The impact of the French Revolution on Germany and the rest of Europe, and especially the ties that existed between the French and the German secret mystical societies in the late 18th through the 19th centuries are a matter of historical record and the influence of these secret societies throughout history is indisputable.
In any case, it is important to stress that even though according to McLellan, Marx reputedly never joined any of these secret organizations, the doubts must nevertheless persist because he did establish a direct working relationship with them, and the later Communist League which he founded comprised many of the members of the League. Therefore his affiliation with these secret, subversive societies, and the influence they had on his political and humanitarian ideas and throughout history, are an historical certainty.
But the most relevant aspect of the matter is that Marxism was a revolutionary movement sponsored by a secret society, and virtually became an established “religion” (albeit, no doubt Marx would have hated this choice of words). Reverting to the premise that any major revolution must be methodically planned in advance in order to succeed, there is plenty of evidence to conclude that Marx and Engels could never have been, solely by themselves, responsible for the huge success that Marxist ideology enjoyed across successive generations around the world.
It will be seen later that this is also the case with another historical figure of the twentieth century, Adolf Hitler, whose party platform (Nazism) had been laid down before him by a powerful secret society known as the Thule Gesellschaft- another offshoot of the extremely powerful Theosophical Society founded in the 19th Century by Mme Helena Blavatsky. Either way, the identity of the real conspirators and architects who operated behind the mask of the League of the Just and then the Communist League, will probably never be known.
Directly related to Marxist ideas and concepts, we have another example of the varied currents of political thought adopted and developed by secret societies throughout history, which distorted the "true Masonic ideal" adapting it to fit their ideologies: Anarchism. The anarchists, who represent the extreme wing of socialism and are devoted to the complete destruction of the state and its replacement with free associations of individuals who work together in cooperatives, were also, like Weishaupt's Illuminati of Bavaria, inspired by the Masonic ideal and were in all respects a secret society. But, like many other groups from every aspect of the political spectrum, they also perverted it to suit their ends.
It is important, first of all, to understand the meaning and noble principles of the Masonic ideal: Freemasonry envisions man's complete freedom in an eventual future, and professes that mankind must progress through several essential stages before reaching the ideal society. It emphasizes the need for "every man and every generation to evolve, be conscious, and work patiently in order to add their own stone to the edifice that will be the ideal Temple of humanity."15 (Serge Hutin)