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Old 10 March 2011, 04:35 PM
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Icon18 Hitler on trade unions

Comment: "We must close union offices, confiscate their money and put their
leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their
right to strike.” Hitler, May 2, 1933

My gut says this is a fabrication.
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Old 10 March 2011, 04:40 PM
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Me too. Hitler didn't speak English.
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Old 10 March 2011, 04:42 PM
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It doesn't say Adolf Hitler, though. Maybe it was said by Joe Hitler of Pittsburgh.
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Old 10 March 2011, 04:43 PM
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I've been to Pittsburgh. They don't speak English there either.
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Old 10 March 2011, 04:45 PM
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Well, here's one refutation, albeit from a decidedly right-slanting source:

FWIW, all the incidences I could find of the OP quotation are on left-slanting sources, most citing, reprinting or plain ol' plagiarizing one poorly cited article/blog post.
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Old 10 March 2011, 04:50 PM
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Johnny Slick Johnny Slick is offline
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Well, great! Trying to find something on this linked me to a page from Mein Kampf, which said it was unavailable due to "Violence/Hate/Racism". Yeah... probably not a good thing to check on at work.

Anyway, it wouldn't greatly surprise me if he was against trade unions. Despite what some conservatives will try to tell you, socialist and communist countries tend to be anti-union because the government is already supposed to be speaking for them (not that the Nazis were socialists or communists, but since they had the word "socialist" in their title it's fashionable for conservatives to lump them together). Fascist and far-right governments like National Socialism will also be against trade unions because, well, they're communist or something (and it is true that unions in capitalist countries have often been sponsored by socialists or people with socialist leanings, although that I think is more about objections to unfettered capitalism than a desire to live in a fully Marxist state).

That in and of itself doesn't make trade unions good or bad. Hitler was probably also against kicking puppies.
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Old 10 March 2011, 05:03 PM
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He actually was fairly pro-union, as long as they were Nazi-linked and not Marxists. His views are pretty well covered by this chapter in Mein Kampf (I realize that this is from a white supremacist site, but they have about the most easily readable version of the chapter that I could find):

As things stand today, the trade unions in my opinion cannot be dispensed with. On the contrary, they are among the most important institutions of the nation's economic life. Their significance lies not only in the social and political field, but even more in the general field of national politics. A people whose broad masses, through a sound trade-union movement, obtain the satisfaction of their living requirements and at the same time an education, will be tremendously strengthened in its power of resistance in the struggle for existence.


The trade union in the National Socialist sense does not have the function of grouping certain people within a national body and thus gradually transforming them into a class, to take up the fight against other similarly organized formations. We can absolutely not impute this function to the trade union as such; it became so only in the moment when the trade union became the instrument of Marxist struggle. Not the trade union is characterized by class struggle; Marxism has made it an instrument for the Marxist class struggle. Marxism created the economic weapon which the international world Jew uses for shattering the economic base of the free, independent national states, for the destruction of their national industry and their national commerce and, accordingly, the enslavement of free peoples in the service of supra-state world finance Jewry.

- Il-Mari
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Old 10 March 2011, 08:42 PM
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You know who else hated trade unions? Hitler!
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Old 10 March 2011, 09:37 PM
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Hitler began suppressing the trade unions (along with Communists and Social Democrats) in Feb of 1933 as part of his rise to power. They would attack and ransack offices, steal equipment, beat up and imprison members(usually those in leadership roles) .
Towards May of '33 the trade unions began to distance themselves from the Social Democrats to preserve themselves as an entity but on May 2nd the brownshirts and SS men occupied every trade union office affiliated with the Social Democrats, took control of the newspapers and periodicals of the trade unions and seized their banks.
Trade union officials in leadership roles were either sent to concentration camps or killed outright.
The Nazi's effectively destroyed any power the trade unions had and subjugated it for their own

Source- The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans

So not sure that Hitler said that but that is effectively what happened. So while the Nazi's didn't ban unions, the only one you could belong to was theirs. Much like political parties.
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Old 10 March 2011, 10:08 PM
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That's my impression - he was not anti-union, and probably liked them as instruments of social organization that suppress individualism, but he wanted them politically aligned with and subservient to his national socialist agenda, rather than the world socialist movement.
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Old 11 March 2011, 07:22 AM
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firefighter_raven is correct. On the 1st of May 1933, the NSDAP organized a National Workers Day with demonstrations all over Germany. The trade unions asked their members to take part, and many did.

On 2nd of May, Hitler outlawed the trade unions. SA seized all buildings, including printing presses, newspapers and all assets. Trade union leadres were taken into prisons and concentration camps. All assets of the trade unions were assigned to the German Labour Front, a sub-organisation of the NSDAP (Wikipedia - I don't know where the author got the part about "corruption in the existing unions" from).

Here's a picture of SA entering a trade union building in Berlin on 5/2/1933:

Don Enrico
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Old 11 March 2011, 08:06 AM
Jaime Vargas Jaime Vargas is offline
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Maybe it's because we now know what SA were like, but that picture is downright SCARY.
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