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© 2020

A Political Biography of Arkadij Maslow, 1891-1941

Dissident Against His Will

Book

Part of the Critical Political Theory and Radical Practice book series (CPTRP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Mario Kessler
    Pages 19-30
  3. Mario Kessler
    Pages 31-41
  4. Mario Kessler
    Pages 43-47
  5. Mario Kessler
    Pages 49-62
  6. Mario Kessler
    Pages 63-79
  7. Mario Kessler
    Pages 105-113
  8. Mario Kessler
    Pages 115-132
  9. Mario Kessler
    Pages 133-144
  10. Mario Kessler
    Pages 175-188
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 209-258

About this book

Introduction

“Mario Kessler offers a nuanced narrative of Arkadij Maslow that does justice to such a complex and interesting character in the twentieth century of hope and horror. In some ways, we are actually treated to a dual biography, as this book is not just an astute account of the heterodox Marxist Maslow but also of his partner (both romantically and politically) Ruth Fischer.”

Axel Fair-Schulz, Associate Professor of Modern European History, State University of New York at Potsdam, USA

“Mario Kessler brings Maslow to life and thereby shows the roads not taken, the various dissident politics of the period that kept alive for a better future in the worst of circumstances. The reader gets, therefore, a much richer view of communism and other radicalisms of the interwar period. Kessler opens the window on those whose lives were battered by the two major dictatorships of the twentieth century, Nazi and Stalinist, but who sought continually to create a different kind of politics.”

Eric D. Weitz, Distinguished Professor of History at City College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA.

This book is a political biography of Arkadij Maksimovich Maslow (1891-1941), a German Communist politician and later a dissident and opponent to Stalin. Together with his political and common-law marriage partner, Ruth Fischer, Maslow briefly led the Communist Party of Germany, the KPD, and brought about its submission to Moscow. Afterwards Fischer and Maslow were removed from the KPD leadership in the fall of 1925 and expelled from the party a year later. Henceforth they both lived as communist outsiders—persecuted by both Hitler and Stalin. Maslow escaped to Cuba via France and Portugal and was murdered under dubious circumstances in Havana in November 1941. He died as a communist dissident committed to the cause of a radical-socialist labor movement that lay in ruins. Kessler considers Maslow's role in pivotal events such as the Bolshevik Revolution, in Soviet revolutionary parties and organizations, through to the rise of Stalinism and Cold War anti-communism. What results is a deep dive into the life of a key yet understudied figure in dissident communism.

Mario Kessler is Professor and Senior Researcher at the Leibniz Center for Contemporary History at Potsdam, Germany.

Keywords

Communism marx marxism Nazi dictatorship international communism German communism socialism KPD party boshevization Stalin Soviet Union stalinization Ruth Fischer Lenin Karl Radek Ernst Meyer Ernst Thälmann Cold War US-American history European history

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz Center for Contemporary HistoryPotsdamGermany

About the authors

Mario Kessler is Professor and Senior Researcher at the Leibniz Center for Contemporary History at Potsdam, Germany. He teaches at the University of Potsdam and has frequently been a Visiting Professor at Yeshiva University in New York and other American universities. He has written more than twenty-five books in German and English on the history of modern anti-Semitism, socialism, and the history of historiography. He also edited and co-edited many books on these and other subjects.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“Mario Kessler offers a nuanced narrative of Arkadij Maslow that does justice to such a complex and interesting character in the 20th century of hope and horror. In some ways, we are actually treated to a dual biography, as this book is not just an astute account of the heterodox Marxist Maslow but also of his partner (both romantically and politically) Ruth Fischer.”

Axel Fair-Schulz, Associate Professor of Modern European History, State University of New York at Potsdam, USA

 

“Mario Kessler brings Maslow to life and thereby shows the roads not taken, the various dissident politics of the period that kept alive for a better future in the worst of circumstances. The reader gets, therefore, a much richer view of communism and other radicalisms of the interwar period. Kessler opens the window on those whose lives were battered by the two major dictatorships of the twentieth century, Nazi and Stalinist, but who sought continually to create a different kind of politics.”

Eric D. Weitz, Distinguished Professor of History at City College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA.