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Karl Johann Kautsky

Kautsky, Karl Johann (kärl yōˈhän koutˈskē) [key], 1854–1938, German-Austrian socialist, b. Prague. A leading figure in the effort to spread Marxist doctrine in Germany, he was the principal deviser of the Erfurt Program, which set the German Social Democratic party on an orthodox Marxist path and established him as a dominant figure in the Second International. He was a consistent opponent of Eduard Bernstein and other socialists who advocated revision of Marxist doctrines. After initial hesitation he opposed the Social Democratic party's support of the German effort in World War I and helped form, with Hugo Haase, the Independent Social Democratic party. Soon after the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) in Russia, he condemned it as undemocratic and non-Marxist. Kautsky wrote a great amount of socialist and other literature and edited the German documents on the origin of World War I (4 vol., 1919). Among his translated works are The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx (tr. 1925), Ethics and the Materialist Conception of History (tr. 1907), and Bolshevism at a Deadlock (tr. 1931).

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

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