Books for changing the world
Red Banners, Books and Beer Mugs
The Mental World of German Social Democrats, 1863–1914

The German Social Democratic Party was the world’s first million-strong political party and was the main force pushing for the democratisation of Imperial Germany before the First World War. This book examines the themes around which the party organized its mainly working-class membership, and analyses the experiences and outlook of rank-and-file party members as well as the party’s press and publications. Key topics of inquiry include: the Lassalle cult and leadership, nationalism and internationalism, attitudes to work, the politics of subsistence, the effects of military service, reading and the diffusion of Marx’s ideas, cultural organisations, and socialism and republicanism under the Imperial German state. Through these various avenues, Bonnell explores the remarkable degree to which the party successfully addressed workers’ everyday concerns while also offering the prospect of a better future.