Austro-Marxism emerged within the context of Austrian social democracy following the First World War. Politically, it was geared towards democratic/parliamentary activities; theoretically, it pursued questions of socialist transformation. In the Historico-Critical Dictionary of Marxism, Austro-Marxism is associated with the period between about 1900 and 1934. One of its major protagonists, Otto Bauer, characterised the "Austro-Marxist school" in terms of a non-dogmatic application of Marxist theory, combined with an affinity for the methods of contemporary social science.

Important documents and helpful information on protagonists such as Max Adler, Otto Bauer, Karl Renner and Rudolf Hilferding can be found, among other places, on an Internet platform devoted to Otto Bauer, at the Social Democratic Party of Austria’s political academy (named after Renner), at the Bruno Kreisky Archive Bruno Kreisky Archive and at the Marxist Internet Archive. In 2008, Berlin-based publishing house Dietz published the anthology Otto Bauer und der Austromarxismus: Integraler Sozialismus und die heutige Linke ("Otto Bauer and Austro-Marxism: Integral Socialism and Today's Left"), edited by Walter Baier and others. Biographical background on, for example, Adler and other Austro-Marxists can be found at Rotes Wien and an Internet platform, still under construction, on  “Austrian Culture and Literature of the 1920s”.