What if Marx and Engels had been Englishmen? Helmut Gollwitzer’s answer...
Helmut Gollwitzer, Unwilling Journey (SCM, 1956), 128.
The fateful thing about Marxism was that it had been founded by two Germans. If Marx and Engels had been Englishmen they would have planned a practical political programme for the liberation of the working classes and for the reorganization of society. As Germans, however, and above all as disciples of Hegel, they could not be pragmatists. Instead of contenting themselves with the discovery that in a capitalist society all political strife meant class-warfare, they immediately had to magnify this in the Communist Manifesto into a problematical teaching concerning world history; and instead of being satisfied at least with historical materialism, they must needs put it at once into a framework of dialectical materialism, and of an all-embracing dogma about life in general. As a result we were faced (ed.: in philosophical discussions within the prison camp) with the grotesque situation that any philosophical query—for example, whether like Kant I denied that one could recognize the essential nature of a thing, or, like Lenin, I held the opposite view—took on a political aspect, and a political discussion became a metaphysical one. As long as Marxism did not only base itself on Marx’s political economy but also on his philosophy, it was not in a position to allow genuine freedom of religious and philosophical belief, but had to endeavour to make real not only its political supremacy but also the supremacy of its philosophy of life.