ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION Karl Popper was born in Vienna in 1902, into an upper-middle-class family of Jewish extraction. Popper has described his background in some detail in his autobiography, Unended Quest, and I will not repeat here more than I have to of this by now well-known story. In addition, I do not wish here to enter the realm of intellectual biography, not least because such work would require a knowledge of the wide range of Popper's interests and of their Austrian background, to which I cannot aspire. My concern, rather, will be to give a rough and speculative impression of the development of Popper's political views, which will serve also as an introduction to them. In this connection I will draw upon some of the material that has become available through the Popper Archive at the Hoover Institution, as well as on the work of Bartleyl and of Hacohen;2 but in the light of the huge quantity of material in the Popper Archive, this account should be understood as, very much, a first cut.