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Studies in Socialism

of Bismarck. The great enemy of the Chancellor had always magnified and, one might say, satanised his part. He thought that Bismarck was going to drag the Empire down to the depths, that he would hurl it into some national catastrophe. Well, Bismarck was dismissed in his old age without having compromised the peace of Europe or the solidity of the Empire by a single imprudent act. Liebknecht supposed that Bismarck personified not only the danger but the strength of the Empire. Once Bismarck fallen, he imagined that the Imperial institution would have no further support and would weakly adopt a régime of compromise under which the Socialist and popular forces would use their strength to such good purpose that they would attain political power. But William II., having dismissed Bismarck, was able to preserve the Empire in its autocratic and conservative character, and the Socialist party remained in violent and uncompromising opposition. What point was there then in tracing a programme of action, of Socialist reorganisation, at a time that was still a period of war to the death, offensive and defensive? That is probably the explanation why Liebknecht had not published this important work, which reveals one whole aspect of his thought. I confess that when I read the strong clear lines I regretted that they had not been known at the time of the International Congress of Paris in 1900. That Congress hailed the great memory