Joy in Work, German Work

Joy in Work, German Work: The National Debate, 1800-1945

JOAN CAMPBELL
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 443
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvsm9
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Joy in Work, German Work
    Book Description:

    This book analyzes in vivid detail the German debate about the importance and meaning of work as it changed under the impact of industrialization, with special emphasis on the period between the two world wars. A social history of ideas, it covers the writings of such thinkers as Hegel, Marx, and Weber, but also examines contributions made by industrial psychologists, engineers, educators, and others who actively promoted reforms designed to solve the problem of alienation whether by changing the nature of work or by altering worker attitudes. A final section deals with the National Socialists, who promised to reinvigorate the German work ethic, restore joy in work, and reintegrate the German worker into the Volk community. The author draws our attention particularly to the Third Reich's policies and institutions aimed at realizing these Nationalist Socialist objectives concerning the worker. In so doing, Joan Campbell shows how the history of the idea of work deepens our understanding of the origins, nature, and appeal of Nazism. In a broader context, she uses her sources to explore the relationship between social and intellectual change.

    Originally published in 1989.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6037-1
    Subjects: Anthropology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-6)

    Throughout much of history Germans have been regarded, by themselves and by others, as superior workers. If one wished to establish if Germans do work harder than others and, if so, how this is related to their ideas about work, it would be necessary to embark upon a comparative investigation covering several centuries and involving many disciplines. One would also have to take account of the regional and religious differences that persisted after Germany became a nation state in 1870, and to look at the attitudes toward work of all classes of the population, including the largely inarticulate mass of...

  6. I THE PROBLEM OF WORK
    (pp. 7-15)

    For the majority of people throughout recorded history, work has been inseparable from existence. Most of those who reflected upon work regarded it as a burden, a necessary evil to be avoided or at least kept to a minimum by employing slaves, women, beasts, or machines to carry out the labor needed to supply their wants. Furthermore, the rewards for hard, manual work have everywhere tended to be low, providing a firm basis in everyday life for the negative valuation of work. This “common sense” view was elegantly formulated by the classical poets and philosophers. The Greeks regarded manual labor...

  7. II WORK AND REVOLUTION
    (pp. 16-27)

    Between Hegel’s death in 1831 and the upheavals of 1848—50, important changes took place in the way people discussed the problem of work. The perception that German society was in crisis lent a new urgency to the debate, which for the first time addressed itself to specifically German circumstances. Although observers could not agree on either causes or cures, they noted the rapid growth of aStandor social estate that fell outside the traditional order and posed a potential threat to its stability: the poverty-stricken mass of would-be laborers composed largely of landless farm workers and newly dependent...

  8. III THE BOURGEOIS ETHIC OF WORK
    (pp. 28-46)

    The ideal of joyful labor that Marx had specified as a prime objective of revolutionary socialism was adopted by spokesmen for the middle classes who sought to end alienation in order toavertsocial upheaval. Their aim was not to bring the international proletariat to power but rather to dissolve it and to reintegrate manual workers into the larger national community. There was no consensus among “bourgeois” thinkers¹ on how this was to be achieved or on the nature of the resulting social order, but whether they looked back to the pre-industrial past or forward to a technological Utopia, they...

  9. IV THE SOCIAL QUESTION AND THE REFORM OF WORK IN IMPERIAL GERMANY
    (pp. 47-72)

    Spurred by political unification, the forces of change that had gathered impetus since the 1850s reached most areas of Germany and, directly or indirectly, affected all strata of the population. The development of large enterprises applying modern technology to the production of goods for an expanding domestic and international market was matched by the growth of a disciplined labor movement closely allied with Europe’s mightiest socialist party. As the economic balance shifted from the rural-agrarian to the urban-industrial sector, for the first time big business and organized labor played a major role within what was becoming the most advanced and...

  10. V THE SCIENCE OF WORK BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR
    (pp. 73-106)

    The early twentieth century saw the emergence of a new science of work (Arbeitswissenschaft) which attempted to shed light on work in all its facets by integrating the findings of a wide spectrum of disciplines.¹ In this endeavor, Germany lagged behind other industrial nations. By 1914 the scientific study of the relationship between human beings and their work in the age of the machine was more advanced in Belgium, France, and the United States than in Germany, particularly from the methodological point of view.² Yet by placing greater stress than did their colleagues elsewhere on the problem of alienation, Germans...

  11. VI THE QUEST FOR UTOPIA
    (pp. 107-130)

    The First World War induced massive changes in the conditions of German work. The need to make efficient use of the nation’s resources, including human labor, accelerated the shift from rural to urban occupations, the trend toward mechanization and standardization, and the application of science to industrial production. Indeed, it was during the war that rationalization and scientific management won significant government backing and captured the attention of the general public for the first time. So did efforts to counteract the damaging physical and psychic effects of modern industrial work on a weary, undernourished, labor force, through psychotechnical innovation and...

  12. VII THE RATIONALIZATION OF PRODUCTION AND THE HUMANIZATION OF WORK
    (pp. 131-157)

    The stabilization of the mark in 1923 raised hopes that the postwar crisis was finally over and that the country could look forward to a period of sustained growth and prosperity. Taking stock of significant recent alterations in the social, political, and legal context of German work—notably the pact of November 1918 between the trade unions and employer organizations (Zentralarbeitsgemeinschaft, ZAG) and the works council legislation of 1920 (Betriebsrätegesetz)—many individuals concluded that it made sense to abjure revolutionary utopianism and instead respond constructively to current problems in a spirit of cool realism. Their decision to work within the...

  13. VIII THE HUMANIZATION OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
    (pp. 158-177)

    Although Hellpach and Rosenstock failed to persuade contemporaries that alterations in the productive process were needed to overcome alienation and bridge the gap between work and life, their emphasis on the social dimensions of the problem of work had a decided impact on the movement for the humanization of work. The relation between the individual and work continued to be a major concern, but as the decade wore on the focus of reform efforts shifted to the areas of industrial relations and management practices. Those who agreed on the need to restore the “human factor” to a central place in...

  14. IX ATTITUDES TOWARDS MODERN WORK
    (pp. 178-212)

    German reformers who set themselves the task of humanizing modern work either by changing the process of production or by reorganizing industrial relations, recognized that conflicts of interest and institutional inertia constituted major obstacles to the attainment of their goal. But many of them became convinced that the chief barrier to further progress was the persistence of attitudes inimical to industrial peace and social harmony. Before determining how such attitudes might best be modified, it seemed logical to discover what German workers actually thought about work and society.

    The result was a large number of studies that built on what...

  15. X THE WORK ETHIC RECONSIDERED
    (pp. 213-242)

    The same technological, economic, and social changes that stimulated research into worker attitudes in the 1920s also led to a reconsideration of the national work ethic. We have seen that those who wished to establish what German workers thought about work had their own ideas about what men and womenoughtto think, but there were also a number of individuals who, seeing themselves as moral “experts,” focused their efforts on the latter question. This chapter will examine the ideas about work generated by those professional philosophers, theologians, and educators who thought they could best contribute to solving the alienation...

  16. XI THE FIGHT FOR THE SOUL OF THE WORKER
    (pp. 243-275)

    After the collapse of the Second Reich, German employers had to come to terms with the unwelcome fact that labor relations would have to be carried on within a democratic political framework that at least on the surface gave the working masses a privileged position. Even after the threat of socialist revolution had evaporated labor unrest continued. The situation was further complicated by the Treaty of Versailles and the reparations burden imposed by the victors, which most businessmen saw as unwarranted constraints on Germany’s legitimate efforts to compete in world markets. To meet these challenges the more progressive businessmen and...

  17. XII THE PROBLEM OF WORK IN THE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM
    (pp. 276-311)

    The depression of the early 1930s, with its profound impact on all aspects of German life, led many to question the assumptions on which the short’lived prosperity of the 1920s had rested. The economic crisis reinforced doubts about the future of capitalism, undermined faith in the capacity of the parliamentary system to produce the leadership needed to head off catastrophe, and gave a great impetus to extreme nationalism. Along with capitalism, democracy, and internationalism, “modernity” itself fell into increasing disrepute. Because science and reason had clearly failed to bring about a better world, it was tempting to repudiate Neue Sachlichkeit...

  18. XIII NATIONAL SOCIALISM AND THE PROBLEM OF WORK
    (pp. 312-336)

    Before 1933 the National Socialists laid great stress on their capacity to solve the problem of work. Not only did the NSDAP claim that it alone had the will and ability to restore full employment; its leaders also promised to address the deeper problem of alienation. Catering to the prevailing anticapitalist mood, they espoused a “German socialism” designed to restore joy in work and to reintegrate the workers into the body of the nation. A class-free Volksgemeinschaft was to be created, one based on an altruistic work ethic. Trumpeting the slogan “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz” (common good takes precedence over...

  19. XIV WORK AND THE WORKER IN THE THIRD REICH
    (pp. 337-375)

    Once the National Socialists felt themselves in a position to implement their ideals, certain ideological elements and policy options proposed by the movement on its way to power were pushed aside in favor of others that had previously been submerged. As far as work was concerned, the eventual losers included not only corporatism but also “German socialism.” Among the winners were the concepts of Leistung and Deutsche Arbeit. Adhered to throughout, the ideal of a national community of work or Volksgemeinschaft was itself periodically reinterpreted in accordance with the current requirements of National Socialist Germany. Far from losing their controversial...

  20. XV JOY IN WORK, GERMAN WORK?
    (pp. 376-385)

    The collapse of the Third Reich in the spring of 1945 meant that neither the National Socialists nor their principled opponents were able to determine the future of German work. At the war’s end, Germany found itself at the mercy of its conquerors, all of whom were determined to prevent its resurgence as an economic and military power, and some of whom toyed with the idea of returning it to a preindustrial state. In the chaos of defeat, it would have been hard to predict that Germans would soon recover their will and capacity to work and that each of...

  21. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 386-410)
  22. INDEX
    (pp. 411-431)