Cologne Workers Union

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cologne Workers’ Union


a workers’ organization founded on the initiative of members from the Communist League on Apr. 13, 1848, during the Revolution of 1848–49 in Germany. At the beginning sectarian-adventurist elements dominated the leadership (A. Gottschalk was its first chairman), but in June 1848, Marx and his supporters succeeded in changing the character of the organization. J. Moll became chairman of the union, a post held later by Marx (from October 1848, in connection with Moll’s departure) and then K. Schapper (February-May 1849). Under the influence of Marx and Engels it became an important center in the revolutionary struggle; it maintained ties with other workers’ and democratic organizations. Its membership, mostly workers and apprentices, reached 5,000–6,000. Between April 1848 and June 1849 it published its own newspaper. The Cologne Workers’ Union played the main role in the convocation on May 6, 1849, of the congress of workers’ unions from the Rhine province and Westphalia. It was disbanded after the triumph of counterrevolution in Germany.


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Becker, G. Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels in Köln: 1848–1849: Zur Geschichte des Kölner Arbeitervereins. Berlin, 1963.

G. BECKER [German Democratic Republic; 12–68–3]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.