Bill Resnick and Bill Smaldone start a two-part conversion about the German Social Democratic party in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Smaldone lays out the historical context of the consolidating and industrializing German state, then explains how the Social Democrats emerged as a parliamentary movement and became a civic movement. Most exciting is how the Social Democrats was organizing the working-class of Germany in the late 19th Century by creating alternative cultural and social institutions that until then only middle-class really had. The vision they had was akin to 20th century socialist schemes of dual-power. Part two will be aired next week.
William Smaldone teaches History at Willamette University, has served on the Salem City Council, and is the author of the books Confronting Hitler: German Social Democrats in Defense of the Weimar Republic, 1929-1933 and Rudolf Hilferding: The Tragedy of a German Social Democrat.