography 465
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