Herbert Marcuse was a German political theorist and philosopher.  He is often regarded as the father of the 'New Left' movement of the 60s and 70s which focused its activism on issues of race, class, and gender. Marcuse and the Frankfurt School developed one of the first critical theories on contemporary society. 

Marcuse was born to a German-Jewish family in Berlin in 1898.  He was drafted into the German Army during WWI, but did not see any real fighting.  After the war, he finished his doctorate in 1922 at the University of Freiburg before returning to Berlin to work in publishing.

But after a few years, Marcuse returned to Freiburg to continue his academic pursuits.  He eventually published Hegel's Ontology and Theory of Historicity.  Marcuse joined the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research in 1933, where he took his place with other notable theorists. 

But because his work was rooted in Marxist theories on capitalism, Marcuse was especially targeted by the Nazis.  Consequently, he was forced to flee Germany altogether that same year. 

Settling in the United States in 1934, Marcuse initially took a government position working against Nazi and even joined the Office of Strategic Services, a precursor to the CIA.  By 1952 however, Marcuse found his place in academia and over the following forty years taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, Brandeis University, and finally at the University of California at San Diego.

Just after his eighty-first birthday, Marcuse suffered a stroke while visiting his native Germany, and died there in 1979.

 

Theodore Adorno was another social critic aligned with The Frankfurt School. You can learn about him in prompt 147.