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By David F. Patton (auth.)

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Extra resources for Cold War Politics in Postwar Germany

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Within a year, the chancellor was struggling to find support for the Schuman Plan and rearmament. The winter of 1950–51 was a particularly difficult one for the chancellor. High Commissioner John McCloy of the United States and his associates were meeting regularly with the West German government, unions, and industry in an effort to resolve the issue of cartels in the Ruhr. 7 Adenauer had little choice but to accept Allied terms. The settlement created 24 new steel companies, led to the abolition of the cartelistic coal-sales agency (DKV), and weakened the Verbundwirschaft— the largest steel companies could own coal mines producing less than three-quarters of their coal need.

They demanded that the Bundestag roll back the Allied law in the Ruhr region by passing an industrywide works constitution act that would not include parity codetermination. They believed that parity codetermination undermined the basic prerogatives of business ownership, and represented socialism through the backdoor. As Cold War tensions peaked, industry leaders did not shy away from pointing to developments in Eastern Europe in an effort to discredit the unions. ”85 By late 1950, the conflict over codetermination had come to a head.

The DGB demanded that parliament secure and extend parity codetermination, as practiced in the Ruhr region, throughout the entire economy. This was the DGB’s number-one goal. ”77 In its efforts to extend codetermination, the trade union federation could count on the Social Democrats, who also viewed parity codetermination as a necessary check on unbridled capitalism. Kurt Schumacher even incorporated the codetermination demand within his magnet theory on unification. ”78 As the Bundestag began to consider codetermination in the summer of 1950, the SPD submitted a bill that had been drafted with the DGB.

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