Körsch, Karl

(1886-1961)
   political theorist; best known for a critique of Marxism that stressed the humanist side of class struggle. Born in the village of Tostedt in the Prussian province of Hanover, he studied law and philosophy and earned a doctorate at Jena in 1910. After fulfilling his military commitment, he pursued further studies in London, where he joined the Fabian Society. Forced home by the outbreak of war, he was twice wounded as a frontline officer. He joined the USPD in 1917 and became an assistant with the Social-ization Commission* in 1919. After completing his Habilitation in October 1919, he went to Jena as a Privatdozent. In 1920 he was among the USPD's leftist members who entered the KPD; he engaged in propaganda work and served as a supply director in the KPD's abortive uprising of 1921. In October 1923 he was appointed full professor at Jena and Justice Minister in Thuringia's* United Front* government. Both appointments were short-lived; he was forced to go underground when Berlin overturned Thuringia's socialist experiment. Gaining immunity in December 1924 when he was elected to the Reichstag,* he retained his mandate until 1928.
   Korsch edited Internationale, the KPD's theoretical organ, but his ultraleftist activism prompted his expulsion from the KPD in 1926. Distancing himselffrom Moscow's "state communism," he led a Communist splinter group until 1927; thereafter he focused on philosophy. Barred from any university appointment, he taught an unofficial course on Marxism by arrangement of the Communist Students' Club at Berlin. Often compared to Georg Lukacs* and members of the Frankfurt School,* he published widely on Marxist theory. In Marxismus und Philosophie, an exegesis on Marxism written against the backdrop of its failure in Germany, he argued that the socialist parties had faltered because they had forsaken Hegel's dialectic method. In 1933 Korsch left Germany and settled in the United States in 1936.
   REFERENCES:Korsch, Marxism and Philosophy; NDB, vol. 12; Pachter, Weimar Etudes; Wurgaft, Activists.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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