Georg brandes opens his essay on Lassalle, originally published in the 1870s, with some reflections on the “surprise and astonishment” provoked by “the process by which the Germany of Hegel was transformed into the Germany of Bismarck”, and notes the “strongly marked “figure of Lassalle as one of the significant features of the transformation. Ferdinand Lassalle lived for less than forty years; of his writings only the letters and diaries now possess more than an antiquarian interest; and the General German Workers’ Association, which he founded, was reshaped after his death by rivals eager to consign his name and tradition to oblivion. Yet his career touched history at so many points, reflected and transmitted so many influences and foreshadowed so much that lay in the future that it remains one of the most rewarding quarries for the student of nineteenth-century political and social evolution in western Europe.