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First Edition 1966 

Second Edition 1974 

Third Edition 1977 

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The present English edition of Karl Marx's The Civil War in France is compiled according to the 
Chinese edition of the same book, published by the People's Publishing House, Peking, in May 
1964. Engels' introduction and the three Addresses of the General Council of the International 
Working Men's Association on the Franco-Prussian War and on the Civil War in France are 
reprinted from the text given in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, English edition, 
Moscow, 1951, Vol. I. The two drafts of The Civil War in France follow the English text in the 
Archives of Marx and Engels, Moscow, 1934, Vol. Ill (VIII). Obvious corrections of spelling or 
grammar are not indicated. Necesrary additions of words and translations of French and German 
words and passages which appeared in Marx's manuscript are put in square brackets. 
The footnotes and notes at the end of the book are compiled by us from various sources. 


INTRODUCTION by Frederick Engels 1 








General 39 
Council of the International Working Men's Association 

I 41 

n 55 

III 66 

IV 87 

NOTES 104 

I 104 

n 105 


{Transcriber's Note: This will be prepared as a separate file at a LATER date. - DJR] 

The First Draft of THE CIVIL WAR IN FRANCE 1 1 1 

The Government of Defence 111 

The Commune 156 

1 Measures for the Working Class 1 - . 

" Measures for [the] Working Class, but Mostly for the 1 - 8 

' Middle Classes 1 - Q 

' General Measures 1 ^ 1 

' Measures of Public Safety .^ A 
Financial Measures 

La Commune 164 

The Rise of the Commune and the Central Committee 164 

The Character of the Commune 169 

Peasantry Union (J Ague) Renuhlicaine 179 

The Communal Revolution as the Representative of All 184 

Classes of Society Not Living upon Foreign Labour 185 

Republic Only Possible as Avowedly Social Republic 186 

The Commune (Social Measures) 188 

Decentralization by the Ruraux and the Commune 193 

[Fragments] 199 

The Second Draft of THE CIVIL WAR IN FRANCE 21 1 


Government of Defence. Trochu, Favre, Picard, Ferry, as 


[Transcriber's Note: There is no section 4. - DJR] 
Opening of the Civil War. [The] 18 March Revolution. 


Deputies of Paris 

* Thiers, Dufaure, Pouyer-Quertier 
The Rural Assembly 


. Cl&eacutement Thomas. Lecomte. The Vendome Affair 

The Commune .„ 

Schluss 1A 


NOTES 261 


by Frederick Engels 

I did not anticipate that I would be asked to prepare a new edition of the 
Address of the General Council of the International on The Civil War in France, 
and to write an introduction to it. Therefore I can only touch briefly here on the 
most important points. 

I am prefacing the longer work mentioned above by the two shorter Addresses 
of the General Council on the Franco-Prussian War. In the first place, because the 
second of these, which itself cannot be fully understood without the first, is 
referred to in The Civil War. But also because these two Addresses, likewise 
drafted by Marx, are, no less than The Civil War, outstanding examples of the 
author's remarkable gift, first proved in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis 
Bonaparte ^] for grasping clearly the character, the import and the necessary 
consequences of great historical events, at a time when these events are still in 
progress before our eyes or have only just taken place. And, finally, because today 
we in Germany are still having to endure the 

page 2 

consequences which Marx predicted would follow from these events. 

Has that which was declared in the first Address not come to pass: that if 
Germany's defensive war against Louis Bonaparte degenerated into a war of 
conquest against the French people, all the misfortunes which befell Germany 
after the so-called wars of liberation^] would revive again with renewed intensity? 
Have we not had a further twenty years of Bismarck's rule, the Exceptional Law 
and Socialist baiting taking the place of the prosecutions of "demagogues, "[4] with 
the same arbitrary action of the police and with literally the same staggering 
interpretations of the law? 

And has not the prediction been proved to the letter, that the annexation of 
Alsace-Lorraine would "force France into the arms of Russia," and that after this 
annexation Germany must either become the avowed servant of Russia, or must, 
after some short respite, arm for a new war, and, moreover, "a war of races - a 
war with the combined Slavonian and Roman races" ?[5j Has not the annexation of 
the French provinces driven France into the arms of Russia? Has not Bismarck for 
fully twenty years vainly wooed the favour of the Czar, wooed it with services 
even more lowly than those which little Prussia, before it became the "first Power 
in Europe," was wont to lay at Holy Russia's feet? And is there not every day still 
hanging over our heads the Damocles' sword of war, on the first day of which all 
the chartered covenants of princes will be scattered like chaff; a war of which 

nothing is certain but the absolute uncertainty of its outcome; a race war which 
will subject the whole of Europe to devastation by fifteen or twenty million armed 
men, and which is not raging already only because even the strongest of the great 

page 3 

states shrinks before the absolute incalculability of its final result? 

All the more is it our duty to make again accessible to the German workers 
these brilliant proofs, now half-forgotten, of the far-sightedness of international 
working-class policy in 1870. 

What is true of these two Addresses is also true of The Civil War in France. On 
May 28, the last fighters of the Commune succumbed to superior forces on the 
slopes of Belleville; and only two days later, on May 30, Marx read to the General 
Council the work in which the historical significance of the Paris Commune is 
delineated in short, powerful strokes, but with such trenchancy, and above all 
such truth, as has never again been attained in all the mass of literature on this 

Thanks to the economic and political development of France since 1789, Paris 
has been placed for the last fifty years in such a position that no revolution could 
break out there without assuming a proletarian character, that is to say, without 
the proletariat, which had bought victory with its blood, coming forward with its 
own demands after the victory. These demands were more or less unclear and 
even confused, corresponding to the state of development reached by the workers 
of Paris at the particular period, but in the last resort they all amounted to the 
abolition of the class antagonism between capitalists and workers. It is true that no 
one knew how this was to be brought about. But the demand itself, however 
indefinitely it still was couched, contained a threat to the existing order of society; 
the workers who put it forward were still armed; therefore, the disarming of the 
workers was the first commandment for the bourgeois, who were at the helm of 
the state. Hence, after every 

page 4 

revolution won by the workers, a new struggle, ending with the defeat of the 

This happened for the first time in 1848. The liberal bourgeois of the 
parliamentary opposition held banquets for securing a reform of the franchise, 
which was to ensure supremacy for their party. Forced more and more, in their 
struggle with the government, to appeal to the people, they had gradually to yield 
precedence to the radical and republican strata of the bourgeoisie and petty 
bourgeoisie. But behind these stood the revolutionary workers, and since 1830 
they had acquired far more political independence than the bourgeois, and even 

the republicans, suspected. At the moment of the crisis between the government 
and the opposition, the workers began street-fighting; Louis Philippe vanished, 
and with him the franchise reform; and in its place arose the republic, and indeed 
one which the victorious workers themselves designated as a "social" republic. No 
one, however, was clear as to what this social republic was to imply; not even the 
workers themselves. But they now had arms and were a power in the state. 
Therefore, as soon as the bourgeois republicans in control felt something like firm 
ground under their feet, their first aim was to disarm the workers. This took place 
by driving them into the insurrection of June 1848 by direct breach of faith, by 
open defiance and the attempt to banish the unemployed to a distant province. The 
government had taken care to have an overwhelming superiority of force. After 
five days' heroic struggle, the workers were defeated. And then followed a blood- 
bath among the defenceless prisoners, the like of which has not been seen since 
the days of the civil wars which ushered in the downfall of the Roman republic. It 
was the first time that the bourgeoisie showed to what insane cruelties of 

page 5 

revenge it will be goaded the moment the proletariat dares to take its stand against 
the bourgeoisie as a separate class, with its own interests and demands. And yet 
1848 was only child's play compared with the frenzy of the bourgeoisie in 1871. 

Punishment followed hard at heel. If the proletariat was not yet able to rule 
France, the bourgeoisie could no longer do so. At least not at that period, when 
the greater part of it was still monarchically inclined, and it was divided into three 
dynastic parties[6] and a fourth, republican party. Its internal dissensions allowed 
the adventurer Louis Bonaparte to take possession of all the commanding points - 
army, police, administrative machinery - and, on December 2, 1851,m to explode 
the last stronghold of the bourgeoisie, the National Assembly. The Second 
Empire^ began - the exploitation of France by a gang of political and financial 
adventurers, but at the same time also an industrial development such as had 
never been possible under the narrow-minded and timorous system of Louis 
Philippe, with the exclusive domination of only a small section of the big 
bourgeoisie. Louis Bonaparte took the political power from the capitalists under 
the pretext of protecting them, the bourgeois, from the workers, and on the other 
hand the workers from them; but in return his rule encouraged speculation and 
industrial activity - in a word, the upsurgence and enrichment of the whole 
bourgeoisie to an extent hitherto unknown. To an even greater extent, it is true, 
corruption and mass thievery developed, clustering around the imperial court, and 
drawing their heavy percentages from this enrichment. 

But the Second Empire was the appeal to French chauvinism, was the demand 
for the restoration of the frontiers of the First Empire, which had been lost in 
1814, or at least 

page 6 

those of the First Republic. A French empire within the frontiers of the old 
monarchy and, in fact, within the even more amputated frontiers of 1815 - such a 
thing was impossible for any length of time. Hence the necessity for occasional 
wars and extensions of frontiers. But no extension of frontiers was so dazzling to 
the imagination of the French chauvinists as the extension to the German left bank 
of the Rhine. One square mile on the Rhine was more to them than ten in the Alps 
or anywhere else. Given the Second Empire, the demand for the restoration of the 
left bank of the Rhine, either all at once or piecemeal, was merely a question of 
time. The time came with the Austro-Prussian War of 1866;[9] cheated of the 
anticipated "territorial compensation" by Bismarck and by his own over-cunning, 
hesitant policy, there was now nothing left for Napoleon but war, which broke out 
in 1870 and drove him first to Sedan, and thence to Wilhelmshohe.[io] 

The necessary consequence was the Paris Revolution of September 4, 1870. 
The empire collapsed like a house of cards, and the republic was again 
proclaimed. But the enemy was standing at the gates; the armies of the empire 
were either hopelessly encircled at Metz or held captive in Germany. In this 
emergency the people allowed the Paris deputies to the former legislative body to 
constitute themselves into a "Government of National Defence." This was the 
more readily conceded, since, for the purposes of defence, all Parisians capable of 
bearing arms had enrolled in the National Guard and were armed, so that now the 
workers constituted a great majority. But very soon the antagonism between the 
almost completely bourgeois government and the armed proletariat broke into 
open conflict. On October 31, workers' battalions stormed the town hall and 
captured part 

page 7 

of the membership of the government. Treachery, the government's direct breach 
of its undertakings, and the intervention of some petty-bourgeois battalions set 
them free again, and in order not to occasion the outbreak of civil war inside a 
city besieged by a foreign military power, the former government was left in 

At last, on January 28, 1871, starved Paris capitulated. But with honours 
unprecedented in the history of war. The forts were surrendered, the city wall 
stripped of guns, the weapons of the regiments of the line and of the Mobile 
Guard were handed over, and they themselves considered prisoners of war. But 
the National Guard kept its weapons and guns, and only entered into an armistice 
with the victors. And these did not dare enter Paris in triumph. They only dared to 
occupy a tiny corner of Paris, which, into the bargain, consisted partly of public 
parks, and even this they only occupied for a few days! And during this time they, 
who had maintained their encirclement of Paris for 131 days, were themselves 
encircled by the armed workers of Paris, who kept a sharp watch that no 
"Prussian" should overstep the narrow bounds of the corner ceded to the foreign 
conqueror. Such was the respect which the Paris workers inspired in the army 
before which all the armies of the empire had laid down their arms; and the 

Prussian junkers, who had come to take revenge at the home of the revolution, 
were compelled to stand by respectfully, and salute precisely this armed 

During the war the Paris workers had confined themselves to demanding the 
vigorous prosecution of the fight. But now, when peace had come after the 
capitulation of Paris, nu now Thiers, the new supreme head of the government, 
was compelled to realize that the rule of the propertied classes - big 

page 8 

landowners and capitalists — was in constant danger so long as the workers of 
Paris had arms in their hands. His first action was an attempt to disarm them. On 
March 18, he sent troops of the line with orders to rob the National Guard of the 
artillery belonging to it, which had been constructed during the siege of Paris and 
had been paid for by public subscription. The attempt failed; Paris mobilized as 
one man for resistance, and war between Paris and the French government sitting 
at Versailles was declared. On March 26 the Paris Commune was elected and on 
March 28 it was proclaimed. The Central Committee of the National Guard, 
which up to then had carried on the government, handed in its resignation to the 
Commune after it had first decreed the abolition of the scandalous Paris "Morality 
Police." On March 30 the Commune abolished conscription and the standing 
army, and declared the sole armed force to be the National Guard, in which all 
citizens capable of bearing arms were to be enrolled. It remitted all payments of 
rent for dwelling houses from October 1870 until April, the amounts already paid 
to be booked as future rent payments, and stopped all sales of articles pledged in 
the municipal loan office. On the same day the foreigners elected to the Commune 
were confirmed in office, because "the flag of the Commune is the flag of the 
World Republic. "[12] On April I it was decided that the highest salary to be 
received by any employee of the Commune, and therefore also by its members 
themselves, was not to exceed 6,000 francs (4,800 marks). On the following day 
the Commune decreed the separation of the church from the state, and the 
abolition of all state payments for religious purposes as well as the transformation 
of all church property into national property; as a result of which, on April 8, the 
exclusion from the schools of all 

page 9 

religious symbols, pictures, dogmas, prayers - in a word, "of all that belongs to 
the sphere of the individual's conscience" - was ordered and gradually put into 
effect. [in On the 5th, in reply to the shooting, day after day, of captured Commune 
fighters by the Versailles troops, a decree was issued for the imprisonment of 
hostages, but it was never carried into execution. On the 6th, the guillotine was 
brought out by the 137th Battalion of the National Guard, and publicly burnt, 
amid great popular rejoicing. On the 12th, the Commune decided that the Victory 
Column on the Place Vend&ocircme, which had been cast from captured guns by 
Napoleon after the war of 1809, should be demolished as a symbol of chauvinism 

and incitement to national hatred. This was carried out on May 16. On April 16 it 
ordered a statistical tabulation of factories which had been closed down by the 
manufacturers, and the working out of plans for the operation of these factories by 
the workers formerly employed in them, who were to be organized in co- 
operative societies, and also plans for the organization of these co-operatives in 
one great union. On the 20th it abolished night work for bakers, and also the 
employment offices, which since the Second Empire had been run as a monopoly 
by creatures appointed by the police - labour exploiters of the first rank; these 
offices were transferred to the mayoralties of the twenty arrondissements of Paris. 
On April 30 it ordered the closing of the pawnshops, on the ground that they were 
a private exploitation of the workers, and were in contradiction with the right of 
the workers to their instruments of labour and to credit. On May 5 it ordered the 
razing of the Chapel of Atonement, which had been built in expiation of the 
execution of Louis XVI. 

page 10 

Thus from March 18 onwards the class character of the Paris movement, which 
had previously been pushed into the background by the fight against the foreign 
invaders, emerged sharply and clearly. As almost only workers, or recognized 
representatives of the workers, sat in the Commune, its decisions bore a decidedly 
proletarian character. Either these decisions decreed reforms which the republican 
bourgeoisie had failed to pass solely out of cowardice, but which provided a 
necessary basis for the free activity of the working class - such as the realization 
of the principle that in relation to the state, religion is a purely private matter - or 
the Commune promulgated decrees which were in the direct interest of the 
working class and in part cut deeply into the old order of society. In a beleaguered 
city, however, it was possible to make at most a start in the realization of all this. 
And from the beginning of May onwards all their energies were taken up by the 
fight against the armies assembled by the Versailles government in ever-growing 

On April 7 the Versailles troops had captured the Seine crossing at Neuilly, on 
the western front of Paris; on the other hand, in an attack on the southern front on 
the 1 1th they were repulsed with heavy losses by General Eudes. Paris was 
continually bombarded and, moreover, by the very people who had stigmatized as 
a sacrilege the bombardment of the same city by the Prussians. These same people 
now begged the Prussian government for the hasty return of the French soldiers 
taken prisoner at Sedan and Metz, in order that they might recapture Paris for 
them. From the beginning of May the gradual arrival of these troops gave the 
Versailles forces a decided superiority. This already became evident when, on 
April 23, Thiers broke off the negotiations for the exchange, proposed by the 
Commune, of the Archbishop of 

page 11 

Parism and a whole number of other priests held as hostages in Paris, for only one 
man, Blanqui, who had twice been elected to the Commune but was a prisoner in 
Clairvaux. And even more from the changed language of Thiers; previously 
procrastinating and equivocal, he now suddenly be came insolent, threatening, 
brutal. The Versailles forces took the redoubt of Moulin-Saquet on the southern 
front, on May 3, on the 9th, Fort Issy, which had been completely reduced to ruins 
by gunfire; on the 14th, Fort Vanves. On the western front they advanced 
gradually, capturing the numerous villages and buildings which extended up to 
the city wall, until they reached the main defences; on the 21st, thanks to 
treachery and the carelessness of the National Guards stationed there, they 
succeeded in forcing their way into the city. The Prussians, who held the northern 
and eastern forts, allowed the Versailles troops to advance across the land north of 
the city, which was forbidden ground to them under the armistice, and thus to 
march forward, attacking on a wide front, which the Parisians naturally thought 
covered by the armistice, and therefore held only weakly. As a result of this, only 
a weak resistance was put up in the western half of Paris, in the luxury city 
proper; it grew stronger and more tenacious the nearer the incoming troops 
approached the eastern half, the working-class city proper. It was only after eight 
days' fighting that the last defenders of the Commune succumbed on the heights 
of Belleville and M&eacutenilmontant; and then the massacre of defenceless men, 
women and children, which had been raging all through the week on an increasing 
scale, reached its zenith. The breechloaders could no longer kill fast enough; the 
vanquished were shot down in 

* Georges Darboy. 
page 12 

hundreds by mitrailleuse fire. The "Wall of the Federals''^] at the Pere-Lachaise 
cemetery, where the final mass murder was consummated, is still standing today, 
a mute but eloquent testimony to the frenzy of which the ruling class is capable as 
soon as the working class dares to stand up for its rights. Then, when the slaughter 
of them all proved to be impossible, came the mass arrests, the shooting of 
victims arbitrarily selected from the prisoners' ranks, and the removal of the rest 
to great camps where they awaited trial by courts martial. The Prussian troops 
surrounding the northeastern half of Paris had orders not to allow any fugitives to 
pass; but the officers often shut their eyes when the soldiers paid more obedience 
to the dictates of humanity than to those of the Supreme Command; particular 
honour is due to the Saxon army corps, which behaved very humanely and let 
through many who were obviously fighters for the Commune. 

If today, after twenty years, we look back at the activity and historical 
significance of the Paris Commune of 1871, we shall hnd it necessary to make a 
few additions to the account given in The Civil War in France. 

The members of the Commune were divided into a majority, the Blanquists, 
who had also been predominant in the Central Committee of the National Guard; 
and a minority, members of the International Working Men's Association, chiefly 
consisting of adherents of the Proudhon school of Socialism. The great majority 
of the Blanquists were at that time Socialists only by revolutionary, proletarian 
instinct; only a few had attained greater clarity on principles, through Vaillant, 
who was familiar with German scientific Socialism. It is therefore 
comprehensible that in the economic sphere 

page 13 

much was left undone which, according to our view today, the Commune ought to 
have done. The hardest thing to understand is certainly the holy awe with which 
they remained standing respectfully outside the gates of the Bank of France. This 
was also a serious political mistake. The bank in the hands of the Commune - this 
would have been worth more than ten thousand hostages. It would have meant the 
pressure of the whole of the French bourgeoisie on the Versailles government in 
favour of peace with the Commune. But what is still more wonderful is the 
correctness of much that nevertheless was done by the Commune, composed as it 
was of Blanquists and Proudhonists. Naturally, the Proudhonists were chielly 
responsible for the economic decrees of the Commune, both for their 
praiseworthy and their unpraiseworthy aspects; as the Blanquists were for its 
political commissions and omissions. And in both cases the irony of history 
willed - as is usual when doctrinaires come to the helm - that both did the 
opposite of what the doctrines of their school prescribed. 

Proudhon, the Socialist of the small peasant and master craftsman, regarded 
association with positive hatred. He said of it that there was more bad than good 
in it; that it was by nature sterile, even harmful, because it was a fetter on the 
freedom of the worker; that it was a pure dogma, unproductive and burdensome, 
in conflict as much with the freedom of the worker as with economy of labour; 
that its disadvantages multiplied more swiftly than its advantages; that, as 
compared with it, competition, division of labour and private property were 
economic forces. Only in the exceptional cases - as Proudhon called them - of 
large-scale industry and large establishments, such as railways, was the 

page 14 

association of workers in place. (See General Idea of the Revolution, 3rd 

By 1871, large-scale industry had already so much ceased to be an exceptional 
case even in Paris, the centre of artistic handicrafts, that by far the most important 
decree of the Commune instituted an organization of large-scale industry and 
even of manufacture which was not only to be based on the association of the 
workers in each factory, but also to combine all these associations in one great 
union; in short, an organization which, as Marx quite rightly says in The Civil 

War, must necessarily have led in the end to Communism, that is to say, the direct 
opposite of the Proudhon doctrine. And, therefore, the Commune was also the 
grave of the Proudhon school of Socialism. Today this school has vanished from 
French working-class circles; here, among the Possibilist[i6] no less than among 
the "Marxists," Marx's theory now rules unchallenged. Only among the "radical" 
bourgeoisie are there still Proudhonists. 

The Blanquists fared no better. Brought up in the school of conspiracy, and 
held together by the strict discipline which went with it, they started out from the 
viewpoint that a relatively small number of resolute, well-organized men would 
be able, at a given favourable moment, not only to seize the helm of state, but also 
by a display of great, ruthless energy, to maintain power until they succeeded in 
sweeping the mass of the people into the revolution and ranging them round the 
small band of leaders. This involved, above all, the strictest, dictatorial 
centralization of all power in the hands of the new revolutionary government. And 
what did the Commune, with its majority of these same Blanquists, actually do? 
In all its proclamations to the French in the provinces, it appealed to them to form 
a free federation of all 

page 15 

French Communes with Paris, a national organization which for the first time was 
really to be created by the nation itself. It was precisely the oppressing power of 
the former centralized government - the army, political police and bureaucracy 
which Napoleon had created in 1798 and which since then had been taken over by 
every new government as a welcome instrument and used against its opponents — 
it was precisely this power which was to fall everywhere, just as it had already 
fallen in Paris. 

From the very outset the Commune was compelled to recognize that the 
working class, once come to power, could not go on managing with the old state 
machine; that in order not to lose again its only just conquered supremacy, this 
working class must, on the one hand, do away with all the old repressive 
machinery previously used against itself, and, on the other, safeguard itself 
against its own deputies and officials, by declaring them all, without exception, 
subject to recall at any moment. What had been the characteristic at tribute of the 
former state? Society had created its own organs to look after its common 
interests, originally through simple division of labour. But these organs, at whose 
head was the state power, had in the course of time, in pursuance of their own 
special interests, transformed themselves from the servants of society into the 
masters of society. This can be seen, for example, not only in the hereditary 
monarchy, but equally so in the democratic republic. Nowhere do "politicians" 
form a more separate and powerful section of the nation than precisely in North 
America. There, each of the two major parties which alternately succeed each 
other in power is itself in turn controlled by people who make a business of 
politics, who speculate on seats in the legislative assemblies of the Union as well 
as of the separate states, or 

page 16 

who make a living by carrying on agitation for their party and on its victory are 
rewarded with positions. It is well known how the Americans have been trying for 
thirty years to shake off this yoke, which has become intolerable, and how in spite 
of it all they continue to sink ever deeper in this swamp of corruption. It is 
precisely in America that we see best how there takes place this process of the 
state power making itself independent in relation to society, whose mere 
instrument it was originally intended to be. Here there exists no dynasty, no 
nobility, no standing army, beyond the few men keeping watch on the Indians, no 
bureaucracy with permanent posts or the right to pensions. And nevertheless we 
find here two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession 
of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt means and for the most 
corrupt ends — and the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of 
politicians, who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality dominate and plunder it. 

Against this transformation of the state and the organs of the state from 
servants of society into masters of society - an inevitable transformation in all 
previous states - the Commune made use of two infallible means. In the first 
place, it filled all posts — administrative, judicial and educational — by election on 
the basis of universal suffrage of all concerned, subject to the right of recall at any 
time by the same electors. And, in the second place, all officials, high or low, 
were paid only the wages received by other workers. The highest salary paid by 
the Commune to anyone was 6,000 francs. In this way an effective barrier to 
place-hunting and careerism was set up, even apart from the binding mandates to 
delegates to representative bodies which were added besides. 

page 17 

This shattering [Sprengung ] of the former state power and its replacement by a 
new and truly democratic one is described in detail in the third section of The 
Civil War. But it was necessary to dwell briefly here once more on some of its 
features, because in Germany particularly the superstitious belief in the state has 
been carried over from philosophy into the general consciousness of the 
bourgeoisie and even of many workers. According to the philosophical 
conception, the state is the "realization of the Idea," or the Kingdom of God on 
earth, as translated into philosophical terms, the sphere in which eternal truth and 
justice is or should be realized. And from this follows a superstitious reverence 
for the state and everything connected with it, which takes root the more readily 
since people are accustomed from childhood to imagine that the affairs and 
interests common to the whole of society could not be looked after otherwise than 
as they have been looked after in the past, that is, through the state and its 
lucratively positioned officials. And people think they have taken quite an 
extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in 
hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, 
the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and 
indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy; and at best an evil 

inherited by the proletariat after its victorious struggle for class supremacy, whose 
worst sides the victorious proletariat, just like the Commune, cannot avoid having 
to lop off at once as much as possible until such time as a generation reared in 
new, free social conditions is able to throw out the entire lumber of the state. 

Of late, the Social-Democratic philistine has once more been filled with 
wholesome terror at the words: Dictatorship 

page 18 

of the Proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this 
dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of 
the Proletariat. . 

F. Engels 

London, on the twentieth anniversary 
of the Paris Commune, March 18, 1891 

Published in Die Neue Zeit, No. 28 The original text is in German 

(Vol. II), 1890-91, and in the sep- 
arate edition of Marx's The Civil Translated from German 
War in France, Berlin, 1891 

page 19 





To the Members of the International Working Men's 
Association in Europe and the United States 

In the Inaugural Address of the International Working Men's Association, of 
November 1864, we said: "If the emancipation of the working classes requires 
their fraternal concurrence, how are they to fulfil that great mission with a foreign 
policy in pursuit of criminal designs, playing upon national prejudices, and 
squandering in piratical wars the people's blood and treasure?" We defined the 
foreign policy aimed at by the International in these words: "Vindicate the simple 
laws of morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private 
individuals, as the laws paramount of the intercourse of nations. "[is] 

No wonder that Louis Bonaparte, who usurped his power by exploiting the war 
of classes in France, and perpetuated 

page 20 

it by periodical wars abroad, should, from the first, have treated the International 
as a dangerous foe. On the eve of the plebiscite he ordered a raid on the members 
of the Administrative Committees of the International Working Men's Association 
throughout France, at Paris, Lyons, Rouen, Marseilles, Brest, etc., on the pretext 
that the International was a secret society dabbling in a complot for his 
assassination, a pretext soon after exposed in its full absurdity by his own 
judges. [19] What was the real crime of the French branches of the International? 
They told the French people publicly and emphatically that voting the plebiscite 
was voting despotism at home and war abroad. It has been, in fact, their work that 
in all the great towns, in all the industrial centres of France, the working class rose 
like one man to reject the plebiscite. Unfortunately the balance was turned by the 
heavy ignorance of the rural districts. The stock exchanges, the cabinets, the 
ruling classes and the press of Europe celebrated the plebiscite as a signal victory 
of the French emperor over the French working class; and it was the signal for the 
assassination, not of an individual, but of nations. 

The war plot of July 1870[20] is but an amended edition of the coup d'etat of 
December 1851.[2y At first view the thing seemed so absurd that France would 
not believe in its real good earnest. It rather believed the deputy* denouncing the 
ministerial war talk as a mere stock-jobbing trick When, on July 15th, war was at 
last officially announced to the Corps l&eacutegislatif, the whole opposition 
refused to vote the preliminary subsidies - even Thiers branded it as "de- 

* Jules Favre. 

page 21 

testable"; all the independent journals of Paris condemned it, and, wonderful to 
relate, the provincial press joined in almost unanimously. 

Meanwhile, the Paris members of the International had again set to work. In the 
Reveil \m of July 12th they published their manifesto "to the workmen of all 
nations," from which we extract the following few passages: 

"Once more," they say, "on the pretext of the European equilibrium, of national honour, the 
peace of the world is menaced by political ambitions. French, German, Spanish workmen! Let our 
voices unite in one cry of reprobation against war! . . . War for a question of preponderance or a 
dynasty can, in the eyes of workmen, be nothing but a criminal absurdity. In answer to the warlike 
proclamations of those who exempt themselves from the impost of blood, and find in public 
misfortunes a source of fresh speculations, we protest, we who want peace, labour and liberty! . . . 
Brothers of Germany! Our division would only result in the complete triumph of despotism on 
both sides of the Rhine. . . . Workmen of all countries! Whatever may for the present become of 
our common efforts, we, the members of the International Working Men's Association, who know 
of no frontiers, we send you, as a pledge of indissoluble solidarity, the good wishes and the 
salutations of the workmen of France." 

This manifesto of our Paris section was followed by numerous similar French 
addresses, of which we can here only quote the declaration of Neuilly-sur-Seine, 
published in the Marseillaise \m of July 22nd: 

"The war, is it just? - No! The war, is it national? - No! It is merely dynastic. In the name of 
humanity, of democracy, and the true interests of France, we adhere completely and energetically 
to the protestation of the International against the war." 

These protestations expressed the true sentiments of the French working 
people, as was soon shown by a curious incident. The Band of the Tenth of 
December, xm first organ- 
page 22 

ized under the presidency of Louis Bonaparte, having been masqueraded into 
blouses and let loose on the streets of Paris, there to perform the contortions of 
war fever, the real workmen of the faubourgs came forward with public peace 
demonstrations so overwhelming that Pietri, the Prefect of Police, thought it 
prudent to at once stop all further street politics, on the plea that the feal Paris 
people had given sufficient vent to their pent-up patriotism and exuberant war 

Whatever may be the incidents of Louis Bonaparte's war with Prussia, the death 
knell of the Second Empire has already sounded at Paris. It will end, as it began, 
by a parody. But let us not forget that it is the governments and the ruling classes 
of Europe who enabled Louis Bonaparte to play during eighteen years the 
ferocious farce of the Restored Empire. 

On the German side, the war is a war of defence; but who put Germany to the 
necessity of defending herself? Who enabled Louis Bonaparte to wage war upon 
her? Prussia! It was Bismarck who conspired with that very same Louis 
Bonaparte for the purpose of crushing popular opposition at home, and annexing 
Germany to the Hohenzollern dynasty. If the battle of Sadowa[25] had been lost 

instead of being won, French battalions would have overrun Germany as the allies 
of Prussia. After her victory, did Prussia dream one moment of opposing a free 
Germany to an enslaved France? Just the contrary. While carefully preserving all 
the native beauties of her old system, she superadded all the tricks of the Second 
Empire, its real despotism and its mock democratism, its political shams and its 
financial jobs, its high flown talk and its low legerdemains. The Bonapartist re- 
page 23 

gime, which till then only flourished on one side of the Rhine, had now got its 
counterfeit on the other. From such a state of things, what else could result but 
war ? 

If the German working class allow the present war to lose its strictly defensive 
character and to degenerate into a war against the French people, victory or defeat 
will prove alike disastrous. All the miseries that befell Germany after her war of 
independence will revive with accumulated intensity. 

The principles of the International are, however, too widely spread and too 
firmly rooted amongst the German working class to apprehend such a sad 
consummation. The voices of the French workmen have re-echoed from 
Germany. A mass meeting of workmen, held at Brunswick on July 16th, 
expressed its full concurrence with the Paris manifesto, spurned the idea of 
national antagonism to France, and wound up its resolutions with these words: 

"We are enemies of all wars, but above all of dynastic wars. . . . With deep sorrow and grief we 
are forced to undergo a defensive war as an unavoidable evil; but we call, at the same time, upon 
the whole German working class to render the recurrence of such an immense social misfortune 
impossible by vindicating for the peoples themselves the power to decide on peace and war, and 
making them masters of their own destinies." 

At Chemnitz, a meeting of delegates, representing 50,000 Saxon workers, 
adopted unanimously a resolution to this effect: 

"In the name of the German Democracy, and especially of the workmen forming the 
Democratic Socialist Party, we declare the present war to be exclusively dynastic. . . . We are 
happy to grasp the fraternal hand stretched out to us by the workmen of France. . . . Mindful of the 
watch word of the International Working Men's Association: Proletarians of all countries, unite, 
we shall never forget that the workmen of all countries are our friends and the despots of all 
countries our enemies. 1 '[ 26] 

page 24 

The Berlin branch of the International has also replied to the Paris manifesto: 

"We," they say, "join with heart and hand your protestation. . . . Solemnly we promise that neither the sound of the trumpet, nor 
the roar of the cannon, neither victory nor defeat, shall divert us from our common work for the union of the children of toil of all 

Be it so! 

In the background of this suicidal strife looms the dark figure of Russia. It is an ominous sign that the signal for the present war 
should have been given at the moment when the Moscovite government had just finished its strategic lines of railway and was 
already massing troops in the direction of the Pruth. Whatever sympathy the Germans may justly claim in a war of defence against 
Bonapartist aggression, they would forfeit at once by allowing the Prussian government to call for, or accept, the help of the 
Cossacks. Let them remember that, after their war of independence against the first Napoleon, Germany lay for generations 
prostrate at the feet of the Czar. 

The English working class stretch the hand of fellowship to the French and German working people. They feel deeply convinced 
that whatever turn the impending horrid war may take, the alliance of the working classes of all countries will ultimately kill war. 
The very fact that while official France and Germany are rushing into a fratricidal feud, the workmen of France and Germany send 
each other messages of peace and goodwill; this great fact, unparalleled in the history of the past, opens the vista of a brighter 
future. It proves that in contrast to old society, with its economical miseries and its political delirium, a new society is springing up, 
whose international rule will be Peace, because its national ruler will be everywhere the same — Labour ! The 

page 25 

Pioneer of that new society is the International Working Men's Association. 


Robert Applegarth George Milner 

Martin J. Boon Thomas Mottershead 

Fred. Bradnick Charles Murray 

Cowell Stepney George Odger 

John Hales James Parnell 

William Hales Pf&aumlnder 

George Harris R&uumlhl 

Fred. Lessner Joseph Shepherd 

Legreulier Stoll 

W. Lintern Schmutz 

Z&eacutevy Maurice W. Townshend 


Eug&egravene Dupont, for France 

Karl Marx, /br Germany 

A. Serraillier,/br Belgium, Holland and Spain 

Hermann Jung, for Switzerland 

Giovanni Bora, for Italy 

Antoni Zabicki, for Poland 

James Cohen, for Denmark 

J. G. Eccarius, /br the United States of America 

Benjamin Lucraft, Chairman 

John Weston, Treasurer 

J. George Eccarius, General Secretary 

page 26 

Office: 256, High Holborn, London, W.C. 
July 23, 1870 

Written by Marx on July 19-23, 1870 The original text is in English 

Published in leaflet form in English in Printed according to the text 

July 1 870, and both in leaflet form of the English leaflet of 1 870 

and in periodicals in German, French 
and Russian in August-September 

page 27 





To the Members of the International Working Men's 
Association in Europe and the United States 

In our first Manifesto of the 23rd of July we said: "The death knell of the Second Empire has already sounded at Paris. It will 
end, as it began, by a parody. But let us not forget that it is the governments and the ruling classes of Europe who enabled Louis 
Napoleon to play during eighteen years the ferocious farce of the Restored Empire."* 

Thus, even before war operations had actually set in, we treated the Bonapartist bubble as a thing of the past. 

If we were not mistaken as to the vitality of the Second Empire, we were not wrong in our apprehension lest the German war 
should "lose its strictly defensive character and 

* See above, p. 22. 
page 28 

degenerate into a war against the French people. "[*] The war of defence ended, in point of fact, with the surrender of Louis 
Bonaparte, the Sedan capitulation, and the proclamation of the Republic at Paris. But long before these events, the very moment 
that the utter rottenness of the imperialist [ff] arms became evident, the Prussian military camarilla had resolved upon conquest. 
There lay an ugly obstacle in their way — King William's own proclamations at the commencement of the war. In his speech from 
the throne to the North German Diet, he had solemnly declared to make war upon the emperor of the French, and not upon the 
French people. On the 1 1th of August he had issued a manifesto to the French nation, where he said:T ***l 

"The Emperor Napoleon having made, by land and sea, an attack on the German nation, which desired and still desires to live in 
peace with the French people, I have assumed the command of the German armies to repel his aggression, and I have been led by 
military events to cross the frontiers of France." 

Not content to assert the defensive character of the war by the statement that he only assumed the command of the German 
armies "to repel aggression," he added that he was only "led by military events" to cross the frontiers of France. A defensive war 
does, of course, not exclude offensive opera tions, dictated by "military events." 

Thus, this pious king stood pledged before France and the world to a strictly defensive war. How to release him from 

* See above, p. 23. 

** Imperialist: used throughout the book as an adjective for the Second Empire. 

*** In the German edition of 1870, Marx omitted this sentence, the quotation below and the paragraph following. The first three 
sentences of the last paragraph (continued overleaf) were condensed. 

page 29 

his solemn pledge? The stage-managers had to exhibit him as giving, reluctantly, way to the irresistible behest of the German 
nation. They at once gave the cue to the liberal German middle class, with its professors, its capitalists, its aldermen, and its 
penmen. That middle class, which in its struggle for civil liberty had, from 1846 to 1870, been exhibiting an unexampled spectacle 
of irresolution, incapacity and cowardice, felt, of course, highly delighted to bestride the European scene as the roaring lion of 
German patriotism. It revindicated its civic independence by affecting to force upon the Prussian government the secret designs of 
that same government. It does penance for its long-continued and almost religious faith in Louis Bonaparte's infallibility, by 
shouting for the dismemberment of the French Republic. Let us for a moment listen to the special pleadings of those stout-hearted 
patriots ! 

They dare not pretend that the people of Alsace and Lorraine pant for the German embrace; quite the contrary. To punish their 
French patriotism, Strasbourg, a town with an independent citadel commanding it, has for six days been wantonly and fiendishly 
bombarded by "German" explosive shells, setting it on fire, and killing great numbers of its defenceless inhabitants I Yet, the soil 
of those provinces once upon a time belonged to the whilom German empire. Hence, it seems, the soil and the human beings grown 
on it must be confiscated as imprescriptible German property. If the map of Europe is to be remade in the antiquary's vein, let us by 
no means forget that the Elector of Brandenburg, for his Prussian dominions, was the vassal of the Polish Republic. [ 28] 

The more knowing patriots, however, require Alsace and the German-speaking part of Lorraine as a "material guar- 

page 30 

antee" against French aggression. As this contemptible plea has bewildered many weak-minded people, we are bound to enter more 
fully upon it. 

There is no doubt that the general configuration of Alsace, as compared with the opposite bank of the Rhine, and the presence of 
a large fortified town like Strasbourg, about half way between Basle and Germersheim, very much favour a French invasion of 
South Germany, while they offer peculiar difficulties to an invasion of France from South Germany. There is, further, no doubt that 
the addition of Alsace and German-speaking Lorraine would give South Germany a much stronger frontier, inasmuch as she would 
then be master of the crest of the Vosges mountains in its whole length, and of the fortresses which cover its northern passes. If 
Metz were annexed as well, France would certainly for the moment be deprived of her two principal bases of operation against 
Germany, but that would not prevent her from constructing a fresh one at Nancy or Verdun. While Germany owns Coblentz, 
Mainz, Germersheim, Rastadt, and Ulm, all bases of operation against France, and plentifully made use of in this war, with what 
show of fair play can she begrudge France Strasbourg and Metz, the only two for tresses of any importance she has on that side? 
Moreover, Strasbourg endangers South Germany only while South Germany is a separate power from North Germany. From 1792 
to 1795 South Germany was never invaded from that direction, because Prussia was a party to the war against the French 
Revolution; but as soon as Prussia made a peace of her own in 1795, [29] and left the South to shift for itself, the invasions of South 
Germany with Strasbourg for a base began and continued till 1809. The fact is, a united Germany can always render Strasbourg and 
any French army in 

page 31 

Alsace innocuous by concentrating all her troops, as was done in the present war, between Saarlouis and Landau, and advancing, or 
accepting battle, on the line of road between Mainz and Metz. While the mass of the German troops is stationed there, any French 
army advancing from Strasbourg into South Germany would be outflanked, and have its communications threatened. If the present 
campaign has proved anything, it is the facility of invading France from Germany. 

But, in good faith, is it not altogether an absurdity and an anachronism to make military considerations the principle by which the 
boundaries of nations are to be fixed ? If this rule were to prevail, Austria would still be entitled to Venetia and the line of the 
Mincio, and France to the line of the Rhine, in order to protect Paris, which lies certainly more open to an attack from the northeast 
than Berlin does from the southwest. If limits are to be fixed by military interests, there will be no end to claims, because every 
military line is necessarily faulty, and may be improved by annexing some more outlying territory; and, moreover, they can never 
be fixed finally and fairly, because they always must be imposed by the conqueror upon the conquered, and consequently carry 
within them the seed of fresh wars. 

Such is the lesson of all history. Thus with nations as with individuals. To deprive them of the power of offence, you must 
deprive them of the means of defence. You must not only garotte, but murder. If ever a conqueror took "material guarantees" for 
breaking the sinews of a nation, the first Napoleon did so by the Tilsit Treaty, [30] and the way he executed it against Prussia and 

the rest of Germany. Yet, a few years later, his gigantic power split like a rotten reed upon the German people. What are the 
"material guaran- 

page 32 

tees" Prussia, in her wildest dreams, can or dare impose upon France, compared to the "material guarantees" the first Napoleon had 
wrenched from herself? The result will not prove the less disastrous. History will measure its retribution, not by the extent of the 
square miles conquered from France, but by the intensity of the crime of reviving, in the second half of the 19th century, the policy 
of conquest ! 

But, say the mouthpieces of Teutonic patriotism, you must not confound Germans with Frenchmen. What we want is not glory, 
but safety. The Germans are an essentially peaceful people. In their sober guardianship, conquest itself changes from a condition of 
future war into a pledge of perpetual peace. Of course, it is not Germans that invaded France in 1792, for the sublime purpose of 
bayoneting the revolution of the 18th century. It is not Germans that be fouled their hands by the subjugation of Italy, the 
oppression of Hungary, and the dismemberment of Poland. Their present military system, which divides the whole adult male 
population into two parts - one standing army on service, and another standing army on furlough, both equally bound in passive 
obedience to rulers by divine right — such a military system is, of course, a "material guarantee" for keeping the peace, and the 
ultimate goal of civilizing tendencies ! In Germany, as everywhere else, the sycophants of the powers that be poison the popular 
mind by the incense of mendacious self-praise. 

Indignant as they pretend to be at the sight of French fortresses in Metz and Strasbourg, those German patriots see no harm in the 
vast system of Moscovite fortifications at Warsaw, Modlin, and Ivangorod. While gloating at the terrors of imperialist invasion, 
they blink at the infamy of autocratic tutelage. 

page 33 

As in 1865 promises were exchanged between Louis Bonaparte and Bismarck, so in 1870 promises have been exchanged 
between Gorchakov and Bismarck. \ 3 11 As Louis Bonaparte flattered himself that the War of 1866, resulting in the common 
exhaustion of Austria and Prussia, would make him the supreme arbiter of Germany, so Alexander flattered himself that the War of 
1870, resulting in the common exhaustion of Germany and France, would make him the supreme arbiter of the Western Continent. 
As the Second Empire thought the North German Confederation incompatible with its existence, so autocratic Russia must think 
herself endangered by a German empire under Prussian leadership. Such is the law of the old political system. Within its pale the 
gain of one state is the loss of the other. The Czar's paramount influence over Europe roots in his traditional hold on Germany. At a 
moment when in Russia herself volcanic social agencies threaten to shake the very base of autocracy, could the Czar afford to bear 
with such a loss of foreign prestige? Already the Moscovite journals repeat the language of the Bonapartist journals after the War 
of 1866. Do the Teuton patriots really believe that liberty and peace* will be guaranteed to Germany by forcing France into the 
arms of Russia? If the fortune of her arms, the arrogance of success, and dynastic intrigue lead Germany to a dismemberment of 
France there will then only remain two courses open to her. She must at all risks become the avowed tool of Russian 
aggrandisement,** or, after some short respite, 

* In the German edition of 1870, "liberty and peace" reads "independence, liberty and peace." 

** In the German edition of 1870, a clause is added here: "a policy which corresponds to the tradition of the Hohenzollern 

page 34 

make again ready for another "defensive" war, not one of those new-fangled "localized" wars, but a war of races — a war with the 
combined Slavonian and Roman races. [*] 

The German working class have resolutely supported the war, which it was not in their power to prevent, as a war for German 
independence and the liberation of France and Europe from that pestilential incubus, the Second Empire. It was the German 
workmen who, together with the rural labourers, furnished the sinews and muscles of heroic hosts, leaving behind their half-starved 
families. Decimated by the battles abroad, they will be once more decimated by misery at home.** In their turn they are now 
coming forward to ask for "guarantees" — guarantees that their immense sacrifices have not been brought in vain, that they have 
conquered liberty, that the victory over the imperialist armies will not, as in 1815, be turned into the defeat of the German 
people;[32] and, as the first of these guarantees, they claim an honourable peace for France, and the recognition of the French 

The Central Committee of the German Socialist-Democratic Workmen's Party issued on the 5th of September a manifesto, 
energetically insisting upon these guarantees. 

* In the German edition of 1870, another sentence is added here: "This is the perspective of peace which is 'guaranteed' to 
Germany by the addlepated patriots of the middle class." 

** In the German edition of 1870, two sentences are added here: "And the patriotic ranters will tell them, as consolation, that 
capital has no fatherland and that workers' wages are regulated by the unpatriotic international law of supply and demand. Is it not, 

therefore, high time for the German working class to speak up and no longer allow the gentlemen of the middle class to speak in 
their name?" 

page 35 

"We" they say, "we protest against the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine. And we are conscious of speaking in the name of the 
German working class. In the common interest of France and Germany, in the interest of peace and liberty, in the interest of 
Western civilization against Eastern barbarism, the German workmen will not patiently tolerate the annexation of Alsace and 
Lorraine. . . . We shall faithfully stand by our fellow-workmen in all countries for the common international cause of the 
Proletariat! "[33] 

Unfortunately, we cannot feel sanguine of their immediate success. If the French workmen amidst peace failed to stop the 
aggressor, are the German workmen more likely to stop the victor amidst the clangour of arms? The German workmen's manifesto 
demands the extradition of Louis Bonaparte as a common felon to the French Republic. Their rulers are, on the contrary, already 
trying hard to restore him to the Tuileries as the best man to ruin France. However that may be, history will prove that the German 
working class are not made of the same malleable stuff as the German middle class. They will do their duty. 

Like them, we hail the advent of the Republic in France, but at the same time we labour undermisgivings which we hope will 
prove groundless. That Republic has not subverted the throne, but only taken its place become vacant.* It has been proclaimed, not 
as a social conquest, but as a national measure of defence. It is in the hands of a Provisional Government composed partly of 
notorious Orleanists,[34] partly of middle-class Republicans, upon some of whom the insurrection of June 1848 has left its 
indelible stigma. The division of labour amongst the members of that government looks awkward. The Orleanists have seized the 
strongholds of the army and the police, while to the professed Republicans 

* In the German edition of 1870, the rendering is: ". . . taken its place which was made vacant by German bayonets." 

page 36 

have fallen the talking departments. Some of their first acts go far to show that they have inherited from the empire not only ruins, 
but also its dread of the working class. If eventual impossibilities are in wild phraseology demanded from the Republic, is it not 
with a view to prepare the cry for a "possible" government? Is the Republic, by some of its middle-class managers, not intended to 
serve as a mere stopgap and bridge over an Orleanist Restoration? The French working class moves, therefore, under circumstances 
of extreme difficulty. Any attempt at upsetting the new government in the present crisis, when the enemy is almost knocking at the 
doors of Paris, would be a desperate folly. The French workmen must perform their duties as citizens;[*] but, at the same time, they 
must not allow themselves to be deluded by the national souvenirs of 1792, as the French peasants allowed themselves to be 
deluded by the national souvenirs of the First Empire. They have not to recapitulate the past, but to build up the future. Let them 
calmly and resolutely improve the opportunities of Republican liberty, for the work of their own class organization. It will gift them 
with fresh herculean powers for the regeneration of France, and our common task - the emancipation of labour. Upon their 
energies and wisdom hinges the fate of the Republic. 

The English workmen have already taken measures to overcome, by a wholesome pressure from without, the reluctance of their 
government to recognize the French Republic. [35] The present dilatoriness of the British government is probably intended to atone 
for the Anti-Jacobin war and its former 

* In the German edition of 1870, after "citizens" are added "and that is what they are doing." 

page 37 

indecent haste in sanctioning the coup d'etat. [36] The English workmen call also upon their government to oppose by all its power 
the dismemberment of France, which part of the English press is so shameless enough to howl for.[*] It is the same press that for 
twenty years deified Louis Bonaparte as the providence of Europe, that frantically cheered on the slaveholders' rebellion. [37] Now, 
as then, it drudges for the slaveholder. 

Let the sections of the International Working Men's Association in every country stir the working classes to action. If they 
forsake their duty, if they remain passive, the present tremendous war will be but the harbinger of still deadlier international feuds, 
and lead in every nation to a renewed triumph over the workman by the lords of the sword, of the soil, and of capital. 

Vive la Republique! 


Robert Applegarth Martin J. Boon 

Fred. Bradnick Caihil 

John Hales William Hales 

George Harris Fred. Lessner 

Lopatin B. Lucraft 

George Milner Thomas Mottershead 

Charles Murray George Odger 

James Parnell Pf&aumlnder 

R&uumlhl Joseph Shepherd 

Cowell Stepney Stoll 


* In the German edition of 1870, the latter part of the sentence reads: ". . . which naturally is quite as noisily heralded by a part of 
the English press as by the German patriots." 

page 38 


Eug&egravene Dupont,/br France 

Karl Marx, /br Germany 

A. Serraillier, for Belgium, Holland and Spain 

Hermann Jung, for Switzerland 

Giovanni Bora, for Italy 

Z&eacutevy Maurice for Hungary 

Antoni Zabicki, for Poland 

James Cohen, for Denmark 

J. G. Eccarius, /br the United States of America 

William Townshend, Chairman 

John Weston, Treasurer 

J. George Eccarius, General Secretary 

Office: 256 High Holborn, London, W.C. 
September 9, 1870 

Written by Marx on September 6-9, 1870 The original text is in English 

Published in leaflet form in English on Printed according to the text 

September 11-13, 1870, and in Ger- of the English leaflet of 1870 

man between September and December 
1870, and in French and German per- 
iodicals in September-December 1870 

page 39 


Address of the General Council 

of the International Working 

Men's Association^] 

Written by Marx in April-May 1 87 1 The original text is in English 

Published as a separate pamphlet in Printed according to the third 

London, mid-June 1871 and in Eur- English edition of 1871 
ope and America, 1871-72. 

page 40 [blank] 

page 41 

To All the Members of the Association in Europe 
and the United States 

On the 4th of September, 1870, when the working men of Paris proclaimed the 
Republic, which was almost instantaneously acclaimed throughout France, 
without a single voice of dissent, a cabal of place-hunting barristers, with Thiers 
for their statesman and Trochu for their general, took hold of the H&ocirctel de 
Ville.* At that time they were imbued with so fanatical a faith in the mission of 
Paris to represent France in all epochs of historical crisis, that, to legitimate their 
usurped titles as governors of France, they thought it quite sufficient to produce 
their lapsed mandates as representatives of Paris. In our second address on the late 
war, five days after the rise of these men, we told you who they were.** 

* The Town Hall. 
** See above, p. 35. 

page 42 

Yet, in the turmoil of surprise, with the real leaders of the working class still shut 
up in Bonapartist prisons and the Prussians already marching upon Paris, Paris 
bore with their assumption of power, on the express condition that it was to be 
wielded for the single purpose of national defence. Paris, however, was not to be 
defended without arming its working class, organizing them into an effective 
force, and training their ranks by the war itself. But Paris armed was the 
Revolution armed. A victory of Paris over the Prussian aggressor would have 
been a victory of the French workman over the French capitalist and his State 
parasites. In this conflict between national duty and class interest, the Government 
of National Defence did not hesitate one moment to turn into a Government of 
National Defection. 

The first step they took was to send Thiers on a roving tour to all the courts of 
Europe, there to beg mediation by offering the barter of the Republic for a king. 
Four months after the commencement of the siege, when they thought the 
opportune moment come for breaking the first word of capitulation, Trochu, in the 
presence of Jules Favre and others of his colleagues, addressed the assembled 
mayors of Paris in these terms: 

"The first question put to me by my colleagues on the very evening of the 4th of September was 
this: Paris, can it, with any chance of success, stand a siege by the Prussian army? I did not 
hesitate to answer in the negative. Some of my colleagues here present will warrant the truth of my 
words and the persistence of my opinion. I told them, in these very terms, that, under the existing 
state of things, the attempt of Paris to hold out a siege by the Prussian army would be a folly. 
Without doubt, I added, it would be an heroic folly; but that would be all. The events (managed by 
himself) have not given the lie to my prevision." 

page 43 

This nice little speech of Trochu was afterwards published by M. Corbon, one 
of the mayors present. 

Thus, on the very evening of the proclamation of the Republic, Trochu's "plan" 
was known to his colleagues to be the capitulation of Paris. If national defence 
had been more than a pretext for the personal government of Thiers, Favre and 
Co., the upstarts of the 4th of September would have abdicated on the 5th - 
would have initiated the Paris people into Trochu's "plan," and called upon them 
to surrender at once, or to take their own fate into their own hands. Instead of this, 
the infamous impostors resolved upon curing the heroic folly of Paris by a 
regimen of famine and broken heads, and to dupe her in the meanwhile by ranting 
manifestoes, holding forth that Trochu, "the governor of Paris, will never 
capitulate," and Jules Favre, the Foreign Minister, will "not cede an inch of our 
territory, nor a stone of our fortresses." In a letter to Gambetta, that very same 

Jules Favre avows that what they were "defending" against were not the Prussian 
soldiers, but the working men of Paris. During the whole continuance of the siege 
the Bonapartist cut-throats, whom Trochu had wisely intrusted with the command 
of the Paris army, exchanged, in their intimate correspondence, tibald jokes at the 
well-understood mockery of defence. (See, for instance, the correspondence of 
Alphonse Simon Guiod, supreme commander of the artillery of the Army of 
Defence of Paris and Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, to Suzanne, general 
of division of artillery, a correspondence published by the Journal officiel of the 
Commune.)[39] The mask of imposture was at last dropped on the 28th of January, 
1871. [40] With the true heroism of utter self-debasement, the Government of 
National Defence, in their capitulation, came out as the government of France 

page 44 

by Bismarck's prisoners - a part so base that Louis Bonaparte himself had, at 
Sedan, shrunk from accepting it. After the events of the 18th of March, on their 
wild flight to Versailles, the capitulards [4jj left in the hands of Paris the 
documentary evidence of their treason, to destroy which, as the Commune says in 
its manifesto to the provinces, "those men would not recoil from battering Paris 
into a heap of ruins washed by a sea of blood. "[42] 

To be eagerly bent upon such a consummation, some of the leading members of 
the Government of Defence had besides, most peculiar reasons of their own. 

Shortly after the conclusion of the armistice, M. Milliere, one of the 
representatives of Paris to the National Assembly, now shot by express order of 
Jules Favre, published a series of authentic legal documents in proof that Jules 
Favre, living in concubinage with the wife of a drunkard resident at Algiers, had, 
by a most daring concoction of forgeries, spread over many years, contrived to 
grasp, in the name of the children of his adultery, a large succession,* which 
made him a rich man, and that, in a law-suit undertaken by the legitimate heirs, he 
only escaped exposure by the connivance of the Bonapartist tribunals. As these 
dry legal documents were not to be got rid of by any amount of rhetorical horse 
power, Jules Favre, for the first time in his life, held his tongue, quietly awaiting 
the outbreak of the civil war, in order, then, frantically to denounce the people of 
Paris as a band of escaped convicts in utter revolt against family, religion, order, 
and property. This same forger had hardly got into power, after the 4th of 
September, when he sympathetically let loose upon society Pic and Taillefer, con- 

* Succession: inheritance. 

page 45 

victed, even under the Empire, of forgery, in the scandalous affair of the 
Etendard.m] One of these men, Taillefer, having dared to return to Paris under the 

Commune, was at once reinstated in prison; and then Jules Favre exclaimed, from 
the tribune of the National Assembly, that Paris was setting free all her jailbirds! 

Ernest Picard, the Joe Millers of the Government of National Defence, who 
appointed himself Finance Minister of the Republic after having in vain striven to 
become the Home Minister of the Empire, is the brother of one Arthur Picard, an 
individual expelled from the Paris Bourse as a blackleg (see report of the 
Prefecture of Police, dated the 31st of July, 1867), and convicted, on his own 
confession, of a theft of 300,000 francs, while manager of one of the branches of 
the Soci&eacutete g&eacuten&eacuterale,[U] Rue Palestro, No. 5 (see report of 
the Prefecture of Police, 1 1th December, 1868). This Arthur Picard was made by 
Ernest Picard the editor of his paper, VElecteur litre. m] While the common run of 
stock-jobbers were led astray by the official lies of this Finance Office paper, 
Arthur was running backwards and forwards between the Finance Office and the 
Bourse, there to discount the disasters of the French army. The whole financial 
correspondence of that worthy pair of brothers fell into the hands of the 

Jules Ferry, a penniless barrister before the 4th of September, contrived, as 
Mayor of Paris during the siege, to job a fortune out of famine. The day on which 
he would 

* "Joe Miller" reads "Karl Vogt" in the German editions of 1871 and 1891, and "Falstaff" in the 
French edition of 1871. Joe Miller was a celebrated English actor of the 18th century. 

page 46 

have to give an account of his maladministration would be the day of his 

These men, then, could find, in the ruins of Paris only their tickets of leaver*] 
they were the very men Bismarck wanted. With the help of some shuffling of 
cards, Thiers, hitherto the secret prompter of the Government, now appeared at its 
head, with the ticket-of-leave men for his ministers. 

. Thiers, that monstrous gnome, has charmed the French bourgeoisie for almost 
half a century, because he is the most consummate intellectual expression of their 
own class corruption. Before he became a statesman he had already proved his 
lying powers as an historian. The chronicle of his public life is the record of the 
misfortunes of France. Banded before 1830, with the Republicans, he slipped into 
office under Louis Philippe by betraying his protector Laffitte, ingratiating 
himself with the king by exciting mob-riots against the clergy, during which the 
church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois and the Archbishop's palace were plundered, 
and by acting the minister-spy upon, and the jail-accoucheur of, the Duchess de 
Berry.[46] The massacre of the Republicans in the Rue Transnonain, and the 
subsequent infamous laws of September against the press and the right of 

association, were his work. [47] Reappearing as the chief of the Cabinet in March 
1840, he astonished France with his plan of fortifying Paris. [48] To the 
Republicans, who denounced this plan as 

* In England common criminals are often discharged on parole after serving the greater part of 
their term, and are placed under police surveillance. On such discharge they receive a certificate 
called ticket of leave, their possessors being referred to as ticket-of-leave men. [Note by Engels to 
the German edition of 1871.] 

page 47 

a sinister plot against the liberty of Paris, he replied from the tribune of the 
Chamber of Deputies: 

"What! To fancy that any works of fortification could ever endanger liberty! And first of all you 
calumniate any possible Government in supposing that it could some day attempt to maintain itself 
by bombarding the capital; . . . but that government would be a hundred times more impossible 
after its victory than before." 

Indeed, no Government would ever have dared to bombard Paris from the forts 
but that Government which had previously surrendered these forts to the 

When King Bomba tried his hand at Palermo, in January 1848, [49] Thiers, then 
long since out of office, again rose in the Chamber of Deputies: 

"You know, gentlemen, what is happening at Palermo. You, all of you, shake with horror (in the 
parliamentary sense) on hearing that during forty-eight hours a large town has been bombarded - 
by whom? Was it by a foreign enemy exercising the rights of war? No, gentlemen, it was by its 
own Government. And why? Because that unfortunate town demanded its rights. Well, then, for 
the demand of its rights it has got forty-eight hours of bombardment. . . . Allow me to appeal to 
the opinion of Europe. It is doing a service to mankind to arise, and to make reverberate, from 
what is perhaps the greatest tribune in Europe, some words (indeed words) of indignation against 
such acts. . . . When the Regent Espartero, who had rendered services to his country (which M. 
Thiers never did), intended bombarding Barcelona, in order to suppress its insurrection, there 
arose from all parts of the world a general outcry of indignation." 

Eighteen months afterwards, M. Thiers was amongst the fiercest defenders of 
the bombardment of Rome by a French army.[50] In fact, the fault of King Bomba 
seems to have consisted in this only, that he limited his bombardment to forty- 
eight hours. 

A few days before the Revolution of February, fretting at the long exile from 
place* and pelf to which Guizot had 

* place: government office. 
page 48 

condemned him, and sniffing in the air the scent of an approaching popular 
commotion, Thiers, in that pseudo-heroic style which won him the nickname of 
Mirabeau-mouche,[*] declared to the Chamber of Deputies: 

"I am of the party of Revolution, not only in France, but in Europe. I wish the Government of 
the Revolution to remain in the hands of moderate men . . . but if that Government should fall into 
the hands of ardent minds, even into those of Radicals, I shall, for all that, not desert my cause. I 
shall always be of the party of the Revolution." 

The Revolution of February came. Instead of displacing the Guizot Cabinet by 
the Thiers Cabinet, as the little man had dreamt, it superseded Louis Philippe by 
the Republic. On the first day of the popular victory he carefully hid himself, 
forgetting that the contempt of the working men screened him from their hatred. 
Still, with his legendary courage, he continued to shy the public stage, until the 
June massacres[5jj had cleared it for his sort of action. Then he became the leading 
mind of the "Party of Order" [52] and its Parliamentary Republic, that anonymous 
interregnum, in which all the rival factions of the ruling class conspired together 
to crush the people, and conspired against each other to restore each of them its 
own monarchy. Then, as now, Thiers denounced the Republicans as the only 
obstacle to the consolidation of the Republic; then, as now, he spoke to the 
Republic as the hangman spoke to Don Carlos: "I shall assassinate thee but for thy 
own good." Now, as then, he will have to exclaim on the day after his victory: 
"L'Empire est fait " - the Empire is consummated. Despite his hypocritical 
homilies about necessary liberties and his personal grudge against Louis 
Bonaparte, who had made a dupe of him, and kicked 

* Mirabeau the fly. 

page 49 

out parliamentarism - and outside of its factitious atmosphere the little man is 
conscious of withering into nothingness — he had a hand in all the infamies of the 
Second Empire, from the occupation of Rome by French troops to the war with 
Prussia, which he incited by his fierce invective against German unity - not as a 
cloak of Prussian despotism, but as an encroachment upon the vested right of 
France in German disunion. Fond of brandishing, with his dwarfish arms, in the 
face of Europe the sword of the first Napoleon, whose historical shoeblack he had 
become, his foreign policy always culminated in the utter humiliation of France, 
from the London convention of 1840[53] to the Paris capitulation of 1871, and the 
present civil war, where he hounds on the prisoners of Sedan and Metz against 
Paris by special permission of Bismarck. [54] Despite his versatility of talent and 
shiftiness of purpose, this man has his whole lifetime been wedded to the most 
fossil routine. It is self-evident that to him the deeper undercurrents of modern 
society remained forever hidden; but even the most palpable changes on its 
surface were abhorrent to a brain all the vitality of which had fled to the tongue. 
Thus he never tired of denouncing as a sacrilege any deviation from the old 
French protective system. When a minister of Louis Philippe, he railed at railways 

as a wild chimera; and when in opposition under Louis Bonaparte, he branded as 
a profanation every attempt to reform the rotten French army system. Never in his 
long political career has he been guilty of a single - even the smallest - measure 
of any practical use. Thiers was consistent only in his greed for wealth and his 
hatred of the men that produce it. Having entered his first ministry under Louis 
Philippe poor as Job, he left it a millionaire. His last ministry under the same king 
(of the 

page 50 

1st of March, 1840) exposed him to public taunts of peculation in the Chamber of 
Deputies, to which he was content to reply by tears - a commodity he deals in as 
freely as Jules Favre, or any other crocodile. At Bordeaux[*] his first measure for 
saving France from impending financial ruin was to endow himself with three 
millions a year, the first and the last word of the "Economical Republic," the vista 
of which he had opened to his Paris electors in 1869. One of his former colleagues 
of the Chamber of Deputies of 1830, himself a capitalist and, nevertheless, a 
devoted member of the Paris Commune, M. Beslay, lately addressed Thiers thus 
in a public placard: 

"The enslavement of labour by capital has always been the cornerstone of your policy, and from 
the very day you saw the Republic of Labour installed at the H&ocirctel de Ville, you have never 
ceased to cry out to France: 'These are criminals!'" 

A master in small state roguery, a virtuoso in perjury and treason, a craftsman 
in all the petty stratagems, cunning devices, and base perfidies of parliamentary 
party-warfare; never scrupling, when out of office, to fan a revolution, and to 
stifle it in blood when at the helm of the State; with class prejudices standing him 
in the place of ideas, and vanity in the place of a heart; his private life as infamous 
as his public life is odious - even now, when playing the part of a French Sulla, 
he can not help setting off the abomination of his deeds by the ridicule of his 

The capitulation of Paris, by surrendering to Prussia not only Paris, but all 
France, closed the long-continued intrigues of treason with the enemy, which the 
usurpers of the 4th of 

* In the German edition of 1891 "At Bordeaux" reads "At Bordeaux, 1871." 

page 51 

September had begun, as Trochu himself said, on that very same day. On the 
other hand, it initiated the civil war they were now to wage, with the assistance of 
Prussia, against the Republic and Paris. The trap was laid in the very terms of the 
capitulation. At that time above one-third of the territory was in the hands of the 
enemy, the capital was cut off from the provinces, all communications were 
disorganized. To elect under such circumstances a real representation of France 

was impossible, unless ample time were given for preparation. In view of this, the 
capitulation stipulated that a National Assembly must be elected within eight 
days; so that in many parts of France the news of the impending election arrived 
on its eve only. This Assembly, moreover, was, by an express clause of the 
capitulation, to be elected for the sole purpose of deciding on peace or war, and, 
eventually, to conclude a treaty of peace. The population could not but feel that 
the terms of the armistice rendered the continuation of the war impossible, and 
that for sanctioning the peace imposed by Bismarck, the worst men in France 
were the best. But not content with these precautions, Thiers, even before the 
secret of the armistice had been broached to Paris, set out for an electioneering 
tour through the provinces, there to galvanize back into life the Legitimist 
party,[55] which now, along with the Orleanists, had to take the place of the then 
impossible Bonapartists. He was not afraid of them. Impossible as a government 
of modern France, and, therefore, contemptible as rivals, what party were more 
eligible as tools of counter-revolution than the party whose action, in the words of 
Thiers himself (Chamber of Deputies, 5th January, 1833), "had always been 
confined to the three resources of foreign invasion, civil war, and anarchy"? They 
verily believed in the advent of their long-expected retrospective millennium. 
There were the heels 

page 52 

of foreign invasion trampling upon France; there was the downfall of an Empire, 
and the captivity of a Bonaparte; and there they were themselves. The wheel of 
history had evidently rolled back to stop at the Chambre introuvablemm] of 1816. 
In the Assemblies of the Republic, 1848 to 1851, they had been represented by 
their educated and trained parliamentary champions; it was the rank and file of the 
party which now rushed in - all the Pourceaugnacs[57] of France. 

As soon as this Assembly of "Rurals"[58] had met at Bordeaux, Thiers made it 
clear to them that the peace preliminaries must be assented to at once, without 
even the honours of a parliamentary debate, as the only condition on which 
Prussia would permit them to open the war against the Republic and Paris, its 
stronghold. The counter-revolution had, in fact, no time to lose. The Second 
Empire had more than doubled the national debt, and plunged all the large towns 
into heavy municipal debts. The war had fearfully swelled the liabilities, and 
mercilessly ravaged the resources of the nation. To complete the ruin, the Prussian 
Shylock was there with his bond for the keep of half a million of his soldiers on 
French soil, his indemnity of five milliards, and interest at 5 per cent on the 
unpaid instalments thereof.[59] Who was to pay the bill? It was only by the violent 
overthrow of the Republic that the appropriators of wealth could hope to shift on 
the shoulders of its producers the cost of a war which they, the appropriators, had 
themselves originated. Thus, the immense ruin of France spurred on these 
patriotic representatives of land and capital, under the very eyes and patronage of 
the invader, to graft 

* The German editions of 1871 and 1891 have "(Sub-prefects' and Junkers' Chamber)" after 
"Chambre introuvable." 

page 53 

upon the foreign war a civil war - a slaveholders' rebellion. 

There stood in the way of this conspiracy one great obstacle — Paris. To disarm 
Paris was the first condition of success. Paris was therefore summoned by Thiers 
to surrender its arms. Then Paris was exasperated by the frantic anti-Republican 
demonstrations of the "Rural" Assembly and by Thiers' own equivocations about 
the legal status of the Republic; by the threat to decapitate and decapitalize Paris; 
the appointment of Orleanist ambassadors; Dufaure's laws on overdue commercial 
bills and house rents, [60] inflicting ruin on the commerce and industry of Paris, 
Pouyer-Quertier's tax of two centimes upon every copy of every imaginable 
publication; the sentences of death against Blanqui and Flourens; the suppression 
of the Republican journals; the transfer of the National Assembly to Versailles; 
the renewal of the state of siege declared by Palikao,[6jj and expired on the 4th of 
September; the appointment of Vinoy, the D&eacutecembriseur,m\ as Governor 
of Paris - of Valentin, the imperialist gendarme, as its Prefect of Police - and of 
Aurelle de Paladines, the Jesuit general, as the commander-in-chief of its National 

And now we have to address a question to M. Thiers and the men of National 
Defence, his under- strappers. It is known that, through the agency of M. Pouyer- 
Quertier, his Finance Minister, Thiers had contracted a loan of two milliards. 
Now, is it true or not - 

1 . That the business was so managed that a consideration of several hundred 
millions was secured for the private benefit of Thiers, Jules Favre, Ernest Picard, 
Pouyer-Quertier, and Jules Simon? and — 

2. That no money was to be paid down until after the "pacification" of Paris?[63] 

page 54 

At all events, there must have been something very pressing in the matter, for 
Thiers and Jules Favre, in the name of the majority of the Bordeaux Assembly, 
unblushingly solicited the immediate occupation of Paris by Prussian troops. 
Such, however, was not the game of Bismarck, as he sneeringly, and in public, 
told the admiring Frankfort philistines on his return to Germany. 

page 55 


Armed Paris was the only serious obstacle in the way of the counter- 
revolutionary conspiracy. Paris was, therefore, to be disarmed. On this point the 
Bordeaux Assembly was sincerity itself. If the roaring rant of its Rurals had not 
been audible enough, the surrender of Paris by Thiers to the tender mercies of the 
triumvirate of Vinoy the D&eacutecembriseur, Valentin the Bonapartist 
gendarme, and Aurelle de Paladines the Jesuit general, would have cut off even 
the last subterfuge of doubt. But while insultingly exhibiting the true purpose of 
the disarmament of Paris, the conspirators asked her to lay down her arms on a 
pretext which was the most glaring, the most barefaced of lies. The artillery of the 
Paris National Guard, said Thiers, belonged to the State, and to the State it must 
be returned. The fact was this: From the very day of the capitulation, by which 
Bismarck's prisoners had signed the surrender of France, but reserved to 
themselves a numerous bodyguard for the express purpose of cowing Paris, Paris 
stood on the watch. The National Guard reorganized themselves and intrusted 
their supreme control to a Central Committee elected by their whole body, save 
some fragments of the old Bonapartist formations. On the eve of the entrance of 

page 56 

Prussians into Paris, the Central Committee took measures for the removal to 
Montmartre, Belleville, and La Villette of the cannon and mitrailleuses 
treacherously abandoned by the capitulards in and about the very quarters the 
Prussians were to occupy. That artillery had been furnished by the subscriptions 
of the National Guard. As their private property, it was officially recognized in 
the capitulation of the 28th of January, and on that very title exempted from the 
general surrender, into the hands of the conqueror, of arms belonging to the 
Government. And Thiers was so utterly destitute of even the flimsiest pretext for 
initiating the war against Paris that he had to resort to the flagrant lie of the 
artillery of the National Guard being State property! 

The seizure of her artillery was evidently but to serve as the preliminary to the 
general disarmament of Paris, and, therefore, of the Revolution of the 4th of 
September. But that Revolution had become the legal status of France. The 
Republic, its work, was recognized by the conqueror in the terms of the 
capitulation. After the capitulation, it was acknowledged by all the foreign 
powers, and in its name the National Assembly had been summoned. The Paris 
working men's Revolution of the 4th of September wvas the only legal title of the 
National Assembly seated at Bordeaux, and of its Executive. Without it, the 
National Assembly would at once have to give way to the Corps l&eacutegislatif, 
elected in 1869 by universal suffrage under French, not under Prussian, rule, and 

forcibly dispersed by the arm of the Revolution. Thiers and his ticket-of-leave 
men would have had to capitulate for safe conducts signed by Louis Bonaparte, to 
save them from a voyage to Cayenne. [64] The National Assembly, with its power 
of attorney to settle the terms of peace with Prussia, was but an incident of that 
Revolution, the true embodiment of which was still armed Paris, which had 
initiated it, undergone for it a five months' siege, with its horrors of famine, and 
made her prolonged resistance, despite Trochu's plan, the basis of an obstinate 
war of defence in the provinces. And Paris was now either to lay down her arms 
at the insulting behest of the rebellious slaveholders of Bordeaux, and 
acknowledge that her Revolution of the 4th of September meant nothing but a 
simple transfer of power from Louis Bonaparte to his Royal rivals; or she had to 
stand forward as the self-sacrificing champion of France, whose salvation from 
ruin, and whose regeneration were impossible, without the revolutionary 
overthrow of the political and social conditions that had engendered the Second 
Empire, and, under its fostering care, matured into utter rottenness. Paris, 
emaciated by a five months' famine, did not hesitate one moment. She heroically 
resolved to run all the hazards of a resistance against the French conspirators, 
even with Prussian cannon frowning upon her from her own forts. Still, in its 
abhorrence of the civil war into which Paris was to be goaded, the Central 
Committee continued to persist in a merely defensive attitude, despite the 
provocations of the Assembly, the usurpations of the Executive, and the menacing 
concentration of troops in and around Paris. 

Thiers opened the civil war by sending Vinoy, at the head of a multitude of 
ser gents de ville * and some regiments of the line, upon a nocturnal expedition 
against Montmartre, there to seize, by surprise, the artillery of the National Guard. 
It is well known how this attempt broke down before the resistance of the 
National Guard and the fraternization of the line with the people. Aurelle de 
Paladines had printed be forehand his bulletin of victory, and Thiers held ready 

* Police constables. 
page 58 

placards announcing his measures of coup d'etat. Now these had to be replaced by 
Thiers' appeals, imparting his magnanimous resolve to leave the National Guard 
in the possession of their arms, with which, he said, he felt sure they would rally 
round the Government against the rebels. Out of 300,000 National Guards only 
300 responded to this summons to rally round little Thiers against themselves. 
The glorious working men's Revolution of the 18th March took undisputed sway 
of Paris. The Central Committee was its provisional Government. Europe seemed, 
for a moment, to doubt whether its recent sensational performances of state and 
war had any reality in them, or whether they were the dreams of a long bygone 

From the 18th of March to the entrance of the Versailles troops into Paris, the 
proletarian revolution remained so free from the acts of violence in which the 
revolutions, and still more the counter-revolutions, of the "better classes" abound, 
that no facts were left to its opponents to cry out about but the execution of 
Generals Lecomte and Cl&eacutement Thomas, and the affair of the Place 

One of the Bonapartist officers engaged in the nocturnal attempt against 
Montmartre, General Lecomte, had four times ordered the 81st Line Regiment to 
fire at an unarmed gathering in the Place Pigalle, and on their refusal fiercely 
insulted them. Instead of shooting women and children, his own men shot him. 
The inveterate habits acquired by the soldiery under the training of the enemies of 
the working class are, of course, not likely to change the very moment these 
soldiers change sides. The same men executed Cl&eacutement Thomas. 

"General" Cl&eacutement Thomas, a malcontent ex-quarter-master-sergeant, 
had, in the latter times of Louis Philippe's 

page 59 

reign, enlisted at the office of the Republican newspaper Le Nationals there to 
serve in the double capacity of responsible man of straw (gerant responsable )[*] 
and of duelling bully to that very combative journal. After the Revolution of 
February, the men of the National having got into power, they metamorphosed 
this old quartermaster- sergeant into a general on the eve of the butchery of June, 
of which he, like Jules Favre, was one of the sinister plotters, and became one of 
the most dastardly executioners. Then he and his generalship disappeared for a 
long time, to again rise to the surface on the 1st November, 1870. The day before, 
the Government of Defence, caught at the H&ocirctel de Ville, had solemnly 
pledged their parole to Blanqui, Flourens, and other representatives of the 
working class, to abdicate their usurped power into the hands of a Commune to be 
freely elected by Paris. [66] Instead of keeping their word, they let loose on Paris 
the Bretons of Trochu, who now replaced the Corsicans of Bonaparte.[67] General 
Tamisier alone, refusing to sully his name by such a breach of faith, resigned the 
commandership-in-chief of the National Guard, and in his place Cl&eacutement 
Thomas for once became again a general. During the whole of his tenure of 
command, he made war, not upon the Prussians, but upon the Paris National 
Guard. He prevented their general armament, pitted the bourgeois battalions 
against the working men's battalions, weeded out the officers hostile to Trochu's 
"plan," and disbanded, under the stigma of cowardice, the very same proletarian 
battalions whose heroism has now astonished their most inveterate enemies. 
Cl&eacutement Thomas felt quite proud of having reconquered his June pre- 
eminence as the personal 

* In the German editions of 1871 and 1891, there is an insertion after " g&eacuterant 
responsable ": "whose task it was to serve prison sentences." 

page 60 

enemy of the working class of Paris. Only a few days before the 18th of March, 
he laid before the War Minister, Le Flo a plan of his own for "finishing off la fine 
fleur [the cream] of the Paris canaille. " After Vinoy's rout, he must needs appear 
upon the scene of action in the quality of an amateur spy. The Central Committee 
and the Paris working men were as much responsible for the killing of 
Cl&eacutement Thomas and Lecomte as the Princess of Wales was for the fate of 
the people crushed to death on the day of her entrance into London. 

The massacre of unarmed citizens in the Place Vend&ocircme is a myth which 
M. Thiers and the Rurals persistently ignored in the Assembly, intrusting its 
propagation exclusively to the servants' hall of European journalism. "The men of 
Order," the reactionists of Paris, trembled at the victory of the 18th of March. To 
them it was the signal of popular retribution at last arriving. The ghosts of the 
victims assassinated at their hands from the days of June 1848, down to the 22nd 
of January 1871, [68] arose before their faces. Their panic was their only 
punishment. Even the ser gents de ville, instead of being disarmed and locked up, 
as ought to have been done, had the gates of Paris flung wide open for their safe 
retreat to Versailles. The men of Order were left not only unharmed, but allowed 
to rally and quietly to seize more than one strong hold in the very centre of Paris. 
This indulgence of the Central Committee - this magnanimity of the armed 
working men - so strangely at variance with the habits of the "Party of Order," 
the latter misinterpreted as mere symptoms of conscious weakness. Hence their 
silly plan to try, under the cloak of an unarmed demonstration, what Vinoy had 
failed to perform with his cannon and mitrailleuses. On the 22nd of March a 
riotous mob of swells started from the quarters of luxury, 

page 61 

all the petits crev&eacutes [*] in their ranks, and at their head the notorious 
familiars of the Empire — the Heeckeren, Co&eumltlogon, Henri de P&egravene, 
etc. Under the cowardly pretence of a pacific demonstration, this rabble, secretly 
armed with the weapons of the bravo, fell into marching order, ill-treated and 
disarmed the detached patrols and sentries of the National Guard they met with on 
their progress, and, on debouching from the Rue de la Paix, with the cry of 
"Down with the Central Committee! Down with the assassins! The National 
Assembly forever!" attempted to break through the line drawn up there, and thus 
to carry by a surprise the headquarters of the National Guard in the Place 
Vend&ocircme. In reply to their pistol-shots, the regular sommations (the French 
equivalent of the English Riot Act)[69] were made, and, proving ineffective, fire 
was commanded by the general of the National Guard.** One volley dispersed 
into wild flight the silly coxcombs, who expected that the mere exhibition of their 
"respectability" would have the same effect upon the Revolution of Paris as 
Joshua's trumpets upon the wall of Jericho. The runaways left behind them two 
National Guards killed, nine severely wounded (among them a member of the 
Central Committee),*** and the whole scene of their exploit strewn with 

revolvers, daggers, and sword-canes, in evidence of the "unarmed" character of 
their "pacific" demonstration. When, on the 13th of June, 1849, the National 
Guard made a really pacific demonstration in protest against the felonious assault 
of French troops upon Rome, Changarnier, then general of the Party of Order, was 

* Fops. 

** Jules Bergeret. 

*** Maljournal. 

page 62 

acclaimed by the National Assembly, and especially by M. Thiers, as the saviour 
of society, for having launched his troops from all sides upon these unarmed men, 
to shoot and sabre them down, and to trample them under their horses' feet. Paris, 
then, was placed under a state of siege. Dufaure hurried through the Assembly 
new laws of repression. New arrests, new proscriptions - a new reign of terror set 
in. But the lower orders manage these things otherwise. The Central Committee of 
1871 simply ignored the heroes of the "pacific demonstration"; so much so that 
only two days later they were enabled to muster under Admiral Saisset for that 
armed demonstration, crowned by the famous stampede to Versailles. In their 
reluctance to continue the civil war opened by Thiers' burglarious attempt on 
Montmartre, the Central Committee made themselves, this time, guilty of a 
decisive mistake in not at once marching upon Versailles, then completely 
helpless, and thus putting an end to the conspiracies of Thiers and his Rurals. 
Instead of this, the Party of Order was again allowed to try its strength at the 
ballot-box, on the 26th of March, the day of the election of the Commune. Then, 
in the mairies of Paris,* they exchanged bland words of conciliation with their too 
generous conquerors, muttering in their hearts solemn vows to exterminate them 
in due time. 

Now, look at the reverse of the medal. Thiers opened his second campaign 
against Paris in the beginning of April. The first batch of Parisian prisoners 
brought into Versailles was subjected to revolting atrocities, while Ernest Picard, 
with his hands in his trousers pockets, strolled about jeering them, and while 
Mesdames Thiers and Favre, in the midst 

* Town halls of the arrandissements of Paris. 

page 63 

of their ladies of honour (?), applauded, from the balcony, the outrages of the 
Versailles mob. The captured soldiers of the line were massacred in cold blood; 
our brave friend, General Duval, the iron-founder, was shot without any form of 
trial. Galliffet, the kept man of his wife, so notorious for her shameless 
exhibitions at the orgies of the Second Empire, boasted in a proclamation of 
having commanded the murder of a small troop of National Guards, with their 

captain and lieutenant, surprised and disarmed by his Chasseurs. Vinoy, the 
runaway, was appointed by Thiers Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour for his 
general order to shoot down every soldier of the line taken in the ranks of the 
Federals. Desmaret, the gendarme, was decorated for the treacherous butcher-like 
chopping in pieces of the high-souled and chivalrous Flourens, who had saved the 
heads of the Government of Defence on the 31st of October, 1870.[70] "The 
encouraging particulars" of his assassination were triumphantly expatiated upon 
by Thiers in the National Assembly. With the elated vanity of a parliamentary 
Tom Thumb, permitted to play the part of a Tamerlane, he denied the rebels 
against his littleness every right of civilized warfare, up to the right of neutrality 
for ambulances. Nothing more horrid than that monkey allowed for a time to give 
full fling to his tigerish instincts, as foreseen by Voltaire.mj (See note, p. 35.)* 

After the decree of the Commune of the 7th April, ordering reprisals and 
declaring it to be its duty "to protect Paris against the cannibal exploits of the 
Versailles banditti, and to demand an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, "[72] Thiers 
did not stop the barbarous treatment of prisoners, moreover 

* See below, pp. 104-05 . 
page 64 

insulting them in his bulletins as follows: "Never have more degraded 
countenances of a degraded democracy met the afflicted gazes of honest men" - 
honest, like Thiers himself and his ministerial ticket-of-leave men. Still the 
shooting of prisoners was suspended for a time. Hardly, however, had Thiers and 
his Decembrist generals become aware that the Communal decree of reprisals was 
but an empty threat, that even their gendarme spies caught in Paris under the 
disguise of National Guards, that even sergents de ville taken with incendiary 
shells upon them, were spared - when the whole sale shooting of prisoners was 
resumed and carried on uninterruptedly to the end. Houses to which National 
Guards had fled were surrounded by gendarmes, inundated with petroleum (which 
here occurs for the first time in this war), and then set fire to, the charred corpses 
being afterwards brought out by the ambulance of the Press at the Ternes. Four 
National Guards having surrendered to a troop of mounted Chasseurs at Belle- 
Epine, on the 25th of April, were afterwards shot down, one after another, by the 
captain, a worthy man of Galliffet's. One of his four victims, left for dead, 
Scheffer, crawled back to the Parisian outposts, and deposed to this fact before a 
commission of the Commune. When Tolain interpellated the War Minister upon 
the report of this commission, the Rurals drowned his voice and forbade Le Flo to 
answer. It would be an insult to their "glorious" army to speak of its deeds. The 
flippant tone in which Thiers' bulletins announced the bayoneting of the Federals 
surprised asleep at Moulin-Saquet, and the wholesale fusillades at Clamart 
shocked the nerves even of the not over- sensitive London Times. But it would be 
ludicrous today to attempt recounting the merely preliminary atrocities committed 
by the bombarders of Paris and the fomenters of a slaveholders' 

page 65 

rebellion protected by foreign invasion. Amidst all these horrors, Thiers, forgetful 
of his parliamentary laments on the terrible responsibility weighing down his 
dwarfish shoulders boasts in his bulletin that VAssembl&eacutee si&egravege 
paisiblement (the Assembly continues meeting in peace), and proves by his 
constant carousals, now with Decembrist generals, now with German princes, that 
his digestion is not troubled in the least, not even by the ghosts of Lecomte and 
Cl&eacutement Thomas. 

page 66 


On the dawn of the 18th of March, Paris arose to the thunderburst of "Vive la 
Commune!" What is the Commune, that sphinx so tantalizing to the bourgeois 

"The proletarians of Palis," said the Central Committee in its manifesto of the 18th March, 
"amidst the failures and treasons of the ruling classes, have understood that the hour has struck for 
them to save the situation by taking into their own hands the direction of public affairs. . . . They 
have understood that it is their imperious duty and their absolute right to render themselves 
masters of their own destinies, by seizing upon the governmental power. "[73] 

But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready made State machinery, and wield it for its own purposes. 

The centralized State power, with its ubiquitous organs of standing army, police, bureaucracy, clergy, and judicature - organs 
wrought after the plan of a systematic and hierarchic division of labour - originates from the days of absolute monarchy, serving 
nascent middle-class society as a mighty weapon in its struggles against feudalism. Still, its development remained clogged by all 
manner of medieval rubbish, seignorial rights, local privileges, municipal and guild monopolies and provincial constitutions. The 
gigantic broom of the French 

page 67 

Revolution of the eighteenth century swept away all these relics of bygone times, thus clearing simultaneously the social soil of its 
last hindrances to the superstructure of the modern State edifice raised under the First Empire, itself the offspring of the Coalition 
wars [74] of old semi-feudal Europe against modern France. During the subsequent r&eacutegimes the Government, placed under 
parliamentary control - that is, under the direct control of the propertied classes - became not only a hotbed of huge national debts 
and crushing taxes; with its irresistible allurements of place, pelf, and patronage, it became not only the bone of contention between 
the rival factions and adventurers of the ruling classes; but its political character changed simultaneously with the economic 
changes of society. At the same pace at which the progress of modern industry developed, widened, intensified the class 
antagonism between capital and labour, the State power assumed more and more the character of the national power of capital over 
labour, of a public force organized for social enslavement, of an engine of class despotism.* After every revolution marking a 
progressive phase in the class struggle, the purely repressive character of the State power stands out in bolder and bolder relief. The 
Revolution of 1830, resulting in the transfer of government from the landlords to the capitalists, transferred it from the more remote 
to the more direct antagonists of the working men. The bourgeois Republicans, who, in the name of the Revolution of February, 

took the State power, used it for the June massacres, in order to convince the working class that "Social" Republic meant the 
Republic ensuring their social 

* In the German edition of 1871, the latter part of the sentence reads: ". . . the State power assumed more and more the character 
of a public force for the suppression of labour, a machine of class rule." 

page 68 

subjection, and in order to convince the royalist bulk of the bourgeois and landlord class that they might safely leave the cares and 
emoluments of government to the bourgeois "Republicans." However, after their one heroic exploit of June, the bourgeois 
Republicans had, from the front to fall back to the rear of the "Party of Order" — a combination formed by all the rival fractions and 
factions of the appropriating class in their now openly declared antagonism to the producing classes. The proper form of their joint- 
stock government was the Parliamentary Republic, with Louis Bonaparte for its President. Theirs was a regime of avowed class 
terrorism and deliberate insult towards the "vile multitude." If the Parliamentary Republic, as M. Thiers said, "divided them (the 
different fractions of the ruling class) least," it opened an abyss between that class and the whole body of society outside their spare 
ranks. The restraints by which their own divisions had under former r&eacutegimes still checked the State power, were removed by 
their union; and in view of the threatening upheaval of the proletariat, they now used that State power mercilessly and 
ostentatiously as the national war-engine of capital against labour. In their uninterrupted crusade against the producing masses they 
were, however, bound not only to invest the Executive with continually increased powers of repression, but at the same time to 
divest their own parliamentary stronghold — the National Assembly — one by one, of all its own means of defence against the 
Executive. The Executive, in the person of Louis Bonaparte, turned them out. The natural offspring of the "Party-of-Order" 
Republic was the Second Empire. 

The Empire, with the coup d'&eacutetat for its certificate of birth, universal suffrage for its sanction, and the sword for its 
sceptre, professed to rest upon the peasantry, the large mass 

page 69 

of producers not directly involved in the struggle of capital and labour. It professed to save the working class by breaking down 
parliamentarism, and, with it, the undisguised subserviency of Government to the propertied classes. It professed to save the 
propertied classes by upholding their economic supremacy over the working class; and, finally, it professed to unite all classes by 
reviving for all the chimera of national glory. In reality, it was the only form of government possible at a time when the bourgeoisie 
had already lost, and the working class had not yet acquired, the faculty of ruling the nation. It was acclaimed throughout the world 
as the saviour of society. Under its sway, bourgeois society, freed from political cares, attained a development unexpected even by 
itself. Its industry and commerce expanded to colossal dimensions; financial swindling celebrated cosmopolitan orgies; the misery 
of the masses was set off by a shameless display of gorgeous, meretricious and debased luxury. The State power, apparently 
soaring high above society, was at the same time itself the greatest scandal of that society and the very hotbed of all its corruptions. 
Its own rottenness, and the rottenness of the society it had saved, were laid bare by the bayonet of Prussia, herself eagerly bent 
upon transferring the supreme seat of that r&eacutegime from Paris to Berlin. Imperialism is, at the same time, the most prostitute 
and the ultimate form of the State power which nascent middle-class society had commenced to elaborate as a means of its own 
emancipation from feudalism, and which full-grown bourgeois society had finally transformed into a means for the enslavement of 
labour by capital. 

The direct antithesis to the Empire was the Commune. The cry of "Social Republic," with which the Revolution of February was 
ushered in by the Paris proletariat, did but express a 

page 70 

vague aspiration after a Republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class rule, but class rule itself. The 
Commune was the positive form of that Republic. 

Paris, the central seat of the old governmental power, and, at the same time, the social stronghold of the French working class, 
had risen in arms against the attempt of Thiers and the Rurals to restore and perpetuate that old governmental power bequeathed to 
them by the Empire. Paris could resist only because, in consequence of the siege, it had got rid of the army, and replaced it by a 
National Guard, the bulk of which consisted of working men. This fact was now to be transformed into an institution. The first 
decree of the Commune, therefore, was the suppression of the standing army, and the substitution for it of the armed people. 

The Commune was formed of the municipal councillors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, 
responsible and revocable at short terms. The majority of its members were naturally working men, or acknowledged 
representatives of the working class. The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary, body, executive and legislative at the 
same time. Instead of continuing to be the agent of the Central Government, the police was at once stripped of its political 
attributes, and turned into the responsible and at all times revocable agent of the Commune. So were the officials of all other 
branches of the Administration. From the members of the Commune downwards, the public service had to be done at workmen's 
wages. The vested interests and the representation allowances of the high dignitaries of State disappeared along with the high 
dignitaries themselves. Public functions ceased to be the private property of the tools of the Central Government. Not only 
municipal administration, 

page 71 

but the whole initiative hitherto exercised by the State was laid into the hands of the Commune. 

Having once got rid of the standing army and the police, the physical force elements of the old government, the Commune was 
anxious to break the spiritual force of repression, the "parson-power," by the disestablishment and disendowment of all churches as 
proprietary bodies. The priests were sent back to the recesses of private life, there to feed upon the alms of the faithful in imitation 
of their predecessors, the Apostles. The whole of the educational institutions were opened to the people gratuitously, and at the 
same time cleared of all interference of Church and State. Thus, not only was education made accessible to all, but science itself 
freed from the fetters which class prejudice and governmental force had imposed upon it. 

The judicial functionaries were to be divested of that sham independence which had but served to mask their abject subserviency 
to all succeeding governments to which, in turn, they had taken, and broken, the oaths of allegiance. Like the rest of public 
servants, magistrates and judges were to be elective, responsible, and revocable. 

The Paris Commune was, of course, to serve as a model to all the great industrial centres of France. The Communal 
r&eacutegime once established in Paris and the secondary centres, the old centralized Government would in the provinces, too, 
have to give way to the self-government of the producers. In a rough sketch of national organization which the Commune had no 
time to develop, it states clearly that the Commune was to be the political form of even the smallest country hamlet, and that in the 
rural districts the standing army was to be replaced by a national militia, with an extremely short term of service. The rural 
Communes of every district were 

page 72 

to administer their common affairs by an assembly of delegates in the central town, and these district assemblies were again to send 
deputies to the National Delegation in Paris, each delegate to be at any time revocable and bound by the mandat imp&eacuteratif 
(formal instructions) of his constituents. The few but important functions which still would remain for a central government were 
not to be suppressed, as has been intentionally mis-stated, but were to be discharged by Communal, and therefore strictly 
responsible agents. The unity of the nation was not to be broken, but, on the contrary, to be organized by the Communal 
Constitution, and to become a reality by the destruction of the State power which claimed to be the embodiment of that unity 
independent of, and superior to, the nation itself, from which it was but a parasitic excrescence. While the merely repressive organs 
of the old governmental power were to be amputated, its legitimate functions were to be wrested from an authority usurping pre- 
eminence over society itself, and restored to the responsible agents of society. Instead of deciding once in three or six years which 
member of the ruling class was to misrepresent the people in Parliament, universal suffrage was to serve the people, constituted in 
Communes, as individual suffrage serves every other employer in the search for the workmen and managers in his business. And it 
is well known that companies, like individuals, in matters of real business generally know how to put the right man in the right 
place, and, if they for once make a mistake, to redress it promptly. On the other hand, nothing could be more foreign to the spirit of 
the Commune than to supersede universal suffrage by hierarchic investiture. [75] 

It is generally the fate of completely new historical creations to be mistaken for the counterpart of older and even defunct forms 
of social life, to which they may bear a certain likeness. 

page 73 

Thus, this new Commune, which breaks the modern State power, has been mistaken for a reproduction of the medieval Communes, 
which first preceded, and afterwards became the substratum of, that very State power. The Communal Constitution has been 
mistaken for an attempt to break up into a federation of small States, as dreamt of by Montesquieu and the Girondins,[76] that unity 
of great nations which, if originally brought about by political force, has now become a powerful coefficient of social production. 
The antagonism of the Commune against the State power has been mistaken for an exaggerated form of the ancient struggle against 
over-centralization. Peculiar historical circumstances may have prevented the classical development, as in France, of the bourgeois 
form of government, and may have allowed, as in England, to complete the great central State organs by corrupt vestries, jobbing 
councillors and ferocious poor-law guardians in the towns, and virtually hereditary magistrates in the counties. The Communal 
Constitution would have restored to the social body all the forces hitherto absorbed by the State parasite feeding upon, and clogging 
the free movement of, society. By this one act it would have initiated the regeneration of France. The provincial French middle 
class saw in the Commune an attempt to restore the sway their order had held over the country under Louis Philippe, and which, 
under Louis Napoleon, was supplanted by the pretended rule of the country over the towns. In reality, the Communal Constitution 
brought the rural producers under the intellectual lead of the central towns of their districts, and there secured to them, in the 
working men, the natural trustees of their interests. The very existence of the Commune involved, as a matter of course, local 
municipal liberty, but no longer as a check upon the, now superseded, State power. It could only enter into the head of a Bismarck, 

page 74 

who, when not engaged on his intrigues of blood and iron always likes to resume his old trade, so befitting his mental calibre, of 
contributor to Kladderadatsch (the Berlin Punch), [77] it could only enter into such a head, to ascribe to the Paris Commune 
aspirations after that caricature of the old French municipal organization of 1791, the Prussian municipal constitution which 
degrades the town governments to mere secondary wheels in the police machinery of the Prussian State. The Commune made that 
catchword of bourgeois revolutions cheap government, a reality, by destroying the two greatest sources of expenditure - the 
standing army[*] and State functionarism. Its very existence presupposed the non-existence of monarchy, which, in Europe at least, 

is the normal incumbrance and indispensable cloak of class rule. It supplied the Republic with the basis of really democratic 
institutions. But neither cheap government nor the "true Republic" was its ultimate aim; they were its mere concomitants. 

The multiplicity of interpretations to which the Commune has been subjected, and the multiplicity of interests which construed it 
in their favour, show that it was a thoroughly expansive political form, while all previous forms of government had been 
emphatically repressive. Its true secret was this. It was essentially a working-class government,** the produce of the struggle of the 
producing against the appropriating class, the political form at last discovered under which to work out the economic emancipation 
of labour. 

Except on this last condition, the Communal Constitution would have been an impossibility and a delusion. The political 

* In the German editions of 1871 and 1891, "the standing army" reads "the army." 

** In the German editions of 1871 and 1891, the words "working-class government" are italicized. 

page 75 

rule of the producer cannot coexist with the perpetuation of his social slavery. The Commune was therefore to serve as a lever for 
uprooting the economical foundations upon which rests the existence of classes, and therefore of class rule. With labour 
emancipated, every man becomes a working man, and productive labour ceases to be a class attribute. 

It is a strange fact. In spite of all the tall talk and all the immense literature, for the last sixty years, about emancipation of labour, 
no sooner do the working men anywhere take the subject into their own hands with a will than up rises at once all the apologetic 
phraseology of the mouthpieces of present society with its two poles of Capital and Wages Slavery (the landlord now is but the 
sleeping partner of the capitalist), as if capitalist society was still in its purest state of virgin innocence, with its antagonisms still 
undeveloped, with its delusions still unexploded, with its prostitute realities not yet laid bare. The Commune, they exclaim, intends 
to abolish property, the basis of all civilization! Yes, gentlemen, the Commune intended to abolish that class property which makes 
the labour of the many the wealth of the few. It aimed at the expropriation of the expropriators. It wanted to make individual 
property a truth by transforming the means of production, land and capital, now chiefly the means of enslaving and exploiting 
labour, into mere instruments of free and associated labour. But this is communism, "impossible" communism! Why, those 
members of the ruling classes who are intelligent enough to perceive the impossibility of continuing the present system — and they 
are many - have become the obtrusive and full-mouthed apostles of co-operative production. If co-operative production is not to 
remain a sham and a snare; if it is to supersede the capitalist system; 

page 76 

if united co-operative societies are to regulate national production upon a common plan, thus taking it under their own control, and 
putting an end to the constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which are the fatality of capitalist production — what else, 
gentlemen, would it be but communism, "possible" communism? 

The working class did not expect miracles from the Commune. They have no ready-made Utopias to introduce par d&eacutecret 
du peuple. [*] They know that in order to work out their own emancipation, and along with it that higher form to which present 
society is irresistibly tending by its own economical agencies, they will have to pass through long struggles, through a series of 
historic processes, transforming circumstances and men. They have no ideals to realize, but to set free the elements of the new 
society with which old collapsing bourgeois society itself is pregnant. In the full consciousness of their historic mission, and with 
the heroic resolve to act up to it, the working class can afford to smile at the, coarse invective of the gentlemen's gentlemen with the 
pen and inkhorn, and at the didactic patronage of well-wishing bourgeois doctrinaires, pouring forth their ignorant platitudes and 
sectarian crotchets in the oracular tone of scientific infallibility. 

When the Paris Commune took the management of the Revolution in its own hands; when plain working men for the first time 
dared to infringe upon the governmental privilege of their "natural superiors,"** and, under circumstances of unexampled 
difficulty, performed their work modestly conscientiously, and efficiently — performed it at salaries the 

* By decree of the people. 

** In the German editions of 1871 and 1891, '"natural superiors'" reads '"natural superiors,' the propertied class." 

page 77 

highest of which barely amounted to one-fifth of what, according to high scientific authority, [*] is the minimum required for a 
secretary to a certain metropolitan school-board - the old world writhed in convulsions of rage at the sight of the Red Flag, the 
symbol of the Republic of Labour, floating over the H&ocirctel de Ville. 

And yet, this was the first revolution in which the working class was openly acknowledged as the only class capable of social 
initiative, even by the great bulk of the Paris middle class - shopkeepers, tradesmen, merchants - the wealthy capitalists alone 

excepted. The Commune had saved them by a sagacious settlement of that ever-recurring cause of dispute among the middle 
classes themselves - the debtor and creditor accounts. [78] The same portion of the middle class, after they had assisted in putting 
down the working men's insurrection of June 1848, had been at once unceremoniously sacrificed to their creditors by the then 
Constituent Assembly. [79] But this was not their only motive for now rallying raond the working class. They felt that there was but 
one alternative — the Commune, or the Empire — under whatever name it might reappear. The Empire had ruined them 
economically by the havoc it made of public wealth, by the wholesale financial swindling it fostered, by the props it lent to the 
artificially accelerated centralization of capital, and the concomitant expropriation of their own ranks. It had suppressed them 
politically, it had shocked them morally by its orgies, it had insulted their Voltairianism by handing over the education of their 
children to the fr&egraveres ignorantins, [80] it had revolted their national feeling as Frenchmen by precipitating them 

* In the German editions, the words "(Professor Huxley)" are added after "authority." 

page 78 

headlong into a war which left only one equivalent for the ruins it made - the disappearance of the Empire. In fact, after the exodus 
from Paris of the high Bonapartist and capitalist boh&egraveme,[*] the true middle-class Party of Order came out in the shape of 
the "Union r&eacutepublicaine,"[81_] enrolling themselves under the colours of the Commune and defending it against the wilful 
misconstruction of Thiers. Whether the gratitude of this great body of the middle class will stand the present severe trial, time must 

The Commune was perfectly right in telling the peasants that "its victory was their only hope. "[82] Of all the lies hatched at 
Versailles and re-echoed by the glorious European penny-a-liner, one of the most tremendous was that the Rurals represented the 
French peasantry. Think only of the love of the French peasant for the men to whom, after 1815, he had to pay the milliard of 
indemnity ! [83] In the eyes of the French peasant, the very existence of a great landed proprietor is in itself an encroachment on his 
conquests of 1789. The bourgeois, in 1848, had burdened his plot of land with the additional tax of forty-five cents in the franc;[ 84] 
but then he did so in the name of the Revolution; while now he had fomented a civil war against the Revolution, to shift on to the 
peasant's shoulders the chief load of the five milliards of indemnity to be paid to the Prussians. The Commune, on the other hand, 
in one of its first proclamations, declared that the true originators of the war would be made to pay its cost. The Commune would 
have delivered the peasant of the blood-tax — would have given him a cheap government, transformed his present blood-suckers, 
the notary, advocate, executor, and other judicial 

* Bohemians 

page 79 

vampires, into salaried Communal agents, elected by, and responsible to, himself. It would have freed him of the tyranny of the 
garde champ &ecirctre,[*] the gendarme, and the prefect; would have put enlightenment by the schoolmaster in the place of 
stultification by the priest. And the French peasant is, above all, a man of reckoning. He would find it extremely reasonable that the 
pay of the priest, instead of being extorted by the tax gatherer, should only depend upon the spontaneous action of the parishioners' 
religious instincts. Such were the great im mediate boons which the rule of the Commune — and that rule alone — held out to the 
French peasantry. It is, therefore, quite superfluous here to expatiate upon the more complicated but vital problems which the 
Commune alone was able, and at the same time compelled, to solve in favour of the peasant, viz., the hypothecary debt, lying like 
an incubus upon his parcel of soil, the prol&eacutetariat fancier (the rural proletariat), daily growing upon it, and his expropriation 
from it enforced, at a more and more rapid rate, by the very development of modern agriculture and the competition of capitalist 

The French peasant had elected Louis Bonaparte President of the Republic; but the Party of Order created the Empire. What the 
French peasant really wants he commenced to show in 1849 and 1850, by opposing his maire ** to the Government's prefect, his 
schoolmaster to the Government's priest, and himself to the Government's gendarme. All the laws made by the Party of Order in 
January and February 1850[85] were avowed measures of repression against the peasant. The peasant was a Bonapartist, because 
the great Revolution, with 

* Village policeman. 

** Mayor of an arrondissement. 

page 80 

all its benefits to him, was, in his eyes, personified in Napoleon. This delusion, rapidly breaking down under the Second Empire 
(and in its very nature hostile to the Rurals), this prejudice of the past, how could it have withstood the appeal of the Commune to 
the living interests and urgent wants of the peasantry? 

The Rurals — this was, in fact, their chief apprehension — knew that three months' free communication of Communal Paris with 
the provinces would bring about a general rising of the peasants, and hence their anxiety to establish a police blockade around 
Paris, so as to stop the spread of the rinder pest. 

If the Commune was thus the true representative of all the healthy elements of French society, and therefore the truly national 
Government, it was, at the same time, as a working men's Government, as the bold champion of the emancipation of labour, 
emphatically international. Within sight of the Prussian army, that had annexed to Germany two French provinces, the Commune 
annexed to France the working people all over the world. 

The Second Empire had been the jubilee of cosmopolitan blacklegism, the rakes of all countries rushing in at its call for a share 
in its orgies and in the plunder of the French people. Even at this moment the right hand of Thiers is Ganesco, the foul Wallachian, 
and his left hand is Markovsky, the Russian spy. The Commune admitted all foreigners to the honour of dying for an immortal 
cause. Between the foreign war lost by their treason, and the civil war fomented by their conspiracy with the foreign invader, the 
bourgeoisie had found the time to display their patriotism by organizing police-hunts upon the Germans in France. The Commune 
made a German 

page 81 

working man[*] its Minister of Labour. Thiers, the bourgeoisie, the Second Empire, had continually deluded Poland by loud 
professions of sympathy, while in reality betraying her to, and doing the dirty work of, Russia. The Commune honoured the heroic 
sons of Poland [^] by placing them at the head of the defenders of Paris. And, to broadly mark the new era of history it was 
conscious of initiating, under the eyes of the conquering Prussians, on the one side, and of the Bonapartist army, led by Bonapartist 
generals, on the other, the Commune pulled down that colossal symbol of martial glory, the Vend&ocircme Column. [86] 

The great social measure of the Commune was its own working existence. Its special measures could but betoken the tendency of 
a government of the people by the people. Such were the abolition of the nightwork of journeymen bakers the prohibition, under 
penalty, of the employers' practice to reduce wages by levying upon their workpeople fines under manifold pretexts — a process in 
which the employer combines in his own person the parts of legislator, judge, and executor, and filches the money to boot. Another 
measure of this class was the surrender, to associations of workmen, under reserve of compensation, of all closed workshops and 
factories, no matter whether the respective capitalists had absconded or preferred to strike work. 

The financial measures of the Commune, remarkable for their sagacity and moderation, could only be such as were compatible 
with the state of a besieged town. Considering the colossal robberies committed upon the City of Paris by the great financial 
companies and contractors, under the protection 

* Leo Frankel. 

** Jaroslaw Dombrowski and Walery Wr&oacuteblewski. 

page 82 

of Haussmann,[*] the Commune would have had an incomparably better title to confiscate their property than Louis Napoleon had 
against the Orleans family. The Hohenzollern and the English oligarchs, who both have derived a good deal of their estates from 
Church plunder, were, of course, greatly shocked at the Commune clearing but 8,000/. out of secularization. 

While the Versailles Government, as soon as it had recovered some spirit and strength, used the most violent means against the 
Commune; while it put down the free expression of opinion all over France, even to the forbidding of meetings of delegates from 
the large towns; while it subjected Versailles and the rest of France to an espionage far surpassing that of the Second Empire; while 
it burned by its gendarme inquisitors all papers printed at Paris, and sifted all correspondence from and to Paris; while in the 
National Assembly the most timid attempts to put in a word for Paris were howled down in a manner unknown even to the 
Chambre introuvable of 1816; with the savage warfare of Versailles outside, and its attempts at corruption and conspiracy inside 
Paris — would the Commune not have shamefully betrayed its trust by affecting to keep up all the decencies and appearances of 
liberalism as in a time of profound peace? Had the Government of the Commune been akin to that of M. Thiers, there would have 
been no more occasion to suppress Party-of-Order papers at Paris than there was to suppress Communal papers at Versailles. 

* During the Second Empire, Baron Haussmann was Prefect of the Department of the Seine, that is, of the City of Paris. He 
introduced a number of changes in the layout of the City for the purpose of facilitating the crushing of workers' insurrections. [Note 
to the Russian translation of 1905 edited by V. I. Lenin.] 

page 83 

It was irritating indeed to the Rurals that at the very same time they declared the return to the Church to be the only means of 
salvation for France, the infidel Commune unearthed the peculiar mysteries of the Picpus nunnery, and of the Church of Saint 
Laurent. [87] It was a satire upon M. Thiers that, while he showered grand crosses upon the Bonapartist generals in 
acknowledgement of their mastery in losing battles, signing capitulations, and turning cigarettes at Wilhelmsh&oumlhe, [ 1 0] the 

Commune dismissed and arrested its generals whenever they were suspected of neglecting their duties. The expulsion from, and 
arrest by, the Commune of one of its members who had slipped in under a false name,[*] and had undergone at Lyons six days' 
imprisonment for simple bankruptcy, was it not a deliberate insult hurled at the forger, Jules Favre, then still the Foreign Minister 
of France, still selling France to Bismarck, and still dictating his orders to that paragon Government of Belgium? But indeed the 
Commune did not pretend to infallibility, the invariable attribute of all governments of the old stamp. It published its doings and 
sayings, it initiated the public into all its shortcomings. 

In every revolution there intrude, at the side of its true agents, men of a different stamp; some of them survivors of and devotees 
to past revolutions, without insight into the present movement, but preserving popular influence by their known honesty and 
courage, or by the sheer force of tradition; others mere bawlers, who, by dint of repeating year after year the same set of 
stereotyped declamations against the Government of the day, have sneaked into the reputation of revolutionists of the first water. 
After the 18th of March, some such men did also turn up, and in some cases contrived 

* Blanchet. 
page 84 

to play pre-eminent parts. As far as their power went, they hampered the real action of the working class, exactly as men of that sort 
have hampered the full development of every previous revolution. They are an unavoidable evil: with time they are shaken off; but 
time was not allowed to the Commune. 

Wonderful, indeed, was the change the Commune had wrought in Paris ! No longer any trace of the meretricious Paris of the 
Second Empire. No longer was Paris the rendezvous of British landlords, Irish absentees, [88] American ex-slaveholders and 
shoddy men, Russian ex-serf owners, and Wallachian boyards. No more corpses at the Morgue, no nocturnal burglaries, scarcely 
any robberies; in fact, for the first time since the days of February 1848, the streets of Paris were safe, and that without any police 
of any kind. 

"We," said a member of the Commune, "hear no longer of assassination, theft, and personal assault; it seems indeed as if the 
police had dragged along with it to Versailles all its Conservative friends." 

The cocottes had refound the scent of their protectors — the absconding men of family, religion, and, above all, of property. In 
their stead, the real women of Paris showed again at the surface — heroic, noble, and devoted, like the women of antiquity. 
Working, thinking, fighting, bleeding Paris — almost forgetful, in its incubation of a new society, of the cannibals at its gates — 
radiant in the enthusiasm of its historic initiative! 

Opposed to this new world at Paris, behold the old world at Versailles — that assembly of the ghouls of all defunct regimes, 
Legitimists and Orleanists, eager to feed upon the carcass of the nation — with a tail of antediluvian Republicans, sanctioning, by 
their presence in the Assembly, the slaveholders' rebellion, relying for the maintenance of their Parliamentary 

page 85 

Republic upon the vanity of the senile mountebank at its head, and caricaturing 1789 by holding their ghastly meetings in the Jeu 
de Paume.[^\ There it was, this Assembly, the representative of everything dead in France, propped up to the semblance of life by 
nothing but the swords of the generals of Louis Bonaparte. Paris all truth, Versailles all lie; and that lie vented through the mouth of 

Thiers tells a deputation of the mayors of the Seine-et-Oise: "You may rely upon my word, which I have never broken!" He tells 
the Assembly itself that it was "the most freely elected and most liberal Assembly France ever possessed"; he tells his motley 
soldiery that it was "the admiration of the world, and the finest army France ever possessed"; he tells the provinces that the 
bombardment of Paris by him was a myth: 

"If some cannon-shots have been fired, it is not the deed of the army of Versailles, but of some insurgents trying to make believe 
that they are fighting, while they dare not show their faces." 

He again tells the provinces that "the artillery of Versailles does not bombard Paris, but only cannonades it." He tells the 
Archbishop of Paris that the pretended executions and reprisals (!) attributed to the Versailles troops were all moon shine. He tells 
Paris that he was only anxious "to free it from the hideous tyrants who oppress it," and that, in fact, the Paris of the Commune was 
"but a handful of criminals." 

The Paris of M. Thiers was not the real Paris of the "vile multitude," but a phantom Paris, the Paris of th& francs-fileurs, [S9] the 
Paris of the Boulevards, male and female — the rich, the capitalist, the gilded, the idle Paris, now thronging with its 

* Jeu de Paume : The tennis court where the National Assembly of 1789 adopted its famous decisions. [Note by Engels to the 
German edition of 1871.] 

page 86 

lackeys, its blacklegs, its literary boh&egraveme, and its cocottes at Versailles, Saint-Denis, Rueil, and Saint-Germain; considering 
the civil war but an agreeable diversion, eyeing the battle going on through telescopes, counting the rounds of cannon, and 
swearing by their own honour and that of their prostitutes, that the performance was far better got up than it used to be at the Porte- 
Saint-Martin. The men who fell were really dead; the cries of the wounded were cries in good earnest; and, besides, the whole thing 
was so intensely historical. 

This is the Paris of M. Thiers, as the Emigration of Coblenz[90] was the France of M. de Calonne. 

page 87 


The first attempt of the slaveholders' conspiracy to put down Paris by getting the Prussians to occupy it; was frustrated by 
Bismarck's refusal. The second attempt, that of the 18th of March, ended in the rout of the army and the flight to Versailles of the 
Government, which ordered the whole administration to break up and follow in its track. By the semblance of peace negotiations 
with Paris, Thiers found the time to prepare for war against it. But where to find an army? The remnants of the line regiments were 
weak in number and unsafe in character. His urgent appeal to the provinces to succour Versailles, by their National Guards and 
volunteers, met with a flat refusal. Brittany alone furnished a handful of Chouans [91] fighting under a white flag, every one of 
them wearing on his breast the heart of Jesus in white cloth, and shouting "Vive le Roil " (Long live the King!). Thiers was, 
therefore, compelled to collect, in hot haste, a motley crew, composed of sailors, marines, Pontifical Zouaves, [92] Valentin's 
gendarmes, and Pietri's sergents de ville and mouchards.* This army, however, would have been ridiculously ineffective with 

* Police informers. 
page 88 

out the instalments of imperialist war-prisoners, which Bismarck granted in numbers just sufficient to keep the civil war a-going, 
and keep the Versailles Government in abject dependence on Prussia. During the war itself, the Versailles police had to look after 
the Versailles army, while the gendarmes had to drag it on by exposing themselves at all posts of danger. The forts which fell were 
not taken, but bought. The heroism of the Federals convinced Thiers that the resistance of Paris was not to be broken by his own 
strategic genius and the bayonets at his disposal. 

Meanwhile, his relations with the provinces became more and more difficult. Not one single address of approval came in to 
gladden Thiers and his Rurals. Quite the contrary. Deputations and addresses demanding, in a tone anything but respectful, 
conciliation with Paris on the basis of the unequivocal recognition of the Republic, the acknowledgement of the Communal 
liberties, and the dissolution of the National Assembly, whose mandate was extinct, poured in from all sides, and in such numbers 
that Dufaure, Thiers' Minister of Justice, in his circular of April 23 to the public prosecutors, commanded them to treat "the cry of 
conciliation" as a crime! In regard, however, of the hopeless prospect held out by his campaign, Thiers resolved to shift his tactics 
by ordering, all over the country, municipal elections to take place on the 30th of April, on the basis of the new municipal law 
dictated by himself to the National Assembly. What with the intrigues of his prefects, what with police intimidation, he felt quite 
sanguine of imparting, by the verdict of the provinces, to the National Assembly that moral power it had never possessed, and of 
getting at last from the provinces the physical force required for the conquest of Paris. 

page 89 

His banditti-warfare against Paris, exalted in his own bulletins, and the attempts of his ministers at the establishment, throughout 
France, of a reign of terror, Thiers was from the beginning anxious to accompany with a little byplay of conciliation, which had to 
serve more than one purpose. It was to dupe the provinces, to inveigle the middle-class element in Paris, and, above all, to afford 
the professed Republicans in the National Assembly the opportunity of hiding their treason against Paris behind their faith in 

Thiers. On the 21st of March, when still without an army, he had declared to the Assembly: "Come what may, I will not send an 
army to Paris." On the 27th March he rose again: "I have found the Republic an accomplished fact, and I am firmly resolved to 
maintain it." In reality, he put down the revolution at Lyons and Marseilles [93] in the name of the Republic, while the roars of his 
Rurals drowned the very mention of its name at Versailles. After this exploit, he toned down the "accomplished fact" into an 
hypothetical fact. The Orleans princes, whom he had cautiously warned off Bordeaux, were now, in flagrant breach of the law, 
permitted to intrigue at Dreux. The concessions held out by Thiers in his interminable interviews with the delegates from Paris and 
the provinces, although constantly varied in tone and colour, according to time and circumstances, did in fact never come to more 
than the prospective restriction of revenge to the "handful of criminals implicated in the murder of Lecomte and Cl&eacutement 
Thomas," on the well understood premise that Paris and France were unreservedly to accept M. Thiers himself as the best of 
possible Republics, as he, in 1830, had done with Louis Philippe. Even these concessions he not only took care to render doubtful 
by the official comments put upon them in the Assembly through his ministers. He had his Dufaure to act. Dufaure, this old 

page 90 

lawyer, had always been the justiciary of the state of siege as now in 1871, under Thiers, so in 1839 under Louis Philippe, and in 
1849 under Louis Bonaparte's presidency. [94] While out of office he made a fortune by pleading for the Paris capitalists, and made 
political capital by pleading against the laws he had himself originated. He now hurried through the National Assembly not only a 
set of repressive laws which were, after the fall of Paris, to extirpate the last remnants of Republican liberty in France;[95] he 
foreshadowed the fate of Paris by abridging the, for him, too slow procedure of courts-martial, [96] and by a new-fangled, Draconic 
code of deportation. The Revolution of 1848, abolishing the penalty of death for political crimes, had replaced it by deportation. 
Louis Bonaparte did not dare, at least not in theory, to re-establish the r&eacutegime of the guillotine. The Rural Assembly, not yet 
bold enough even to hint that the Parisians were not rebels, but assassins, had therefore to confine its prospective vengeance against 
Paris to Dufaure's new code of deportation. Under all these circumstances Thiers himself could not have gone on with his comedy 
of conciliation, had it not, as he intended it to do, drawn forth shrieks of rage from the Rurals, whose ruminating mind did neither 
understand the play, nor its necessities of hypocrisy, tergiversation, and procrastination. 

In sight of the impending municipal elections of the 30th April, Thiers enacted one of his great conciliation scenes on the 27th 
April. Amidst a flood of sentimental rhetoric, he exclaimed from the tribune of the Assembly: 

"There exists no conspiracy against the Republic but that of Paris, which compels us to shed French blood. I repeat it again and 
again. Let those impious arms fall from the hands which hold them, and chastisement will be arrested at once by an act of peace 
excluding only the small number of criminals." 

page 91 

To the violent interruption of the Rurals he replied: 

"Gentlemen, tell me, I implore you, am I wrong? Do you really regret that I could have stated the truth that the criminals are only 
a handful? Is it not fortunate in the midst of our misfortunes that those who have been capable of shedding the blood of 
Cl&eacutement Thomas and General Lecomte are but rare exceptions?" 

France, however, turned a deaf ear to what Thiers flattered himself to be a parliamentary siren's song. Out of 700,000 municipal 
councillors returned by the 35,000 communes still left to France, the united Legitimists, Orleanists, and Bonapartists did not carry 
8,000. The supplementary elections which followed were still more decidedly hostile. Thus, instead of getting from the provinces 
the badly-needed physical force, the National Assembly lost even its last claim to moral force, that of being the expression of the 
universal suffrage of the country. To complete the discomfiture, the newly-chosen municipal councils of all the cities of France 
openly threatened the usurping Assembly at Versailles with a counter Assembly at Bordeaux. 

Then the long-expected moment of decisive action had at last come for Bismarck. He peremptorily summoned Thiers to send to 
Frankfort plenipotentiaries for the definitive settlement of peace. In humble obedience to the call of his master, Thiers hastened to 
despatch his trusty Jules Favre, backed by Pouyer-Quertier. Pouyer-Quertier, an "eminent" Rouen cotton-spinner, a fervent and 
even servile partisan of the Second Empire, had never found any fault with it save its commercial treaty with England, [97] 
prejudicial to his own shop interest. Hardly installed at Bordeaux as Thiers' Minister of Finance, he denounced that "unholy" treaty, 
hinted at its near abrogation, and had even the effrontery to try, although in vain (having counted without Bismarck), the immediate 
page 92 

forcement of the old protective duties against Alsace, where, he said, no previous international treaties stood in the way. This man, 
who considered counter-revolution as a means to put down wages at Rouen, and the surrender of French provinces as a means to 
bring up the price of his wares in France, was he not the one predestined to be picked out by Thiers as the helpmate of Jules Favre 
in his last and crowning treason? 

On the arrival at Frankfort of this exquisite pair of plenipotentiaries, bully Bismarck at once met them with the im perious 
alternative: Either the restoration of the Empire, or the unconditional acceptance of my own peace terms! These terms included a 
shortening of the intervals in which the war indemnity was to be paid, and the continued occupation of the Paris forts by Prussian 

troops until Bismarck should feel satisfied with the state of things in France; Prussia thus being recognized as the supreme arbiter in 
internal French politics! In return for this he offered to let loose, for the extermination of Paris, the captive Bonapartist army, and to 
lend them the direct assistance of Emperor William's troops. He pledged his good faith by making payment of the first instalment 
of the indemnity dependent on the "pacification" of Paris. Such a bait was, of course, eagerly swallowed by Thiers and his 
plenipotentiaries. They signed the treaty of peace on the 10th of May, and had it endorsed by the Versailles Assembly on the 18th. 

In the interval between the conclusion of peace and the arrival of the Bonapartist prisoners, Thiers felt the more bound to resume 
his comedy of conciliation, as his Republican tools stood in sore need of a pretext for blinking their eyes at the preparations for the 
carnage of Paris. As late as the 8th of May he replied to a deputation of middle-class conciliators: 

page 93 

"Whenever the insurgents will make up their minds for capitulation, the gates of Paris shall be flung wide open during a week for 
all except the murderers of Generals Cl&eacutement Thomas and Lecomte." 

A few days afterwards, when violently interpellated on these promises by the Rurals, he refused to enter into any explanations; 
not, however, without giving them this significant hint: 

"I tell you there are impatient men amongst you, men who are in too great a hurry. They must have another eight days; at the end 
of these eight days there will be no more danger, and the task will be proportionate to their courage and to their capacities." 

As soon as MacMahon was able to assure him that he could shortly enter Paris, Thiers declared to the Assembly that 

"he would enter Paris with the laws in his hands, and demand a full expiation from the wretches who had sacrificed the lives of 
soldiers and destroyed public monuments." 

As the moment of decision drew near he said — to the Assembly, "I shall be pitiless!" — to Paris, that it was doomed; and to his 
Bonapartist banditti, that they had State licence to wreak vengeance upon Paris to their hearts' content. At last, when treachery had 
opened the gates of Paris to General Douay, on the 21st of May, Thiers, on the 22nd, revealed to the Rurals the "goal" of his 
conciliation comedy, which they had so obstinately persisted in not understanding. 

"I told you a few days ago that we were approaching our goal ; today I come to tell you the goal is reached. The victory of order, 
justice, and civilization is at last won!" 

So it was. The civilization and justice of bourgeois order comes out in its lurid light whenever the slaves and drudges of that 
order rise against their masters. Then this civilization and justice stand forth as undisguised savagery and lawless 

page 94 

revenge. Each new crisis in the class struggle between the appropriator and the producer brings out this fact more glaringly. Even 
the atrocities of the bourgeois in June 1848 vanish before the ineffable infamy of 1871. The self-sacrificing heroism with which the 
population of Paris - men, women, and children - fought for eight days after the entrance of the Versaillese, reflects as much the 
grandeur of their cause, as the infernal deeds of the soldiery reflect the innate spirit of that civilization of which they are the 
mercenary vindicators. A glorious civilization, indeed, the great problem of which is how to get rid of the heaps of corpses it made 
after the battle was over! 

To find a parallel for the conduct of Thiers and his bloodhounds we must go back to the times of Sulla and the two Triumvirates 
of Rome. [98] The same wholesale slaughter in cold blood; the same disregard, in massacre, of age and sex; the same system of 
torturing prisoners; the same proscriptions, but this time of a whole class; the same savage hunt after concealed leaders, lest one 
might escape; the same denunciations of political and private enemies; the same indifference for the butchery of entire strangers to 
the feud. There is but this difference, that the Romans had no mitrailleuses for the despatch, in the lump, of the proscribed, and that 
they had not "the law in their hands," nor on their lips the cry of "civilization." 

And after those horrors, look upon the other, still more hideous, face of that bourgeois civilization as described by its own press! 

"With stray shots," writes the Paris correspondent of a London Tory paper, "still ringing in the distance, and untended wounded 
wretches dying amid the tombstones of P&eacutere-Lachaise — with 6,000 terror-stricken insurgents wandering in an agony of 
despait in the labyrinth of the 

page 95 

catacombs, and wretches hurried through the streets to be shot down in scores by the mitrailleuse - it is revolting to see the 
caf&eacutes filled with the votaries of absinthe, billiards, and dominoes; female profligacy perambulating the boulevards, and the 
sound of revelry disturbing the night from the cabinets particuliers [*] of fashionable restaurants." 

M. Edouard Herve writes in the Journal de Paris,[99_] a Versaillist journal suppressed by the Commune: 

"The way in which the population of Paris (!) manifested its satisfaction yesterday was rather more than frivolous, and we fear it 
will grow worse as time progresses. Paris has now af&ecircte day appearance, which is sadly out of place; and, unless we are to be 
called the Parisiens de la d&e acute cadence, this sort of thing must come to an end." 

And then he quotes the passage from Tacitus: 

"Yet, on the morrow of that horrible struggle, even before it was completely over, Rome — degraded and corrupt — began once 
more to wallow in the voluptuous slough which was destroying its body and polluting its soul — alibi proelia et vulnera, alibi 
balnea popinoe que (here fights and wounds, there baths and restaurants). "[ 1001 

M. Herve only forgets to say that the "population of Paris" he speaks of is but the population of the Paris of M. Thiers - the 
francs-fileurs returning in throngs from Versailles, Saint Denis, Rueil, and Saint-Germain — the Paris of the "Decline." 

In all its bloody triumphs over the self-sacrificing champions of a new and better society, that nefarious civilization, based upon 
the enslavement of labour, drowns the moans of its victims in a hue and cry of calumny, reverberated by a world wide echo. The 
serene working men's Paris of the Commune is suddenly changed into a pandemonium by the bloodhounds of "order." And what 
does this tremendous change prove to the bourgeois mind of all countries? Why, that the Commune has conspired against 
civilization! The Paris people 

* Private rooms. 
page 96 

die enthusiastically for the Commune in numbers unequalled in any battle known to history. What does that prove? Why, that the 
Commune was not the people's own government but the usurpation of a handful of criminals! The women of Paris joyfully give up 
their lives at the barricades and on the place of execution. What does this prove? Why, that the demon of the Commune has 
changed them into Megaeras and Hecates! The moderation of the Commune during two months of undisputed sway is equalled only 
by the heroism of its defence. What does that prove? Why, that for months the Commune carefully hid, under a mask of moderation 
and humanity, the blood-thirstiness of its fiendish instincts, to be let loose in the hour of its agony! 

The working men's Paris, in the act of its heroic self-holocaust, involved in its flames buildings and monuments. While tearing to 
pieces the living body of the proletariat, its rulers must no longer expect to return triumphantly into the intact architecture of their 
abodes. The Government of Versailles cries, "Incendiarism!" and whispers this cue to all its agents, down to the remotest hamlet, to 
hunt up its enemies everywhere as suspect of professional incendiarism. The bourgeoisie of the whole world, which looks 
complacently upon the wholesale massacre after the battle, is convulsed by horror at the desecration of brick and mortar! 

When governments give state-licences to their navies to "kill, burn, and destroy," is that a licence for incendiarism? When the 
British troops wantonly set fire to the Capitol at Washington and to the summer palace of the Chinese EmperorJ IOll was that 
incendiarism? When the Prussians, not for military reasons, but out of the mere spite of revenge, burned down, by the help of 
petroleum, towns like Chateaudun and innumerable villages, was that incendiarism? When Thiers, during six 

page 97 

weeks, bombarded Paris, under the pretext that he wanted to set fire to those houses only in which there were people, was that 
incendiarism? In war, fire is an arm as legitimate as any. Buildings held by the enemy are shelled to set them on fire. If their 
defenders have to retire, they themselves light the flames to prevent the attack from making use of the buildings. To be burnt down 
has always been the inevitable fate of all buildings situated in the front of battle of all the regular armies of the world. But in the 
war of the enslaved against their enslavers, the only justifiable war in history, this is by no means to hold good! The Commune 
used fire strictly as a means of defence. They used it to stop up to the Versailles troops those long, straight avenues which 
Haussmann had expressly opened to artillery-fire; they used it to cover their retreat, in the same way as the Versaillese, in their 
advance, used their shells which destroyed at least as many buildings as the fire of the Commune. It is a matter of dispute, even 
now, which buildings were set fire to by the defence, and which by the attack. And the defence resorted to fire only then, when the 
Versaillese troops had already commenced their wholesale murdering of prisoners. Besides, the Commune had, long before, given 
full public notice that, if driven to extremities, they would bury themselves under the ruins of Paris, and make Paris a second 
Moscow, as the Government of Defence, but only as a cloak for its treason, had promised to do. For this purpose Trochu had found 
them the petroleum. The Commune knew that its opponents cared nothing for the lives of the Paris people, but cared much for their 
own Paris buildings. And Thiers, on the other hand, had given them notice that he would be implacable in his vengeance. No 
sooner had he got his army ready on one side, and the Prussians shutting up the trap on the other, than he proclaimed: "I shall be 
pitiless! The ex- 
page 98 

piation will be complete, and justice will be stern!" If the acts of the Paris working men were vandalism, it was the vandalism of 
defence in despair, not the vandalism of triumph, like that which the Christians perpetrated upon the really priceless art treasures of 
heathen antiquity; and even that vandalism has been justified by the historian as an unavoidable and comparatively trifling 
concomitant to the titanic struggle between a new society arising and an old one breaking down. It was still less the vandalism of 
Haussmann, razing historic Paris to make place for the Paris of the sightseer! 

But the execution by the Commune of the sixty-four hostages, with the Archbishop of Paris at their head! The bourgeoisie and its 
army, in June 1848, re-established a custom which had long disappeared from the practice of war - the shooting of their 
defenceless prisoners. This brutal custom has since been more or less strictly adhered to by the suppressors of all popular 
commotions in Europe and India; thus proving that it constitutes a real "progress of civilization"! On the other hand, the Prussians, 
in France, had re-established the practice of taking hostages — innocent men, who, with their lives, were to answer to them for the 
acts of others. When Thiers, as we have seen, from the very beginning of the conflict, enforced the humane practice of shooting 
down the Communal prisoners, the Commune, to protect their lives, was obliged to resort to the Prussian practice of securing 
hostages. The lives of the hostages had been forfeited over and over again by the continued shooting of prisoners on the part of the 
Versaillese. How could they be spared any longer after the carnage with which MacMahon's praetorians [102] celebrated their 
entrance into Paris? Was even the last check upon the unscrupulous 

page 99 

ferocity of bourgeois governments - the taking of hostages - to be made a mere sham of? The real murderer of Archbishop 
Darboy is Thiers. The Commune again and again had offered to exchange the archbishop, and ever so many priests in the bargain, 
against the single Blanqui, then in the hands of Thiers. Thiers obstinately refused. He knew that with Blanqui he would give to the 
Commune a head, while the archbishop would serve his purpose best in the shape of a corpse. Thiers acted upon the precedent of 
Cavaignac. How, in June 1848, did not Cavaignac and his men of Order raise shouts of horror by stigmatizing the insurgents as the 
assassins of Archbishop Affre! They knew perfectly well that the archbishop had been shot by the soldiers of Order. M. Jacquemet, 
the archbishop's vicar-general, present on the spot, had immediately afterwards handed them in his evidence to that effect. 

All this chorus of calumny, which the Party of Order never fail, in their orgies of blood, to raise against their victims, only proves 
that the bourgeois of our days considers himself the legitimate successor to the baron of old, who thought every weapon in his own 
hand fair against the plebeian, while in the hands of the plebeian a weapon of any kind constituted in itself a crime. 

The conspiracy of the ruling class to break down the Revolution by a civil war carried on under the patronage of the foreign 
invader - a conspiracy which we have traced from the very 4th of September down to the entrance of MacMahon's praetorians 
through the gate of St. Cloud - culminated in the carnage of Paris. Bismarck gloats over the ruins of Paris, in which he saw perhaps 
the first instalment of that general destruction of great cities he had prayed for when still a simple Rural in the Prussian Chambre 
introuvable of 1849. [103] He 

page 100 

gloats over the cadavers of the Paris proletariat. For him this is not only the extermination of revolution, but the extinction of 
France, now decapitated in reality, and by the French Government itself. With the shallowness characteristic of all successful 
statesmen, he sees but the surface of this tremendous historic event. Whenever before has history exhibited the spectacle of a 
conqueror crowning his victory by turning into, not only the gendarme, but the hired bravo of the conquered Government? There 
existed no war between Prussia and the Commune of Paris. On the contrary, the Commune had accepted the peace preliminaries, 
and Prussia had announced her neutrality. Prussia was, therefore, no belligerent. She acted the part of a bravo, a cowardly bravo, 
because incurring no danger; a hired bravo, because stipulating beforehand the payment of her blood-money of 500 millions on the 
fall of Paris. And thus, at last, came out the true character of the war, ordained by Providence as a chastisement of godless and 
debauched France by pious and moral Germany! And this unparalleled breach of the law of nations, even as understood by the old- 
world lawyers, instead of arousing the "civilized" Governments of Europe to declare the felonious Prussian Government, the mere 
tool of the St. Petersburg Cabinet, an outlaw amongst nations, only incites them to consider whether the few victims who escape 
the double cordon around Paris are not to be given up to the hangman at Versailles ! 

That after the most tremendous war of modern times, the conquering and the conquered hosts should fraternize for the common 
massacre of the proletariat — this unparalleled event does indicate, not, as Bismarck thinks, the final repression of a new society 
upheaving, but the crumbling into dust of bourgeois society. The highest heroic effort of which old 

page 101 

society is still capable is national war; and this is now proved to be a mere governmental humbug, intended to defer the struggle of 
classes, and to be thrown aside as soon as that class struggle bursts out into civil war. Class rule is no longer able to disguise itself 
in a national uniform; the national Governments are one as against the proletariat! 

After Whit-Sunday, 1871,[*] there can be neither peace nor truce possible between the working men of France and the 
appropriators of their produce. The iron hand of a mercenary soldiery may keep for a time both classes tied down in common 
oppression. But the battle must break out again and again in ever-growing dimensions, and there can be no doubt as to who will be 
the victor in the end — the appropriating few, or the immense working majority. And the French working class is only the advanced 
guard of the modern proletariat. While the European Governments thus testify, before Paris, to the international character of class 
rule, they cry down the International Working Men's Association - the international counter-organization of labour against the 

cosmopolitan conspiracy of capital - as the head fountain of all these disasters. Thiers denounced it as the despot of labour, 
pretending to be its liberator. Picard ordered that all communications between the French Internationals and those abroad should be 
cut off, Count Jaubert, Thiers' mummified accomplice of 1835, declares it the great problem of all civilized Governments to weed it 
out. The Rurals roar against it, and the whole European press joins the chorus. An honourable French writer,** completely foreign 
to our Association, speaks as follows: 

"The members of the Central Committee of the National Guard, as well as the greater part of the members of the Commune, are 
the most 

* I.e., May 28, the last day of the Commune. 

** Probably Jean-Fran&ccedilois-Eugene Robinet. 

page 102 

active, intelligent, and energetic minds of the International Working Men's Association, . 
sincere, intelligent, devoted, pure, and fanatical in the good sense of the word." 

. men who are thoroughly honest, 

The police-tinged bourgeois mind naturally figures to itself the International Working Men's Association as acting in the manner 
of a secret conspiracy, its central body ordering, from time to time, explosions in different countries. Our Association is, in fact, 
nothing but the international bond between the most advanced working men in the various countries of the civilized world. 
Wherever, in whatever shape, and under whatever conditions the class struggle obtains any consistency, it is but natural that 
members of our Association should stand in the foreground. The soil out of which it grows is modern society itself. It cannot be 
stamped out by any amount of carnage. To stamp it out, the Governments would have to stamp out the despotism of capital over 
labour — the condition of their own parasitical existence. 

Working men's Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are 
enshrined in the great heart of the working class. Its exterminators history has already nailed to that eternal pillory from which all 
the prayers of their priests will not avail to redeem them. 


M. J. Boon 
G. H. Buttery 
A. Herman 

Fred. Bradnick 

William Hales 

page 103 

Fred. Lessner 
J. P. MacDonnel 
Thomas Mottershead 
Charles Murray 
A. Serraillier 
Alfred Taylor 

George Milner 
Charles Mills 

Cowell Stepney 
W. Townshend 


Eug&egravene Dupont, /br France 

Karl Marx, for Germany and Holland 

Frederick Engels, for Belgium and Spain 

Hermann Jung,/<9r Switzerland 

P. Giovacchini, for Italy 

Z&eacutevy Maurice for Hungary 

Antoni Zabicki, for Poland 

James Cohen, for Denmark 

J. G. Eccarius, /br the United States of America 

Hermann Jung, Chairman 
John Weston, Treasurer 
George Harris, Financial Secretary 
John Hales, General Secretary 

Office: 256 High Holborn, London, W.C. 
May 30th, 1871 

page 104 


"The column of prisoners halted in the Avenue Uhrich, and was drawn up, four or five deep, on the footway fasing to the road. 
General Marquis de Galliffet and his staff dismounted and commenced an inspection from the left of the line. Walking down 
slowly and eyeing the ranks, the General stopped here and there, tapping a man on the shoulder or beckoning him out of the rear 
ranks. In most cases, without further parley, the individual thus selected was marched out into the centre of the road, where a small 
supplementary column was, thus, soon formed. ... It was evident that there was considerable room for error. A mounted officer 
pointed out to General Galliffet a man and woman for some particular offence. The woman, rushing out of the ranks, threw herself 
on her knees, and, with outstretched arms, protested her innocence in passionate terms. The General waited for a pause, and then 
with most impassible face and unmoved demeanour, said, 'Madame, I have visited every theatre in Paris, your acting will have no 
effect on me. (Ce n 'est pas la peine dejouer la com&e acute die.) ... It was not a good thing on that day to be noticeably taller, 
dirtier, cleaner, older, or uglier than one's neighbours. One individual in particular struck me as probably owing his speedy release 
from the ills of this world to his having a broken nose. . . . Over a hundred being thus chosen, a firing party told off, and the column 
resumed its march, leaving them behind. A few minutes afterwards a dropping fire in our rear commenced, and continued for over 
a quarter of an hour. It was the execution of these summarily-convicted wretches." — Paris Correspondent, Daily News, [104] June 

This Galliffet, "the kept man of his wife, so notorious for her shameless exhibitions at the orgies of the Second Empire," went, 
during the war, by the name of the French "Ensign Pistol." 

"The Temps J 1051 which is a careful journal, and not given to sensation, tells a dreadful story of people imperfectly shot and 
buried before life was extinct. A great number were buried in the square round St. 

page 105 

Jacques-la-Boucherie; some of them very superficially. In the daytime the roar of the busy streets prevented any notice being taken; 
but in the stillness of the night the inhabitants of the houses in the neighbourhood were roused by distant moans, and in the morning 
a clenched hand was seen protruding through the soil. In consequence of this, exhumations were ordered to take place. . . . That 
many wounded have been buried alive I have not the slightest doubt. One case I can vouch for. When Brunei was shot with his 
mistress on the 24th ult. in the courtyard of a house in the Place Vend&ocircme, the bodies lay there until the afternoon of the 27th. 
When the burial party came to remove the corpses, they found the woman living still and took her to an ambulance. Though she 
had received four bullets she is now out of danger." — Paris Correspondent, Evening Standard, [106] June 8th. 


The following letter appeared in the [London] Times of June 13th: [107] 

"To the Editor of The Times : 

"Sir, - On June 6, 1871, M. Jules Favre issued a circular to all the European Powers, calling upon them to hunt down the 
International Working Men's Association. A few remarks will suffice to characterize that document. 

"In the very preamble of our statutes it is stated that the International was founded 'September 28, 1864, at a public meeting held 
at St. Martin's Hall, Long Acre, London.'[108] For purposes of his own Jules Favre puts back the date of its origin behind 1862. 

"In order to explain our principles, he professes to quote 'their (the International's) sheet of the 25th of March, 1869.' And then 
what does he quote? The sheet of a society which is not the International. This sort of manoeuvre he already recurred to when, still 
a comparatively young lawyer, he had to defend the National newspaper, prosecuted for 

page 106 

libel by Cabet. Then he pretended to read extracts from Cabet's pamphlets while reading interpolations of his own - a trick exposed 
while the Court was sitting, and which, but for the indulgence of Cabet, would have been punished by Jules Favre's expulsion from 
the Paris bar. Of all the documents quoted by him as documents of the International, not one belongs to the International. He says, 
for instance, 'The Alliance declares itself Atheist, says the General Council, constituted in London in July 1869.' The General 
Council never issued such a document. On the contrary, it issued a document[109] which quashed the original statutes of the 
Alliance' — L' Alliance de la d&eacutemocratie socialiste at Geneva — quoted by Jules Favre. 

"Throughout his circular, which pretends in part also to be directed against the Empire, Jules Favre repeats against the 
International but the police inventions of the public prosecutors of the Empire, which broke down miserably even before the law 
courts of that Empire. 

"It is known that in its two addresses of July and September last) on the late war,* the General Council of the International 
denounced the Prussian plans of conquest against France. Later on, Mr. Reitlinger, Jules Favre's private secretary, applied, though 
of course in vain, to some members of the General Council for getting up by the Council a demonstration against Bismarck, in 
favour of the Government of National Defence; they were particularly requested not to mention the Republic. The preparations for 
a demonstration with regard to the expected arrival of Jules Favre in London were made — certainly with the best 

* See above, pp. 19-26 and 27-38 . 

page 107 

of intentions — in spite of the General Council, which, in its address of the 9th of September, had distinctly forewarned the Paris 
workmen against Jules Favre and his colleagues. 

"What would Jules Favre say if, in its turn, the International were to send a circular on Jules Favre to all the Cabinets of Europe, 
drawing their particular attention to the documents published at Paris by the late M. Milli&egravere? 

"I am, Sir, your obedient servant, 

"John Hales, 

"Secretary to the General Council of the 
International Working Men's Association. 

"256, High Holborn, London, W.C. 
"June 12th, 1871." 

In an article on "The International Society and its aims," that pious informer, the London Spectator f l 101 (June 24th), amongst 
other similar tricks, quotes, even more fully than Jules Favre has done, the above document of the "Alliance" as the work of the 
International, and that eleven days aftee the refutation had been published in The Times. We do not wonder at this. Frederick the 
Great used to say that of all Jesuits the worst are the Protestant ones. 

From Marx 
to Mao 

Marx and Engels 

~ ,. Notes on 

"^ the Text 

Guide ^ , 


page 261 


[1] Engels wrote this introduction for the third German edition (jubilee edition) of Marx's The Civil War in France, published in 
1891 by the Vorw&aumlrts Press, Berlin, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Paris Commune. While pointing out the historical 
significance of both the experiences of the Paris Commune and the theoretical generalizations drawn from them by Marx in The 
Civil War in France, Engels also made a number of additions in the introduction to the history of the Commune, including 
references to the activities of the Blanquists and Proudhonists. In the jubilee edition Engels included two works written by Marx — 
the First and Second Addresses of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on the Franco-Prussian 
War. Other editions of The Civil War in France, published later in various languages, usually contained Engels' introduction. 

At first, Engels' introduction was published with his approval under the title of "On The Civil War in France" in Die Neue Zeit, 
No. 28, (Vol. II), 1890-91. When it was published, the editorial board of Die Neue Zeit tampered with the text by changing the 
words "Social-Democratic philistines" in the last paragraph of the manuscript into "German philistines." It was evident from 
Richard Fischer's letter to Engels on Match 17, 1891, that Engels disapproved of this arbitrary change. However, he kept the 
changed words in the pamphlet, probably because he did not want different versions of his work published contemporaneously. The 
present edition restores the original text. [p.l_] 

[2] See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, pp. 221-31 1. [p. I] 

[3] A reference to the wars of national liberation waged by the German people from 1813 to 1814 against the rule of Napoleon I. 

[4] In 1819, after the wars against Napoleonic France, reactionary circles in Germany applied the name demagogues to people who 
took part in the opposition movement against the reactionary system of the German states and organized political demonstrations 
for the unification of Germany. The movement spread widely among the intelligentsia and student societies. The "demagogues" 
were persecuted by the reactionary authorities, [p.2] 

[5] See Marx, "Second Address of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on the Franco-Prussian 
War," p. 34 of the present book, [p.2] 

[6] The monarchists in France were at that time divided into three dynastic parties: the Legitimists (see Note 55), the Orleanists 
(see Note 34), and the Bonapartists - adherents of Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon III), [p.5] 

[7] The coup d'&eacutetat of Louis Bonaparte, then President of France. He dissolved the National Assembly, and a year later 
proclaimed himself Emperor of France, [p.5] 

[8] The Second Empire of France was the name given to the period of Louis Bonaparte's rule (1852-70) in distinction from the First 
Empire of Napoleon I (1804-14). [p.5] 

[9] Prussia was victorious in the war against Austria which was engineered by Bismarck. By excluding Austria from the German 
Confederation Prussia secured the hegemony at the founding of the German Empire. Napoleon III remained neutral in the Austro- 
Prussian War, in return for which he hoped — in vain — to receive part of the territory of the German states, as promised by 
Bismarck, [p. 6] 

[10] On September 1-2, 1870, a decisive battle was fought in the Franco-Prussian War in the vicinity of Sedan, a town in 
northeastern France, resulting in the complete rout of the French army. According to the capitulation terms signed by the French 
Headquarters on September 2, 1870, Napoleon III and more than 80,000 French soldiers, officers and generals were taken 
prisoners. From September 5, 1870 to March 19, 1871, Napoleon III was detained in Wilhelmsh&oumlhe, a Prussian castle near 
Kassel. The debacle at Sedan accelerated the downfall of the Second Empire. As a result, France was proclaimed a republic on 
September 4, 1870. [p.6] [p.83] 

[11] This refers to the Franco-German preliminary peace treaty signed in Versailles on February 26, 1871 by Adolphe Thiers and 
Jules Favre on one side and Bismarck on the other. Under the terms of the treaty France agreed to cede Alsace and the eastern part 
of Lorraine to Germany 

page 263 

and pay a war indemnity of five billion francs, while Germany was to continue occupying part of French territory until the 
indemnity was paid. The final peace treaty was signed at Frankfort-on-Main on May 10, 1871. [p. 7] 

[12] Quoted from the report of the election commission of the Commune, published in the organ of the Commune, Journal officiel 
de la R&eacutepubliquefran&ccedilaise, No. 90, March 31, 1871. [p.8] 

[13] Engels is probably referring to the contents of the order issued by Edouard Vaillant, delegate of education of the Paris 
Commune, which was published in the Journal officiel de la R&eacutepublique fran&ccedilaise, No. 132, May 12, 1871. [p. 9] 

[14] Now, usually called "The Wall of the Communards." [p. 12] 

This refers to Proudhon's work Id&eacutee g&eacuten&eacuterale de la r&eacutevolution au XIXe si&egravecle (General 
Idea of the Revolution of the 19th Century ), Paris, 1851. A criticism of the views expressed by Proudhon in this book was given in 
Marx's letter to Engels dated August 8, 1851 and in Engels' work, "Analytical Criticism on Proudhon's General Idea of the 
Revolution of the 19th Century " {Archives of Marx and Engels, Vol. X, pp. 13-17). [p. 14] 

[16] The Possibilists represented the opportunist trend in the French working-class movement at the end of the 19th century. 

[17] The First Address of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on the Franco-Prussian War was 
written by Marx between July 19 and 23, 1870. 

On July 19, 1870, the day the Franco-Prussian War broke out, the General Council commissioned Marx to draft an address on 
the war. It was adopted by the Permanent Committee of the General Council on July 23 and unanimously approved at the session of 
the General Council on July 26, 1870. It was first published in English under the title "The General Council of the International 
Working Men's Association on the War" in the London newspaper Pall Mall Gazette, No. 1702, July 28, 1870. A few days later a 
thousand copies of the Address were printed in leaflet form. A number of British papers also printed the full text or excerpts of the 
Address. A copy was sent to the editorial board of The Times, but it refused to publish it. 

The General Council decided on August 2, 1870 to reprint another thousand copies of the Address as the first batch had soon 
sold out and the number of copies issued had fallen far short of the demand. In September 1870, the First Address was reprinted in 
English together with the General Council's Second Address on the Franco-Prussian War. In 

page 264 

this new edition, Marx corrected the misprints that had appeared in the first edition of the First Address. 

The General Council set up a commission on August 9 — consisting of Marx, Hermann Jung, Auguste Serraillier and J. George 
Eccarius — and instructed it to translate the Address into French and German and to disseminate it. The Address first appeared in 
German in Der Volksstaat, No. 63, August 7, 1870, Leipzig, the translation being made by Wilhelm Liebknecht. Marx revised this 
German version and retranslated nearly half of the text. This new German translation appeared in Der Vorbote, No. 8, August 1870, 
as well as in leaflet form. In commemorating in 1891 the 20th anniversary of the Paris Commune, Engels included the First 
Addless of the General Council in the German edition of The Civil Wer in France which was published by the Berlin 
Vorw&aumlrts Press. The translation of the First Address for this new edition was made by Louisa Kautsky under the guidance of 

The Address appeared in French in L'Egalite, August 1870, in LTnternationale, No. 82, August 7, 1870, and on the same day in 
Le Mirabeau, No. 55. The Address was also published in leaflet form in accordance with a French translation by the General 
Council's commission. 

A Russian version of the First Address appeared for the first time in the Narodnoye Dyelo, Nos. 6-7, August-September 1870, 
Geneva, [p.19] 

[18] Marx and Engels, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, pp. 348-49 and p. 349. [p. 19] 

[19] The plebiscite was conducted by the government of Napoleon III in May 1870 in an attempt to consolidate the tottering regime 
of the Second Empire which had caused widespread discontent among the people. The questions were so worded that it was 
impossible to express one's disapproval of the policy of the Second Empire without at the same time declaring against all 
democratic reforms. In spite of the demagogic manoeuvres made by the government, the result of the plebiscite indicated the 
growth of the opposition forces - 1,500,000 people voted against the government and 1,900,000 abstained from voting. While 
preparing for the plebiscite, the government took extensive measures to suppress the working-class movement, ceaselessly 
slandered the workers' organizations and distorted their objectives in order to frighten the intermediate stratum of society with the 
danger of "Red terror." 

The Paris Federal Sections of the International (Les sections parisiennes f&eacuted&eacuter&eacutees de l'lnternationale) and 
the Federation of Workers' Unions (Chambre f&eacuted&eacuterale des Soci&eacutet&eacutes ouvri&egraveres) jointly issued a 
declaration on April 24, 1870, exposing the Bonapartists' demagogic plebiscite and 

page 265 

calling on the workers to abstain from voting. On the eve of the plebiscite the government arrested members of the Paris sections of 
the International on a police-concocted charge that they were plotting to assassinate Napoleon III. Armed with the same charge the 
government launched an extensive persecution of members of the International in other cities throughout France. Although the 
falsehood of this charge was thoroughly exposed during the trials which took place from June 22 to July 5, 1870, the Bonapartist 
court still sentenced members of the International to imprisonment on the ground that they belonged to the International Working 
Men's Association. 

Persecution of the International in France aroused widespread protests among the workers, [p.20] 

[20] This refers to the Franco-Prussian War which began on July 19, 1870. [p.20] 

[21] This refers to the coup d'&eacutetat by Louis Bonaparte on December 2, 1851, which ushered in the Bonapartist regime of the 
Second Empire, [p.20] 

[22] Le R&eacuteveil — organ of the French Left-wing Republicans, first a weekly, then a daily newspaper from May 1869. Edited 
by Charles Delescluze, it appeared in Paris from July 1868 to January 1871. From October 1870 it was opposed to the Government 
of National Defence, [p. 21] 

[23] Le Merseillaise - a French daily newspaper, organ of the Left-wing Republicans, appeared in Paris from December 1869 to 
September 1870. The paper regularly published articles on the activities of the International and the workers' movement, [p.21] 

[24] A reference to the Society of December Tenth, so called in honour of the election of its patron, Louis Bonaparte, to the 
Presidency of the French Republic on December 10, 1848. Formed in 1849, this secret society of the Bonapartists was composed 
mainly of declassed elements, political adventurers and militarists. Though formally dissolved in November 1850, its adherents 
continued to propagate Bonapartism, and took an active part in the coup d'&eacutetat of December 2, 1851. Marx gave a detailed 
account of the Society of December Tenth in his work "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" (Marx and Engels, Selected 
Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, pp. 221-311). 

The chauvinist demonstration in support of Louis Bonaparte's plan of conquest was held by the Bonapartists with the 
collaboration of the police on July 15, 1870. [p. 21] 

page 266 

[25] The Battle ofSadowa fought in Czech on July 3, 1866 - with Austria and Saxony on one side and Prussia on the other - was 
decisive in the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, from which Prussia emerged victorious. Historically it was also known as the battle of 
K&oumlniggr&aumltz (now called Hradec Kr&aacutelove). [p.22] 

[26] The meetings of workers held at Brunswick on July 16, and at Chemnitz on July 17, 1870 were convened by the leaders of the 
German Social-Democratic Labour Party (the Eisenachers) in protest against the policy of conquest of the ruling class. 
Marx quoted the resolutions of both meetings from Der Volksstaat No. 58, July 20, 1870. [p.23] 

The Second Address of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on the Franco -Prussian War was 
written by Marx between September 6 and 9, 1870. 

After studying the new situation brought about by the fall of the Second Empire and the beginning of a new stage in the Franco- 
Prussian War, the General Council of the International decided on September 6, 1870 to issue a second address on the war, and for 
this purpose set up a commission consisting of Marx, Hermann Jung, George Milner and Auguste Serraillier. 

While writing the Address, Marx made use of the material Engels sent him, which exposed the attempt of the Prussian 
militarists, the Junkers and the bourgeoisie to annex French territory under the pretext of military-strategic considerations. The 
Address drafted by Marx was unanimously adopted at a special session of the General Council on September 9, 1870, and sent to 
all the bourgeois newspapers in London. With the exception of the Pall Mall Gazette which printed an extract of the Address on 

September 16, 1870, all the newspapers kept silent. A thousand copies of the Address were issued in English in leaflet form 
between September 1 1 and 13. At the end of the same month a new edition appeared containing both the First and Second 
Addresses. In this the misprints in the first edition were corrected and a few changes were made in the language. 

The Second Address was translated into German by Marx himself. In this translation, he made several omissions and added a 
few sentences addressed especially to the German workers. This version of the Second Address was published in Der Volksstaat, 
No. 76, September 21, 1870, and Der Vorbote, Nos. 10 and 11, October-November 1870, as well as in leaflet form in Geneva. In 
1891 Engels included the Second Address in the German edition of The Civil War in France. The translation of 

page 267 

the Address for this new edition was made by Louisa Kautsky under Engels' guidance. 

The French version of the Second Address appeared in L'Internationale, No. 93, October 23, 1870, and partly (the publication 
was not completed) in L'Egalite, No. 35, October 4, 1870. [p.27] 

[28] In 1618 the Electorate of Brandenburg merged with Ducal Prussia (East Prussia), a vassal state of the republic of the szlachta 
(gentry) of Poland which had been formed in the early 16th century by estates of the Teutonic Order. As ruler of Prussia the Elector 
of Brandenburg became a vassal of Poland. This relationship remained until 1657 when the Elector of Brandenburg took advantage 
of Poland's difficulties in its war against Sweden and obtained the recognition of his sovereign rights over Prussian territory. 


[29] This refers to the reparate Peace Treaty of Basle which Prussia concluded with France on April 5, 1795. The treaty led to the 
break-up of the first anti-French coalition of the European states, [p.30] 

[30] By the Treaty of Tilsit concluded in 1807 between France on the one side, and Russia and Prussia on the other, Prussia lost 
almost half of her territory, agreed to pay an indemnity, reduce her army and close all her ports to British shipping, lp. 311 

[31] At a conference with Napoleon III at Biarritz in October 1865, Bismarck won France's de facto agreement to a Prussian-Italian 
alliance and Prussia's war against Austria. Napoleon calculated that Austria would be the victor and that he could then intervene in 
the war and reap the gains for himself. 

At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the czarist Foreign Minister Alexander Gorchakov stated in his talks 
with Bismarck at Berlin that Russia would keep a benevolent neutrality in the war and put diplomatic pressure on Austria. In its 
turn, the Prussian government undertook not to place any obstacles in the way of czarist Russia's policy on the Eastern question. 


[32] This refers to the victory won by feudal reaction in Germany after the downfall of Napoleon's rule. 

Together with the people of the other European countries the German people participated in the war of liberation against the rule 
of Napoleon I. The fruits of the victorious war, however, were seized by the rulers of the feudal absolute states in Europe who 
relied on the reactionary nobility. The counter-revolutionary league of monarchies — the Holy Alliance, with Austria, Prussia and 
czarist Russia as its nucleus — controlled the destinies of the European states. With the founding of the 

page 268 

German Confederation, feudal separatism remained in Germany, feudal absolutism was consolidated in the German states, all the 
privileges of the nobles were kept intact and exploitation of the peasants under semi-serfdom was intensified, [p.34] 

[33] A quotation from "Das Mallifest des Ausschusses der Sozialdemokratischen Arbeiterpattei an alle deutschen Arbeiter," which 
appeared in leaflet form on September 5, 1870, and was published in Der Volksstaat, No. 73, September 11, 1870. [p.35] 

[34] The Orleanists were monarchists representing the interests of the financial aristocracy and the big bourgeoisie. They were the 
supporters of the House of Orleans, a branch of the Bourbons dynasty that ruled France from July 1830 to 1848. [p.35] 

[35] Marx is referring to the movement started by the British workers for recognition of and diplomatic support for the French 
Republic established on September 4, 1870. With the active support of the trade unions, working people held mass rallies and 
demonstrations from September 5 in London, Birmingham, Newcastle and other cities. All the demonstrators expressed sympathy 
for the French people and demanded in resolutions and petitions that the British government immediately recognize the French 

The General Council of the First International took a direct part in organizing the campaign, [p.36] 

[36] rpj^ s ^ an a rj us i on t th e ac tive participation of bourgeois-aristocratic Britain in the formation of the coalition of absolute 
feudal states, which started the war against revolutionary France in 1792 (Britain herself entered the war in 1793); and to the fact 
that the ruling British oligarchy was the first in Europe to recognize the French Bonapartist regime founded after Louis Bonaparte's 
coup d'&eacutetat of December 2, 1851. [p.37] 

[37] During the civil war in the U.S.A. (1861-65) between the industrial North and the South, which upheld the system of slave 
plantations, the English bourgeois press supported the slavery of the South, [p.37] 

[ ] The Civil War in France is one of the most important works of scientific communism, which, in the light of the experience of 
the Paris Commune, further developed the fundamental theses of Marxist teachings on the class struggle, the state, revolution and 
the dictatorship of the proletariat. It was written as an address of the General Council of the International Working Men's 
Association to all its members in Europe and the United States. 

As soon as the Paris Commune was proclaimed Marx began meticulously to collect and study material about the activities of the 
page 269 

mune which was available from such sources as the French, British and German newspapers, and in letters from Paris. At a session 
of the General Council on April 18, 1871, Marx proposed that the Council issue an address to all members of the International on 
"the general trend of the struggle" in France. The Council commissioned Marx to draft the address and he then started the work on 
April 18 and continued it until the end of May. He wrote the first and second drafts of The Civil War in France (see pp. 109-260 
and Note 1 1 1 of the present book). Then he set about to complete the final text. On May 30, 1871, two days after the last street 
barricade in Paris fell into the hands of the Versailles troops, the Council unanimously approved the final text of the address Marx 
read out. 

The Civil War in France, written in English, was first printed in London around June 13, 1871. A thousand copies of this 35- 
page pamphlet were issued. As the first edition was sold out very quickly, a second English edition of two thousand copies was 
issued and sold among the workers at a reduced price. In this edition Marx corrected the misprints in the first edition and added a 
second document to the "Notes." The names of two trade unionists, Benjamin Lucraft and George Odger, were removed from the 
list of signatures of General Council members at the end of the Address because they had expressed disagreement with the Address 
in the bourgeois press and withdrawn from the General Council; the names of new members were added. In August 1871 a third 
edition of The Civil War in France appeared, in which Marx removed a few inaccuracies that had been made in the preceding 

In 1871 and 1872, The Civil War in France was translated into French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish and Dutch and 
published in newspapers, magazines, and also in pamphlet form in Europe and America. 

The German version was translated by Engels and appeared in Der Volksstaat, Nos. 52-61, June 28, July 1, 5, 8, 12, 16, 19, 22, 
26 and 29, 1871, and partly in Der Vorbote, August-October 1871. It was also printed as a separate pamphlet in Leipzig. In the 
translation, Engels made a few minor changes in the text. When a new German edition of The Civil War in France was prepared in 
1876 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Commune, some revisions were made in the text. 

Engels again revised this translation in 1891 for the German jubilee edition of The Civil War in France, issued to mark the 20th 
anniversary of the Paris Commune. He also wrote an introduction for it. He included in this edition two works by Marx — the First 
and Second Addresses of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on the Franco-Prussian War. These 
were also contained in 

page 270 

most of the separate pamphlets of The Civil War in France subsequently published in various languages. 

The French version of The Civil War in France first appeared in L'Internationale, Brussels, July-September 1871. A pamphlet in 
French appeared in Brussels the following year. The translation was edited by Marx, who retranslated many passages and made 
numerous changes on the proofs, [p.39] 

[39] The correspondence of Alphonse Simon Guiod to Louis Suzanne appeared in the Journal officiel, No. 115, April 25, 1871. 
Journal officiel is an abbreviation for the Journal officiel de la R&eacutepubliquefran&ccedilaise, official organ of the Paris 
Commune. It was published from March 20 to May 24, 1871. The journal used the name of the government paper of the French 
Republic, published in Paris from September 5, 1870. (During the period of the Commune, the organ of the Thiers government in 
Versailles was also published under the same title.) Only the issue of March 30 bore the title Journal officiel de la Commune de 
Paris, [p.43] 

[40] On January 28, 1871. Bismarck and Jules Favre, representative of the Government of National Defence, concluded the 
"Convention on Armistice and the Capitulation of Paris." [p.43] 

[41] The Capitulards — a contemptuous name for those who advocated the capitulation of Paris during the siege (1870-71). Later, 
this term became used in French to describe capitulationists. [p. 44] 

[42] Le Vengeur, No. 30, April 28, 1871. [p.44] 

[43] L'Etendard - a French Bonapartist paper, published in Paris in 1866-68. It had to stop publication following an exposure of 
the fraudulent means used by the paper to obtain financial support, [p.45] 

[44] This refers to the Soci&eacutete g&eacuten&eacuterale du cr&eacutedit mobilier, a big French joint-stock bank founded in 
1852. Its source of income was chiefly from speculation on the securities of the joint-stock companies it had established. 
Cr&eacutedit mobilier had close connections with the government of the Second Empire. It went bankrupt in 1867 and closed 
down in 1871. In many of his articles published in the New York Daily Tribune Marx laid bare the real nature of Cr&eacutedit 
mobilier (sec Marx and Engels, Works, Ger. ed., Berlin, Vol. XII, pp. 20-36, 202-09, 289-92). [p.45] 

[45] L'Electeur libre - organ of the Right-wing Republicans, published in Paris from 1868 to 1871. It was a weekly at first and 
became a daily after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. In 1870 and 1871 it had close connections with the Finance Office of 
the Government of National Defence, [p. 45] 

page 271 

[46] A reference to the actions against the Legitimists and the church which occurred in Paris on February 14-15, 1831 and found a 
response in the provinces. To protest against the Legitimists' demonstration at the funeral of the Duke of Berry, the masses wrecked 
the Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois church and the palace of Archbishop Qu&eacutelen, who was known as a sympathizer of the 
Legitimists. The Orleanist government intended to deal a blow at the hostile Legitimists, and therefore took no measures to restrain 
the masses. Thiers, the then Home Minister, who was present when the church and the archbishop's palace were being wrecked, 
persuaded the National Guards not to intervene. 

Thiers ordered the arrest in 1832 of the Duchess of Berry - mother of the Count of Chambord, the Legitimist pretender - put her 
under strict surveillance and made her undergo a humiliating physical examination so as to make public her secret marriage and 
thus compromise her politically, [p.46] 

[47] Marx is referring to the infamous role played by Thiers in suppressing the uprising of April 13-14, 1834, which was against the 
rule of the July Monarchy. The uprising of the Paris workers, and the petty-bourgeois strata which joined in with them, was led by 
the Republican secret Society for the Rights of Man. In suppressing the insurrection, countless atrocities were perpetrated by the 
militarists, including the slaughter of all the dwellers in a house in the Rue Transnonain. Thiers was the chief instigator of the brutal 
suppression of the democrats both during the uprising and after it was put down. 

Under the provisions of the reactionary Laws of September - introduced in September 1835 - the French government restricted 
the activities of juries and severely inhibited the press by such measures as that which increased the sum of money periodicals had 
to deposit as a security. The laws also threatened imprisonment and heavy fines for speeches against private ownership and the 
existing state system, [p.46] 

[48] In January 1841 Thiers submitted a plan to the Chamber of Deputies on the building of fortifications - ramparts and forts - 
around Paris. The revolutionary democrats regarded this move as a preparatory measure for the suppression of the people's 
uprisings. It was pointed out that it was exactly for this purpose that Thiers' plan provided for the construction of a large number of 
particularly strong forts near the workers' quarters in the eastern and northeastern part of Paris, [p.46] 

[49] In January 1848 the army of Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies, bombarded the town of Palermo to suppress the people's 
uprising, which was a signal for the bourgeois revolution in the Italian states in 1848-49. In the 

page 272 

autumn of 1848, Ferdinand II again indiscriminately bombarded Messina, and thus won himself the nickname King Bomba. 

[50] In April 1849 the French bourgeois government in alliance with Austria and Naples intervened in the Roman Republic in order 
to overthrow it and restore the temporal power of the Pope. Because of the armed intervention and the siege of Rome — cruelly 
bombarded by the French army — the Roman Republic was overthrown despite heroic resistance and Rome was occupied by the 
French army, [p.47] 

[51] This refers to the cruel suppression of the uprising of the Parisian proletariat of June 23-26, 1848, by the bourgeois Republican 
government, With the suppression of the insurrection the reactionary forces became rampant and the position of the conservative 
monarchists was further consolidated, [p. 48] 

[52] The Party of Order, founded in 1848, was the party of the conservative big bourgeoisie in France, and a coalition of two 
monarchist factions, the Legitimists and the Orleanists. It played the leading role in the Legislative Assembly of the Second 
Republic from 1849 up to the coup d'&eacutetat of December 2, 1851. The bankruptcy of its anti-popular policy was utilized by 
Louis Bonaparte's clique in building the regime of the Second Empire, [p. 48] 

[53] France faced the danger of war with an anti-French coalition of the European powers following the conclusion of the 
Convention of London on July 15, 1840 by Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria and Turkey, which agreed to aid the Turkish sultan 
against the French-backed Mohammed Ali, governor of Egypt. The French government was forced to withhold support for 
Mohammed Ali in order to avert the war. [p. 49] 

[54] Endeavouring to strengthen the Versailles troops for the suppression of revolutionary Paris, Thiers requested Bismarck to 
permit him to enlarge the number of his troops, which, according to the terms of the Versailles preliminary peace treaty signed on 
February 26, 1871, were not to exceed 40,000 men. Thiers' government assured Bismarck that the troops would be used only to 
suppress the insurrection in Paris. There upon, the government was granted permission, through the Rouen agreement of March 28, 
1871, to increase the size of its army to 80,00 and then to 100,000 men. Under this agreement the German Headquarters hastily 
repatriated the French prisoners -of- war, namly those captured in Sedan and Metz. They were then put in locked-up camps by 
Versailles and trained in hatred for the Paris Commune, [p. 49] 

[55] The Legitimist Party was the party of the supporters of the older line of the Bourbon dynasty overthrown in 1792. It 
represented the in- 
page 273 

terests of the big landowning aristocracy. The party was formed in 1830, after the Bourbons were overthrown for the second time. 
During the Second Empire the Legitimists, unable to gain any support from the people, contented themselves by adopting a 
temporizing tactic and publishing some critical pamphlets. They became active only in 1871 after they joined the campaign of the 
counter-revolutionary forces against the Paris Commune. [p.5JJ 

[56] Chambre introuvable — a name given to the French Chamber of Deputies of 1815-16 which, composed of out-and-out 
reactionaries, was elected in the early period of the restoration, [p.52] 

[57] Pourceaugnac — a character in one of Moli&egravere's comedies, typifying the dull-witted, narrow-minded petty landed 
gentry, [p.52] 

[58] The Assembly ofRurals was a contemptuous nickname for the French National Assembly of 1871, which consisted mostly of 
reactionary monarchists - provincial landlords, officials, rentiers and merchants elected from the rural election districts. Out of the 
630 deputies, 430 were monarchists, [p.52] 

[59] A reference to the demand for the payment of war indemnity put forward by Bismarck as one of the terms in the preliminary 
peace treaty concluded between France and Germany in Versailles on February 26, 1871. (See Note 1J_.) [p.52] 

[60] On March 10, 1871, the National Assembly passed the Law on the Postponement of Payment of Debt Obligations, which laid 
down that debts incurred between August 13 and November 12, 1870 had to be paid within seven months from the day they were 
contracted, while those incurred after November 12 could not be deferred. Thus the law actually did not grant a delay of payment 
for most of the debtors; it dealt a heavy blow at the workers and the poorer strata of the population and bankrupted many of the 
small manufacturers and merchants, [p. 53] 

[61] This refers to Charles Cousin-Montauban, a French general who commanded the joint French and British aggressive forces 
which invaded China in 1860. He was given the title of comte de Palikao by Napoleon III because he defeated the troops of the 
Ching dynasty (1644-191 1) at Palichiao, a village east of Peking, [p. 53] 

[62] The D&e acute cembriseur — participants and supporters of the coup d'&eacutetat of Louis Bonaparte of December 2, 1851. 
Vinoy took a direct part in the coup d'&eacutetat and with armed force suppressed the uprising of the Republicans in one of the 
provinces, [p. 53] 

[63] According to press reports, Thiers and other government officials were to get more than 300 miliion francs as "commission" 
out of the 

page 274 

domestic loan to be raised by the government. Thiers later admitted that representatives of the financial circles, with whom he 
negotiated for a loan, had demanded the speedy suppression of the revolution in Paris. The law on the domestic loan was adopted 
on June 20, 1871 after the Versailles troops had suppressed the Paris Commune, [p. 53] 

[64] Cayenne - a city in French Guiana, South America, a penal settlement and place of exile for political prisoners, [p. 56] 

[65] Le National — a French daily, organ of the moderate bourgeois Republicans, published in Paris between 1830 and 1851. 

[66] On October 31, 1870, workers and the revolutionary section of the National Guard in Paris launched an insurrection after 
receiving news that Metz had capitulated, Le Bourget was lost, and Thiers, by order of the Government of National Defence, had 
begun negotiations with the Prussians. The insurgents occupied the H&ocirctel de Ville and established a revolutionary organ of 
political power, the Committee of Public Safety, headed by Louis Auguste Blanqui. Under the pressure of the workers, the 
Government of National Defence promised to resign and hold an election to the Commune on November 1 . However, taking 
advantage of the incomplete organization of the revolutionary forces of Paris and the differences between the leading sections of 
the insurrection - the Blanquists and the petty-bourgeois democrats, the Jacobinists - the government went back on its words, and, 
with the help of the few battalions of the National Guard which remained on its side, reoccupied the H&ocirctel de Ville and 
regained power, [p. 59] 

[67] The Bretons, i.e., the mobile guards of Brittany, which Trochu used as gendarmerie to suppress the revolutionary movement in 

The Corsicans made up an important part of the gendarmerie of the Second Empire, [p. 59] 

[68] On January 22, 1871, on the initiative of the Blanquists, the proletariat of Paris and the National Guards held a revolutionary 
demonstration, demanding the dissolution of the government and the establishment of the Commune. The Government of National 
Defence instructed its Breton mobile guards, which guarded the H&ocirctel de Ville, to fire at the masses. It arrested many 
demonstrators, ordered the closure of all the clubs in Paris and banned mass rallies and many newspapers. After suppressing the 
revolutionary movement with terror, the government began to prepare for the surrender of Paris, [p.60] 

[69] Sommations was a form of warning issued by the French authorities for the dispersal of demonstrations, meetings, etc. 
According to the law of 1831, the government had the right to use force after this warning 

page 275 

had been repeated three times by a roll of drums or a flourish of trumpets. 

The Riot Act, which came into force in England in 1715, prohibited any "riotous assembly" of more than twelve persons. The 
authorities had the duty to sound a special warning to such an assembly and use force if the participants did not disperse within an 
hour. [p. 61] 

When the event of October 31, 1870 occurred (see Note 66), members of the Government of National Defence were detained 


in the H&ocirctel de Ville. One of the insurgents demanded their execution but was stopped by Gustave Flourens. [p. 63] 

[71] See Voltaire, Candide, Chapter 22. [p.63] 

[72] A quotation from the decree on hostages passed by tbe Paris Commune on April 5, 1871 and published in the Journal ofliciel 
de la R&eacutepubliquefran&ccedilaise, No. 96, April 6, 1871. (The date referred to by Marx was the date of its publication in 
British newspapers.) The decree provided that anyone accused and proved guilty of colluding with Versailles would be detained as 
hostages. By this measure the Commune tried to prevent the Versailles troops from killing the Communards, [p.63] 

[73] Journal officiel de la R&eacutepublique fran&ccedilaise, No. 80, March 21, 1871. [p.66] 

[74] The wars waged by England, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Spain and other states against revolutionary France and later against the 
empire of Napoleon I. [p. 67] 

[75] Investiture in the Middle Ages meant the act of a feudal lord in granting his vassals a fief, benefice, office, etc. This system 
was characterized by the complete control exercised by the upper grades of the ecclesiastical and secular hierarchy over the lower 
grades, [p. 72] 

[76] The Girondins or Girondists were supporters of the Party of Gironde which was formed io the bourgeois French Revolution, 
representing the interests of the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie, as well as the interests of the landlord-bourgeoisie 
which emerged during the period of the revolution. The Girondins were so named because many of their leaders represented the 
province of Gironde in the Legislative Assembly and the National Assembly. Under the flag of protecting the right of the provinces 
to autonomy and federation, the Girondins opposed the Jacobin government and the revolutionary masses supporting it. [p. 73] 

[77] Kladderadatsch — an illustrated humorous satirical weekly which began to appear in Berlin in 1848. Punch — an abbreviation 
for Punch or the London Charivari, a humorous weekly of the British bourgeois liberals which first appeared in London in 1841. 

page 276 

[78] On April 16, 1871, the Commune promulgated a decree postponing payments of all debt obligations for three years and 
cancelling interest, The decree alleviated the financial condition of the petty bourgeoisie and was unfavourable to the creditors 
among the big bourgeoisie, [p.77] 

[79] This refers to the rejection of the bill on the "concordats a V amiable " by the Constituent Assembly on August 22, 1848. The 
bill provided for the deferment of the payment of debts by any debtor who could prove he had become bankrupt owing to 
stagnation of business caused by the revolution. As a result of this, a considerable number of the petty bourgeoisie became totally 
ruined and were left to the tender mercy of the big bourgeois creditors, [p.77] 

[80] Fr&egraveres ignorantins — a nickname for the religious order which appeared in Reims in 1680. Its members dedicated 
themselves to the education of poor children. In the schools founded by the order the pupils mainly received religious education 
and obtained very little in other fields of knowledge. Marx used this expression to allude to the low standard and clerical character 
of elementary education in bourgeois France, [p.77] 

"Union republicaine " (Alliance r&eacutepublicaine des D&eacutepartements ) — a political organization of the petty- 
bourgeois elements who came from different provinces and lived in Paris. It called on the provinces to support the Commune and 
fight against the Versailles government and the monarchist National Assembly, [p. 78] 

[82] Probably from the appeal of the Paris Commune, "Au travailleur des campagnes," which was published in April or early May 
1871 in the newspapers of the Commune and also as a leaflet, [p.78] 

[83] On April 27, 1825, the reactionary government of Charles X promulgated a law compensating former &eacutemigr&eacutes 
for the loss of their estates confiscated in the years of the bourgeois French Revolution. The greater part of the indemnity - 
totalling 1 ,000 million francs and paid by the government in the form of three-per-cent securities - was obtained by the chief 
aristocrats at court and the big landlords of France, [p.78] 

[84] The Provisional Government of France decided on March 16, 1848 to add a 45 centimes tax to each franc of direct tax 
collected. The burden of this additional tax fell mainly on the peasants. As a result of this policy adopted by the bourgeois 
Republicans, the peasants were estranged from the revolution and voted for Louis Bonaparte in the presidential election of 
December 10, 1848. [p.78] 

[85] rpj^ s re f ers t0 t j ie } aws that divided France into military districts and gave commanders extensive powers, granted the president 
of the 

page 277 

republic the right to appoint and remove burgomasters, placed school-masters under the control of the prefects, and extended the 
clergy's influence over national education. Marx gave a characterization of these laws in his work "The Class Struggles in France, 
1848 to 1850" (Marx and Engels, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, pp. 199-200). [p.79] 

[86] The Vend&ocircme Column — a bronze column with a statue of Napoleon I, erected in the Vend&ocircme Square in the centre 
of Paris, to glorify victories in his aggressive wars. Cast from 1,200 captured guns, and also known as the "Victory Column," it was 
a symbol of aggression and chauvinism. 

The Vend&ocircme Column was demolished on May 16, 1871 according to a decree enacted by the Paris Commune on April 12, 
which denounced it as a "monument of barbarism" and an "affirmation of militarism." It was re-erected in 1875 by the French 
bourgeois government, [p. 81] 

[87] In the newspaper Le Mot d'ordre of May 5, 1871, evidence was published of the crimes committed in the cloisters. A search in 
the Picpus convent in the suburban district of St. Antoine revealed cases in which nuns had been imprisoned in cells for many 
years. Implements of torture were also found. In the church of St. Laurent a secret vault was discovered revealing evidence of 
several murders. These facts were also made public in the Commune's pamphlet entitled Les crimes des congr&eacutegations 
religieuses. [p. 83] 

[88] Irish absentees — big landlords who lived in England on their income from Irish estates which were managed by land agents or 
leased to speculator-middlemen, who, in turn, rented them out to small peasants on exacting terms, [p. 84] 

[89] Franc s-fileurs - literally "free absconders," was an ironical nickname for the bourgeois of Paris who fled the city during its 
siege. The nickname was ironical because its pronunciation is similar to that of francs-tireurs (free shooters), the appellation for the 
French partisans who took an active part in the war against Prussia, [p. 85] 

[90] Coblenz — a city in Germany which became the counter-revolutionary centre for monarchist &eacutemigr&eacutes who 
prepared for intervention against revolutionary France during the bourgeois revolution of 1789. Coblenz was the seat of the 
emigrant government supported by the feudal absolute states and headed by Charles Alexandre de Calonne, the fanatic reactionary 
minister under Louis XVI. [p. 86] 

[91] Chouans — originally the participants of the counter-revolutionary riots in northwestern France during the bourgeois French 
Revolution. At 

page 278 

the time of the Paris Commune the Communards used this name to describe the monarchist-minded Versailles army recruited at 
Brittany, [p. 87] 

[92] Zouave - a corps of colonial infantry troops in the French Army - derived its name from a tribe of Algeria. First organized in 
Algeria in the 1830s, the corps was composed of local inhabitants. Later it became a purely French body but retained the original 
Oriental costume. The Pontifical Zouaves were the Pope's guards, organized and trained on the pattern of the original Zouaves and 
recruited from volunteers of the young French noblemen. After the occupation of Rome by the Italian troops and the end of the 
temporal power of the Pope, the Pontifical Zouaves were dispatched to France in September 1870, and reorganized under the name 
of the "Legion of Volunteers of the West." Incorporated into the 1st and the 2nd Loire Army, they fought in the war against 
Germany. After the war the Legion took part in the suppression of the Paris Commune. Later it was disbanded, [p. 87] 

[93] Under the influence of the proletarian revolution in Paris, which gave birth to the Paris Commune, revolutionary movements of 
the masses started in Lyons, Marseilles and many other French cities. On March 22 the National Guards and the working people of 

Lyons seized the town hall. On March 26 after the arrival of a delegation from Paris the Commune was proclaimed in Lyons. 
Though the Communal commission — set up to prepare for the election to the Commune — possessed an armed force, it finally 
relinquished power owing to lack of contact with the people and the National Guards. Another uprising by the Lyons workers on 
April 30 was cruelly suppressed by the army and police. 

In Marseilles the insurgent population occupied the town hall, arrested the prefect, formed the "department commission" and 
decided to hold an election to the Commune on April 5. The revolutionary outbreak in Marseilles was put down on April 4 by 
government troops which bombarded the city, [p.89] 

[94] This refers to Dufaure's efforts to consolidate the regime of the July Monarchy during the period of the armed uprising of the 
Soci&eacutete des saisons (Society of the Seasons) in May 1839, and to the role played by Dufaure in the struggle against the 
opposition petty-bourgeois Montagnards at the time of the Second Republic in June 1849. 

An attempt at a revolution by the secret Republican-socialist Society of the Seasons on May 12. 1839, headed by Louis Auguste 
Blanqui and Armand Barhes, did not rely on the masses and bore a conspiratorial character; the rising was suppressed by the 
government army and the Na- 

page 279 

tional Guard. In order to combat the danger of revolution, a new cabinet was formed, which Dufaure joined. 

During a growing political crisis in June 1849 - caused by the Montagnards' opposition to the President of the Republic, Louis 
Bonaparte - the Minister of Interior, Dufaure, proposed the adoption of a series of decrees against the revolutionary section of the 
National Guard, the democrats and socialists, [p.90] 

[95] This refers to the law adopted by the National Assembly "On the Prosecution Against the Offence of the Press," which 
enforced the clauses in the former reactionary press laws (of 1819 and 1849) and laid down harsh penalties - including that of 
prohibition - for publications containing anti-government views. It also refers to the rehabilitation of officials of the Second 
Empire who had been removed from office; to the special law concerning the procedure of returning the properties confiscated by 
the Commune, and the classification of such confiscation as a criminal offence, [p.90] 

[96] The law on the proceedings in courts-martial, which Dufaure submitted to the National Assembly, further shortened the 
proceedings as stipulated in the "Code de justice militaire " of 1857. It confirmed the right of the army commander and the Minister 
of War to carry out judicial prosecutions according to their own discretion without preliminary inquiry, in such circumstances, the 
legal case, including the examination of the appeal, had to be settled and the sentence executed within 48 hours, [p.90] 

[97] This refers to the trade agreement concluded between Britain and France on January 23, 1860. It was stipulated in the 
agreement that France relinquish the policy of prohibitive tariff and replace it with an income tax not exceeding 30 per cent of the 
value of the goods. The agreement gave France the right to export duty-free most of its goods to Britain. After the conclusion of 
this agreement, the large flow of English goods into France greatly inceased competition in the home market and aroused the 
di s content of the French manufacturers . [p . 91] 

[98] This refers to the situation of terror and bloody repression during the period of sharpening social-political struggle in ancient 
Rome, and at different stages of crisis in the slave-holding Roman Republic in the first century B.C. 

The Dictatorship of Sulla (82-79 B C), lackey of the slave-holding nobility, was accompanied by a mass slaughter of the 
representatives of hostile groups of slave-holders. Under Sulla proscription was introduced for the first time, i.e., a list of persons 
whom any Roman had the right to kill without a trial. 

page 280 

The two Triumvirates of Rome (60-53 and 43-56 B.C.) — A Triumvirate was the dictatorship of the three most influential Roman 
generals who divided the power among themselves. The first Triumvirate consisted of Pompey, Caesar and Crassus; and the 
second. Octavian, Antony and Lepidus, The Triumvirate represented a stage in the struggle for the liquidation of the Roman 
Republic and the formation of an absolute monarchy. They widely employed the method of physical extermination of their 
opponents. Upon the fall of the two Triumvirates, sanguinary, internecine civil war ensued, [p. 94] 

[99] Journal de Paris — a weekly which appeared in Paris from 1867. It supported the monarchist Orleanists. [p. 95] 

[ioo] ^ ese tw0 p assa g es were quoted from an article by the French publicist Edouard Herve, published in Journal de Paris, No. 
138, May 31, 1871. For the quotation from Tacitus, see Tacitus' History, Book III, Chapter 83. [p. 95] 

[101] In August 1814 during the Anglo-American war, the British troops occupied Washington and burned the Capitol (the 
Congress hall), the White House and other public buildings. 

In October 1860 in the colonial war waged by Britain and France against China, the Anglo-French troops plundered and burned 
the Yuan Ming Yuan Palace near Peking, which was a rich treasure of architecture and art. [p.96] 

[102] Praetorians - the name used in ancient Rome to describe the privileged private guards of the generals or the emperor. At the 
time of the Roman Empire, Praetorians constantly took part in internal strifes and often placed their own nominees on the throne. 
Later the word "praetorians" became a synonym for mercenaries and those who committed outrages and carried out the arbitrary 
rule of military cliques, [p.98] 

[103] By the "Prussian Chambre introuvable " — analogous to the extremely reactionary French Chambre introuvable of 1815-16 — 
Marx meant the Prussian Parliament elected in January-February 1849 according to the Constitution granted by the Prussian king 
on December 5, 1848, the day of the counter-revolutionary coup d'etat. According to the Constitution, the Parliament was 
composed of the House of Lords of the privileged aristocrats arnd the Lower House. Only "independent Prussians" were allowed to 
take part in the elections to the Lower House, thereby ensuring the dominance of the Junker-burceaucrats and Right-wing bourgeois 
elements in it. Bismarck, who was elected to the Lower House, was a leader of the extreme Right-wing group of Junkers, [p. 99] 

page 281 

[104] The Daily News - a liberal paper and mouthpiece of the British industrial bourgeoisie, published from 1846 to 1930 in 
London, [p. 104] 

[105] Le Temps — a conservative daily, organ of the French big bourgeoisie; published in Paris from 1861 to 1943. It opposed the 
Second Empire and its war against Prussia. After the collapse of the Second Empire it supported the Government of National 
Defence, [p. 104] 

[106] The Evening Standard — published in London between 1857 and 1905, used to be the evening edition of The Standard a daily 
paper of the British Conservatives, which was founded in London in 1827. [p. 105] 

[107] The statement was drawn up by Marx and Engels for the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on 
Jules Favre's circular of June 6, 1871. It was included in the second and third English editions of The Civil War in France and in 
the German editions of 1871, 1876 and 1891. It was also published separately in many newspapers. (See Marx and Engels, Works, 
Ger. ed., Vol. XVII, pp. 367-68.) [p. 105] 

[108] See Marx and Engels, Works, Ger. ed., Vol. XVI, p. 14. [p. 105] 

[109] rpj^ re f ers t0 ^g c i rcu i ar drafted by Marx, "The International Working Men's Association and the Alliance of Socialist 
Democracy" (see Marx and Engels, Works, Ger. ed., Vol. XVI, pp. 359-41). [p.106] 

[110] The Spectator — a British liberal weekly, which began to appear in London in 1828. [p. 107]