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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’.

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