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Amerika aus deutscher Perspektive: Reiseeindrücke deutscher Ingenieure über die Eisen-und Stahlindustrie der USA, 1900-1930

Christian Kleinschmidt and Thomas Welskopp
Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte / Journal of Business History
39. Jahrg., H. 2. (1994), pp. 73-103
Published by: Verlag C.H.Beck
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40695485
Page Count: 31
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Amerika aus deutscher Perspektive: Reiseeindrücke deutscher Ingenieure über die Eisen-und Stahlindustrie der USA, 1900-1930
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Abstract

The article analyzes German engineers' and steel managers' visits and tours of the U. S. iron and steel industry in the period between 1900 and approximately 1930. It argues that the impressions those engineers and managers perceived and formulated in intra-industry communication were highly distorted and biased by the production and industrial relations problems back home. Whereas self-conscious steel engineers of the Ruhr compared themselves favorably to their U. S. competitors in terms of the technical standard attained, attributing remaining productivity lags in Germany to market and raw material disadvantages, they projected their own ideal view of harmonistic employment relations, apparently hampered by the existence of unions and the shop steward system in Weimar Germany, onto the situation in the U. S. where the "non-union system" persisted well into the 1930s. Industrial visits of German engineers to the U. S., therefore, served less as a mode of exchanging realistic perceptions between the two most advanced producers of iron and steel in the world, but to bolster a developed technological self-consciousness and to underpin a harmonistic ideological "workplace community"-concept instrumental in the militant political debate of the 1920s.

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