German social hierarchy like other nation’s social stratification was also dependent on certain rules. Depending on these rules and following them as the basis were formulated certain social classes in Germany. The major reason behind this division was ’Money’. The German social hierarchy is described below in a downward order means starting with the upmost status holder social class and going on further explaining all the minor social classes in brief. Just have a quick look –
This was the top most social class in the German social hierarchy. They enjoyed utmost power, control and authority in the society. This class was the most influential one in the hierarchy. These were the wealthiest one too. These were politically active people who were socially symbol of high status and elegance. The lower classes usually worked for & under these people. The manual work was kind of prohibited for these elite groups of people since their time was so valuable. Their simple, inartistic work was performed by lower level people. In some areas they were also referred to as Aristocrats. This was the elite group that consisted:
- Royal families
- Other wealthy people
The middle class was normally the mainly contested of all of the three cataloging in the German social hierarchy. The reason was simple. There was actually a wide group of people in the German society who socio-economically fell between the upper and lower classes. This group was also termed as ‘White Collar Workers’ in the later periods. This was mainly the working class but of higher ranks. They used to formulate that group of people who were doing high rank jobs in the society. They did have powers, influence and control over the society but in a limited array of options. The lower class usually used to work under their supervision while these people used to mostly report to the elite upper class people.
The poor people used to fall in this category of the German social hierarchy. Well these were people who used to do the lower level, manual, disrespectful work in the society that was not considered artistic at all. This class was further divided into two parts depending on the economical point of view along with the work done. The two sub categories are as follows:
- Working Class – The working class was placed superior to the Under Class. Those people who used to lead the Under Class or pay them used to be incorporated in this group. Also the skilled labors used to be involved in this category.
- Under Class – Well this was the class that remained at the bottom of the society. They were provided with very little rights which in actual practice were negligible. The higher classes never treated them properly. These people used to work on daily wages system and lived a life of hand to mouth. In simple terms, these were the poorest people of the society and hence most under-privileged.