Critical Theory develops in the face of the failure of the kind of revolutionary response to the disasters of modern capitalism, proposed by G.Lukács.
Founded in Frankfurt, in 1923,at the height o the post-war german economic crisis, by the marxist entrepreneur Felix Weil,the ‘Institut for Social Research’,which is often called ‘Frankfurt School’,sought to promote radical social research. As developments in the Soviet Union, and the rise of nazism destroysm hopes for revolutionary change,the need to keep progressive ideas alive becomes more pressing. Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), the most important philosophical representatives of the school,adopt much of the analysis of how capitalism affects the very nature of human thought.
They are, however forced to find ways of explaining why radical attemps at political transformation may make things even worse. In doing that, they adopt ideas from Freud,to explain people’s susceptibility to authoritarim, and from Max Weber to uderstand how the modern world functions more and more,in terms of rationalization of traditional practicies to standardizated bureaucratic-technical forms.
I think it would be extremely interesting recognize, today, several decades later, the great relevance and timeliness of the nuclear issues, that either Adorno or Horkheimer, directly emphasized and developed!