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Eduard Bernstein

Bernstein, Eduard (āˈdōärt bĕrnˈshtĪn) [key], 1850–1932, German socialist. From 1872 he was actively associated with the Social Democratic party. In 1878, antisocialist legislation sent him into exile. In 1898, he aroused controversy among German socialists by critiquing Marxism, denying that the collapse of capitalism was imminent, and maintaining that the bourgeoisie was not wholly parasitic. He saw socialism as the final result of liberalism, not revolution. Returning from England to Berlin in 1901 he became the leader of revisionism, opposed by Karl Johann Kautsky. Bernstein protested his party's support for war by resigning in 1914. He rejoined the party after World War I, leading it as a popular reformist party. He served briefly in the government (1919), and later opposed the Nazis. His most important book setting forth criticisms of Marxism is Evolutionary Socialism (1898, tr. 1909).

See his reminiscences, My Years of Exile (1921); P. Gay, The Dilemma of Democratic Socialism (1954); J. W. Hulse, Revolutionists in London (1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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