Karl Berngardovich Radek (31 October 1885 – 19 May 1939) was a Marxist active in the Polish and German social democratic movements before World War I and an international Communist leader in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution.
Radek was born in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (now Lviv in Ukraine), as Karol Sobelsohn, to a Litvak family; his father, Bernhard, worked in the post office and died whilst Karl was young. He took the name Radek from a favourite character, Andrzej Radek, in Syzyfowe prace ('The Labor of Sisyphus', 1897) by Stefan Żeromski.
Radek joined the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL) in 1904 and participated in the 1905 Revolution in Warsaw, where he had responsibility for the party's newspaper Czerwony Sztandar.
In 1907, after his arrest in Poland and his escape from custody, Radek moved to Leipzig in Germany and joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), working on the Party's Leipziger Volkszeitung. He re-located to Bremen, where he worked for Bremer Bürgerzeitung, in 1911, and was one of several who attacked Karl Kautsky's analysis of imperialism in Die Neue Zeit in May 1912...
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