In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2013. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 169-182.
After WWII Franz Borkenau (1900–1957), Richard Löwenthal (1908–1991), and Ossip K. Flechtheim (1909–1998), who coined the term »Futurology«, were major founding figures of West German research on communism, then known as Sovietology. They were active in the German Communist Party, broke with it and had to leave the country after Hitler’s rise to power. They returned after the war. Their scholarly research was shaped by their personal and political experience: the collapse of the German labour movement in 1933, the rise of Stalinism, and the Holocaust (they all had a Jewish background). Borkenau interpreted the peculiarities of Soviet history »from above«, as product of internecine party fights. While Borkenau emphasized that the Soviet Union remained a totalitarian state, Löwenthal considered a transformation towards an institutional authoritarianism. Flechtheim insisted that the policies of communism have to be criticized according to the standard of its own ideology. He was one of the first political scientists who insisted that the divergences within the communist world could lead to more pluralistic forms of rule, despite the resistance of the party bureaucracy.