Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School

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Drawing on unexamined new sources, John Abromeit describes the critical details of Horkheimer's intellectual development. This study recovers and reconstructs the model of early Critical Theory that guided the work of the Institute for Social Research in the s. Horkheimer is remembered primarily as the co-author of Dialectic of Enlightenment, which he wrote with Theodor W. Adorno in the early s. But few people realize that Horkheimer and Adorno did not begin working together seriously until the late s or that the model of Critical Theory developed by Horkheimer and Erich Fromm in the late s and early s differs in crucial ways from Dialectic of Enlightenment.

Abromeit highlights the ways in which Horkheimer's early Critical Theory remains relevant to contemporary theoretical discussions in a wide variety of fields. Stephen Eric Bronner. Andrew Bowie. A Dictionary of Critical Theory. Ian Buchanan. The Seduction of Unreason. Richard Wolin. Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. Louis Althusser.

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Theodor Adorno. Ross Wilson. The Dialectical Imagination. Martin Jay. Ernst Cassirer. Edward Skidelsky. Marxism and Literary Criticism. Terry Eagleton. Ernst Bloch. Vincent Geoghegan. Writing History, Writing Trauma. Dominick LaCapra. Lenin Reloaded. David Fernbach. Pathologies of Reason. Axel Honneth. Arendt and Adorno. Lars Rensmann. The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt. Seyla Benhabib.

Dangerous Minds. Ronald Beiner. Introduction to Critical Theory. David Held. The Marx Machine. Charles Barbour. Doing Aesthetics with Arendt. Max Weber and Michel Foucault. Arpad Szakolczai. The New Conservatism. Karl Marx. Allan Megill. Richard Kilminster. Politics without Vision. Tracy B. Max Weber and Karl Marx. Karl Lowith. Theodor W. Reception Theory. Robert C.

Weimar Thought. Peter E. The Fleeting Promise of Art. Peter Uwe Hohendahl. The Tragedy of European Civilization. Harry Redner. Inspirational text for the Frankfurt School. In the same year, Frankfurt elects its first Jewish mayor. In spring, the American-led Young Plan to allow Germany to pay its debt of billion gold marks over 59 years seems to offer a lifeline to the Weimar Republic struggling under punitive world war one reparations and hyperinflation. But the plan is scrapped following the the Wall Street Crash the following autumn. Only the Nazi party seems capable of capitalising on the capitalist crisis.

On March 13 , the swastika flag is raised over Frankfurt town hall. Benjamin flees Berlin into exile, never to return to his homeland. Horkheimer closes the Institute and moves first to Geneva and then to New York. In the same year, Adorno leaves Oxford, where he has been studying, for 11 years of exile in the United States. His first job is as researcher on the Princeton Radio Research Project led by Viennese sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld to study the effects new forms of mass media on American society.

Britain declares war on Germany. World War Two begins. He was attempting to leave Europe for New York, where exiled members of the Frankfurt School had prepared an apartment for him. His horrified reaction to them, he writes later, constitutes "that first rupture, which still gapes". In October , that zone becomes a separate state called East Germany, and Berlin, too, is divided between communist east and capitalist west: Germany is, as a result, divided for the first time since In that book, Marcuse attacks Fromm for his Freudian revisionism, prompting a public spat in the pages of Dissent magazine from which their relationship never recovers.

Chapters 1 and 2 comprise the first section. The first chapter also presents and analyzes a series of short plays and novellas that Horkheimer wrote during this time, which provide important insights into his early intellectual development. Goethe University in Frankfurt, where he completed his doctorate and his Habilitation in philosophy in and , respectively. Horkheimer wrote his Ph. Instead, Horkheimer interpreted modern European philosophy as the mediated expression of the uneven development of bourgeois society. It is necessary to obtain the venia legendi the right to teach and thus a prerequisite for an academic career.

To successfully complete the Habilitation, one must submit a second dissertation, or Habilitationsschrift, which demonstrates original research at a higher level than the Ph. Thomas McCarthy Boston, , p. Here again, in Chapters 4 and 5, it is apparent that Horkheimer sees consciousness as always already mediated by society, not as an absolute point of departure. In both chapters, we see Horkheimer stress, for example, the ways in which consciousness is shaped by unconscious character structures that in turn are shaped by historically specific social conditions.

Horkheimer engages deeply with the tradition of philosophical materialism while at the same time insisting on a determination of the concept adequate to the twentieth-century social, historical, and intellectual conditions.

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Eventually, some aspects of this project would be realized in Dialectic of Enlightenment. The first, shorter excursus draws primarily on a lengthy unpublished text Fromm wrote in the fall and winter of —7, which sheds new light on the theoretical foundations of his split with Horkheimer and the Institute as a whole.

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Moritz Horkheimer thus came to embody the promise of the liberal capitalism that was transforming the economy, if not the political institutions, of Imperial Germany in the last decades of the nineteenth century. He attributed his success in large part to the country and the region that he believed had made 1. The Jewish community in Stuttgart was officially founded on August 3, At that time, it consisted of fifteen families with members altogether.

It grew steadily in the next few decades.

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By , it had members. In , the first synagogue was opened. By , it had members; in , ; in , ; and on the eve of World War I, Weg und Schicksal der Stuttgarter Juden, ed. Maria Zelzer Stuttgart, , p. Moritz Horkheimer joined in the wave of enthusiasm that swept through Germany with the beginning of World War I. In the following years, he placed his factory in the service of the war effort, producing badly needed textiles.

His devotion did not go unrecognized either. In , he was awarded the Charlottenkreuz and the Ritterkreuz I. In , he was made a citizen of honor of Zuffenhausen;2 he was the last Jew in the Stuttgart area to receive the title. He defended his choice to stay in Germany by saying that his family had been living there longer than Adolf Hitler. Yet his cultural interests should be seen more as hobbies than as passions. Politically and religiously, Moritz Horkheimer was of liberal persuasion. He was critical of Zionism and never polemicized against other religions.

He saw himself first and foremost as a German citizen, and he firmly subscribed to the liberal belief that he was doing what was best for his community and his country by developing his business as rapidly as possible. Max Horkheimer recalls that his father had a good relationship with, and took a genuine interest in, his workers, although he was adamantly opposed to unionization, which eventually led to strikes in his factory near the end of World War I.

All students were required to take Greek and Latin and study classical literature and philosophy. The Progressive Party remained the home for the remaining constitutional liberals. She devoted herself not to cultural or intellectual pursuits, but primarily to her husband and her son, and secondarily to religion. She seems to have been an exceptionally protective mother. She would always accompany Max to school on the first day to make sure that his new teacher took especially good care of her sensitive son.

She was religious and insisted that the family remain kosher, but when Max became sick and the doctor recommended that he eat ham on buttered bread to regain his health, his mother was willing to break the religious dietary laws for the good of her son. Horkheimer stressed that his mother was fearful of the outside world and that he largely inherited this fear from her. As Horkheimer himself stressed repeatedly in later interviews, he sought to recapture the warmth and stability he had experienced with his mother in other relationships as he grew older.

Prior to his friendship with Pollock, which began in , Horkheimer seems to have had a fairly unremarkable childhood. However, he does not seem to have suffered from the same extreme feelings of alienation as did his future friend and colleague Theodor Adorno, who was wounded deeply by the persecution he suffered at the hands of other children. He spent many enjoyable hours playing with tin German soldiers with his friends.

See GS 7, p. Interview with Matthias Becker, p. Edmund Jephcott New York and London, , pp. Weg und Schicksal der Stuttgarter Juden, p. Horkheimer recalls that he viewed doing well in school primarily as a means of pleasing his parents, not as an end in itself. He was usually among the top five students in his school, although never the best. Horkheimer had had one other earlier friend who was important to him. The way Horkheimer described it in an interview near the end of his life, his first meaningful friendship demonstrates how much he longed for an intimate companion, a desire that would be realized later with his friendship to Pollock: Already in my childhood, before I left school.

I had an ideal of having a friend, with whom I could share everything that was important to me.

This thought, this wish certainly resulted from the way in which I was raised to love and to long for sincerity and community, and to do good. For all this I needed a friend and that was my deepest desire. I had at that time a friend whose name was Kurt Rosenfeld but he died before I left the [middle] school. But this was exactly what had already begun with Kurt Rosenfeld and was the direct result of the way in which I was raised.

The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory

An opportunity to get to know Pollock better presented itself to Horkheimer in the fall of , when a space became available in a social dancing class in which he was participating at the time. The dance class was a part of the socialization process for young persons from bourgeois families who were preparing to play their allotted role within the rigidly structured social system of Wilhelmine Germany.

A few days ago Mr. With this hope and also the hope that I will be able to greet you tomorrow evening at , I remain, yours truly, Max Horkheimer. Pollock came to the next meeting of the dance class, but did not appear again after that. They soon went to work on a friendship contract that went into great detail about their commitment to one another and to creating a more humane world. Pollock, who was nine months older than Horkheimer, was also the son of a successful industrialist. His father owned a factory that produced leather goods in Freiburg, where Pollock spent most of his youth. His father had renounced his Judaism and raised Pollock to hold Judaism in disdain.

This symbiosis between Horkheimer and Pollock remained a constant throughout their long friendship, and became one of the cornerstones of the Institute for Social Research in later years. During this time, Horkheimer also strengthened his friendship with Pollock. In a lengthy letter Horkheimer wrote to Pollock on September 9, , while recovering from illness at a spahotel on Lake Constance, Horkheimer searched for reasons for the malaise that had been plaguing him since the past winter.

He told Pollock that his spirits were nonetheless high, because his father recently revealed his plans to send him abroad to see how business was done in other countries and to learn French. It was here that the two of them had their first taste of liberating independence. It was clear that Horkheimer was looking for someone to share his rich internal world, in which he sought refuge from the stifling conditions of everyday life in Stuttgart.

In Pollock, he found someone who could not only empathize with his disaffection, but who also shared his intellectual interests. His personal and intellectual companionship with Pollock provided Horkheimer with much needed affirmation, as well as the opportunity to explore this interior world in greater depth. He introduced Horkheimer to many of the classical works of literature he had studied at the humanistic Gymnasium in Freiburg.

The next day, Horkheimer wrote a letter to Pollock, who would not join him there for another two weeks, that clearly expressed his joy at the prospect of beginning a new, more independent phase of his life with his best friend at his side. MHA VI. Gilded youth. Sonnenschein, The detailed plans he and Pollock had resolutely adopted to escape the rigid and stifling bourgeois lifestyle of Wilhelmine Germany seemed to be coming true.

A more serious relationship developed between the two of them in September , when Neumeier spent an extended period of time with Horkheimer and Pollock during one of her periodic visits to Stuttgart. His father decided to send him next to Manchester, England, where he could familiarize himself with the latest production methods there and learn English.

On his way from Stuttgart to Manchester at the end of December, Horkheimer stopped in Paris to visit Neumeier, with whom he had fallen in love in the meantime. We want something different, new, absolute. Our life is serious. The laws governing society should not apply to us. In it, Horkheimer simply attempts to record what happened between himself, Neumeier, and Pollock.

Neumeier declared her wish to become a full member of their intimate circle by committing herself to the ideals they had established in their friendship contract. When Horkheimer met with Pollock the next day in Calais, France to continue their trip to Manchester together, he explained jubilantly to Pollock that they now had a third member in their coterie.

Pollock reacted skeptically at first, which led Horkheimer to write Neumeier a letter to confirm that she still stood behind her recent declarations. All three meetings were highly charged intellectually, emotionally, and erotically. By the end of June, Neumeier decided to leave her family and friends in Paris behind and to join Horkheimer and Pollock in London, where the three of them would try to make their dream, the isle heureuse, a reality.

On July 2, Horkheimer picked Neumeier up in Folkestone and brought her back to the small apartment in London that he and Pollock had rented for the three of them. Their bateau ivre, however, would soon run aground on the reality principle of bourgeois society, which they mistakenly believed they had left behind. Horkheimer and Pollock were to return immediately to Stuttgart, and Neumeier to Paris. The arrival of the adults jolted Neumeier completely out of the parallel world in which she had been living with Horkheimer and Pollock. As Horkheimer put it: When she.

She had found her way back to reality perfectly, she no longer understood that which had been, she herself and both of us had suddenly become foreign to her. He describes their hatred of bourgeois society and depicts it as a system of needs that prevents the upper classes from pursuing any ideals beyond material wealth or dubious fame, and forces the lower classes into a brutal struggle for existence. Our love was perfect, reality had attained the truth. World War I had begun and was greeted with enthusiasm by many Europeans.

Furthermore, this personal crisis that had occurred at the same time as the Europe-wide crisis that led to World War I, which he unequivocally rejected from the beginning. This interest was clearly reflected in the content and style of his own writings from this period. During this time, Horkheimer began to consider himself as a writer and an artist. Yet Walter is in love with Luise and would like to marry her someday soon, and he realizes that her parents see him as a good-for-nothing dreamer.

So he decides to volunteer for the war to prove to Luise and her parents that he is a worthy suitor, even if it means acting against his own deepest convictions. Alfred Schmidt, Frankfurt, GS 15, pp. After just a few horrific battles on the front lines, Walter is fatally wounded. In his last letter to Luise, which he dictates to the nurse tending to him shortly before his death, he renounces his love to her, saying that she never understood him in the least and that he had been driven by the desire for possession just like everyone else, namely the desire to possess her.

In the meantime, Luise has also received the news that one of her brothers has fallen and the other is missing. And therefore war will remain a necessity until the very end. But precisely for this reason it is ray of hope, a sunny solace to hate it. He wanted badly to continue his artistic and intellectual pursuits, and he did so in every spare minute he could find.

Horkheimer would often find hiding Ibid. He expresses his dissatisfaction in no uncertain terms in a journal entry from July The present day is the symbol of my current life. Oh, may laziness, habit, false pity, weakness, base fear and the fear of death not prevent me from fleeing from my current situation! In his writings from this time, Horkheimer repeatedly explored the theme of aspiring young artists who break with their parents and the mundane world of bourgeois convention in order to devote themselves fully to their work.

In most cases, however, the stories end tragically. Two years later, we find the young man sitting in a concert hall, trying desperately to forget that the woman has left him and his career as a pianist has come to naught. Both his father and his mother chastised Horkheimer severely for his affair with her, which drove Horkheimer even further into internal rebellion.

The story opens in the front yard of a country house of a wealthy man who has just learned that his wife is mentally ill. The man implores his son not to follow through on his plans to strike out on his own and to leave behind his parents, who both love him and need him very much. After the father goes inside, a peasant girl appears on the other side of the fence that surrounds the luxurious country villa, and asks why the young man is disconsolate. She encourages him to jump the fence and join her outside. He replies that he cannot because he is too weak, so the peasant girl decides to spring over the fence to talk to him for a while.

After he explains his situation to her, she urges him to lead his own life, to come with her and to do what will make him happy. They are interrupted by the house servants, who tell him that his mother is crying hysterically, wondering where her son is. After the peasant girl promises to wait for him, he goes inside and spends the entire night with his father at the bedside of his sick mother. The next morning when he comes back outside, the peasant girl is still waiting for him on the other side of the fence and still urging him to join her.

But then she realizes that he does not have Ibid. He watches her leave as if it were his own life walking away from him, but he also manages somehow to convince himself that he has made the right decision. Horkheimer first got to know her better at the company Christmas party at the end of Horkheimer was taken by surprise and wondered how to interpret the gift. Riekher was the daughter of an English woman and a hotel owner from Stuttgart. Not only was Riekher eight years older than Horkheimer, she was also Christian. Soon after they found out that the two of them were romantically involved, Riekher lost her position in the factory.

His stories from indicate that he was probably ambivalent about the relationship initially,55 but by his devotion to Maidon had attained nearly religious proportions. He describes his love for her in terms of redemption, as a replacement for the religion of his parents and other authority figures whose words he can no longer believe. The young couple sets out on a walk to a chapel on a nearby hilltop. On their way, they pass by an impoverished and miserable young vagrant whom the young woman knows and fears.

They continue to the chapel and try not to let him disturb their bliss. As they are sitting in the chapel, however, the vagrant appears behind the pulpit and delivers a fiery sermon on the injustice of the world. Yet when the vagrant sees how deeply he has shaken them, he approaches them and says: I feel sorry for you, you now know the truth; you have taken it to heart.

But it is not enough to take off the rose-tinted glasses and then to stand there confused and helpless. Biographical interviews with Matthias Becker, p. Ernst von Schenk, p. I invented this name because two things came together in it that were important to me, namely French and English. However, more often than not, the stories end tragically. You have to use your eyes and learn to walk in the colder world. They leave the chapel together, still in love, but no longer in a state of bliss. Franz himself really wants to become a musician and has agreed to work in the factory only to please his parents.

When the workers fail to respond to his passionate calls for revolution, he decides to move into a modest apartment with Rosa and devote himself fully to his music. He recognizes that he was being selfish and living mainly for himself, but now he wants to live for Rosa. He decides to return to the factory and work so that Rosa can have a better life.

After a short period, Rosa becomes fatally ill and dies. Franz is devastated. Yet out of the horrible experience, he draws the conclusion that he will continue to live for others and not simply for himself. He decides that the best way to do this is to continue working in the factory. General catastrophes do not help anything; this has been proven by world history. The two of them did not get married until Nineteen sixteen was also the year in which Horkheimer was finally called for military service.

In January of , however, Horkheimer had to report to the recruitment office. This first time around he was not enlisted, but his second visit, in September , led to his enrollment. His military training took place in Aalen, a small town approximately seventyfive kilometers east of Stuttgart. He worked as a medical aid in a regiment that traveled throughout southern Germany, but never approached the front lines.

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Horkheimer himself was never considered for a regiment that would see fighting because of his sickly condition, which he made no effort to hide. Even his regular trips to Stuttgart during this time were not enough to prevent his health from deteriorating. The doctor recommended that Horkheimer be committed to the sanatorium Neu-Wittelsbach, in Munich, where he would remain until shortly before the end of the war.

On the occasion of his first recruitment meeting in January of , Horkheimer records in his journal his struggle with feelings of guilt for resisting the war. He notes how the other potential recruits accepted the process unquestioningly, even happily, and how many of them viewed him suspiciously.

One must learn to bear it. I must relinquish my claim to personal happiness; I must no longer strive beyond the generality, I must offer myself to it and for it. I hate their stupid, bloated faces with their. As the end of the war approached, Horkheimer continued to criticize the war vehemently in his writings. Faced with the prospect of leaving his lover behind and returning to the infernal conditions of his regiment, the young man runs into the forest with a pistol with the intention of killing himself.

He is prevented from following through with the act only by a relentless feeling of guilt, which also drives him to overcome his dread at returning to the pompous indifference of his commander, the scorn and jealousy of his fellow soldiers, and the dreary tasks that await him the next day in the hospital.

When he arrives, all his worst fears and anxieties are confirmed. His colleagues make no attempt to conceal their contempt for the weakling who managed to finagle an eight-day vacation. The state alone has all rights. He leaves his unhappy consciousness behind and is reborn as a smoothly functioning part of the larger whole, singing heartily and marching in stride with the rest.

Claude does his best to ignore the war and to live solely for his aesthetic ideals. She explains to Claude that two years of working as a volunteer medical aid in the field convinced her that she could no longer love an effeminate cosmopolitan aesthete like Claude whose real name is Siegfried; he changed it due to his love for France , and has fallen for Norbert instead, a virile embodiment of patriotic heroism.

Norbert adds insult to injury by lecturing Claude about the necessity of eliminating parasitic elements, such as himself, from the body politic. A fight breaks out in the hospital room between those for and against Zech. Claude observes the fray from a safe distance, refusing to join either side. They all became rich with our blood. Yet in the end, he succumbs to the pressure of the group and shoots Claude to demonstrate his loyalty to the revolutionary cause.

Although he did articulate a radical critique of society, he never believed that any particular party, movement, or group had the potential to enact positive social change. On the other hand, his pessimistic view of politics as a base struggle for power and his fear and disgust of the lower classes made him wary of any mass-based political movement. The story begins with Steirer, a factory worker, confronting his former lover, Johanna, who has recently left him for the son of the owner of the factory where all three of them work. That evening Steirer surprises her and her new lover by breaking in through their bedroom window.

He demands that the son give him all his money and that Johanna come back to him. When they resist, Steirer murders the son and absconds with his money and Johanna. When they are alone, Steirer manages to convince Johanna that he is no less deserving of her love than the son was; he simply had not been born with the same privileges. Johanna tries to convince the authorities that she committed the crime in order to save Steirer, but to no avail. In this story and several others that Horkheimer wrote at the time, he clearly expresses his compassion for the plight of the working class and his own guilt for enjoying privileges largely dependent on their toil.

This fear is evident not only in the violent acts of Zech or Leonard Steirer, but also in numerous portrayals of anti-Semitic violence that surface in his writing beginning in Yet faced with the spectacle of a mob burning down the house of a Jewish industrialist, the two of them decide to flee to another country, to try to start from scratch and to create a community of solidarity of their own, rather than struggle for reform in Europe.

He realizes that the injustice of the system has nothing to do with the Jews as such; nonetheless, he participates in the mob violence out of an irrational desire for revenge. His vehement criticism of the war did not lead him to align himself with any particular political group.

Instead, he rejected politics altogether as a base power struggle of interest only to the mediocre. He believed that true individual development could only occur in the aesthetic realm. This stance was common among German intellectuals at the time, but it usually entailed a passive acceptance or active celebration of the war. At one point, he discusses a book by a Swiss socialist who had condemned the war and called for a revolt against the governments that had made it possible in the first place.

Horkheimer sees no essential difference between the antiwar appeals of the socialist and the war propaganda of the governments. Both are nothing more than instruments in a more general struggle for power. This conjecture is supported by a letter Horkeimer wrote in August in which he describes his return to military service after a vacation. His experiences with National Socialism and exile would change his views considerably on this topic. Challenged by the literature of the socialists, I sought my own weapons, my own politics, but I did not find anything that could have been called similar, even in form, to any of the programs existing then.

It was not the lust for power. Different my nature, different my goal, my path foreign to them. In his later interviews, Horkheimer stressed his disappointment with the Social Democratic support of the war in as the decisive event in the development of his political skepticism.

Max Horkheimer (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

As we have seen, a wide variety of experiences during World War I strengthened his resolve to pursue a course of consistent political nonconformism. Horkheimer did not cling to a strictly consistent form of this position for long. By , there was no trace whatsoever remaining of the enthusiasm that had accompanied the outbreak of the war. Most people had believed that the conflict would be decided quickly, and although the Brest-Litovsk Treaty had resolved the conflict on the Eastern front, the lines of battle on the Western front had hardly changed, despite the massive loss of life on both sides.

In this context, the politicians and generals, who called for renewed sacrifice on the part of civilians, workers, and soldiers, began to lose their credibility. In , massive strikes broke out in both Germany and France, and the morale of soldiers on both sides was deteriorating rapidly. This was a momentous experience for me, because from that time onward I was able to see through politics in general, whether left or right.

The state protects from wild animals and men. Millions of boys writhe in barbed wire so people protected by the state can kiss and be happy, and cultivate themselves. However, the arrival of the darkest hour also signaled the coming of the dawn. During the last months of the war, in the politically volatile final days of Wilhelmine Germany, Horkheimer also began to entertain the possibility of radical social change.

GS 15, p. It was with Krull that Horkheimer would have his first brush with oppositional politics. Krull, who was two years younger than Horkheimer, had already made somewhat of a name for herself as the portraitist of Kurt Eisner, a journalist and theater critic who had recently become the leader of the Independent Social Democratic Party USPD , and who would play the leading role in the revolutionary events in Munich, until his assassination on February 21, In addition to the Eisners and Toller, Krull was in contact with several of the most respected poets and writers living in Munich at the time, including Stefan Zweig and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Horkheimer seems to have made quite an impression on Krull and her friends. In his letter to Riekher and Pollock, Horkheimer describes his interaction with the group in the following way: These people understand themselves as artists and when we share with them even a small part, a mere taste of our wealth, they are astonished. They are all exceptionally attentive to me. They have taken me in as one of their own.

The discussions were always very interesting and [Ernst] Toller was not always the most convincing. The original version of this autobiographical manuscript has not been published. Krull actually wrote six autobiographical works altogether. In what follows, I will also draw upon Chien Fou, an unpublished autobiographical manuscript in the Germaine Krull Archive. On the other hand, the next few months would prove that Horkheimer was unwilling to translate his radical theoretical convictions directly into praxis.

He continued to maintain his distance from the explosive political events of the time and to devote himself primarily to his own personal concerns. He and Pollock had, in the meantime, made the decision to attend the university after the war. In the period immediately following the war, young persons who had served in any capacity in the military had the opportunity to take an abbreviated version of the Abitur, even if they had not completed the normal course of studies at a Gymnasium, as was the case with Horkheimer and Pollock.

Pollock and Horkheimer passed the Abitur in the spring of On one of her visits to Munich during this time, Horkheimer forgot to pick Riekher up at the train station. Apparently he had made plans with Germaine Krull and her friends on the same evening. Riekher had to spend the night alone in a hotel in Munich, where apparently she was propositioned by a charming Swedish man.

It was only with great difficulty that Pollock and Horkheimer were able to appease her the next day. Although Horkheimer would remain in contact with Krull for At this point, Horkheimer had also come to view his father as a Kriegsprofiteur, someone who had benefited financially from the war. In the radical circles in which Horkheimer began to move at this time, the Kriegsprofiteur were one of the most hated symbols of the injustice of the Wilhelmine Germany.

See Chien Fou, p. Later Horkheimer would revise his opinion. In interviews at the end of his life, Horkheimer stressed the great sacrifices his father made during the war and the fact that his father lost a good portion of his fortune during this time. A week later, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were brutally murdered by the Freikorps while being transferred from one prison to another.

During the second week of March, more than one thousand people were killed when Noske had a second, even larger, revolt in Berlin put down. On March 21, a council republic seized power in Hungary under the leadership of Bela Kun. The Hungarian example set an important precedent for the burgeoning revolutionary movement in Bavaria, and on April 7, a council republic was declared in Munich and several other Bavarian cities. However, by the end of April, the counterrevolutionary troops had already surrounded Munich, and despite their tenacious efforts, the revolutionary troops were able to resist the combined force of the Imperial Army and Freikorps only for a few days.

By May 3, Munich was firmly in the hands of the white troops who proceeded to wreak horrible vengeance against supporters of the council republic. They applied the brutal methods of fighting they had become accustomed to in the war to the workers at home.