Echoes of the Marseillaise in German Social Democracy

A Review of La Révolution française et la social-démocratie. Transmissions et usages politiques de l’histoire en Allemagne et Autriche 1889–1934 by Jean-Numa Ducange

in Historical Materialism
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Jean-Numa Ducange’s recent work, La Révolution française et la social-démocratie. Transmissions et usages politiques de l’histoire en Allemagne et Autriche 1889–1934, provides an ambitious and theoretically-sophisticated analysis of the ways in which German and Austrian socialists interpreted the French Revolution from 1889 to the 1930s. Ducange shows how the different strands of Second International socialism interpreted the revolution in their own ways, and shows the impact of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 on this. His work does not only focus on leading theoreticians such as Karl Kautsky, but also documents very effectively the way in which the readings of the French Revolution were disseminated widely through Social Democracy’s rank-and-file membership. It is a valuable contribution to the literature on the culture of Marxism in Central Europe in this period, as well as a rich addition to the literature on the resonance and uses of the French Revolution: the ‘echoes of the Marseillaise’.

Historical Materialism

Research in Critical Marxist Theory


Udo Achten (ed), Zum Lichte empor. Mai-Festzeitungen der Sozialdemokratie 1891–1914, (Dietz, Berlin and Bonn 1980).

BernsteinEduard, Sozialismus und Demokratie in der großen englischen Revolution, (Dietz, Bonn 1974 [1922]).

BlosWilhelm, Die Französische Revolution von 1789 bis 1804, (Dietz, Berlin 1923 [1888]).

BouvierBeatrix, Französische Revolution und deutsche Arbeiterbewegung: die Rezeption des revolutionären Frankreich in der deutschen sozialistischen Arbeiterbewegung von den 1830er Jahren bis 1905, (Verlag Neue Gesellschaft, Bonn 1981).

DavidsonNeil, How Revolutionary Were the Bourgeois Revolutions?, (Haymarket Books, Chicago 2012).

KautskyKarl, '‘Die Klassengegensätze von 1789’' (1889) 7 Die Neue Zeit: 14997145-956108157.

KautskyKarl, Die soziale Revolution, (Vorwärts, Berlin 1902).

KautskyKarl, Die Klassengegensätze im Zeitalter der französischen Revolution, (Dietz, Stuttgart 1908).

KautskyKarl, Der Weg zur Macht, (Vorwärts, Berlin 1909).

KautskyKarlMehringFranzLuxemburgRosa, 1649–1789–1905, (Vorwärts, Berlin 1905) (Copies preserved in various archives, e.g. International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, Archief Karl Kautsky, H1/107, cited by Ducange; Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, file: Reg. Düsseldorf 9065.).

RileyDylan, '‘Bernstein’s Heirs’' (2012) II(76) New Left Review: 136-150.

Leo Stern (ed), Die Auswirkungen der ersten russischen Revolution von 1905–1907 auf Deutschland, (Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1954).


Bouvier 1981.


Blos 1923, Kautsky 1889.


Blos 1923, p. 3.


Kautsky 1909.


Kautsky 1902.


Bernstein 1974.


Reproduced in Achten (ed.) 1980.


Partially documented in Stern (ed.) 1954.


Kautsky 1908, p. 3.


Kautsky 1908, p. 4.


Kautsky 1908, p. 6.


Davidson 2012.


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