League of German Workers Associations

League of German Workers’ Associations


a union of organizations of political enlightenment in Germany, founded June 7–8, 1863, at a congress in Frankfurt that was attended by 110 delegates from 48 cities. The league was initially dominated by bourgeois liberals and petit bourgeois democrats who sought to avoid a political struggle. The proletarian wing, headed by A. Bebel, chairman of the union’s administrative board beginning in October 1867, and W. Liebknecht, waged a struggle to transform the union into a class organization with a political program. In contrast to the Lassalleans, league members strongly advocated revolutionary-democratic means to unify the country.

In 1868 the league convened its fifth congress, which was held September 5–7 in Nuremberg and was attended by 115 delegates representing 13,000 members. Influenced by the First International, it adopted a program that basically coincided with that of the International, which it resolved to join. The league made up the nucleus of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany (the Eisenachers). After the founding of the party in 1869, the league announced its disbandment.

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