The Steelworkers are Disappearing: On the Transformation of the Industrial Sector in Germany and the USA Since the 1970s

Lecture format: on site + online.
Room: 2R-EG-07 (lecture hall of the Institute for Eastern European History).
Street address: Spitalgasse 2,  Campus of the University of Vienna, Hof 3.

The steel industry was among the most important branches of the economies of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States into the 1970s. The book project extends from the steel industry's boom years of the early 1970s to the crisis of the late 1970s and 1980s and concludes with the transformation of the steel industry following the end of the Cold War. The structural crises and loss of competitiveness in Germany and the United States meant not only declines in steel production and massive job losses but also a symbolic loss of economic might. These changes were accompanied by wide-reaching and closely interrelated structural changes at the national and regional level. The talk will focus on the social impact of the steel crisis and specifically address those disadvantaged by structural change and their scope for action.


Dr. Stefan Hördler is Lecturer at the Institute for Economic and Social History, University of Göttingen, and Visiting Professor within the School of Arts & Humanities at the University of Huddersfield. He specializes in twentieth-century history, Holocaust and genocide studies, social and economic history. Hördler is the author and co-editor of several international publications and prize-winning books. One of his most recent publications is, among others, “Die fotografische Inszenierung des Verbrechens. Ein Album aus Auschwitz” (Darmstadt: WBG Academic, 2019; BpB / Federal Agency for Civic Education, 2020), analyzing the history and narratives of the Auschwitz album. He is member of several international academic advisory boards. For the past decade, Hördler served as expert consultant in various international investigations against former Nazi camp personnel such as in the Auschwitz trials in Lüneburg (2015) and Detmold (2016), and the Stutthof trials in Münster (2018) and Hamburg (2020). At this time, he is consulting the Stutthof trial in Itzehoe and the Sachsenhausen trial in Brandenburg. He is currently working on a transcontinental economic and social history on the crisis of the steel industry in the Federal Republic of Germany and the USA since the 1970s.