1945-1991: Cold War world Wiki

Early Life[]

Karl Marx was born in Trier, in the German Rhineland, in 1818. Although his family was Jewish they converted to Christianity so that his father could pursue his career as a lawyer in the face of Prussia's anti-Jewish laws. A precocious schoolchild, Marx studied law in Bonn and Berlin, and then wrote a PhD thesis in Philosophy, comparing the views of Democritus and Epicurus. On completion of his doctorate in 1841 Marx hoped for an academic job, but he had already fallen in with too radical a group of thinkers and there was no real prospect. Turning to journalism, Marx rapidly became involved in political and social issues, and soon found himself having to consider communist theory. [1]


Of his many early writings, four, in particular, stand out. Contribution to a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Introduction, and On The Jewish Question, were both written in 1843 and published in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, written in Paris 1844, and the Theses on Feuerbach of 1845, remained unpublished in Marx's lifetime.[2]

Other writings of Marx's are; The German Ideology, co-written with Engels in 1845 (though it remained unpublished during Marx's life time, his theory of history is shown) [3], Contribution to a Contrique of Political Economy in 1859 (concentrated on his study of economics)[4], The Capital Volume 1, The Capital Volume 2, and The Capital Volume 3 (explaining the his theories on labor in economics). [5]

Communist Manifesto[]

Karl Marx's most read work of literature, Communist Manifesto, is considered by most to be his defining work. The book details his views on class struggles, the conditions of the working man, and communism. Communist Manifesto was writted in 1847, and published in 1848.

Chapter 1: Bourgeois and Proletarians[]

  • Bourgeoisie is the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour.
  • The proletariat is the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live.

Chapter 1 focuses on the class struggles between the proletarians and the bourgeoisie; between upper class employers and the working class. The chapter depicts the bourgeoisie working for the political advancement of itself while the proletarians continue to suffer. [6]

Chapter 2: Proletarians and Communists[]

In the second chapter, Marx wrote:In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole? The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties. They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement. The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole. The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement. The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.

Marx goes on to write of a future with the proletarians in power behind the communists. He details the steps that nation could take for communistic advancement[7]: 1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. 5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. 6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. 7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. 9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country. 10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

Chapters 3 and 4[]

In the third chapter, Marx elaborates on socialism and it's values for a communist utopian future. He states that the proletarians must first remove the bourgeoisie from power in order to live in an entirely free, classless society.[8]

The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement. In France, the Communists ally with the Social-Democrats(1) against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right to take up a critical position in regard to phases and illusions traditionally handed down from the great Revolution. - Chapter 4 excerpt[9]