To what extent did German class structures change between 1871 and 1990?

  • Created by: becky.65
  • Created on: 12-02-18 14:25

The growth of the urban working class - Kaiserreic

  • Prior to 1871, the population of the divided German states had been mainly rural
  • Following unification, Germany's population underwent rapid urbanisation due to the country's increasing industrialisation 
  • 1914 - 66% of the population lived in urbanised towns
  • Swift urbanisation created housing and sanitation problems in the cities
  • Urbanised workers sought greater political representation in order to achieve better living and working conditions
  • Trade union movements flourished; membership 50,000 in 1877 and 278,000 in 1891
  • 1875 - SPD was formed
  • Bismarck attempted persecution and anti-socialist legislation
  • 1875/90 - SPD vote doubled to 1.5 million; increased Reichstag membership from 12 to 35 members
  • 1890 - Bismarck proposed limiting the franchise and destroying the SPD; Wilhelm II rejected this and dismissed Bismarck
  • Social policies were extended:
    • Accident insurance was extended
    • Child labour further restricted
    • SIckness insurance lengthened
  • 1912 - SPD became the largest party in the Reichstag
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The growth of the urban working class - Origins of

  • In the first two years of WWI, the vast majority of the German working class supported the war effort
  • Summer 1916 - Support started to deteriorate 
  • Industrial workers began to question the new restrictions on workers' freedom (Auxiliary Service Act - August 1916
  • 1916/17 - cold winter - food shortages
  • Food shortages, mass casualties and the Russian Revolution had led to working-class opposition 
  • January 1918 - 400,000 Berlin workers went on strike; spread to the rest of Germany
  • Feb 1918 - over a million workers on strike
  • November 1918 - end of the war; further unrest - fall of the Kaiserreich
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The growth of the urban working class - Weimar Rep

  • Weimar Constitution guaranteed that employees would have equal rights and an eight-hour day
  • 1910/40 - population of large urban areas only grew at a rate of 36%
  • 1925  - Berlin's population was four million
  • Conditions for the working classes were good, particularly 1924/9
  • 1927 - real wages increased by 9%; 1928 increased by 12%
  • Two million new houses were built 
  • Unemployment insurance for those out of work was established
  • SPD continued to be the largest party in the Reichstag until 1932
  • January 1933 - unemployment reached six million
  • 1932 - unemployment reached 31%
  • The economic crisis fuelled the rise of the Nazi party
  • Although, much of the working class did not support Hitler and continued to vote for the SPD or the KPD
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The growth of the urban working class - Nazis

  • Urbanised workers experienced increased employment due to: 
    • Public work schemes
    • Rearmament programmes
    • Banning trade unions
    • Banning the ability to strike
  • 1929/38 - working class grew by 10% as the Nazis expanded German industry in preparation for war
  • Worker discipline, even during the Second World War, continued to be high
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The growth of the urban working class - Post-War

  • Urbanisation increased even further
  • Working population in rural communities 1950 - 23.1% ; 1970 - 8.3%
  • 1950/80 - West German's population grew by 50% to 61.7 million
  • 1980 - 74% of the West German population lived in communities of over 10,000; in East Germany, it was only 57%
  • Living standards in cities were high
  • 1955 - the introduction of 'guest workers'
  • These were workers from predominately Turkey and Greece who were brought into the country on fixed contracts and without permanent residency in order to fill labour shortages
  • 1959/66 - grew from 150,000 to 1.2 million guest workers
  • This created an 'underclass' of workers who were employed in the lowest paid jobs and lacked the same working rights as Germans
  • The West German government recruited 14 million guest workers in total
  • 1973 - The government ended the programme, but allowed many of the guest workers to remain in West Germany
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The artisan tradition and its impact - Kaiserreich

  • Industrialisation undermined the artisan tradition
  • Artisans were skilled labourers who produced hand-crafted goods
  • Differing trades were organised into guilds which regulated:
    • price
    • competition 
    • work of apprentices
  • Under rapid industrialisation after 1871, the artisan tradition came under severe threat
  • Mechanised factories could produce cheaper goods at a rate far beyond what an artisan could produce by hand
  • Groups of artisan industry declined or completely disappeared, particularly in dyes or weaving
  • 1882/95 - one-man artisan businesses declined by 13.5%
  • 1897/1907 - suffered a further decline
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The artisan tradition and its impact - Origins of

  • 1900 - artisan tradition could survive in industrialised Germany
  • New methods and better tools allowed many artisans to adapt to increasing competition 
  • Despite this, artisans formed an angry sector of society 
  • They felt challenged by the political elite and the growing power of the Socialists and trade unionism 
  • They lacked specific political parties that represented their views
  • 1897 - government attempted to gain their support by introducing the protectionist craft laws
  • The fear of modernisation encouraged many artisans to embrace radical political parties who rejected Germany's social direction
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The artisan tradition and its impact - Weimar

  • Artisans provided the first solid base of support for the Nazi Party in the early 1920s
  • The Nazi's Twenty-Five points contained several policies meant to assist small traders:
    • Wholesale businesses were to be shut down and their premises were given to smaller traders at a cheaper lease rate
    • Small artisans were to be given greater consideration by the state
  • 1920s - Skilled workers made up 33% of the Nazi membership
  • Artisans felt threatened by growing consumerism and the construction of large shopping complexes in Weimar Germany
  • They were attracted to Nazi promises to protect the artisan tradition
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The artisan tradition and its impact - Nazi's

  • 1933 - Nazis introduced measures that helped artisans:
    • Trade unions were crushed
    • Department stores were restricted
    • All chain stores barred from growing any larger and could not offer shoe repairing, baking, barbering or food catering 
    • Nazis cracked down on the employment of low-paid, unskilled workers
  • 1935 - All new artisans had to pass the Master's Examination in their craft to ensure a high level of skill was maintained
  • Nazi Party formations had to order their uniform and boots from artisan traders
  • 1931/6 - artisan businesses rose by 1/5
  • Despite this, the Nazis ensured that the artisan tradition remained lower in importance than big industry
  • Artisan suggestions that industry should be de-mechanised were completely rejected
  • 1934 - Nazis launched rearmament - the German economy prioritised big industry
  • 1936/9 - artisan businesses decreased by 11%
  • 1936 - department stores began to grow again as the Nazis became concerned at unemployment levels and they were able to keep 90,000 Germans in work so they encouraged them to grow
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The artisan tradition and its impact - Nazi's

  • As war approached, the Nazis tried to restrict artisan businesses and closed shops that were not economically justified 
  • Artisans that persisted during the war formed co-operatives with other small businesses and used slave labour who worked long hour for no pay
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The artisan tradition and its impact - Post-War

  • Despite economic growth being driven by big industry, the artisan tradition played an important role
  • Artisans were given special status within the West German economic model
  • They were given the role of organising and overseeing the training of skilled workers
  • 1955 - 3.5 million Germans were employed in artisan trade
  • The trades centred on those crafts linked to big industry
  • The co-operative element of artisans expanded further in West Germany, enabling small businesses to prosper financially
  • The co-operation between big industry and smalled skilled trades, combining mass production with skilled craftsmanship helped build a particular reputation for West German exports
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The slow decline of the landowning elite - Kaiserr

  • Junkers enjoyed dominant positions in social, political and administrative elements of unified Germany
  • The constitution ensured that the Prussian elite could veto any attempts at constitutional change
  • The chancellor, who was appointed from the Prussian elite, did not have to consult parliament when making decisions
  • The Junkers exercised their power through:
    • Prussian wealth relied on agricultural production, something that industrialisation undermined
    • the Prussian Parliament which had an unequal voting system, ensuring the Junkers would always maintain a majority 
    • their control of the military and bureaucracy 
  • Junker control had been easier in an agrarian-based economy, as much of the peasantry worked on Junker-owned land, thus ensuring the allegiance of the peasants to the elite
  • After 1871, the peasantry declined rapidly, as did the support for the Junker parties in the Reichstag
  • To maintain their parliamentary majority, the Conservative Junker-based party formed an alliance with the National Liberals as they both feared the rise of the SPD and the growing demands of the working class
  • This coalition contributed to the decline of the landowning elite as the Junkers had to compromise with big businesses
  • German political policy moved to favour the industrialists which undermined the complete dominance of the Junkers
  • The federalised Germany also meant that the Junkers did not just dominate Prussia, they were divided and challenged particularly in Baden and Bavaria
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The slow decline of the landowning elite - Origins

  • The key political issue in Germany focused on the power of the Junkers
  • There was growing anger from the working class who opposed the Junker/industrialist alliance that aimed at restricting their political and social rights
  • 1908 - Riots in Prussia after the state elections; SPD had 7 seats with 23% of the vote; Junkers had 212 seats with 16% of the vote
  • 1912 - SPD became the largest party in the Reichstag with 4 million votes and 110 seats
  • However, the SPD was wary of appearing revolutionary and pursued a gradual political change to prove its responsibility and loyalty to the system
  • 1914 - no change to the existing order
  • WWI Germany had reached a political standstill: 
    • Reichstag was in disagreement with the Junker Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg
    • Southern German states were pushing for a greater say in politics
    • Junkers still held their dominant positions in the military and government and opposed any change
    • Junkers still had the support of the middle class and industrialists 
  • It was only through the events of the war that the Junkers' power over Germany was completely destabilised
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The slow decline of the landowning elite - Weimar

  • September 1918 - Ludendorff and Hindenburg recommended to the Kaiser to approach President Wilson and ask for a truce
  • Wilson believed that lasting peace could only be achieved by a democratic nation, so Ludendorff recommended to the Kaiser that Germany should be reformed into a parliamentary democracy
  • 28 October - political reforms confirmed: 
    • Junkers would no longer dominate the military or government
    • the unfair Prussian voting system was abolished 
  • 9 November - Kaiser was forced to abdicate and the first civilian government in Germany was established under the SPD
  • SPD's fear of Communist revolution, fuelled by uprisings, encouraged Ebert to make a deal with the German army
  • Groener promised to protect the new civilian government if Ebert promised not to reform the leadership of the military (Ebert-Groener Pact)
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The slow decline of the landowning elite - Weimar

  • Junkers still held powerful positions in the new system:
    • 1920/6 - Seeckt was commander-in-chief of the military 
    • 1932 - Papen was Chancellor 
    • 1925 - Hindenburg became President
  • Using their powerful positions, they were able to undermine Weimar
  • Seeckt refused to follow orders during the Kapp Putsch, and it was only defeated by a resistance of workers
  • It was Papen and Hindenburg that led to Hitler becoming Chancellor as he thought he could overthrow the Nazi dictatorship and return to a Junker dominated state
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The slow decline of the landowning elite - Nazis

  • 30 June 1934 - Hitler crushed the SA and won the support of the military leadership
  • After the death of Hindenburg, the power of the Junkers declined
  • Powerful Junkers in government were removed
  • 1938 - Hitler assumed control of the army, enabling him to remove leading Junker generals who were becoming wary of his aggressive foreign policy 
  • Despite this, the Junkers maintained their loyalty to the Nazis through the Second World War
  • July 1944 - a small group of military leaders attempted to assassinate Hitler carried out by the Junker Stauffenberg
  • Its failure led to the execution of around 5,000 people
  • Consequently, this was the final destruction of Junker power in Germany as Hitler wiped out the old imperial military leadership that he believed had become disloyal 
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The slow decline of the landowning elite - Post-Wa

  • The Junker class was compounded by the main Junker lands being in East Germany and Poland, and thus they were forced to give up their properties 
  • Large Junker lands were split up into small farms and run by the state
  • Large aristocratic manor houses were destroyed
  • 1952 - the Prussian landowning elite came to an end
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Developments for the peasantry - Kaiserreich

  • After 1871 there was a massive decline of the agricultural sector
  • 1900 - agriculture made up 30% of GNP
  • 1989 - agriculture was 2% of GNP
  • 1871 - 49% of German workers were engaged in the agricultural sector
  • 1989 - 2% of German workers were engaged in the agricultural sector
  • Junkers relied on massive farm holdings for their wealth and thus had vested interest in protecting the rural economy
  • 1879 - Junker pressure led to Bismarck introducing protective tariffs to stop the import of cheaper grain from Russia and the US
  • 1893 - Junker-backed Agrarian League pressure group was formed to fight against any moves by the government to weaken tariffs
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Developments for the peasantry - Weimar

  • The loss of workers and the prioritisation of fuel and fertiliser for war during WWI affected agricultural production
  • Germany suffered food shortages during the war
  • 1920s - better farming practices from Denmark and the Netherlands and the growing competition from world markets challenged German agriculture
  • German agricultural sector suffered from a price slump that led to bankruptcy and the closure of many farms
  • This crisis was further exacerbated by the Economic Crisis of 1929
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Developments for the peasantry - Nazis

  • Promoted rural German as the heart of German tradition and culture
  • Its defined roles for men and women supposedly represented the backbone of 'pure German stock'
  • 1933 - introduced laws that protected farms from forced sales or from being broken up, and guaranteed high prices for German produce
  • They were helpless to stop the continuing decline of the peasantry 
  • The recovery and growth of the Germany industrial economy encouraged further migration
  • WWII and the need for self-sufficiency increased the pressure on German farms to raise production, despite a continuous decline in the agricultural workforce
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Developments for the peasantry - Post-War

  • West German farms benefitted from better farming practices and mechanisation which led to greater efficiency 
  • Land was consolidated into larger farms, improving productivity 
  • Farming machinery and agricultural prices were subsidised by the government
  • Demand for German produce remained high among German consumers
  • This restructuring did lead to a considerable decline in the workforce
  • 1950/60 - rural sector lost 50% of its workers
  • 1970s - the development of the West German economy led to further reduction in the rural population and agricultures importance
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The rise of the white-collar workers - Kaiserreich

  • Rise of a new middle-class of white-collar workers in state and private industry
  • Greater need for jobs in administration, teaching, scientific research and law as cities expanded
  • 1850/1907 - Civil service grew from 40,000 to 250,000 in Prussia
  • 1891/1913 - Schoolteachers expanded by 43% in Prussia
  • 1876/1913 - Doctors more than doubled in Prussia
  • Industrialisation meant more jobs were required in R&D, skilled mechanics, marketing, sales and finance
  • This led to greater social mobility as lower middle classes could take up higher-skilled and better-paid positions
  • Tended to be children of artisans
  • 1882/1907 - number of artisans decreased from 25.4% to 18.8%; white collar workers increased from 4.7% to 10%
  • Tended to have better pay, housing and health than the working class - viewed themselves as separate from the working class
  • 1890s - began to organise into pressure groups for greater recognition
  • 1901 - Co-ordinating Committee argued for a separate state insurance for white-class workers
  • 1911 - they were successful - reinforced growing class divisions 
  • Some voted for the SPD while others took a more radical path
  • German Middle Class Association was extremely racist, anti-Semitic, nationalist and rejected all democracy
  • Government introduced nationalist policies to help unite all classes under the Kaiser
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The rise of the white-collar workers - Origins of

  • 1912 - white-collar workers were more powerful than ever before
  • They feared the SPD but also believed that the system required political change
  • Middle-class parties were prepared to work with the SPD to challenge the entrenched governmental system dominated by the Junkers - particularly in the southern German states
  • 1914 - supported Germany's entry into the war
  • As the war progressed their standard of living dropped
  • August 1916 - growing movement against war within the white-collar workers
  • July 1917 - Erzberger of the Centre Party made the strongest call for peace and aligned himself with the SPD in voting for an end to the war
  • The vote was carried by 212 - 126
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The rise of the white-collar workers - Weimar

  • The unity of middle and working classes did not last into Weimar
  • White-collar workers were particularly fearful of Communist uprisings
  • Their economic situation was no better, and in some cases worse
  • Hyperinflation followed by the economic crisis affected white-collar workers severely
  • During the war, shortages of white-collar workers were made up by an increase in working women, as well as new and retired workers
  • This caused issues of unemployment as white-collar workers returned from the war
  • Hyperinflation also resulted in the emergence of a white-collared working class which saturated the market
  • 1907/25 - white collar workers doubled but unemployment remained higher than for the working class
  • 1924/9 - did not have the same increase in real wages as the working class
  • 1928 - 183,371 were unemployed
  • White collar workers did not receive the same state benefits as blue-collar workers
  • 90,000 white-collar workers lived without unemployment support
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The rise of the white-collar workers - Nazis

  • Loss of earnings and high unemployment created a feeling of antagonism towards Weimar
  • 1933 - in Berlin 60% of graduates were out of work
  • Nazi policies calling for an end to women in the workforce appealed to male white-collar workers who believed this to be a factor in their unemployment
  • Those in state sectors voted for the Nazis
  • Those who lived in working-class districts voted for the SPD
  • Nazis had the mass support among young white-collar workers
  • 1929/32 - young white-collar working class made up 20% of new Nazi members
  • Under the Nazis, white-collar workers enjoyed particular rights - required 6 weeks notice to be fired whilst blue-collar workers only had a week
  • Employment opportunities could be helped through Nazi membership
  • 1934 - they were 65% over-represented
  • 1933/9 - 25% increase in white-collar workers; only 10% for blue-collar
  • 1 in every 4 workers was white-collar; in 1895 it was 1 in 13
  • 10% pay rise in comparison to 1928, blue-collar experienced no pay rise
  • Better status in terms of pension schemes and insurance benefits and had the formal 'Sie' address
  • Consistently loyal to the Nazis even during the war
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The rise of the white-collar workers - Post-War

  • 1950s - rapid industrial growth drove a massive expansion of white-collar work
  • 1970s - economy shifted to the service industry and workers were drawn into white-collar class
  • 1980 - 35% of workers were white-collar
  • The largest group in the workforce were educated, white-collar workers employed in the service or manufacturing areas
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