Comparisons between the English and German labour movements have a long tradition in historiography. In Germany they were primarily discussed in the context of the “German Sonderweg”, a debate which was opened in the 1920s and continues in the 1980s. The article presented here analyzes the methodological problems of Sonderweg comparisons of labour history and confronts the major arguments with the results of empirical research. It concludes that many old Sonderweg arguments can not withstand this confrontation. Nevertheless, the article proposes that the debate should be continued, since empirical research focuses on new aspects and supports the diagnosis of two different paths of labour history.