Authority and Upheaval in Leipzig, 1910-1920: The Story of a Relationship

By Sean Dobson | Go to book overview

appendix 4
BRIEF REVIEW OF THE HISTORIOGRAPHY ON PROLETARIAN
INTEGRATION INTO IMPERIAL SOCIETY

ROBERT MICHELS AT the beginning of the century applied the term “integration” not to ordinary workers but instead to a Social Democratic leadership in Germany that was becoming increasingly reformist in the decades before the Great War. 1 Fifty years later, Carl Schorske continued in this vein. 2 The work of Guenther Roth expands on this view, finding that this integrated SPD helped bring about a “negative integration” into the Wilhelmine order of the entire working class. 3 By this term, Roth means that workers, while occasionally grumbling, were functionally integrated in that their largely self-created cultural and political ghetto posed no systemic threat to imperial society and also veiled a high degree of proletarian loyalty fostered by indoctrination in the schools and military. Dieter Groh elaborates on the concept of “negative integration,” making it the centerpiece of his massive tome. 4 Assuming Social Democracy to be identical to the entire working class, he uses evidence showing integrated party leaders as proof of integrated workers. Mary Nolan attacks Groh's argument but only insofar as it posits an integrated party; she does not engage his assertion about integrated workers. 5 Adalheid von Saldern, citing a dearth of sources providing access to the attitudes of ordinary workers, restricts her inquiries to party members, for whom sources on mentality—mostly in the form of protocols—exist. In Göttingen she finds a reformist SPD; 6 elsewhere the party's profile varied from city to city. 7 Like Saldern, Dick Geary insists that the paucity of sources requires caution when making claims about proletarian integration. Until new research throws light on the question one should not, he advises, conflate the views of Social Democratic leaders with those of ordinary workers. 8 Richard Evans concurs but

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