Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, political scientist, and revolutionary socialist. Along with Karl Marx, Engels helped develop Marxism, which has had a profound impact on fields like philosophy and anthropology. Engels is credited with helping Marx publish Das Kapital, a foundational theoretical work in politics, economics, and materialist philosophy. He also co-authored influential political documents like The Communist Manifesto.
German socialist radical Karl Liebknecht is best remembered for co-founding the Spartacus League, an underground group that was declared illegal but later led to the formation of the Communist Party of Germany. He was shot to death on the orders of German commander Waldemar Pabst in the 1919 Spartacus Revolt.
Carl Schurz was a German-born American statesman, reformer, and journalist. After immigrating to the USA during the German revolutions of 1848–49, Schurz became an important member of the Republican Party. He also helped found the Liberal Republican Party which was organized to oppose the reelection of Ulysses S. Grant.
German playwright and author Ernst Toller is best remembered for his Expressionist plays and his Marxism. Though he served the German Army initially, he suffered a physical breakdown soon and quit, propagating peace instead. His best-known play, Man and the Masses, was written in prison.
Tamara Bunke was an Argentine-born East German spy and revolutionary. She played an important role in the Cuban government and in various revolutionary movements across Latin America. She also fought during the Bolivian insurgency and was killed in an ambush by Bolivian Army Rangers while fighting alongside communist guerrillas led by Che Guevara.
Friedrich-Werner Graf von der Schulenburg was a German diplomat who served as an ambassador and consul in several countries before World War I. His position as the German ambassador to the USSR was cut short by the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Schulenburg was accused of being a part of the failed 20 July plot and was executed in 1944.
Libertas Schulze-Boysen was a German aristocrat who fought against the Nazi regime. Libertas, who had contact with important people in different strata of society, started documenting the atrocities carried out by the Nazis during the early 1940s. She also played an important role in the formation of the Red Orchestra. Libertas Schulze-Boysen was executed by the Nazis, at the age of 29.
Along with his wife, Elise Hampel, Otto Hermann Hampel started a new form of protest against Adolf Hitler, using postcards and over 200 hand-written leaflets criticizing him and putting them up at public places. They were eventually beheaded by the Nazis. Their story is depicted in the book Jeder stirbt für sich allein.
Holger Meins was a German revolutionary and cinematography student best remembered for his association with the West German far-left militant organization Red Army Faction in the early 1970s. Meins was a prominent member of the faction and was involved in the bomb-making process of the group. Holger Meins was eventually arrested and died in prison during a hunger strike.
Friedrich Hecker was a German lawyer, revolutionary, and politician. Hecker was one of the most famous agitators and speakers of the German revolutions of 1848–1849. Like many other Forty-Eighters who left their motherland after the revolutions failed, Friedrich Hecker moved to the United States where he served in the Federal Army during the Civil War.
Elise Hampel was a German domestic servant best remembered for creating postcards against Hitler's government and leaving them in public places during World War II. Elise and her husband, Otto Hampel, were caught and beheaded in Plötzensee Prison in 1943. Their bravery inspired Hans Fallada to write a novel, which was later adapted into a film named Alone in Berlin.
Felice Schragenheim was a German Jewish resistance fighter who fought against the Nazi regime during the Second World War. She is best remembered for her relationship with Lilly Wust; the tragic love story inspired the 1999 German drama film Aimée & Jaguar. Schragenheim was killed at the age of 22, when she was part of a death march from Poland to Germany.
A qualified lawyer, Ludwig Bamberger became inspired by radicalism during the Revolutions of 1848 but turned into a moderate liberal during Otto von Bismarck’s reign. He represented the National Liberal Party in the Reichstag. He not only standardized German coinage but also established the Reichsbank and adopted the gold currency.
Gustav Struve was an anti-royalist German lawyer, revolutionary, political agitator and author, known for his radical writings. Born as Gustav von Struve, he gave up his title due his democratic fervor and played a leading role in the Baden insurrection of 1848-49. Later, he moved to USA, where he wrote Allgemeine Weltgeschichte and served in the American Civil War.