Cross and hammer : the Catholic workingmen's and workingwomen's associations in Germany, 1891-1933 / by Douglas John Cremer
Includes bibliographical references (p. 343-378)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
This dissertation focuses on the corporatist interpretation of religious and secular culture in the context of social change through an examination of the origins, ideology, and conflicts of the Catholic workingmen's and workingwomen's associations in Germany. It analyzes the role of the clergy as transmitters and interpreters of Catholic social teaching through the use of associational protocols, newspapers, and journals from Augsburg and Munich, as well as the German Catholic literature on social reform. The dissertation argues that the clerical leadership of the associations had a personal stake in the associations, a stake which gave their calling a new meaning in the changed social circumstances of industrialization and urbanization. The clergy also attempted to organize Catholic workers for mutual self-help, educate them about the possibility of gradual social and legislative reform, and create for Catholic workers a respected place within the status quo of the German Empire. This dual purpose, a new clerical identity and the social acceptance of Catholic workers, created a divided path for the associations that could not be reconciled. The clergy also sought relief for workingwomen, based on a belief in the family as the cornerstone of society. Many of the tensions within the movement stemmed from the struggle to integrate the changing role of women, especially workingwomen, into the intellectual and social constructs of the associations, which generally accepted the reality of the double burden of work and family. The leaders of the associations were divided in their response, however, some seeking a return to home and family, others calling for practical organizational work and legislative reform, a division that was never resolved. Many of the goals of the Catholic workingmen's and workingwomen's associations were fulfilled by the Weimar Republic. The movement's leaders, however, never truly accepted the republic. They cooperated with, and yet maintained their ideological opposition to, the other members of the Weimar coalition. The result was a stagnation of the associations and an inability to deal with the assault of national socialism, which spoke a corporatist language that too closely resembled that of the Catholic workers' associations.
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