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German History in Documents and Images
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Eduard Bernstein on his Eightieth Birthday (1930)
Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932) was a leading member of the Social Democratic Party and the main proponent of the “revisionist” strain of Marxism. In 1899, he published the book The Prerequisites for Socialism and the Tasks of Social Democracy [Die Vorraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie], in which he opposed Marx’s claim that class conflict and the collapse of capitalism were inevitable. He argued instead that Social Democrats needed to revise their revolutionary ideology and move peacefully towards a socialist welfare state within a parliamentary democratic system. This photograph of Eduard Bernstein was taken on his 80th birthday in 1930.