The Guest Who Invited Himself: The International Free Trade Union Movement During and Between the Two World Wars

  • Geert Van GoethemEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


Are international trade unions militant organisations, with the international level being the superlative of the national, or rather networks focused on information exchange and representation? The discussion is as old as the international trade union movement itself. This chapter highlights both the mindset and the practice of the international free trade union movement during and between the two world wars. It examines the essential characteristics of international trade unionism, and also the relationship between the national and international levels. The chapter also states that labour historians pay too little attention to the immaterial side of this internationalism, just as historians take too little account of the role of the international workers’ movement in the development of a transnational civil society.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amsab-Institute of Social HistoryGhentBelgium

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