chapter
20 Pages

The Prussian labour movement, 1871–1914

WithDick Geary

The fact remains that the Prussian and German labour movements were still overwhelmingly male before the First World War, as the percentage figures for national membership demonstrate clearly. In several German states in the 1860s, working men formed friendly societies, co-operatives, educational associations and trade unions. The common experience of workers in the industrial disputes of the early 1870s, unification under Prussia and an increasingly repressive government pushed the two organizations together into a single party in 1875. It was the imperial state in general, and the Prussian government in particular, which united, politicized and radicalized the German working class by a combination of discriminatory economic policies, discriminatory constitutions, the discriminatory application of the laws and outright repression. The disintegration of the Prussian labour movement was thus well advanced before Adolf Hitler became chancellor.