Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Routes into the Abyss

Examining the 1930s and the different reactions to the crisis, this volume offers a global comparative perspective that includes a comparison across time to give insight into the contemporary global recession. Germany, Italy, Austria and Spain with their antidemocratic, authoritarian or fascistic answers to the economic crisis are compared not only to an opposite European perspective – the Swedish example – but also to other global perspectives and their political consequences in Japan, China, India, Turkey, Brazil and the United States. The book offers no recipe for economic, social or political action in today’s recession, but it shows a wide range of reactions in the past, some of which led to catastrophe.

Helmut Konrad has been Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Graz since 1984. He has held visiting fellowships at Cornell University, University of Waterloo, European University Institute Firenze and Yale University. His research focuses on labour history and cultural history.

Wolfgang Maderthaner has been the scientific and administrative director of the Austrian Labour History Society since 1983 and was appointed General Director of the Austrian National Archives in April 2012. He has published in several languages, most recently der Rest ist Österreich. Das Werden der Ersten Republik 1918–1920 (2008), Neoliberalismus und die Krise des Sozialen. Das Beispiel Österreich (2010), and L´autoliquidation de la raison. Les sciences de la culture et la crise du social (2010).


Helmut Konrad and Wolfgang Maderthaner

Chapter 1. Crisis and Workers’ Movements
Ferdinand Lacina

Chapter 2. The Significance of February, 1934 in Austria in both National and International Context
Helmut Konrad

Chapter 3. Avalanches of Spring: The Great War, Modernism, and the Rise of Austro-fascism
Roger Griffin

Chapter 4. Der italienische Faschismus im Spannungsfeld zwischen Reaktion und Moderne
Karin Priester

Chapter 5. Hitler’s Dictatorship: His Role as “Leader” in the Nazi Regime
Hans Mommsen

Chapter 6. The Second Spanish Republic: The Challenges Facing a Democracy in Troubled Times
Vicent Sanz Rozalén

Chapter 7. The Crisis in the 1930´s and the Rise to Power of the Swedish Social Democrats
Bengt Schüllerqvist

Chapter 8. The United States in the Great Depression: Was the Fascist Door Open?
Nelson Lichtenstein

Chapter 9. Turkey in the first World Crisis: From Authoritarianism to Totalitarianism
Erik-Jan Zürcher

Chapter 10. Brazil in the 1930s: State Building, Nationalism and Working-Class Agency
Alexandre Fortes and Paulo Fontes

Chapter 11. Labour, Organisation and Gender: The Jute Industry in India in the 1930s
Samita Sen

Chapter 12. Japan’s Way Out of the Crisis of the 1930s as a Strategy for Overcoming Modernity
Hiroko Mizuno

Chapter 13. Reappraising the Nanjing Decade (1927-1937): Modernizing China during the World Economic Crisis
Zhu, Weigelin-Schwiedrzik

List of Contributors