Power in a Union? German Organized Labor and Hitler's Rise to Power
Submission to the Friends of Fondren Library Research Awards, 2018. This paper was originally prepared for Course HIST 345, Fall 2017: History of Modern Germany, given by Professor Peter Caldwell, Department of History.
Traditionally, many historians have viewed the German working class as being instrumental to Hitler’s seizure of power and the electoral success of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in the 1930 and 1932 German Reichstag elections. Although some blue-collar workers did, in fact, support the NSDAP’s rise, most union members and industrial workers were mostly opposed to Hitler and his agenda. largely because of Nazi opposition to traditional trade-unionism. Hitler and his closest allies believed that unions were controlled by foreign interests and were incompatible with their vision of a centralized German state, and much of the Nazi Party’s early electoral success was owed to significant financial backing from factory-owners who opposed trade-unions for economic reasons.