Jourdan, in a dissertation in 1918 concerning social class changes, shows that workers descended from store-keepers, civil servants, or free occupations to the following degrees: male workers, 4.9 per cent of the fathers, 4.1 per cent of the grandfathers. 23 More than 95 per cent of the workers in this study descended from workers.

Syrup reveals in another study that out of 329 children of workers who were themselves employed, one was a priest, one a teacher, one a city employee, and one an innkeeper. These are the children of steel mill employees. 15 were white collar employees, chiefly in the steel industry, and 16 had become employees of independent "Handwerker." 24 This is more social class continuity than one would usually associate with the capitalist system in its flush days.

Schalt, in 1920, published a study of statistics taken from the rolls of a trade school in Freiburg. Warning is given that not all those attending would become independent "Handwerker." The parents of the 1547 apprentices are classified as follows: independent "Handwerker," 353; unskilled workers, 249; skilled workers, 224; farmers, 176; lower civil servants, 162; salesmen and inn-keepers, 122; middle civil servants, 46; free occupations (Berufe), 15; widows, pensioners, 122. 25 Judging from the data given, only 61 of these students came from classes above those of the "Handwerker."

A statistical study, made in 1907, concerns 2943 workers in nine large Berlin factories. 26 Of these nearly three thousand workers the following occupations of their fathers were reported: professions, 8; merchants, 52; enterprisers, 61; pensioners, 10; teachers, 16; civil servants and other officials, 215; inn-keepers, 77. These figures, although not conclusive with regard to social class mobility, indicate the most circulation among the German studies reported by Mombert.

It is noteworthy, in dealing with the statistics of social mobility, that the descent of, for instance, ten per cent in the middle classes, because of economic circumstances, moral or intellectual inadequacy, or other misfortunes, would leave room for a rise of only about three per cent among the lower classes, they being far greater in number than the middle classes.

* * *

Among the middle and upper classes statistical data are more limited in quantity. One finds considerable rigidity and social class continuity, despite changes in occupations, among the technicians studied by Jacket, 13 per cent came from independent craftsmen, 20.5 per cent from independent merchants, 7.3 per cent from farmers, none from the free professions, 30 per cent came from civil servants and other officials, 16 per cent from salaried employees, 8 per cent from workers, and 5.5 per cent from other occupations. 27 This indicates the tenacity of the lower middle class in permitting so few to intrude from beneath. Not all technicians are on one and the same social or economic level, of course.

Social class theory is expounded by one statistician, who studied the composition of white collar employees, in the following generalization: "The class position of a single salaried employee is determined by his ancestry, his education, and his place in the company itself." 28 This statement is elaborated by Mombert, who shows the priority of social class backgrounds over the occupational position: 29

Between the class background and the class position there exists a close relationship. The connecting link is, above all, the type of education and training on which depends the amount of income that again plays an important role in the feeling of class membership and class position.

One study of the backgrounds of persons in the upper classes concerns 479 cases of Prussian State and local officials of higher rank. Data are given about the grandfathers as well as the fathers. In many cases no ascent or descent on the social scale could be ascertained. Those considered by Mombert as demonstrating social ascent are: 30

Fathers Grandfathers
Intermediate federal, state, and local officials 34 3
Lower federal, state and local officials 14 3
Teachers without academic training 20 17
Craftsmen 19 44
Workers 1 2

The foregoing table shows that the higher one goes within the middle class the greater is the mobility from within the middle class. These figures do not show significant rising out of the lower classes, but they do show movement from low to middle class occupations and positions.

Next Page


23. Ibid., p. 1052.
24. Ibid., p. 1053.
25. Loc. cit.
26. Loc. cit.
27. Ibid., p. 1054.
28. Quoted by Ibid., p. 1055; translation ours.
29. Ibid., p. 1056; translation ours.
30. Loc. cit.