, constitutional means by contesting elections and
ultimately being voted into power. Once in government they would enact
socialism via the normal legal processes. These ideas developed out of the
GermanSocialDemocraticParty from the middle of the century.
An important figure here was Eduard
Bernstein, who joined the SDP in 1872 and soon became one of its leading
journalists. In Evolutionary Socialism (1898) he argued for reform
parties, groups and factions among which ferocious quarrels of
interpretation and reinterpretation soon began. The GermanSocialDemocraticParty (SDP), the largest and most significant socialist party in Europe by
the 1870s, was divided over ‘revisionism’, which was a reworking
of Marxism associated with Eduard Bernstein. He argued that a socialist
society could be brought about without violent revolution by political
’, Socialist History , 32 (2008), 1–17; J. P. Nettl, ‘The GermanSocialDemocraticParty 1890–1914 as a Political Model’, Past and Present , 30 (1965), 65–95.
Patrick Gardiner, The Nature of Historical Explanation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1952), p. 134.
R. H. Tawney, ‘The Choice before the
Europe, symbolising the new
approach to government and international relations promoted by Gorbachev.
The two concepts galvanised a reform process throughout Central and Eastern
Europe and eventually helped to overthrow Communist rule in these countries
and in the Soviet Union itself.
[See also: perestroika]
The new basic programme of the West