Quellensammlung zur Geschichte der deutschen Sozialpolitik 1867 bis 1914

Digital Edition:

The collection of sources provides an extensive documentation on the beginnings and fundamentals of the modern German welfare state during the time of the German empire. It encompasses 32 (with half-volumes: 34) volumes, all of whom have been published already. The edition contains archival and journalistic sources concerning plans and measures of the empire, it’s individual states, the cities, political parties, organised interest groups, the churches and the science for the integration of the working classes into the political and social structure of the German empire. Institutional focuses of work are the labour law, the social security, the occupational safety and health as well as the care of the poor and the welfare policy. Next to the thematic complexes social policy and social reform, the edition also comprises important sources of the inner imperial politics, the ecclesiastical politics and of a few confrontations of the time concerning the science policy.

The collection of sources is divided in 4 big sections. The first section begins in the year 1876, so in the preliminary stage of the foundation of the empire, and ends with the imperial embassy in 1881. The second section documents the formation process of the basic laws of the German welfare state and comprises the time range until 1890, when the social policy received new impulses through the “Februarerlasse” of William II. The third section deals with the years from 1891 until 1904 and focuses primarily on the fight for the occupational safety and health as well as the rise of the socio-political advocacy groups. The forth section traces the socio-political development in their culture of dispute and agreement in the last years of peace of the empire between 1905 and 1914.

In a second project phase, the 5,500 source-parts that are documented on about 21,000 printed pages, will be made available digitally in an online portal. Furthermore, two monographic closing-volumes and a complete index will be developed.


  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ayaß (Project Leader)
  • Dr. Wilfried Rudloff (Research Associate)
  • Gisela Rust-Schmöle (Official in Charge)
  • Julia Kreuzburg M.A. (Doctoral Candidate)
Running time
Project type

Contact person for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17