Franz Mehring joined the fledging socialist movement in Bismarck’s Germany and became one of its most brilliant propagandists. From his historical writings to his biography of Karl Marx, Mehring left behind a vital body of work for Marxists to draw upon.
Andrew Bonnell is an associate professor of history at the University of Queensland. His books include Robert Michels, Socialism, and Modernity (2023) and Red Banners, Books and Beer Mugs: The Mental World of German Social Democrats, 1863–1914 (2021).
It’s important to place the leading figures of Marxism in the context that shaped them. That context has to include the repressive state structures and extreme inequalities of Europe in the early 20th century, which made revolution seem inevitable.