Karl A. Wittfogel is perhaps the best known exponent of the theory of oriental despotism or ‘hydraulic society’ which he traces to Marx and to the writings of Enlightenment and nineteenth-century social and political thinkers, particularly Montesquieu and J.S. Mill. Wittfogel’s theory has had considerable impact on anthropology and archeology and upon cold war ideology. His book ‘Oriental Despotism’ (1957) was a direct onslaught on the unilinealism of Stalin’s five-stage theory. Following upon the initial steps towards de-Stalinization taken at the Twentieth Party Congress, Wittfogel’s polemic provided a major impetus to the reopening of the debates on the AMP among Eastern and Western European Marxists who consider Wittfogel a renegade from Marxism.