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From the Petition to the Strike

A History of Strikes in Germany, 1869-1914


Richard W. Reichard

Once or twice around the factory, then back to the work benches, such were the (forbidden) strikes of nineteenth century Germany. When strikes became semi-legal in 1869, however, the hesitancy and restraint of the earlier period lingered on, reinforced by the stern injunctions of union leaders. Hundreds of thousands of coal miners struck in 1889, 1905, and 1912, yet never in such a way as to bring their full strength to bear. Before 1914 no major head-on collision of working classes with their superiors ever occurred to give them the experience and self confidence which could have served them well in the revolution of 1918-19.