I am fascinated by the ability of German workers to unionize and demonstrate when they face opposition. This level of civil disobedience, unrest and general striking when met with opposition cannot be matched in the United States. In Germany at this time the industrial workers had set goals and are much better organized than any American Union in the past and present.

The German worker was a collective with power to sway elections, mass protest, and occupy land. When they choose to strike that upheaval has enormous meaning throughout the nation. The Kapp Putsch was ended not through military power but by the will of the industrial German workers and their ability to organize quickly and effectively. The culprits of the coup were forced to end their struggle simply because the workers refused to continue with their daily lives. That constant politicization of daily life is what makes the German workers so different than their American counterparts. While the German military has been called in to stop their strikes and meetings several times, as well as attempt to disorganize their leadership, the German workers constantly remain a powerhouse within the nation. This huge faction of the left makes up a large portion of the German government and during the Weimer Republic, was necessary for its survival. While many of the workers sided with fringe leftists groups, they made up such a large block that at no time could their issues be ignored, unlike in the United States.

In the United States, unions are heavily scrutinized and rarely in our history has any police force vehemently attacked the unions like in Germany. Our unions are much less centralized and therefore less powerful than in Germany, despite our much larger population. In our country, the unions are often scrutinized as lazy and anti-business networks. Union memberships peaked directly after World War II but their power rapidly decreased over the following decades.