In 1933, after all German trade unions were dissolved, Robert Ley (1890–1945) established the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF; German Labor Front). As head of the DAF, whose membership totaled 25 million, Ley was known as the "undisputed dictator of labor" in Germany. Nevertheless, he was overshadowed on labor issues during the war by rivals like Albert Speer and Fritz Sauckel, his codefendants in 1945.

Ley was indicted on counts one, three, and four (conspiracy, war crimes, and crimes against humanity).

Obsessed with the idea of becoming a martyr, Ley committed suicide in his cell at Nuremberg shortly before the trial began.