Ernesto "Che" Guevara was born in Rosario, Argentina on June 14, 1928, to an aristocratic family of Spanish-Irish descent. He was known from an early age for his dynamic personality and radical points of view. Guevara graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a degree of doctor of medicine and surgery in 1953. He witnessed the 1954 CIA-backed coup in Guatemala that ended the regime of socialist Jacobo Arbenz. As a direct result, Guevara became convinced that the United States would never support leftist governments and that violent revolution was the only way to end poverty in Latin America. He joined Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement in 1956, and following the Cuban Revolution held several influential posts in the new socialist government, including Minister of Industries. In 1965, Che left Cuba for the ex-Belgian Congo to support the Marxist Simba movement, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Following his time in Africa, Guevara traveled to Bolivia to teach guerrilla warfare to native Communists preparing for revolution. He was captured during a military operation by army forces supported by the United States and executed on October 9, 1967. Guevara's remains were discovered in 1997 and relocated to a mausoleum in Cuba. Guevara had a daughter with Hilda Gadea, whom he married in 1955 and divorced in 1959, and four children with his second wife, Aleida March, a Cuban-born member of the 26th of July movement. He also had a son with Lilia Rosa Lpez. After his death Guevara became a global icon of martyrdom and a symbol of rebellion, particularly during the worldwide student protests of the late 1960s. Among his most noted written works, which include texts on guerilla warfare, socialism, and political economy, are "The Motorcycle Diaries," "Bolivian Diary," and "Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War."
Friedrich Engels is perhaps best remembered as the confidant, colleague, and benefactor of Karl Marx. Born into a Calvinist family that owned fabric mills in the Rhineland and had business interests in Manchester, England, Engels joined the family business at age 16; he never had a formal university education. Despite his family's industrial background, Engels was sympathetic to the poverty of the working masses. At age 18 he published an attack on industrial poverty, and later joined the Hegelian movement that so influenced Marx and bothered conservative Prussian authorities. Engels first met Marx in 1842, while Marx was editor of a radical newspaper in Cologne. However, they did not establish their lifelong friendship until they met again in Paris two years later. Engels published several works related to economics, the first of which, Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy (1844), attempted to reconcile Hegelian philosophy with the principles of political economy. His second book, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), was a damning description and condemnation of the poverty generated by the Industrial Revolution. Engels also co-authored three major works with Marx, the most important being the Communist Manifesto (1948). Engels also wrote several historical works, which are more important to historians than to economists. These include The Peasant War in Germany (1850), Germany: Revolution and Counter-Revolution (1851), and The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884). In general, these works are more descriptive than theoretical, and they closely parallel Marx's views on industrialization and class struggle. In addition to being a friend of Marx, Engels was his prime benefactor for a number of years. During their early years in London, beginning in 1849, the Marx family was nearly destitute, and it was only through the generosity of Engels that they prevailed. Engels was also responsible for the publication of Marx's Das Kapital. Before his death, Marx was only able to complete the first volume of this work, and so Engels edited and arranged for the publication of the last two volumes after Marx's death. Engels was an engaging and thoughtful writer. It was perhaps his great fortune and misfortune that he was connected so closely to Marx. On the one hand, he was responsible for bringing much of Marx's work to fruition in his role as benefactor and editor. On the other hand, the shadow of Marx eclipsed some of the exposure that Engels's own ideas and contributions might have had.
Karl Heinrich Marx, one of the fathers of communism, was born on May 5, 1818 in Trier, Germany. He was educated at a variety of German colleges, including the University of Jena. He was an editor of socialist periodicals and a key figure in the Working Man's Association. Marx co-wrote his best-known work, "The Communist Manifesto" (1848), with his friend, Friedrich Engels. Marx's most important work, however, may be "Das Kapital" (1867), an analysis of the economics of capitalism. He died on March 14, 1883 in London, England.