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German Labour Front

From Academic Kids

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DAF_Logo.jpg
The DAF Logo was a inside a cog

The German Labour Front (German Deutsche Arbeitsfront (abbr. DAF)) was the Nazi's substitute organisation for trade unions that were made illegal after their rise to power in 1933. Its leader was Robert Ley, who stated its aim as 'to create a true social and productive community' (Smelster, 1988). Employment contracts created under the Weimar Republic were abolished and the employers were given more influence.

Theoretically the DAF existed to act as a medium through which workers and owners could represent their interests. However, in reality it was a means by which workers were controlled, ensuring wage demands were not made - ensuring the position of the employer as the 'leader' with the worker cast as 'follower'. Wages were set by the 12 DAF trustees, who near enough always followed the will of the employers.

DAF membership was supposedly voluntary, but any workers in any area of German commerce or industry would've found it hard to get a job without being a member. Membership required a fee within the range of 15 Pfennigs to 3 Reichsmarks, depending on the category a member fell into in a large scale of 20 membership groups. A substantially large amount of income was raised through fees. (In 1934, the total intake was 300,000,000 Reichsmarks.)

There were 2 main components of the DAF:

Several other sub-organisations were set up:

  • Kraft durch Freude (KdF; Strength through Joy) – Aimed to keep the workers content by giving them cheap/free holidays in addition to subsidised sporting and leisure facilities.
  • Schönheit der Arbeit (SdA; Beauty of Work) – Aimed to make workplaces more enticing to workers (e.g. renovations of factories, new canteens etc.).
  • Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD; Reich Labour Service) – Solution to the unemployment crisis the Nazis inherited. Provided cheap labour for big Nazi projects, such as the Autobahns. Made compulsory for unemployed men 16-25 in 1935.

References

  • McDonough, Frank (1999); Hitler and Nazi Germany (Cambridge Perspectives in History). Cambridge : Cambridge University Press ISBN 0-52-159502-9
  • Smelser, Ronald M. (1988); Robert Ley, Hitler's Labour Front Leader. Oxford : Berg Publishers ISBN 0-85-496161-5

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