The FRG did more to improve the working and living conditions of the German working class than any other regime in the period 1871 to 1991. To what extent do you agree with this statement?To a large extent the FRG did do more to improve the working and living conditions of the German working class however other regimes also play a role; such as the Kaiserreich and Weimar Republic, whom started the idea of reforming working and living conditions. Without the previous regimes, the FRG might not have happened in the way it did but it definitely did do more than the other regimes to improve the lives of working class citizens. Important factors regarding working class life are wages, working hours, housing, medical advances and insurance and benefits. The GDR faced a large amount of conflict and struggled to keep their citizens content. Many of their citizens tried to escape into the west where the FRG was placed for a better life. As a result of this, the GDR was limited in what they achieved and barely impacted the working class life. Likewise the one year of reunification period I have covered within this essay was full of conflict and the attention was focussed in combining the GDR and FRG however it’s important to remember that the FRG then took control of the reunification after debate, suggesting as a regime it was highly capable and suitable. When looking at wages it is clear that the FRG did the most out of the other regimes to improve this aspect. Between 1885 and 1913, during the Kaiserreich period, wages increased by 30%. This started the idea of improving wages of the working class which then resulted in the hourly wage rising and a national income of 12% higher in 1928 than 1913 within the Weimar regime. Although within the statistics it is represented that the regimes were doing more to improve the wages of working class, the wages were so low originally that with wage improvements the wages still remain low. Within the Third Reich a progression occurred where by 1943 hourly earnings had increased by 25% and weekly earnings by 41% however these increases in wages were a result of overtime earnings and therefore in reality the basic salary did not increase. There were strict price and wage controls which resulted in a wage rise of 1% by 1939. Therefore although on the face, it looks as the third Reich still continued improvements it was not effective and resulted in a regression; this is shown by the fact that Road builders had lower than the minimum wage. In contrast the FRG had a wage rise of over 80% HOW and the income also rose. This is a dramatic increase compared with the other regimes, proving that the FRG did the most to improve wages of the working class. The GDR did very little to improve the wages of the working class because they had their own crisis of citizens leaving for the west due to material prospects, this limited the number of labour workers and therefore lead to a regression resulting in a difficult time for workers. When the reunification occurred, industry was very run down resulting in a depression where very little progression was made. The constant change in wage throughout regimes resulted in an unsettled Germany however it is clear that the FRG did the most to improve working-class wages as they progressed dramatically from the third Reich and created a positive outlook on wages, regardless of whether this was continued into the reunification process. IN EVERY OVERALL EXPLAIN WHY THE OTHER REGIMES WERENT AS GOOD AS THE BEST ONEWhen looking at working hours and conditions of the workplace it appears that the Kaiserreich did the most out of the regimes. Although Bismarck opposed state intervention to regulate working hours and limit child and female employment resulting in continued labour under harsh conditions, during the Wilhelmine period working hours decreased to 9.5 hours. This shows a developmental change within the Kaiserreich period. Despite this improvement there was a huge gender divide within the working class where women were classed as unskilled. In addition to this, skilled workers thought that they were superior to the unskilled workers. There was a huge sense of job insecurity and there were 20,000 workers on strike a year between 1905 and 1913. This created a lack of motivation and showed that workers were desperate for change. It also suggests that despite the Wilhelmine’s efforts, attitudes remained poor and the attempts were not enough to satisfy the working class. The Socialist party provided workers with a sense of self-respect giving them hope for a better world this resulted in a strength and manual dexterity as a source of pride for workers; however an upward mobile worker could end up being lower-middle-class which meant there was area for improvement to the working class citizens of Germany. In every other class women weren’t supposed to work after marriage but the working-class women had no choice but to work in order to provide for their family, proving that working conditions and attitudes remained poor within the Kaiserreich. Under Caprivi, Sunday work was prohibited and employment of children under 13 was forbidden and women were forbidden to work over 11 hours. This idea then continued further with Chancellor Bulow, who extended the prohibition of child Labour. This shows a progression between the beginning of the regime and the end for the working conditions for children. During the Weimar Republic unemployment rose and the working class was 50% of the population showing a regression from the Kaiserreich. MORE RESEARCH PLEASE Germany then went through a progression during the third Reich where the creation of the Reich labour force resulted in a rise in employment however this labour was only temporary and lasted six months which then meant the unemployment levels rose again. The working day went from 7.5 hours to 6 which suggested there was a positive outlook for workers, there were also improvements to the working conditions, including the introduction of canteens, parks and education courses leading to a better quality of working life as well as motivation for workers. Although during the third Reich it seemed that there were progressions made these did not effectively tackle a number of the issues raised in the working class. For example roadbuilders still had a harsh work discipline, many people worked over 60 hours a week and therefore although on face the third Reich seems to progress, in reality it did not achieve this. Within the FRG there was little job growth until the end of the decade, this may be due to the challenges that the FRG faced from the split in Germany. However the employment rate rose from 13.8 million in 1950 to 19.8 million in 1960. This proved to be stronger than the Third Reich regime as it was permanent employment. Despite these progressions within the FRG regime there was still a persistence of unemployment suggesting that although there were great improvements made they still weren’t enough. As the FRG were rising employment levels the GDR faced a loss of skilled labour due to citizens leaving for the west, this also led to a disruption of the production and therefore failure to function effectively. During the reunification process, industry was rundown, this meant that there were limited jobs available and the production was reduced. Overall the Kaiserreich did the most to improve working conditions and attitudes towards work this is shown by the improvements in working hours and the prohibition of children working. The regimes following the Kaiserreich did not seem to continue the work started during the Kaiserreich regime and contradicted what they did, however the FRG did make significant improvements too. One area that Weimar were efficient at improving was housing, however the FRG also tried to improve this factor. Within the Kaiserreich regime there was a lack of urban housing and increasing homelessness. The housing available was also highly overcrowded and the Kaiserreich did very little to improve this. In contrast the Weimar Republic constructed parks, libraries, transport and housing schemes which resulted in an increase in public spending on housing and in 1929 the state was spending 33 times more than in 1913 to improve the quality of housing. This was a huge attempt at improving the living conditions of the working class and was a dramatic change in comparison to the Kaiserreich. During the Third Reich there was a 25 point programme aimed at workers and the lower middle class which focused on the acquisition of living space. The positive view of the standard of living during the Third Reich was that the rents remain stable and there was a decline in the cost of heating and lighting however the negative view was that many people lived in barracks and were therefore suppressed to harsh living conditions. The negative view outweighs the positive as the lack of quality of housing was a real problem for many members of the working class. In 1952 there were 450,000 houses built which showed a large progression during the FRG and helped to tackle the problem of homelessness however the conditions of these houses were cramped and there were large numbers of people living in each house. Overall, the Weimar Republic did the most to improve housing within Germany and this then paved the way for the continuation of focus on housing during the third Reich and the FRG. The FRG had the biggest impact on the healthcare of the working class due to their ability to continue the work of the previous regimes but then to ensure that the concern of the health of society was carried on into the current Germany. The Kaiserreich however helped to start the idea of health in society and planted the idea into German society. In the Kaiserreich period during the Wilhelmine period there were some improvements in medical care and hygiene. Infant mortality decreased by 25% in 1870 and a further 15% in 1912. In 1874 the smallpox immunisation was made compulsory, helping to improve mortality rates. In 1890 there was also the introduction of the diphtheria serum. Medical research, doctors, hospitals and the number of nurses also continued to progressively increase. However the health system was very minimal before the Wilhelmine period therefore although there were improvements it still wasn’t 100% effective and wasn’t a large enough improvement for Germany to be in a state of healthiness. This is reflected in the fact that members of the working class were often ill and would die younger. This suggests the medical services were not sufficient enough for the working class considering their working and living conditions. Another major issue with healthcare was that abortion was also illegal. This had a dramatic effect on families as they would end up with too many children for the parents to look after in comparison to their minimal income. Regardless these improvements continued into the Weimar republic where they faced better health insurance. This then continued further into the Third Reich when there were a number of social welfare programmes introduced, including the expansion of the national health care programme. This was crucial to help those suffering in the war. The improvements of each regime then continued into the FRG regime, but they questioned the health of society and aimed to improve this. Abortion was legalised in 1976 resulting in an opening up of options for women and the ability to control family sizes. The legalisation of abortion also enabled women to do best by their current family and themselves to ensure that the whole household was a positive experience for a new born. Overall, The FRG had the power to ensure that public health was continued and progressed into the reunification of Germany, thus contributing to the improvement of working class lives dramatically for a long period of time. The FRG also did the most to improve benefits within the working class lives. Within the Kaiserreich period there were a number of state socialism measures that were introduced. The sickness and insurance act provided medical treatment and thirteen weeks sick pay to three million low paid workers. To achieve this the workers paid 2/3 and the employers paid 1/3, although the idea was there, this was difficult for many workers as they were paid so little. In 1889 there was an old age and disability act pensions to over 70s. Disablement pensions to younger workers were paid for by the workers, employers and the state. However workers thought it was a sham, thus resulting in a reluctance to understand the measures. There was also no unemployment insurance, which resulted in the majority of the working class, who were unemployed, to continue to struggle. However these progressions did lay the foundations of welfare state and was the first of its kind in the world, leading Germany to be a model of social provision in other countries. There was a continuation of improving benefits within the Weimar period which saw generous pension and sickness benefits and in 1927 a compulsory insurance policy served 17 million workers which was the largest in the world. This suggests that for its time, the regimes were improving the working class lives drastically through benefits. The Third Reich expanded a number of social welfare programmes which included an old age insurance and a national health care programme. The FRG showed annual budget increases as well as reducing employment with early retirement schemes and retraining programmes. There was an insurance based health and social welfare system as well as pension entitlement being increased. Overall, the FRG did the most to improve the benefits within Germany for the working class due to its progression and continuation of improvements made from other regimes. Overall, the FRG did do more to improve the working and living conditions of the German working class however other regimes also played a role. In many cases the Kaiserreich started many of the ideas for the progression but failed in its capability, whereas the FRG had the strength to dramatically improve the working and living conditions of the working class and ensure that these improvements were continued into modern day Germany. 2361 words At the time of the Kaiserreich there was opposition from the government to trade unions however there were 3 million trade union members. It is argued that the issues discussed in trade unions were a result of poor working conditions resulting in a large number of oppositions that the government faced through trade unions. However the Weimar Republic then gave freedom to belong to a trade union and workers could argue through them so that working conditions could be better improved by listening to the people. There is a debate among historians about whether during the third Reich improvements were made to the working class and how significant they were. Tim mason argues that there was no security in the working class forming affinity with the rest of the classes. Mason creates the assertion that German workers refused to collaborate with the regime of the Third Reich. This is due to a labour shortage and emergence of industrial conflict. This suggests that he would argue that the third Reich did very little to improve the working and living conditions of the working class. Mason was a British Marxist historian that focused on Nazi Germany. Many of his views that he expressed have often been debated amongst historians and readers.In contrast Richard Grunberger argues that there was a greater affinity between the working class and other classes by the end of the Third Reich in comparison to the beginning. The main reason for this was the ideology of Nazi nationalism. Although there was a lot of progression and regression throughout the third Reich, it was effective in improving the working class life as Hitler transformed the working class into members of Europe’s ‘Master Race’, enabling embourgeoisement. This suggests that Grunberger would argue that the Third Reich had a greater role in improving the working and living conditions of the working class. Richard Grunberger was a Jewish refugee from Vienna at the age of 14. When in Britain he often took part in a communist youth group, despite his political view being social democratic. His works have been included in textbooks.Tim masons view is highly valid as regardless of any attempts made by the Third Reich to improve working and living conditions of the working class, they were still living in barracks facing a harsh work discipline. However it could be argued that although the affinity wasn’t as great as what Grunberger suggested it had certainly improved by the end of the third Reich and there were dramatic improvements made to the working class conditions. Mason argued that the working class refused to collaborate with the regime, however many of the working class wanted employment and those who were unemployed made many attempts to become employed. This suggests that mason view is limited in its validity because he is creating exaggerated statements. Being a Marxist, Mason lacks validity in his views as his idea of affinity within classes is total equality, and the third Reich regime did not achieve this, however it certainly did achieve a closer affinity between classes.Grunberger’s view is highly valid as he explains that there were a number of attempts to improve wages. One of which was the wage freeze which led to an increase in wages. However this was very minimal as hourly wages only increased by 1% each year of the Nazi rule. He was also praised for his methodological breakdown of the improvements to theworking class within his book by other historians and general readers. It is clear that Grunberger took an in depth approach to the analysis of the Third Reich. This suggests that Grunbergers view may represent the whole picture and therefore being increasingly valuable. Grunberger’s view could be limited in its value due to the fact that he’s Jewish and was prosecuted by the majority of Nazi Germany, however he appears to portray working class improvements as positive which suggests that his analysis of the regime has not been manipulated by his personal experience and therefore has more value. This is strengthened by the idea that his work has taken place within textbooks used to educate others.Overall, I believe Richard Grunberger has a more convincing argument for showing the improvements made to the working class during the Third Reich because he accepts the idea that there was a closer affinity between classes by the end of the regime which was represented in the social welfare programmes, better medical care, and minor improvements made to housing, wages and working hours within the regime. Whereas Tim Mason is unable to see these factors due to his ideology of Marxism.