OBSERVERS abroad often identify the German unions with the Social Democratic Party and sometimes suppose that statements made by union officials can form the basis for conclusions regarding the attitude of German workers toward problems of foreign policy. Both assumptions are incorrect.
Contrary to the situation in Great Britain, where the unions are an integral part of the Labor Party, the German Federation of Unions (Gewerkschaftsbund) has nothing to do, as an organization, with the Social Democratic Party (S.P.D.). It is true that most of its officials and the core of its members are Social Democrats; but other members, though fewer in number, belong to other parties. Unlike the unions before 1933, the German Federation of Unions is a politically autonomous corporation. Nor do union duties include making decisions on foreign policy. Leading officials will, of course, make comments occasionally on problems in the foreign field. But these commit nobody--neither the union membership nor the political parties--and often are merely isolated personal opinions. Some time ago, when two leading officials of the Federal Board of the unions spoke in favor of the Adenauer Government's remilitarization policy, the industrial unions violently protested; and a recent meeting of union delegates agreed unanimously that foreign policy must be the exclusive concern of the political parties and the Bonn parliament.
The foreign policy of the Social Democratic Party is neither dogmatic nor doctrinaire. It is based on a knowledge of what certain facts may mean for peace and for democracy's chances in Germany and in the world. It is based further on an appraisal of the consequences which, experience teaches, are apt to arise when certain attitudes are adopted. The Party has developed a clear concept of foreign policy from the experience of recent years, and will hold to it so long as new facts do not force a revision of theories hitherto valid. No event, even one of the gravest importance, can alter the S.P.D.'s basic determination to make every
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