German Socialism to 1914

  • Leslie J. Macfarlane


Although industrialisation on a substantial scale did not get under way in Germany until after 1850, the revolution of 1848 saw the emergence not only of the historically celebrated Communist League, but of the much more influential ‘Workers’ Brotherhood’ founded at a conference of delegates from 32 workers’ associations from all over Germany. The ‘Workers’ Brotherhood’ was the first German workers’ political organisation, boasting at its height some 200 local and regional associations. The Brotherhood’s members were mainly journeymen and skilled workers and its aims, as set forth in the journal Fraternisation, were reformist not revolutionary.

The workers of Germany must strive to become a moral force in the state, to become a powerful body that thrusts forward … and sweeps aside all that stands in the way of a freer and better shaping of circumstances, that accepts … everyone who feels for the plight of the oppressed and is himself chained by the might of capital or intellectual powers to one of the fortunate of this earth — everyone who works or wants to work.1


Private Property Capitalist Society Socialist Society Capitalist Class Capitalist Mode 
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Notes and References

  1. 3.
    Helga Grebing, The History of the German Labour Movement: A Survey, abridged by Mary Saran and translated by Edith Korner (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1985 ), p. 34.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See G.D.H. Cole, A History of Socialist Thought, Vol. II Marxism and Anarchism 1850–1890 (London: Macmillan, 1954 ), Ch. V.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    W.H. Dawson, Bismarck and State Socialism ( London, Swan Sonnenschein, 1890 ), pp. 30–1.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Vernon L. Lidtke, The Outlawed Party: Social Democracy in Germany 1878–1890 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1966), footnote, p.62; Dawson, op. cit., p.12.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    The terms ‘socialist’ and ‘social democrat’ were used interchangeably in Germany. See W.L. Guttsman, The German Social Democratic Party, 1875–1933 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981), pp.43–4.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (first complete edition published in Germany, 1932) in Robert C. Tucker, The Marx-Engels Reader (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978), pp.79 and 80.Google Scholar
  7. 19.
    For an alternative interpretation, see R.N. Berki, Insight and Vision: The Problem of Communism in Marx’s Thought ( London: J.M. Dent, 1983 ), pp. 50–1.Google Scholar
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    K. Marx and F. Engels, The German Ideology, extracts in David McLellan (ed.), Karl Marx: Selected Writings ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977 ), p. 191.Google Scholar
  9. 36.
    Quoted by Ralph Miliband, ‘Marx and the State’, in The Socialist Register, 1965 ( London: The Merlin Press, 1965 ), p. 290.Google Scholar
  10. 40.
    F. Engels, Anti-Duhring, 3rd edn 1894, translated by Emile Burns (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1942 ), p. 305.Google Scholar
  11. 52.
    Karl Kautsky, The Class Struggle (Erfurt Programme), trans. and abridged by W.E. Bohn from 8th German edn, 1907 (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1910 ), p. 110.Google Scholar
  12. 53.
    Kautsky, The Class Struggle, quoted in M. Salvadori, Karl Kautsky and the Socialist Revolution, 1880–1932, trans. J. Rothschild ( London and New York, NLB, 1979 ), p. 32.Google Scholar
  13. 55.
    Quoted by Cole A History of Socialist Thought, Vol. III Part I. The Second International, 1889–1914 (London: Macmillan, 1956), p.274.Google Scholar
  14. Edward Bernstein, ‘The Struggle of Social Democracy and the Socialist Revolution, 2, the theory of collapse and Colonial Policy’, Neue Zeit 19 January 1898, in H. Tudor and J.M. Tudor, Marxism and Social Democracy: The Revisionist Debate 1896–1898 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), p.167.Google Scholar
  15. 64.
    Bernstein, The Preconditions of Socialism (more commonly known in England as Evolutionary Socialism), 1899, edited and translated by Henry Tudor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), introduction, xv.Google Scholar
  16. 73.
    Kautsky, The Social Revolution, 1902, translated by A.M. and Mary Wood Simons (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1916 ), p. 113.Google Scholar
  17. 74.
    Kautsky, Das Erfurter Programm, edited by Charles Kerr, selections reprinted in Irving Howe, Essential Works of Socialism ( New York: Rinehart & Winston, 1970 ), pp. 101–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Leslie J. Macfarlane 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie J. Macfarlane
    • 1
  1. 1.St John’s CollegeOxfordUK

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