Rotten Foundations: The Conceptual Basis of the Marxist-Leninist Regimes of East Germany and Other Countries of the Soviet Bloc

By Peter W. Sperlich | Go to book overview

Chapter 2

Roots and Developments

HEGEL AND OTHER PRECURSORS

German Idealism

Marxism, writes Lenin in THE THREE SOURCES AND THREE COMPONENT PARTS OF MARXISM,

is omnipotent because it is true. It is comprehensive and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world outlook…. It is the legitimate successor to the best that man produced in the nineteenth century, as represented by German philosophy, English political economy and French socialism. [Lenin, 1960, 19:23-24]

The first source, German idealism, represents the single greatest influence on Marx—a point agreed upon by Western as well as Marxist intellectual historians. [Buhr & Irrlitz, 1968, I:31; Stiehler, 1968, 127-173] Marx's economic interpretation of history did not primarily emerge from his study of economics, nor did the concept of the proletarian revolution derive from French or English political thought—though Marx's economism certainly owes a great deal to his British exile. Both have their ultimate origins in German idealism. Marx's primary rootstocks within idealism are Hegel (the source of the dialectics) and, to a lesser degree, Fichte, rather than Kant 1 or Herder. [Buhr, 1979, 11-17] Ludwig Feuerbach is the source of Marx's materialism. Hegel and Feuerbach together—but Feuerbach much in opposition to Hegel's idealism—provided the basic elements for the development of what was later to be identified as Marx's dialectical materialism.

Hegel, without question, is the most important progenitor. In the form

-13-

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Rotten Foundations: The Conceptual Basis of the Marxist-Leninist Regimes of East Germany and Other Countries of the Soviet Bloc
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations xi
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Roots and Developments 13
  • Chapter 3 - Science or Anti-Science 41
  • Chapter 4 - Utopia and Religion 77
  • Chapter 5 - Theory and Practice 107
  • Chapter 6 - The Issue of Totalitarianism 139
  • Chapter 7 - Summary 193
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 237
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