Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 
 

TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

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1800 - 1899
 
 
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CONTENTS
  BACK-1870 Part IV NEXT-1871 Part II    
 
 
     
An Unfortunate Experiment
1870 - 1879
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870-1879
History at a Glance
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part I
Alfonso XII
Leopold of Hohenzollern
"Ems Telegram"
Franco-Prussian War
BATTLE OF SEDAN
Lenin Vladimir
Vladimir Lenin
Smuts Jan
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part II
Adler Alfred
Keble College
Papal infallibility
Ludwig Anzengruber: "Der Pfarrer von Kirchfeld"
Bunin Ivan
Disraeli: "Lothair"
Kuprin Aleksandr
Ivan Goncharov: "The Precipice"
Jules Verne: "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part III
Barlach Ernst
Ernst Barlach
Corot: "La perle"
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: "Beata Beatrix"
Borisov-Musatov Victor
Victor Borisov-Musatov
Benois Alexandre
Alexandre Benois
Denis Maurice
Maurice Denis
Soldiers and Exiles
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Delibes: "Coppelia"
Tchaikovsky: "Romeo and Juliet"
Wagner: "Die Walkure"
Lehar Franz
Franz Lehar - Medley
Franz Lehar
Balfe Michael
Michael Balfe - "The Bohemian Girl"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1870 Part IV
Biogenesis
Przhevalsky Nikolai
Peaks and Plateaus
Johnson Allen
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club
Luxemburg Rosa
Standard Oil Company
Lauder Harry
Lloyd Marie
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part I
Siege of Paris
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Frankfurt
Paris Commune
Treaty of Washington
Law of Guarantees
British North America Act, 1871
"Kulturkampf"
Ebert Friedrich
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part II
Old Catholics
Charles Darwin: "The Descent of Man"
Jehovah's Witnesses
Russell Charles Taze
John Ruskin: "Fors Clavigera"
Lewis Carroll: "Through the Looking Glass"
Crane Stephen
Dreiser Theodore
George Eliot: "Middlemarch"
Mann Heinrich
Morgenstern Christian
Ostrovsky: "The Forest"
Proust Marcel
Valery Paul
Zola: "Les Rougon-Macquart"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part III
Gabriele Rossetti: "The Dream of Dante"
White Clarence
History of photography
Clarence White
Rouault Georges
Georges Rouault
Feininger Lyonel
Lyonel Feininger
Balla Giacomo
Giacomo Balla
Sloan John
John Sloan
The 'Terror'of the Commune
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Royal Albert Hall
"The Internationale"
Verdi: "Aida"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1871 Part IV
Schweinfurth Georg August
Quotations by Georg August Schweinfurth
Stanley Henry
Henry Morton Stanley
Further Exploration of the Nile
Heinrich Schliemann begins to excavate Troy
Ingersoll Simon
Rutherford Ernest
The Industrialization of War
The Industrialization of War
Bank Holiday
Great Chicago Fire
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part I
Third Carlist War
Carlist Wars
Burgers Thomas Francois
Ballot Act 1872
Amnesty Act of 1872
Blum Leon
Coolidge Calvin
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part II
Russell Bertrand
Klages Ludwig
Beerbohm Max
Samuel Butler: "Erewhon, or Over the Range"
Alphonse Daudet: "Aventures prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon"
Alphonse Daudet
"Tartarin de Tarascon"
Diaghilev Sergei
Duse Eleonora
Thomas Hardy: "Under the Greenwood Tree"
Turgenev: "A Month in the Country"
Jules Verne: "Around the World in 80 Days"
Lever Charles
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part III
Bocklin: "Self-Portrait with Death"
Whistler: "The Artist's Mother"
Mondrian Piet
Piet Mondrian
Beardsley Aubrey
Aubrey Beardsley
The Rise of Durand-Ruel
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Scriabin Alexander
Scriabin - Etudes
Alexander Scriabin
Williams Vaughan
Williams - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Vaughan Williams
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1872 Part IV
Bleriot Louis
Tide-predicting machine
Westinghouse George
Elias Ney
Hague Congress
Scotland v England (1872)
Scott Charles Prestwich
Nansen Ski Club
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part I
First Spanish Republic
Mac-Mahon Patrice
Financial Panic of 1873
League of the Three Emperors
Bengal famine of 1873–1874
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part II
Moore G. E.
Barbusse Henri
Ford Madox Ford
Maurier Gerald
Reinhardt Max
Rimbaud: "Une Saison en enfer"
Tolstoi: "Anna Karenina"
Bryusov Valery
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part III
Cezanne: "A Modern Olympia"
Gulbransson Olaf
Manet: "Le bon Bock"
Gathering of the Future Impressionists
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bruckner: Symphony No. 2
Carl Rosa Opera Company
Caruso Enrico
Enrico Caruso - Pagliacci No!
The greatest opera singers
Enrico Caruso
Chaliapin Feodor
Feodor Chaliapin - "Black Eyes"
The greatest opera singers
Feodor Chaliapin
Reger Max
Max Reger - Piano Concerto in F-minor
Max Reger
Rachmaninoff Sergei
Rachmaninoff plays Piano Concerto 2
Sergei Rachmaninov
Rimsky-Korsakov: "The Maid of Pskov"
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2
Slezak Leo
Leo Slezak "Wenn ich vergnugt bin" 
The greatest opera singers
Leo Slezak
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1873 Part IV
James Clerk Maxwell: "Electricity and Magnetism"
Euler-Chelpin Hans
Frobenius Leo
Payer Julius
Weyprecht Karl
Franz Josef Land
Cameron Verney Lovett
E. Remington and Sons
Remington Eliphalet
Hansen Gerhard Armauer
World Exposition 1873 Vienna
Wingfield Walter Clopton
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part I
Anglo-Ashanti Wars (1823-1900)
Brooks–Baxter War
Swiss constitutional referendum, 1874
Colony of Fiji
Hoover Herbert
Weizmann Chaim
Churchill Winston
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part II
Berdyaev Nikolai
Cassirer Ernst
Chesterton Gilbert
G.K. Chesterton quotes
G.K. Chesterton 
Flaubert: "La Tentation de Saint Antoine"
Frost Robert
Robert Frost
"Poems"
Thomas Hardy: "Far from the Madding Crowd"
Hofmannsthal Hugo
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
"Poems"
Victor Hugo: "Ninety-Three"
Maugham Somerset
Stein Gertrude
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part III
Roerich Nicholas
Nicholas Roerich
Max Liebermann: "Market Scene"
Renoir: "La Loge"
The Birth of Impressionism
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Schmidt Franz
Franz Schmidt "Intermezzo" Notre Dame
Franz Schmidt
Schoenberg Arnold
Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht
Arnold Schoenberg
Holst Gustav
Gustav Holst - Venus
Gustav Holst
Ives Charles
Charles Ives - Symphony 3
Charles Ives
Moussorgsky "Boris Godunov"
Johann Strauss II: "Die Fledermaus"
Verdi: "Requiem"
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1874 Part IV
Bosch Carl
Marconi Guglielmo
Curtius Ernst
Shackleton Ernest
Stanley: Expedition to the Congo and Nile
Still Andrew Taylor
Bunker Chang and Eng
Universal Postal Union
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Gerry Elbridge Thomas
Outerbridge Mary Ewing
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1875 Part I
Guangxu Emperor
Herzegovina Uprising of 1875–77
Public Health Act 1875
Congregations Law of 1875
Theosophical Society
Jung Carl
Congregations Law of 1875
Buchan John
Deledda Grazia
Mann Thomas
Rejane Gabrielle
Rilke Rainer Maria
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1875 Part II
Bouguereau William-Adolphe
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Monet: "Woman with a Parasol"
An Unfortunate Experiment
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Bizet: "Carmen"
Brull Ignaz
Ignaz Brull - Das goldene Kreuz
Coleridge-Taylor Samuel
Coleridge Taylor Samuel - Violin Concerto
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Karl Goldmark: "Die Konigin von Saba"
Ravel Maurice
Ravel - Rapsodie espagnole
Maurice Ravel
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.1
Boisbaudran Lecoq
Gallium
Schweitzer Albert
Webb Matthew
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1876 Part I
Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876
Ethio-Egyptian War
April Uprising
Batak massacre
Murad V
Abdulhamid II
Serbian–Ottoman War (1876–78)
Montenegrin–Ottoman War (1876–78)
Colorado
Tilden Samuel Jones
Hayes Rutherford Birchard
Ottoman constitution of 1876
Groselle Hilarion Daza
Adenauer Konrad
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1876 Part II
Bradley Francis Herbert
Trevelyan George Macaulay
Pius XII
Felix Dahn: "Ein Kampf um Rom"
London Jack
Mallarme: "L'Apres-Midi d'un faune"
Mark Twain: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"
Modersohn-Becker Paula
Paula Modersohn-Becker
Renoir: "Le Moulin de la Galette"
THE SECOND IMPRESSIONIST EXHIBITION
Impressionism Timeline
(1863-1899)
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1876 Part III
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Casals Pablo
Leo Delibes: "Sylvia"
Falla Manuel
Manuel de Falla - Spanish dance
Manuel de Falla
Ponchielli: "La Gioconda"
Wagner: "Siegfried"
Walter Bruno
Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari - "Intermezzo"
Alexander Bell invents the telephone
Johns Hopkins University
Hopkins Johns
Bacillus anthracis
Macleod John James Rickard
Brockway Zebulon Reed
Centennial International Exhibition of 1876
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1877 Part I
Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78
Siege of Plevna
Satsuma Rebellion
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1877 Part II
Granville-Barker Harley
Hesse Hermann
Hermann Hesse
"Siddhartha"
Ibsen: "The Pillars of Society"
Henry James: "The American"
Zola: "L'Assommoir"
Praxiteles: "Hermes"
Dufy Raoul
Raoul Dufy
Winslow Homer: "The Cotton Pickers"
Kubin Alfred
Alfred Kubin
Manet: "Nana"
THE THIRD IMPRESSIONIST EXHIBITION
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1877 Part III
Brahms: Symphony No. 2
Dohnanyi Ernst
Erno Dohnanyi - Piano Concerto No. 1
Camille Saint-Saens: "Samson et Delila"
Tchaikovsky: "Francesca da Rimini"
Ruffo Titta
Titta Ruffo: Di Provenza
Aston Francis William
Barkla Charles
Cailletet Louis-Paul
Pictet Raoul-Pierre
Liquid oxygen
Schiaparelli observes Mars' canals
Martian canal
German patent law
Madras famine of 1877
Maginot Andre
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part I
Umberto I
Ten Years War 1868-1878
Battle of Shipka Pass
Jingoism
Epirus Revolt of 1878
Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of Berlin 1878
Anti-Socialist Laws
Italian irredentism
Stresemann Gustav
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part II
Buber Martin
Leo XIII
Romanes George John
Treitschke Heinrich
Stoecker Adolf
Christian Social Party
Thomas Hardy: "The Return of the Native"
Kaiser Georg
Masefield John
Sandburg Carl
Sinclair Upton
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part III
Malevich Kazimir
Kazimir Malevich
Kustodiev Boris
Boris Kustodiev
Petrov-Vodkin Kuzma
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin
Multiple Disappointments
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Ambros August Wilhelm
Boughton Rutland
Boughton: The Queen of Cornwall
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1878 Part IV
Mannlicher Ferdinand Ritter
Pope Albert Augustus
Watson John
Blunt and Lady Anne traveled in Arabia
Blunt Anne
Benz Karl
New Scotland Yard
Deutscher Fussballverein, Hanover
Paris World Exhibition 1878
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1879 Part I
Anglo-Zulu War
Alexander of Battenberg
Second Anglo–Afghan War (1878-1880)
Treaty of Gandamak
Tewfik Pasha
Alsace-Lorraine
Stalin Joseph
Joseph Stalin
Trotsky Leon
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1879 Part II
Beveridge William
Henry George: "Progress and Poverty"
Giffen Robert
Forster Edward Morgan
Ibsen: "A Doll's House"
Henry James: "Daisy Miller"
Meredith: "The Egoist"
Stevenson: "Travels with a Donkey"
Strindberg: "The Red Room"
Valera Juan
 
YEAR BY YEAR:
1879 Part III
Picabia Francis
Francis Picabia
Steichen Edward Jean
Edward Steichen
Cameron Julia Margaret
Cameron Julia
Klee Paul
Paul Klee
Renoir: "Mme. Charpentier"
THE FOURTH IMPRESSIONIST EXHIRITION
Impressionism Timeline (1863-1899)
Suppe: "Boccaccio"
Tchaikovsky: "Eugene Onegin"
Respighi Ottorino
Respighi - Three Botticelli Pictures
Ottorino Respighi
Bridge Frank
Frank Bridge - The Sea
Einstein Albert
Albert Einstein
Aitken Maxwell
 
 
 

A barricade on Place Blanche during Bloody Week, whose defenders included Louise Michel and a unit of 30 women
 
 
 
 
 HISTORY, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, ART, LITERATURE, MUSIC, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, DAILY LIFE
 
 
 
 
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
 
 
 
1871 Part I
 
 
 
1871
 
 
William I, King of Prussia, proclaimed German Emperor at Versailles;
Paris capitulates;
France signs armistice;
French National Assembly meets at Bordeaux;
preliminary peace between Germany and France is followed by Peace of Frankfurt, by which France cedes Alsace-Lorraine to Germany and pays indemnity of five billion francs
 
 
see also:
French legislative election, 1869
 
Franco-Prussian War (19 July 1870 – 10 May 1871)
 
William I
 
 
Siege of Paris
 

The Siege of Paris, lasting from 19 September 1870 to 28 January 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces, led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune.

 
Background
As early as August 1870 the Prussian 3rd Army led by Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia (the future Emperor Frederick III) had been marching towards Paris, but was recalled to deal with French forces accompanied by Napoleon III. These forces were crushed at the Battle of Sedan, and the road to Paris was left open. Personally leading the Prussian forces, King William I of Prussia, along with his chief of staff Helmuth von Moltke, took the 3rd Army and the new Prussian Army of the Meuse under Crown Prince Albert of Saxony, and marched on Paris virtually unopposed. In Paris the Governor and commander-in-chief of the city's defenses, General Louis Jules Trochu, assembled a force of regular soldiers who had managed to escape from Sedan under Joseph Vinoy, together with the National Guards and a brigade of naval seamen which totalled around 400,000 personnel.
 
 

The Siege of Paris by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier.
 
 
Siege
The German armies quickly reached Paris, and on 15 September Moltke issued orders for the investment of the city. Crown Prince Albert's army closed in on Paris from the north unopposed, while Crown Prince Frederick moved in from the south. On 17 September a force under Vinoy attacked Frederick's army near Villeneuve-Saint-Georges in an effort to save a supply depot there, but it was eventually driven back by artillery fire. The railroad to Orléans was cut, and on the 18th Versailles was taken, and then served as the 3rd Army's and eventually Wilhelm's headquarters. By 19 September the encirclement was complete, and the siege officially began. Responsible for the direction of the siege was General (later Field Marshal) von Blumenthal.

Prussia's prime minister Otto von Bismarck suggested shelling Paris to ensure the city's quick surrender and render all French efforts to free the city pointless, but the German high command, headed by the king of Prussia, turned down the proposal on the insistence of General von Blumenthal, on the grounds that a bombardment would affect civilians, violate the rules of engagement, and turn the opinion of third parties against the Germans, without speeding up the final victory. It was also contended that a quick French surrender would leave the new French armies undefeated and allow France to renew the war shortly after. The new French armies would have to be annihilated first, and Paris would have to be starved into surrender.

 
 
Trochu had little faith in the ability of the National Guards, which made up half the force defending the city. So instead of making any significant attempt to prevent the investment by the Germans, Trochu hoped that Moltke would attempt to take the city by storm, and the French could then rely on the city's defenses. These consisted of the 33 km (21 mi) Thiers wall and a ring of sixteen detached forts, all of which had been built in the 1840s. Moltke never had any intention of attacking the city and this became clear shortly after the siege began. Trochu changed his plan and allowed Vinoy to make a demonstration against the Prussians west of the Seine. On 30 September Vinoy attacked Chevilly with 20,000 soldiers and was soundly repulsed by the 3rd Army. Then on 13 October the II Bavarian Corps was driven from Châtillon but the French were forced to retire in face of Prussian artillery.

General Carey de Bellemare commanded the strongest fortress north of Paris at Saint Denis. On 29 October de Bellemare attacked the Prussian Guard at Le Bourget without orders, and took the town. The Guard actually had little interest in recapturing their positions at Le Bourget, but Crown Prince Albert ordered the city retaken anyway.
In the battle of Le Bourget the Prussian Guards succeeded in retaking the city and captured 1,200 French. Upon hearing of the French surrender at Metz and the defeat at Le Bourget, morale in Paris began to sink. The people of Paris were beginning to suffer from the effects of the German blockade. Hoping to boost morale Trochu launched the largest attack from Paris on November 30 even though he had little hope of achieving a breakthrough.
 
"The War: Defence of Paris—Students Going to Man the Fortifications". From the Illustrated London News of 1 October 1870. Perhaps one of the more iconic scenes from the Franco-Prussian War.
 
 
Nevertheless, he sent Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot with 80,000 soldiers against the Prussians at Champigny, Créteil and Villiers. In what became known as the battle of Villiers the French succeeded in capturing and holding a position at Créteil and Champigny. By 2 December the Württemberg Corps had driven Ducrot back into the defenses and the battle was over by 3 December.

On 19 January a final breakout attempt was aimed at the Château of Buzenval in Rueil-Malmaison near the Prussian Headquarters, west of Paris. The Crown Prince easily repulsed the attack inflicting over 4,000 casualties while suffering just over 600 himself. Trochu resigned as governor and left General Joseph Vinoy with 146,000 defenders.

During the winter, tensions began to arise in the Prussian high command. Field-Marshal Helmuth von Moltke and General Leonhard, Count von Blumenthal who commanded the siege (seen in the illustration on this page behind Bismarck's right shoulder) were primarily concerned with a methodical siege that would destroy the detached forts around the city and slowly strangle the defending forces with a minimum of German casualties.

But as time wore on, there was growing concern that a prolonged war was placing too much strain on the German economy and that an extended siege would convince the French Government of National Defense that Prussia could still be beaten. A prolonged campaign would also allow France time to reconstitute a new army and convince neutral powers to enter the war against Prussia. To Bismarck, Paris was the key to breaking the power of the intransigent republican leaders of France, ending the war in a timely manner, and securing peace terms favourable to Prussia. Moltke was also worried that insufficient winter supplies were reaching the German armies investing the city, as diseases such as tuberculosis were breaking out amongst the besieging soldiers. In addition, the siege operations competed with the demands of the ongoing Loire Campaign against the remaining French field armies.

In January, on Bismarck's advice, the Germans fired some 12,000 shells into the city over 23 nights in an attempt to break Parisian morale. About 400 perished or were wounded by the bombardment, which "had little effect on the spirit of resistance in Paris." Delescluze declared, "The Frenchmen of 1870 are the sons of those Gauls for whom battles were holidays." Due to a severe shortage of food, Parisians were forced to slaughter whatever animals at hand. Rats, dogs, cats, and horses were regular fare on restaurant menus. Even Castor and Pollux, the only pair of elephants in Paris, were not spared.

 
 
A Latin Quarter menu contemporary with the siege reads in part:

* Consommé de cheval au millet. (horse)
* Brochettes de foie de chien à la maître d'hôtel. (dog)
* Emincé de rable de chat. Sauce mayonnaise. (cat)
* Epaules et filets de chien braisés. Sauce aux tomates. (dog)
* Civet de chat aux champignons. (cat)
* Côtelettes de chien aux petits pois. (dog)
* Salamis de rats. Sauce Robert. (rats)
* Gigots de chien flanqués de ratons. Sauce poivrade. (dog, rats)
* Begonias au jus. (flowers)
* Plum-pudding au rhum et à la Moelle de Cheval. (horse)

Air medical transport is often stated to have first occurred in 1870 during the Siege of Paris when 160 wounded French soldiers were evacuated from the city by hot-air balloon, but this myth has been definitively disproven by full review of the crew and passenger records of each balloon which left Paris during the siege.

During the siege, the only head of diplomatic mission from a major power who remained in Paris was United States Minister to France, Elihu B. Washburne. As a representative of a neutral country, Washburne was able to play a unique role in the conflict, becoming one of the few channels of communication into and out of the city for much of the siege. He also led the way in providing humanitarian relief to foreign nationals, including ethnic Germans.

On 25 January 1871, Wilhelm I overruled Moltke and ordered the field-marshal to consult with Bismarck for all future operations.

 
The Dove by Puvis de Chavannes. The companion painting in the Musée d'Orsay depicts a balloon.
 
 
Bismarck immediately ordered the city to be bombarded with large-caliber Krupp siege guns. This prompted the city's surrender on 28 January 1871. Paris sustained more damage in the 1870–1871 siege than in any other conflict.

The Prussian Army held a brief victory parade in Paris on 17 February 1871 and Bismarck honored the armistice by sending train-loads of food into Paris and withdrawing Prussian forces to the east of the city, to be withdrawn from there as well as soon as France paid the agreed war indemnity.

 
 

Balloons escaped from the Siege of Paris
 
 
Mail service by balloon and pigeon
Balloon mail was the only means by which communications from the besieged city could reach the rest of France. The use of balloons to carry mail was first proposed by the photographer and balloonist Felix Nadar, who had established the grandiosely titled No. 1 Compagnie des Aérostatiers, with a single balloon, the Neptune, at its disposal, to perform tethered ascents for observation purposes. However the Prussian encirclement of the city made this pointless, and on 17 September Nadar wrote to the Council for the Defence of Paris proposing the use of balloons for communication with the outside world: a similar proposal had also been made by the balloonist Eugène Godard.

The first balloon launch was carried out on 23 September, using the Neptune, and carried 125 kg (276 lb) of mail in addition to the pilot. After a three-hour flight it landed at Craconville 83 km (52 mi) from Paris. Following this success a regular mail service was established, with a rate of 20 centimes per letter. Two workshops to manufacture balloons were set up, one under the direction of Nadar in the Elysềe-Montmartre dance-hall (later moved to the Gare du Nord), and the other under the direction of Godard in the Gare d'Orleans. Around 66 balloon flights were made, including one that accidentally set a world distance record by ending up in Norway. The vast majority of these succeeded: only five were captured by the Prussians, and three went missing, presumably coming down in the Atlantic or Irish Sea. The number of letters carried has been estimated at around 2.5 million.

 
 

The departure of Leon Gambetta
 
 
Some balloons also carried passengers in addition to the cargo of mail, most notably Léon Gambetta, the minister for War in the new government, who was flown out of Paris on 7 October. The balloons also carried homing pigeons out of Paris to be used for a pigeon post. This was the only means by which communications from the rest of France could reach the besieged city. A specially laid telegraph cable on the bed of the Seine had been discovered and cut by the Prussians on 27 September, couriers attempting to make their way through the German lines were almost all intercepted and although other methods were tried including attempts to use balloons, dogs and message canisters floated down the Seine, these were all unsuccessful. The pigeons were taken to their base, first at Tours and later at Poitiers, and when they had been fed and rested were ready for the return journey. Tours lies some 200 km from Paris and Poitiers some 300 km. Before release, they were loaded with their dispatches. Initially the pigeon post was only used for official communications but on 4 November the government announced that members of the public could send messages, these being limited to twenty words at a charge of 50 centimes per word.

These were then copied onto sheets of cardboard and photographed by a M. Barreswille, a photographer based in Tours. Each sheet contained 150 messages and was reproduced as a print about 40 x 55 mm (1.5 x 2.25 in) in size: each pigeon could carry nine of these. The photographic process was further refined by René Dagron to allow more to be carried: Dagon, with his equipment, was flown out of Paris on 12 November in the aptly named Niépce, narrowly escaping capture by the Prussians. The photographic process allowed multiple copies of the messages to be sent, so that although only 57 of the 360 pigeons released reached Paris more than 60,000 of the 95,000 messages sent were delivered. (some sources give a considerably higher figure of around 150,000 official and 1 million private communications, but this figure is arrived at by counting all copies of each message.)

 
 

On 18 January 1871 the German Empire is proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles, painted by Anton von Werner.
 
 
Aftermath
After the Prussians had secured victory in war Wilhelm I was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 at the Palace of Versailles. The kingdoms of Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, the states of Baden and Hesse, and the free cities of Hamburg and Bremen were unified with the North German Confederation to create the German Empire. The preliminary peace treaty was signed at Versailles and the final peace treaty, the Treaty of Frankfurt was signed on 10 May 1871. Otto von Bismarck was able to secure Alsace-Lorraine as part of the German Empire.

Another stipulation of the treaty was that a German garrison was left in Paris. This continued presence of German troops angered Parisian residents. Further resentment arose against the current French government and from April–May 1871 Paris workers and National Guards rebelled and established the Paris Commune.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
Treaty of Versailles
 

The Treaty of Versailles of 1871 ended the Franco-Prussian War and was signed by Adolphe Thiers, of the French Third Republic, and Otto von Bismarck, of the German Empire on 26 February 1871. This was a preliminary treaty used to solidify the initial armistice of 28 January 1871 between the two states. It was later ratified by the Treaty of Frankfurt on 10 May of the same year. The 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt made the decline of France obvious to the rest of the continent, and at the same time demonstrated the strength of a unified German empire.

 
Paris's governing body, the Government of National Defense, initiated the armistice by surrendering to the Germans after the siege of Paris. Jules Favre, a prominent French politician, met with Otto von Bismarck in Versailles to sign the armistice to be put into effect 28 January 1871. Adolphe Thiers then emerged as the new French leader as the country began reconstructing its government.
 
 
Disruption of the French government
In the first seven weeks of the Franco-Prussian War (July 15th 1870 to September 2nd), German forces experienced several great military successes against the struggling French government, including the capture of the current French emperor, Louis Napoleon of the French Second Empire, at the Battle of Sedan. This caused the collapse of Louis Napoleon's empire, which was replaced by the French Republic of National Defense (subsequently renamed the Third Republic) in 1870. The Government of National Defense served as an interim governing body before the Third Republic could hold elections, and received unfavorable responses from Parisians as it was unable to break the siege. Statesmen evacuated to establish offices in Bordeaux and Tours, which left French government officials unable to communicate, further upsetting the structure of the state and weakening the government.

German Unification
While the French government deteriorated, Bismarck succeeded in achieving German Unification on January 18, 1871 creating the German Empire. King Wilhelm I of Prussia was declared Kaiser of the newly created empire in the Hall of Mirrors in the Versailles Palace. The new German command structure wanted to sign a peace treaty to gain France's colonial possessions; however, Bismarck opted for an immediate truce as his primary reason for war, German unification, had already been accomplished. He was concerned that further violence would render more German casualties and draw French resentment. He was also wary of drawing attention from other European nations, fearing that they might be moved to intervene if the new German state appeared power-hungry. Both sides were eager to sign a treaty by the beginning of February 1871.

 
Scan from the Imperial Law Gazette of Germany, 1871
 
 
Provisions of the treaty
The terms of the treaty included a war indemnity of five billion francs to be paid by France to Germany. The German army would continue to occupy parts of France until the payment was complete. The treaty also recognized Wilhelm I as the Kaiser of the newly united German Empire. Preliminary discussion began on the cession of Alsace and the Moselle region of Lorraine, to Germany. Despite Bismarck's objections, Moltke and his generals insisted that the territory was necessary as a defensive barrier. Bismarck opposed the annexation because he did not wish to make Germany a permanent enemy of France. The portion annexed of Alsace-Lorraine was later slightly reduced at the Treaty of Frankfurt, allowing France to retain the Territory of Belfort.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
Treaty of Frankfurt
 

The Treaty of Frankfurt (French: Le traité de Francfort; German: Friede von Frankfurt) was a peace treaty signed in Frankfurt on 10 May 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War.

 

Summary
The treaty did the following:

-Established the frontier between the French Third Republic and the German Empire, which involved the ceding of 1,694 villages and cities under French control to Germany in:
-Alsace: the French departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, except for the city of Belfort and its territory;
-Lorraine: the French department of Moselle, one-third of the department of Meurthe, including the cities of Château-Salins and Sarrebourg, and the arrondissements Saales and Schirmeck in the department of Vosges.
Ceded areas.

-Gave residents of the Alsace-Lorraine region until 1 October 1872 to decide between keeping their French nationality and emigrating, or remaining in the region and becoming German citizens.
-Set a framework for the withdrawal of German troops from certain areas.
-Regulated the payment of France's war indemnity of five billion francs (due within five years).
-Recognized the acceptance of Wilhelm I of Prussia as German Emperor.
-Required military occupation in parts of France until the indemnity was paid (to the surprise of Germany, the French paid the indemnity quickly).

The treaty also established the terms for the following:

-The use of navigable waterways in connection to Alsace-Lorraine
-Trade between the two countries
-The return of prisoners of war

 
Factors that influenced the boundary

Strategy

The German military spoke up for control of the Alsace region, up to the Vosges (mountain range) and the area between Thionville (Diedenhofen) and Metz as a requirement for the protection of Germany. Most importantly, the German military regarded control of the route between Thionville and Metz as the most important area of control if there were ever to be a future war with France.

Politics
Without a westward shift in the boundary the new empire's frontier with France would have been largely divided between the states of Baden and Bavaria, whose governments were less than enthusiastic with the prospect of having a vengeful France on their doorstep. It also would have necessitated the stationing of substantial Imperial forces within these states' borders, possibly compromising their ability to exercise the considerable autonomy the southern states were able to maintain in the unification treaty. A shift in the frontier alleviated these issues.

Nationalism
The new political border largely (though not entirely) followed the linguistic border. The fact that the majority of the population in the new Imperial Territory (Reichsland) territory spoke Germanic dialects allowed Berlin to justify the annexation on nationalistic grounds.

 
Der Vertrag und die Feder mit der Bismarck den Vertrag unterschrieb
 
 
Economy
Natural resources in Alsace-Lorraine (iron-ore, and coal) do not appear to have played a role in Germany's fight for the areas annexed. Military annexation was the main stated goal along with unification of the German people. At the same time, France lost 1,447,000 hectares, 1,694 villages and 1,597,000 inhabitants. It also lost 20% of its mining and steel potential. The treaty of trade of 1862 with Prussia was not renewed but France granted Germany, for trade and navigation, a most-favoured nation clause. France would respect the clauses of the Treaty of Frankfurt in their entirety until 1914.

Legacy
This treaty polarized French policy towards Germany for the next 40 years. The reconquest of Alsace-Lorraine, the "lost provinces," became an obsession characterized by a revanchism which would be one of the most powerful motives in France's involvement in World War I.

In 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson addressed the issue as Point 8 in his Fourteen Points speech, expressing the will of the United States to the restitution of the region to France. Thus Alsace-Lorraine returned to the French Republic under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. The Germans accepted to surrender under the term of the American proposal.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
1871
 
 
Paris Commune
 

The Paris Commune was a radical socialist and revolutionary government that ruled Paris from 18 March to 28 May 1871. Following the defeat of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870, the French Second Empire swiftly collapsed. In its stead rose a Third Republic at war with Prussia, who subjected Paris to a brutal four-month siege. A hotbed of working-class radicalism, during this time France's capital was primarily defended not by the regular French Army, but by the often politicized and radical troops of National Guard. In February 1871 Adolphe Thiers, the new chief executive of the French national government, signed an armistice with Prussia that disarmed the Army but not the National Guard.

 
The killing of two French army generals by soldiers of the Commune's National Guard and the refusal of the Commune to accept the authority of the French government led to its harsh suppression by the regular French Army in "La semaine sanglante" ("The Bloody Week") beginning on 21 May 1871. Debates over the policies and outcome of the Commune had significant influence on the ideas of Karl Marx, who described it as an example of the "dictatorship of the proletariat".
 
 
Prelude
On 2 September 1870, after France's unexpected defeat at the Battle of Sedan in the Franco-Prussian War, Emperor Napoleon III surrendered to the Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. When the news reached Paris the next day, shocked and angry crowds came out into the streets. Empress Eugénie de Montijo, the Emperor's regent, fled the city, and the Government of the Second Empire swiftly collapsed. Republican and radical deputies of the National Assembly went to the Hôtel de Ville, proclaimed the new French Republic, and formed a Government of National Defense. Though the Emperor and the French Army had been defeated at Sedan, the war continued. The German army marched swiftly toward Paris.
 
 
Demographics
In 1871 France was deeply divided between the large rural, Catholic and conservative population of the French countryside and the more republican and radical cities of Paris, Marseille, Lyon and a few others.

In the first round of the 1869 parliamentary elections held under the French Empire, 4,438,000 had voted for the Bonapartist candidates supporting Louis Napoleon III, while 3,350,000 had voted for the republican opposition. In Paris, however, the republican candidates dominated, winning 234,000 votes against 77,000 for the Bonapartists.

Of the two million people in Paris in 1869, according to the official census, there were about 500,000 industrial workers, or fifteen percent of all the industrial workers in France, plus another 300,000-400,000 workers in other enterprises.

Only about 40,000 were employed in factories and large enterprises; most were employed in small industries in textiles, furniture and construction.
There were also 115,000 servants and 45,000 concierges.

In addition to the native French population, there were about one hundred thousand immigrant workers and political refugees, the largest number being from Italy and Poland.

During the war and the siege of Paris, various members of the middle- and upper-classes departed the city; at the same time there was an influx of refugees from parts of France occupied by the Germans.

The working class and immigrants suffered the most from the lack of industrial activity due to the war and the siege; they formed the bedrock of the Commune's popular support.

  Radicalization of the Paris workers
The Commune resulted in part from growing discontent among the Paris workers. This discontent can be traced to the first worker uprisings, the Canut Revolts, in Lyon and Paris in the 1830s (a Canut was a Lyonnais silk worker, often working on Jacquard looms). Many Parisians, especially workers and the lower-middle classes, supported a democratic republic. A specific demand was that Paris should be self-governing with its own elected council, something enjoyed by smaller French towns but denied to Paris by a national government wary of the capital's unruly populace. They also wanted a more "just" way of managing the economy, if not necessarily socialist, summed up in the popular appeal for "la république démocratique et sociale!" ("the democratic and social republic!").

Socialist movements, such as the First International, had been growing in influence. Hundreds of societies affiliated to it across France. In early 1867, Parisian employers of bronze-workers attempted to de-unionize their workers. This was defeated by a strike organized by the International. Later in 1867, an illegal public demonstration in Paris was answered by the legal dissolution of its executive committee and the leadership being fined. Tensions escalated: Internationalists elected a new committee and put forth a more radical programme, the authorities imprisoned their leaders, and a more revolutionary perspective was taken to the International's 1868 Brussels Congress. The International had considerable influence even among unaffiliated French workers, particularly in Paris and the big towns.

The killing of journalist Victor Noir incensed Parisians, and the arrests of journalists critical of the Emperor did nothing to quiet the city. A coup was attempted in early 1870, but tensions eased significantly after the plebiscite in May. The war with Prussia, initiated by Napoleon III in July, was initially met with patriotic fervour.

 
 
Radicals and revolutionaries
Paris is the traditional home of French radical movements. Revolutionaries had gone into the streets to oppose their governments during the 1789 French Revolution, the popular uprisings of July 1830 and June 1848; all were violently repressed by the government.

Of the radical and revolutionary groups in Paris at the time of the Commune, the most conservative were the "radical republicans". This group included the young doctor and future Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, who was a member of the National Assembly and Mayor of the 18th arrondissement. Clemenceau tried to negotiate a compromise between the Commune and the government, but neither side trusted him; he was considered extremely radical by the provincial deputies of rural France, but too moderate by the leaders of the Commune. He became the Prime Minister of France during the last years of the First World War, and signed the peace treaty that restored Alsace and Lorraine to France. The most extreme revolutionaries in Paris were the followers of Louis Auguste Blanqui, a charismatic professional revolutionary who had spent most of his adult life in prison. He had about a thousand followers, many of them armed and organized into cells of ten persons each. Each cell operated independently and was unaware of the members of the other groups, communicating only with their leaders by code. Blanqui had written a manual on revolution, Instructions for an Armed Uprising, to give guidance to his followers. Though their numbers were small, the Blanquists provided many of the most disciplined soldiers and several of the senior leaders of the Commune.

 
Louis Auguste Blanqui, leader of the Commune's far-left faction, was imprisoned for the entire time of the Commune.
 
 
Defenders of Paris
By 20 September 1870, the German army had surrounded Paris and was camped just 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) from the French front lines. The regular French Army in Paris, under General Trochu's command, had only 50,000 professional soldiers of the line; the majority of the French first-line soldiers were prisoners of war, or trapped in Metz, surrounded by Germans. The regulars were thus supported by around 5,000 firemen, 3,000 gendarmes, and 15,000 sailors. The regulars were also supported by the Garde Mobile, new recruits with little training or experience. 17,000 of them were Parisian, and 73,000 from the provinces. These included twenty battalions of men from Brittany, who spoke little French.

The largest armed force in Paris was the Garde Nationale, or National Guard, numbering about 300,000 men. They also had very little training or experience. They were organized by neighborhoods; those from the upper- and middle-class arrondissements tended to support the national government, while those from the working-class neighborhoods were far more radical and politicized. Guardsmen from many units were known for their lack of discipline; some units refused to wear uniforms, often refused to obey orders without discussing them, and demanded the right to elect their own officers. The members of the National Guard from working-class neighborhoods became the main armed force of the Commune.

  Siege of Paris; first demonstrations
As the Germans surrounded the city, radical groups saw that the Government of National Defense had few soldiers to defend itself, and launched the first demonstrations against it.

On 19 September, National Guard units from the main working-class neighborhoods—Belleville, Menilmontant, La Villette, Montrouge, the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and the Faubourg du Temple—marched to the centre of the city and demanded that a new government, a Commune, be elected. They were met by regular army units loyal to the Government of National Defense, and the demonstrators eventually dispersed peacefully. On 5 October, 5,000 protesters marched from Belleville to the Hotel de Ville, demanding immediate municipal elections and rifles. On 8 October, several thousand soldiers from the National Guard, led by Eugene Varlin of the First International, marched to the centre chanting 'Long Live the Commune!", but they also dispersed without incident.

Later in October, General Louis Jules Trochu launched a series of armed attacks to break the German siege, with heavy losses and no success. The telegraph line connecting Paris with the rest of France had been cut by the Germans on 27 September. On 6 October, Defense Minister Leon Gambetta departed the city by balloon to try to organise national resistance against the Germans.

 
 
Uprising of 31 October
On 28 October, the news arrived in Paris that the 160,000 soldiers of the French army at Metz, which had been surrounded by the Germans since August, had surrendered. The news arrived the same day of the failure of another attempt by the French army to break the siege of Paris at Bourget, with heavy losses. On 31 October, the leaders of the main revolutionary groups in Paris, including Blanqui, Félix Pyat and Louis Charles Delescluze, called new demonstrations at the Hotel de Ville against General Trochu and the government. Fifteen thousand demonstrators, some of them armed, gathered in front of the Hôtel de Ville in pouring rain, calling for the resignation of Trochu and the proclamation of a commune. Shots were fired from the Hôtel de Ville, one narrowly missing Trochu, and the demonstrators crowded into the building, demanding the creation of a new government, and making lists of its proposed members. Blanqui, the leader of the most radical faction, established his own headquarters at the nearby Prefecture of the Seine, issuing orders and decrees to his followers, intent upon establishing his own government. While the formation of the new government was taking place inside the Hôtel de Ville, however, units of the National Guard and Garde Mobile loyal to General Trochu arrived and recaptured the building without violence. By three o'clock, the demonstrators had been given safe passage and left, and the brief uprising was over. On 3 November, city authorities organized a plebiscite of Parisian voters, asking if they had confidence in the Government of National Defense. "Yes" votes totalled 557,996, while 62,638 voted "no". Two days later, municipal councils in each of the twenty arrondissements of Paris voted to elect mayors; five councils elected radical opposition candidates, including Delescluze and a young Montmartrean doctor, Georges Clemenceau.
 
Revolutionary units of the National Guard briefly seized the Hotel de Ville on 31 October 1870,
but the uprising failed.
 
 
Negotiations with the Germans; continued war
In September and October, the leader of the National Assembly conservatives Adolphe Thiers had toured Europe, consulting with the foreign ministers of Britain, Russia, and Austria, and found that none of them were willing to support France against the Germans. He reported to the Government that there was no alternative to negotiating an armistice. He travelled to German-occupied Tours and met with Bismarck on 1 November. The Chancellor demanded the cession of all of Alsace, parts of Lorraine, and enormous reparations. The Government of National Defense decided to continue the war and raise a new army to fight the Germans. The newly organized French armies won a single victory at Coulmiers on 10 November, but an attempt by General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot on 29 November at Villiers to break out of Paris was defeated with a loss of 4,000 soldiers, compared with 1,700 German casualties.

Everyday life for Parisians became increasingly difficult during the siege. In December temperatures dropped to −15 °C (5 °F), and the Seine froze for three weeks. Parisians suffered shortages of food, firewood, coal and medicine. The city was almost completely dark at night. The only communication with the outside world was by balloon, carrier pigeon, or letters packed in iron balls floated down the Seine. Rumors and conspiracy theories were abundant. Due to the very finite quantity of food in the city, most of the local zoo's animals were eaten by starving residents and when those ran out, Parisians even had to resort to feeding on rats.

By early January 1871, Bismarck and the Germans themselves were tired of the prolonged siege. They installed seventy-two 120- and 150-mm artillery pieces in the forts around Paris and on 5 January began to bombard the city day and night. Between 300 and 600 shells hit the centre of the city everyday.

  Uprising and armistice
Between 11 and 19 January 1871, the French armies had been defeated on four fronts and Paris was facing a famine. General Tronchu received reports from the prefect of Paris that agitation against the government and military leaders was increasing in the political clubs and in the National Guard of Belleville, La Chapelle, Montmartre, and Gros-Caillou.

At midday on 22 January, three or four hundred National Guards and members of radical groups – mostly Blanquists – gathered outside the Hôtel de Ville. A battalion of Gardes Mobiles from Brittany was inside the building to defend it in case of an assault.

The demonstrators presented their demands that the military be placed under civil control, and that there be an immediate election of a commune.

The atmosphere was tense, and in the middle of the afternoon, gunfire broke out between the two sides; each side blamed the other for firing first. Six demonstrators were killed, and the army cleared the square. The government quickly banned two publications, Le Reveil of Delescluze and Le Combat of Pyat, and arrested 83 revolutionaries.

At the same time as the demonstration in Paris, the leaders of the Government of National Defense in Bordeaux, had concluded that the war could not continue.

On 26 January, they signed a ceasefire and armistice, with special conditions for Paris. The city would not be occupied by the Germans. Regular soldiers would give up their arms, but would not be taken into captivity. Paris would pay an indemnity of 200 million francs.
At Jules Favre's request, Bismarck agreed not to disarm the National Guard, so that order could be maintained in the city.

 
 
Adolphe Thiers; parliamentary elections of 1871
The national government in Bordeaux called for national elections at the end of January, held just ten days later on 8 February. Most electors in France were rural, Catholic and conservative, and this was reflected in the results; of the 645 deputies assembled in Bordeaux on February, about 400 favoured a constitutional monarchy under either Henri, Count of Chambord (grandson of Charles X) or Prince Philippe, Count of Paris (grandson of Louis Philippe).

Of the 200 republicans in the new parliament, 80 were former Orleanists (Henri's supporters) and moderately conservative. They were led by Adolphe Thiers, who was elected in 26 departments, the most of any candidate. There were an equal number of more radical republicans, including Jules Favre and Jules Ferry, who wanted a republic without a monarch, and who felt that signing the peace treaty was unavoidable. Finally, on the extreme left, there were the radical republicans and socialists, a group that included Louis Blanc, Leon Gambetta and Georges Clemenceau. This group was dominant in Paris, where they won 37 of the 42 seats. On 17 February the new Parliament elected the 74-year-old Thiers as chief executive of the French Third Republic. He was considered to be the candidate most likely to bring peace and to restore order. For long an opponent of the Prussian war, Thiers persuaded Parliament that peace was necessary. He travelled to Versailles, where Bismarck and the German King were waiting, and on 24 February the armistice was signed.

 
A caricature of Thiers charging on the Paris Commune, published in Le Père Duchêne illustré
 
 
Establishment
Dispute over cannons of Paris

At the end of the war 400 obsolete muzzle-loading bronze cannons, partly paid for by the Paris public via a subscription, remained in the city. The new Central Committee of the National Guard, now dominated by radicals, decided to put the cannons in parks in the working-class neighborhoods of Belleville, Buttes-Chaumont and Montmartre, to keep them away from the regular army and to defend the city against any attack by the national government. Thiers was equally determined to bring the cannons under national-government control.

Clemenceau, a friend of several revolutionaries, tried to negotiate a compromise; some cannons would remain in Paris and the rest go to the army. However Thiers and the National Assembly did not accept his proposals. The chief executive wanted to restore order and national authority in Paris as quickly as possible, and the cannons became a symbol of that authority. The Assembly also refused to prolong the moratorium on debt collections imposed during the war; and suspended two radical newspapers, Le Cri du Peuple of Jules Valles and Le Mot d'Ordre of Henri Rochefort, which further inflamed Parisian radical opinion. Thiers also decided to move the National Assembly and government from Bordeaux to Versailles, rather than to Paris, to be farther away from the pressure of demonstrations, which further enraged of the National Guard and the radical political clubs.

On 17 March 1871, there was a meeting of Thiers and his cabinet, who were joined by Paris mayor Jules Ferry, National Guard commander General D'Aurelle de Paladines and General Joseph Vinoy, commander of the regular army units in Paris. Thiers announced a plan to send the army the next day to take charge of the cannons. The plan was initially opposed by War Minister Adolphe Le Flô, D'Aurelle de Paladines, and Vinoy, who argued that the move was premature, because the army had too few soldiers, was undisciplined and demoralized, and that many units had become politicized and were unreliable. Vinoy urged that they wait until Germany had released the French prisoners of war, and the army returned to full strength. Thiers insisted that the planned operation must go ahead as quickly as possible, to have the element of surprise. If the seizure of the cannon was not successful, the government would withdraw from the center of Paris, build up its forces, and then attack with overwhelming force, as they had done during the uprising of June 1848. The Council accepted his decision, and Vinoy gave orders for the operation to begin the next day.

  Failed seizure attempt and government retreat
Early in the morning of 18 March, two brigades of soldiers climbed the butte of Montmartre, where the largest collection of cannons, 170 in number, were located. A small group of revolutionary national guardsmen were already there, and there was a brief confrontation between the brigade led by General Claude Lecomte, and the National Guard; one guardsman, named Turpin, was shot dead. Word of the shooting spread quickly, and members of the National Guard from all over the neighborhood, including Clemenceau, hurried to the site to confront the soldiers.

Elsewhere in Paris, the Army had succeeded in securing the cannons at Belleville and Buttes-Chaumont and other strategic points; but a crowd gathered and continued to grow, and the situation grew increasingly tense at Montmartre. The horses that were needed to move the cannon away did not arrive, and the army units were immobilized.

As the soldiers were surrounded by the crowd, they began to break ranks and join the crowd. General Lecomte tried to withdraw, and then ordered his soldiers to load their weapons and fix bayonets. He thrice ordered them to fire, but the soldiers refused. Some of the officers were disarmed and taken to the city hall of Montmartre, under the protection of Clemenceau. General Lecomte and the officers of his staff were seized by the guardsmen and his mutinous soldiers and taken to the local headquarters of the National Guard at the ballroom of the Chateau-Rouge.

The officers were pelted with rocks, struck, threatened, and insulted by the crowd. In the middle of the afternoon Lecomte and the other officers were taken to 6 Rue des Rosiers by members of a group calling themselves The Committee of Vigilance of the 18th arrondissement, who demanded that they be tried and executed.

At 5:00 in the afternoon, the National Guard had captured another important prisoner: General Jacques Leon Clement-Thomas. An ardent republican and fierce disciplinarian, he had helped suppress the armed uprising of June 1848 against the Second Republic. Because of his republican beliefs, he had been arrested by Napoleon III and exiled, and had only returned to France after the downfall of the Empire. He was particularly hated by the national guardsmen of Montmartre and Belleville because of the severe discipline he imposed during the siege of Paris. Earlier that day, dressed in civilian clothes, he had been trying to find out what was going on, when he was recognized by a soldier and arrested, and brought to the building at Rue des Rosiers.

 
 
At about 5:30 on 18 March, the angry crowd of national guardsmen and deserters from Lecomte's regiment at Rue des Rosiers seized Clement-Thomas, beat him with rifle butts, pushed him into the garden, and shot him repeatedly. A few minutes later, they did the same to General Lecomte. Doctor Guyon, who examined the bodies shortly afterwards, found forty balls in the body of Clement-Thomas and nine balls in the back of Lecomte. By late morning, the operation to recapture the cannons had failed, and crowds and barricades were appearing in all the working-class neighborhoods of Paris. General Vinoy ordered the army to pull back to the Seine, and Thiers began to organise a withdrawal to Versailles, where he could gather enough troops to take back Paris.

On the afternoon of 18 March, following the government's failed attempt to seize the cannons at Montmartre, the Central Committee of the National Guard ordered the three battalions to seize the Hôtel de Ville, where they believed the government was located. They were not aware that Thiers, the government, and the military commanders were at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the gates were open and there were few guards. They were also unaware that Marshal Patrice MacMahon, the future commander of the forces against the Commune, had just arrived at his home in Paris, having just been released from imprisonment in Germany. As soon as he heard the news of the uprising, he made his way to the train station, where national guardsmen were already stopping and checking the identity of departing passengers. A sympathetic station manager hid him in his office and helped him board a train, and he escaped the city. While he was at the train station, national guardsmen sent by the Central Committee arrived at his house looking for him.

On the advice of General Vinoy, Thiers ordered the evacuation to Versailles of all the regular forces in Paris, some forty thousand soldiers, including the soldiers in the fortresses around the city; the regrouping of all the army units in Versailles; and the departure of all government ministries from the city.

 
 
National Guard takes power
In February, while the national government had been organising in Bordeaux, a new rival government had been organized in Paris. The National Guard had not been disarmed as per the armistice, and had on paper 260 battalions of 1,500 men each, a total of 400,000 men. Between 15 and 24 February, some 500 delegates elected by the National Guard began meeting in Paris. On 15 March, just before the confrontation between the National Guard and the regular army over the cannons, 1,325 delegates of the federation of organizations created by the National Guard elected a leader, Giuseppe Garibaldi (who was in Italy and respectfully declined the title), and created a Central Committee of 38 members, which made its headquarters in a school on the Rue Basfroi, between Place de la Bastille and La Roquette. The first vote of the new Central Committee was to refuse to recognise the authority of General D'Aurelle de Paladines, the official commander of the National Guard appointed by Thiers, or of General Vinoy, the Military Governor of Paris.

Late on 18 March, when they learned that the regular army was leaving Paris, units of the National Guard moved quickly to take control of the city. The first to take action were the followers of Blanqui, who went quickly to the Latin Quarter and took charge of the gunpowder stored in the Pantheon, and to the Orleans train station. Four battalions crossed the Seine and captured the prefecture of police, while other units occupied the former headquarters of the National Guard at the Place Vendôme, as well as the Ministry of Justice. That night, the National Guard occupied the offices vacated by the government; they quickly took over the Ministries of Finance, the Interior, and War. At eight in the morning the next day, the Central Committee was meeting in the Hôtel de Ville. By the end of the day, 20,000 national guardsmen camped in triumph in the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville, with several dozen cannons. A red flag was hoisted over the building.

The extreme-left members of the Central Committee, led by the Blanquists, demanded an immediate march on Versailles, to disperse the Thiers government and to impose their authority on all of France; but the majority first wanted to establish a more solid base of legal authority in Paris. The Committee officially lifted the state of siege, named commissions to administer the government, and called elections for 23 March. They also sent a delegation of mayors of the Paris arrondissements, led by Clemenceau, to negotiate with Thiers in Versailles to obtain a special independent status for Paris.

  Council elections
In Paris, hostility was growing between the elected republican mayors, including Clemenceau, who believed that they were legitimate leaders of Paris, and the Central Committee of the National Guard. On 22 March, the day before the elections, the Central Committee declared that it, not the mayors, was the legitimate government of Paris. It declared that Clemenceau was no longer the Mayor of Montmartre, and seized the city hall there, as well as the city halls of the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, which were occupied by more radical national guardsmen. "We are caught between two bands of crazy people," Clemenceau complained, "those sitting in Versailles and those in Paris."

The elections of 26 March elected a Commune council of 92 members, one for every twenty thousand residents. Ahead of the elections, the Central Committee and the leaders of the International gave out their lists of candidates; mostly belonging to the extreme left. The candidates had only a few days to campaign. Thiers' government in Versailles urged Parisians to abstain from voting. When the voting was finished, 233,000 Parisians had voted, out of 485,000 registered voters, or forty-eight percent. In upper-class neighborhoods many abstained from voting: 77 percent of voters in the 7th and 8th arrondissements; 68 percent in the 15th, 66 percent in the 16th, and 62 percent in the 6th and 9th. But in the working-class neighborhoods, turnout was high: 76 percent in the 20th arrondissement, 65 percent in the 19th, and 55 to 60 percent in the 10th, 11th, and 12th.

A few candidates, including Blanqui (who had been arrested when outside Paris, and was in prison in Brittany), won in several arrondissements. Other candidates who were elected, including about twenty moderate republicans and five radicals, refused to take their seats. In the end, the Council had just 60 members. Nine of the winners were Blanquists (some of whom were also from the International); twenty-five, including Delescluze and Pyat, classified themselves as "Independent Revolutionaries"; about fifteen were from the International; the rest were from a variety of radical groups. One of the best-known candidates, George Clemenceau, received only 752 votes.

The professions represented in the council were 33 workers; five small businessmen; 19 clerks, accountants and other office staff; twelve journalists; and a selection of workers in the liberal arts. All were men; women were not allowed to vote. The winners were announced on 27 March, and a large ceremony and parade by the National Guard was held the next day in front of the Hôtel de Ville, decorated with red flags.

 
 
Organization and early work
The new Commune held its first meeting on 28 March in a euphoric mood. The members adopted a dozen proposals, including an honorary presidency for Blanqui; the abolition of the death penalty; the abolition of military conscription; a proposal to send delegates to other cities to help launch communes there; and a resolution declaring that membership in the Paris Commune was incompatible with being a member of the National Assembly. This was aimed particularly at Pierre Tirard, the republican mayor of the 2nd arrondissement, who had been elected to both Commune and National Assembly. Seeing the more radical political direction of the new Commune, Tirard and some twenty republicans decided it was wisest to resign from the Commune. A resolution was also passed, after a long debate, that the deliberations of the Council were to be secret, since the Commune was effectively at war with the government in Versailles and should not make its intentions known to the enemy. Following the model proposed by the more radical members, the new government had no president, no mayor, and no commander in chief. The Commune began by establishing nine commissions, similar to those of the National Assembly, to manage the affairs of Paris.
 
The celebration of the election of the Commune,
28 March 1871
 
 
The commissions in turn reported to an Executive Commission. One of the first measures passed declared that military conscription was abolished, that no military force other than the National Guard could be formed or introduced into the capital, and that all healthy male citizens were members of the National Guard. The new system had one important weakness: the National Guard now had two different commanders. They reported to both the Central Committee of the National Guard and to the Executive Commission, and it was not clear which one was in charge of the inevitable war with Thiers' government.
 
 

Barricades during the Paris Commune, near the Place de la Concorde
 
 
Administration and actions
Program

The Commune adopted the discarded French Republican Calendar during its brief existence and used the socialist red flag rather than the republican tricolor. Despite internal differences, the Council began to organise the public services essential for a city of two million residents. It also reached a consensus on certain policies that tended towards a progressive, secular, and highly-democratic social democracy. Because the Commune met on fewer than sixty days in all, only a few decrees were actually implemented. These included:

-separation of church and state;
-remission of rents owed for the entire period of the siege (during which payment had been suspended);
-abolition of night work in bakeries;
-granting of pensions to the unmarried companions and children of national guardsmen killed in active service;
-free return by pawnshops, of all workmen's tools and household items, valued up to 20 francs, pledged during the siege;
-postponement of commercial debt obligations, and the abolition of interest on the debts;
-right of employees to take over and run an enterprise if it were deserted by its owner; the Commune, nonetheless, recognized the previous owner's right to compensation;
-prohibition of fines imposed by employers on their workmen.

The decrees separated the church from the state, appropriated all church property to public property, and excluded the practice of religion from schools. In theory, the churches were allowed to continue their religious activity only if they kept their doors open for public political meetings during the evenings. In practice, many churches were closed, and many priests were arrested and held as hostages, in the hope of trading them for Blanqui, imprisoned in Brittany since 17 March.

The workload of the Commune leaders was usually enormous. The Council members (who were not "representatives" but delegates, subject in theory to immediate recall by their electors) were expected to carry out many executive and military functions as well as their legislative ones. Numerous organizations were set up during the siege in the localities (quartiers) to meet social needs, such as canteens and first-aid stations. For example, in the 3rd arrondissement, school materials were provided free, three parochial schools were "laicised", and an orphanage was established. In the 20th arrondissement, schoolchildren were provided with free clothing and food. At the same time, these local assemblies pursued their own goals, usually under the direction of local workers. Despite the moderate reformism of the Commune council, the composition of the Commune as a whole was much more revolutionary. Revolutionary factions included Proudhonists (an early form of moderate anarchism), members of the international socialists, Blanquists, and more libertarian republicans.

 
 
Feminist initiatives
Women played an important role in both the initiation and the governance of the Commune, though no women were members of the Commune itself. Several women and children threw themselves between Thiers' army and the cannons they were attempting to confiscate from Montmartre. Despite orders from their commanders, some soldiers refused to fire on their own people.

Some women organized a feminist movement, following earlier attempts in 1789 and 1848. Thus, Nathalie Lemel, a socialist bookbinder, and Élisabeth Dmitrieff, a young Russian exile and member of the Russian section of the First International, created the Women's Union for the Defense of Paris and Care of the Wounded on 11 April 1871. The feminist writer André Léo, a friend of Paule Minck, was also active in the Women's Union. Believing that their struggle against patriarchy could only be pursued through a global struggle against capitalism, the association demanded gender and wage equality, the right of divorce for women, the right to secular education, and professional education for girls. They also demanded suppression of the distinction between married women and concubines, and between legitimate and illegitimate children. They advocated the abolition of prostitution (obtaining the closing of the maisons de tolérance, or legal brothels). The Women's Union also participated in several municipal commissions and organized cooperative workshops. Along with Eugène Varlin, Nathalie Le Mel created the cooperative restaurant La Marmite, which served free food for indigents, and then fought during the Bloody Week on the barricades.
Paule Minck opened a free school in the Church of Saint Pierre de Montmartre and animated the Club Saint-Sulpice on the Left Bank.

 
Louise Michel, anarchist and famed "Red Virgin of Montmartre", became an important part of the legend of the Commune.
 
 
The Russian Anne Jaclard, who declined to marry Dostoyevsky and finally became the wife of Blanquist activist Victor Jaclard, founded the newspaper Paris Commune with André Léo. She was also a member of the Comité de vigilance de Montmartre, along with Louise Michel and Paule Minck, as well as of the Russian section of the First International. Victorine Brocher, close to the IWA activists, and founder of a cooperative bakery in 1867, also fought during the Commune and the Bloody Week. Famous figures such as Louise Michel, the "Red Virgin of Montmartre", who joined the National Guard and would later be sent to New Caledonia, symbolized the active participation of a small number of women in the insurrectionary events. A female battalion from the National Guard defended the Place Blanche during the repression.
 
 
Bank of France
The Commune named Francis Jourde as the head of the Commission of Finance. A former clerk of a notary, accountant in a bank and employee of the city's bridges and roads department, Jourde maintained the Commune's accounts with prudence. Paris's tax receipts amounted to 20 million francs, with another 6 million seized at the Hotel de Ville. The expenses of the Commune were 42 million, the largest part going to pay the daily salary of the National Guard. Jourde first obtained a loan from the Rothschild Bank, then paid the bills from the city account, which was soon exhausted.

The gold reserves of the Bank of France had been moved out of Paris for safety in August 1870, but its vaults contained 88 million francs in gold coins and 166 million francs in banknotes. When the Thiers government left Paris in March, they did not have the time or the reliable soldiers to take the money with them. The reserves were guarded by 500 national guardsmen who were themselves Bank of France employees. Some Communards wanted to appropriate the bank's reserves to fund social projects, but Jourde resisted, explaining that without the gold reserves the currency would collapse and all the money of the Commune would be worthless. The Commune appointed Charles Beslay as the Commissaire of the Bank of France, and he arranged for the Bank to loan the Commune 400,000 francs a day. This was approved by Thiers, who felt that to negotiate a future peace treaty the Germans were demanding war reparations of five billion francs; the gold reserves would be needed to keep the franc stable and pay the indemnity. Jourde's prudence was later condemned by Karl Marx and other Marxists, who felt the Commune should have confiscated the bank's reserves and spent all the money immediately.

 
 
Press
From 21 March, the Central Committee of the National Guard banned the major pro-Versailles newspapers, Le Gaulois and Le Figaro. Their offices were invaded and closed by crowds of the Commune's supporters. After 18 April other newspapers sympathetic to Versailles were also closed. The Versailles government, in turn, imposed strict censorship and prohibited any publication in favour of the Commune.

At the same time, the number of pro-Commune newspapers and magazines published in Paris during the Commune expanded exponentially. The most popular of the pro-Commune newspapers was Le Cri du Peuple, published by Jules Valles, which was published from 22 February until 23 May.
Another highly popular publication was Le Père Duchêne, inspired by a similar paper of the same name published from 1790 until 1794; after its first issue on 6 March, it was briefly closed by General Vinoy, but it reappeared until 23 May. It specialized in humour, vulgarity and extreme abuse against the opponents of the Commune.

A republican press also flourished, including such papers as Le Mot d'Ordre of Henri Rochefort, which was both violently anti-Versailles and critical of the faults and excesses of the Commune. The most popular republican paper was Le Rappel, which condemned both Thiers and the killing of generals Lecomte and Clement-Thomas by the Communards. Its editor Auguste Vacquerie was close to Victor Hugo, whose son wrote for the paper. The editors wrote, "We are against the National Assembly, but we are not for the Commune. That which we defend, that which we love, that which we admire, is Paris."

 
Le Père Duchêne looks at the statue of Napoleon on top of the Vendôme column, about to be torn down by the Communards.
 
 
Catholic Church
From the beginning, the Commune had a tense relationship with the Catholic Church. On 2 April, soon after the Commune was established, it voted a decree accusing the Catholic Church of "complicity in the crimes of the monarchy." The decree declared the separation of church and state, confiscated the state funds allotted to the Church, seized the property of religious congregations, and ordered that Catholic schools cease religious education and become secular. Over the next seven weeks, some two hundred priests, nuns and monks were arrested, and twenty-six churches were closed to the public. At the urging of the more radical newspapers, National Guard units searched the basements of churches, looking for evidence of alleged sadism and criminal practices. More extreme elements of the National Guard carried out mock religious processions and parodies of religious services. Early in May, some of the political clubs began to demand the immediate execution of Archbishop Darboy and the other priests in the prison. The Archbishop and a number of priests were executed during Bloody Week, in retaliation for the execution of Commune soldiers by the regular army.
 
 
Destruction of the Vendôme Column
The destruction of the Vendôme Column honouring the victories of Napoleon I, topped by a statue of the Emperor, was one of the most prominent civic events during the Commune. It was voted on 12 April by the executive committee of the Commune, which declared that the column was "a monument of barbarism" and a "symbol of brute force and false pride." The idea had originally come from the painter Gustave Courbet, who had written to the Government of National Defense on 4 September calling for the demolition of the column. In October, he had called for a new column, made of melted-down German cannons, "the column of peoples, the column of Germany and France, forever federated." Courbet was elected to the Council of the Commune on 16 April, after the decision to tear down the column had already been made.

The ceremonial destruction took place on 16 May. In the presence of two battalions of the National Guard and the leaders of the Commune, a band played "La Marseillaise" and the "Chant du Départ".
 
Destruction of the Vendôme Column during the Paris Commune. The column was pulled down at the demand of painter Gustave Courbet, who, after the collapse of the Commune, was sentenced to six months in prison and later ordered to pay for putting the column back up.
 
 
The first effort to pull down the column failed, but at 5:30 in the afternoon the column broke from its base and shattered into three pieces. The pedestal was draped with red flags, and pieces of the statue were taken to be melted down and made into coins.

On 12 May another civic event took place: the destruction of Thiers' home on Place Saint-Georges. Proposed by Henri Rochefort, editor of the Le Mot d'Ordre, on 6 April, it had not been voted upon by the Commune until 10 May. According to the decree of the Commune, the works of art were to be donated to the Louvre (which refused them) and the furniture was to be sold, the money to be given to widows and orphans of the fighting. The house was emptied and destroyed on 12 May.

 
 
War with the national government
Failed Versailles offensive

In Versailles, Thiers had estimated that he needed 150,000 men to recapture Paris, and that he had only about 20,000 reliable first-line soldiers, plus about 5,000 gendarmes. He worked rapidly to assemble a new and reliable regular army. Most of the soldiers were prisoners of war who had just been released by the Germans, following the terms of the armistice. Others were sent from military units in all of the provinces. To command the new army, Thiers chose Patrice MacMahon, who had won fame fighting the Austrians in Italy under Napoleon III, and who had been seriously wounded at the Battle of Sedan. He was highly popular both within the army and in the country. By 30 March, less than two weeks after the Army's Montmartre rout, it began skirmishing with the National Guard in the outskirts of Paris.

In Paris, members of the Military Commission and the Executive Committee of the Commune, as well as the Central Committee of the National Guard, met on 1 April. They decided to launch an offensive against the Army in Versailles within five days. The attack was first launched on the morning of 2 April by five battalions who crossed the Seine at the Pont de Neuilly. The National Guard troops were quickly repulsed by the Army, with a loss of about twelve soldiers. One officer of the Versailles army, a surgeon from the medical corps, was killed; the National Guardsmen had mistaken his uniform for that of a gendarme. Five national guardsmen were captured by the regulars; two were Army deserters and two were caught with their weapons in their hands. General Vinoy, the commander of the Paris Military District, had ordered any prisoners who were deserters from the Army to be shot. The commander of the regular forces, Colonel Boulanger, went further and ordered that all four prisoners be summarily shot. The practice of shooting prisoners captured with weapons became common in the bitter fighting in the weeks ahead.

Despite this first failure, Commune leaders were still convinced that, as at Montmartre, Versailles army soldiers would refuse to fire on national guardsmen. They prepared a massive offensive of 27,000 national guardsmen who would advance in three columns. They were expected to converge at the end of 24 hours at the gates of the Palace of Versailles. They advanced on the morning of 3 April—without cavalry to protect the flanks, without artillery, without stores of food and ammunition, and without ambulances—confident of rapid success. They passed by the line of forts outside the city, believing them to be occupied by national guardsmen. Actually Versailles soldiers had re-occupied the abandoned forts on 28 March. The National Guard soon came under heavy artillery and rifle fire; they broke ranks and fled back to Paris. Once again national guardsmen captured with weapons were routinely shot by Versailles units.

 
 
Decree on Hostages
Commune leaders responded to the execution of prisoners by the Army by passing a new order on 5 April—the Decree on Hostages. Under the decree, any person accused of complicity with the Versailles government could be immediately arrested, imprisoned and tried by a special jury of accusation. Those convicted by the jury would become "hostages of the people of Paris." Article 5 stated, "Every execution of a prisoner of war or of a partisan of the government of the Commune of Paris will be immediately followed by the execution of a triple number of hostages held by virtue of article four." Prisoners of war would be brought before a jury, which would decide if they would be released or held as hostages.

Under the new decree, a number of prominent religious leaders were promptly arrested, including the Abbé Deguerry, the curé of the Madeleine church, and the archbishop of Paris Georges Darboy, who was confined at the Mazas prison. The National Assembly in Versailles responded to the decree the next day; it passed a law allowing military tribunals to judge and punish suspects within 24 hours. Émile Zola wrote, "Thus we citizens of Paris are placed between two terrible laws; the law of suspects brought back by the Commune and the law on rapid executions which will certainly be approved by the Assembly. They are not fighting with cannon shots, they are slaughtering each other with decrees."

  Radicalization
By April, as MacMahon's forces steadily approached Paris, divisions arose within the Commune about whether to give absolute priority to military defense, or to political and social freedoms and reforms. The majority, including the Blanquists and the more radical revolutionaries, supported by Le Vengeur of Pyat and Le Père Duchesne of Vermersch, supported giving the military priority. The publications La Commune, La Justice and Valles' Le Cri du Peuple feared that a more authoritarian government would destroy the kind of social republic they wanted to achieve. Soon, the Council of the Commune voted, with strong opposition, for the creation of a Committee of Public Safety, modelled on the eponymous Committee that carried out the Reign of Terror (1793–94). Because of the implications carried by its name, many members of the Commune opposed the Committee of Public Safety's creation.

The Committee was given extensive powers to hunt down and imprison enemies of the Commune. Led by Raoul Rigault, it began to make several arrests, usually on suspicion of treason, intelligence with the enemy, or insults to the Commune. Those arrested included General de Martimprey—almost 80 years old, the governor of the Invalides, alleged to having caused the assassination of revolutionaries in December 1851—as well as more recent commanders of the National Guard, including Cluseret.

 
 
High religious officials had been arrested: Archbishop Darboy, the Vicar General Abbé Lagarde, and the Curé of the Madeleine Abbé Deguerry. The policy of holding hostages for possible reprisals was denounced by some defenders of the Commune, including Victor Hugo, in a poem entitled "No Reprisals" published in Brussels on 21 April. On 12 April, Rigault proposed to exchange Archbishop Darboy and several other priests for the imprisoned Blanqui. Thiers refused the proposal. On 14 May, Rigault proposed to exchange 70 hostages for the extreme-left leader, and Thiers again refused.
 
 

A barricade constructed by the Commune in April 1871 on the Rue de Rivoli near the Hotel de Ville.
The figures are blurry due to the camera's lengthy exposure time, a common defect in early photographs.
 
 
Composition of the National Guard
Since every able-bodied man in Paris was obliged to be a member of the National Guard, the Commune on paper had an army of about 200,000 men on 6 May; the actual number was much lower, probably between 25,000 and 50,000 men. At the beginning of May, 20 percent of the National Guard was reported absent without leave. The National Guard had hundreds of cannons and thousands of rifles in its arsenal, but only half of the cannons and two-thirds of the rifles were ever used. There were heavy naval cannons mounted on the ramparts of Paris, but few national guardsmen were trained to use them. Between the end of April and 20 May, the number of trained artillerymen fell from 5,445 to 2,340.

The officers of the National Guard were elected by the soldiers, and their leadership qualities and military skills varied widely. Gustave Clusaret, the commander of the National Guard until his dismissal on 1 May, had tried to impose more discipline in the army, disbanding many unreliable units and making soldiers live in barracks instead of at home. He recruited officers with military experience, particularly Polish officers who had fled to France in 1863, after Russians crushed the January Uprising; they played a prominent role in the last days of the Commune. One of these officers was General Jaroslav Dombrowski, a former Imperial Russian Army officer, who was appointed commander of the Commune forces on the right bank of the Seine. On 5 May, he was appointed commander of the Commune's whole army. Dombrowski held this position until 23 May, when he was killed while defending the city barricades.

 
 
Capture of Fort Issy
One of the key strategic points around Paris was Fort Issy, south of the city near the Porte de Versailles, which blocked the route of the Army into Paris. The fort's garrison was commanded by Leon Megy, a former mechanic and a militant Blanquist, who had been sentenced to 20 years hard labour for killing a policeman. After being freed he had led the takeover of the prefecture of Marseille by militant revolutionaries. When he came back to Paris, he was given the rank of Colonel by the Central Committee of the National Guard, and the command of Fort Issy on 13 April.

The army commander, General Ernest de Cissey, began a systematic siege and a heavy bombardment of the fort that lasted three days and three nights. At the same time Cissey sent a message to Colonel Megy, with the permission of Marshal MacMahon, offering to spare the lives of the fort's defenders, and let them return to Paris with their belongings and weapons, if they surrendered the fort. Colonel Megy gave the order, and during the night of 29–30 April, most of the soldiers evacuated the fort and returned to Paris. But news of the evacuation reached the Central Committee of the National Guard and the Commune. Before General Cissey and the Versailles army could occupy the fort, the National Guard rushed reinforcements there and re-occupied all the positions. General Cluseret, commander of the National Guard, was dismissed and put in prison.

  General Cissey resumed the intense bombardment of the fort. The defenders resisted until the night of 7–8 May, when the remaining national guardsmen in the fort, unable to withstand further attacks, decided to withdraw. The new commander of the National Guard, Louis Rossel, issued a terse bulletin: "The tricolor flag flies over the fort of Issy, abandoned yesterday by the garrison." The abandonment of the fort led the Commune to dismiss Rossel, and replace him with Delescluze, a fervent Communard but a journalist with no military experience.

Bitter fighting followed, as MacMahon's army worked their way systematically forward to the walls of Paris. On 20 May, MacMahon's artillery batteries at Montretout, Mont-Valerian, Boulogne, Issy, and Vanves opened fire on the western neighborhoods of the city—Auteuil, Passy, and the Trocadero—with shells falling close to l'Étoile.

Dombrowski reported that the soldiers he had sent to defend the ramparts of the city between Point du Jour and Porte d'Auteuil had retreated to the city; he had only 4,000 soldiers left at la Muette, 2,000 at Neuilly, and 200 at Asnieres and Saint Ouen. "I lack artillerymen and workers to hold off the catastrophe." On 19 May, while the Commune executive committee was meeting to judge the former military commander Clauseret for the loss of the Issy fortress, it received word that the forces of Marshal MacMahon were within the fortifications of Paris.

 
 
"Bloody Week"
 
21 May: Army enters Paris
The final offensive on Paris by MacMahon's army began early in the morning on Sunday, 21 May. On the front line, soldiers learned from a sympathiser inside the walls that the National Guard had withdrawn from one section of the city wall at Point-du-Jour, and the fortifications were undefended. An army engineer crossed the moat and inspected the empty fortifications, and immediately telegraphed the news to Marshal MacMahon, who was with Thiers at Fort Mont-Valérien. MacMahon immediately gave orders, and two battalions passed through the fortifications without meeting anyone, and occupied the Porte de Saint-Cloud and the Porte de Versailles. By four o'clock in the morning, sixty thousand soldiers had passed into the city and occupied Auteuil and Passy.

Once the fighting began inside Paris, the strong neighborhood loyalties that had been an advantage of the Commune became something of a disadvantage: instead of an overall planned defense, each "quartier" fought desperately for its survival, and each was overcome in turn. The webs of narrow streets that made entire districts nearly impregnable in earlier Parisian revolutions had in the center been replaced by wide boulevards during Haussmann's renovation of Paris. The Versailles forces enjoyed a centralized command and had superior numbers.

 
Jaroslav Dombrowski, a Polish exile and former officer, was one of the few capable commanders of the National Guard.
He was killed early in the Bloody Week.
 
 
They had learned the tactics of street fighting and simply tunnelled through the walls of houses to outflank the Communards' barricades.

The trial of Gustave Cluseret, the former commander, was still going on at the Commune when they received the message from General Dombrowski that the army was inside the city. He asked for reinforcements and proposed an immediate counterattack. "Remain calm," he wrote, "and everything will be saved. We must not be defeated!". When they had received this news, the members of the Commune executive returned to their deliberations on the fate of Cluseret, which continued until eight o'clock that evening.

The first reaction of many of the National Guard was to find someone to blame, and Dombrowski was the first to be accused. Rumors circulated that he had accepted a million francs to give up the city. He was deeply offended by the rumors. They stopped when Dombrowski died two days later from wounds received on the barricades. His last reported words were: "Do they still say I was a traitor?"

 
 
22 May: Barricades, first street battles
On the morning of 22 May, bells rang around the city, and Delescluze, as delegate for war of the Commune, issued a proclamation, posted all over Paris:

In the name of this glorious France, mother of all the popular revolutions, permanent home of the ideas of justice and solidarity which should be and will be the laws of the world, march at the enemy, and may your revolutionary energy show him that someone can sell Paris, but no one can give it up, or conquer it! The Commune counts on you, count on the Commune!

The Committee of Public Safety issued its own decree:

TO ARMS! That Paris be bristling with barricades, and that, behind these improvised ramparts, it will hurl again its cry of war, its cry of pride, its cry of defiance, but its cry of victory; because Paris, with its barricades, is undefeatable ...That revolutionary Paris, that Paris of great days, does its duty; the Commune and the Committee of Public Safety will do theirs!

Despite the appeals, only fifteen to twenty thousand persons, including many women and children, responded. The forces of the Commune were outnumbered five-to-one by the army of Marshal MacMahon.

 
Dombrowski caricatured in Le Père Duchesne Illustré: "Un bon bougre!... Nom de Dieu!..." ("Good chap!... Good God!...")
 
 
On the morning of 22 May, the regular army occupied a large area from the Porte Dauphine; to the Champs-de-Mars and the École Militaire, where general Cissey established his headquarters; to the Porte de Vanves. In a short time the 5th corps of the army advanced toward Parc Monceau and Place Clichy, while General Douay occupied the Place de l'Étoile and General Clichant occupied the Gare Saint-Lazaire. Little resistance was encountered in the west of Paris, but the army moved forward slowly and cautiously, in no hurry.

No one had expected the army to enter the city, so only a few large barricades were already in place, on the Rue Saint-Florentin and Rue de l'Opéra, and the Rue de Rivoli. Barricades had not been prepared in advance; some nine hundred barricades were built hurriedly out of paving stones and sacks of earth. Many other people prepared shelters in the cellars. The first serious fighting took place in the afternoon of the 22nd, an artillery duel between regular army batteries on the Quai d'Orsay, and the Madeleine, and National Guard batteries on the terrace of the Tuileries Palace. On the same day, the first executions of National Guard soldiers by the regular army inside Paris took place; some sixteen prisoners captured on the Rue du Bac were given a summary hearing, and then shot.

 
 

A street in Paris in May 1871, by Maximilien Luce
 
 
23 May: Battle for Montmartre; burning of Tuileries Palace
On 23 May the next objective of the army was the butte of Montmartre, where the uprising had begun. The National Guard had built and manned a circle of barricades and makeshift forts around the base of the butte. The garrison of one barricade, at Chaussee Clignancourt, was defended in part by a battalion of about thirty women, including Louise Michelle, the celebrated "Red Virgin of Montmartre", who had already participated in many battles outside the city. She was seized by regular soldiers and thrown into the trench in front of the barricade and left for dead. She escaped and soon afterwards surrendered to the army, to prevent the arrest of her mother. The battalions of the National Guard were no match for the army; by midday on the 23rd the regular soldiers were at the top of Montmartre, and the tricolor flag was raised over the Solferino tower. The soldiers captured 42 guardsmen and several women, took them to the same house on Rue Rosier where generals Clement-Thomas and Lecomte had been executed, and shot them. On the Rue Royale, soldiers seized the formidable barricade around the Madeleine church; 300 prisoners captured with their weapons were shot there, the largest of the mass executions of prisoners.

On the same day, having had little success fighting the army, units of national guardsmen began to take revenge by burning public buildings symbolising the government. The guardsmen led by Paul Brunel, one of the original leaders of the Commune, took cans of oil and set fire to buildings near the Rue Royale and the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Following the example set by Brunel, guardsmen set fire to dozens of other buildings on Rue Saint-Florentin, Rue de Rivoli, Rue de Bac, Rue de Lille, and other streets.



Ruins of the Tuileries Palace, burned on 23 May by a National Guard unit led by Jules Bergeret. He wrote, "I wish the same will happen to all the monuments of Paris.."

 

The Tuileries Palace, which had been the residence of most of the monarchs of France from Henry IV to Napoleon III, was defended by a garrison of some three hundred National Guard with thirty cannon placed in the garden. They had been engaged in a day-long artillery duel with the regular army. At about seven in the evening, the commander of the garrison, Jules Bergeret, gave the order to burn the palace. The walls, floors, drapes and woodwork were soaked with oil and turpentine, and barrels of gunpowder were placed at the foot of the grand staircase and in the courtyard, then the fires were set. The fire lasted 48 hours and gutted the palace, except for the southernmost part, the Pavillon de Flore. Bergeret sent a message to the Hotel de Ville: "The last vestiges of royalty have just disappeared. I wish that the same will happen to all the monuments of Paris."

The Richelieu library of the Louvre, connected to the Tuileries, was also set on fire and entirely destroyed. The rest of the Louvre was saved by the efforts of the museum curators and fire brigades. Defenders of the Commune later claimed that many of the fires were caused by artillery from the French army.

Besides public buildings, the National Guard also burned the homes of several people associated with the regime of Napoleon III, such as the home of the playwright Prosper Merimee, the author of Carmen''.

 
 

A barricade on Place Blanche during Bloody Week, whose defenders included Louise Michel and a unit of 30 women
 
 
24 May: Burning of Hotel de Ville; executions
At two in the morning on 24 May, Brunel and his men went to the Hotel de Ville, which was still the headquarters of the Commune and of its chief executive, Delescluze. Wounded men were being tended in the halls, and some of the National Guard officers and Commune members were changing from their uniforms into civilian clothes and shaving their beards, preparing to escape from the city. Delescluze ordered everyone to leave the building, and Brunel's men set it on fire.

The battles resumed at daylight on 24 May, under a sky black with smoke from the burning palaces and ministries. There was no co-ordination or central direction on the Commune side; each neighborhood fought on its own. The National Guard disintegrated, with many soldiers changing into civilian clothes and fleeing the city, leaving between 10,000 and 15,000 Communards to defend the barricades. Delescluze moved his headquarters from the Hotel de Ville to the city hall of the 11th arrondissement. More public buildings were set afire, including the Palais de Justice, the Prefecture de Police, the theatres of Chatelet and Porte-Saint-Martin, and the Church of Saint-Eustache.

As the army continued its slow advance, the summary executions of hundreds of suspected Communards by the army continued. Informal military courts were established at the École Polytechnique, Chatelet, the Luxembourg Palace, Parc Monceau, and other locations around Paris. The hands of captured prisoners were examined to see if they had fired weapons. The prisoners gave their identity, sentence was pronounced by a court of two or three gendarme officers, the prisoners were taken out and sentences immediately carried out.

Amid the news of the growing number of massacres carried out by the army in different parts of the city, some Communards carried out their own executions as a desperate and futile attempt at retaliation. Raoul Rigaut, the chairman of the Committee of Public Safety, without getting the authorization of the Commune, executed one group of four prisoners, before he himself was captured and shot by an army patrol. On 24 May, a delegation of national guardsmen and Gustave Genton, a member of the Committee of Public Safety, came to the new headquarters of the Commune at the city hall of the 11th arrondissment and demanded the immediate execution of the hostages held at the prison of La Roquette. The new prosecutor of the Commune, Théophile Ferré, hesitated and then wrote a note: "Order to the Citizen Director of La Roquette to execute six hostages." Genton asked for volunteers to serve as a firing squad, and went to the La Roquette prison, where many of the hostages were being held. Genton was given a list of hostages and selected six names, including the Archbishop of Paris and three priests. The governor of the prison, M. François, refused to give up the Archbishop without a specific order from the Commune. Genton sent a deputy back to the Prosecutor, who wrote "and especially the archbishop" on the bottom of his note. The archbishop and five other hostages were promptly taken out into the courtyard of the prison, lined up against the wall, and shot.

 
 
25 May: Death of Delescluze
By the end of 24 May, the regular army had cleared most of the Latin Quarter barricades, and held three-fifths of Paris. MacMahon had his headquarters at the Quai d'Orsay. The insurgents held only the 11th, 12th, 19th and 20th arrondissements, and parts of the 3rd, 5th, and 13th.
Delescluze and the remaining leaders of the Commune, about 20 in all, were at the city hall of the 13th arrondissement on Place Voltaire. A bitter battle took place between about 1,500 national guardsmen from the 13th arrondissement and the Mouffetard district, commanded by Walery Wroblowski, a Polish exile who had participated in the uprising against the Russians, against three brigades commanded by General de Cissey.

During the course of the 25th the insurgents lost the city hall of the 13th arrondissement and moved to a barricade on Place Jeanne-d'Arc, where 700 were taken prisoner. Wroblowski and some of his men escaped to the city hall of the 11th arrondissement, where he met Delescluze, the chief executive of the Commune. Several of the other Commune leaders, including Brunel, were wounded, and Pyat had disappeared. Delescluze offered Wroblowski the command of the Commune forces, which he declined, saying that he preferred to fight as a private soldier. At about seven-thirty Delescluze put on his red sash of office, walked unarmed to the barricade on the Place du Château-d'Eau, climbed to the top and showed himself to the soldiers, and was promptly shot dead.

 
Delescluze, the last military leader of the Commune, was shot dead after he stood atop a barricade, unarmed.
 
 
26 May: Capture of Place de la Bastille; more executions
On the afternoon of 26 May, after six hours of heavy fighting, the regular army captured the Place de la Bastille. The National Guard still held parts of the 3rd arrondissment, from the Carreau du Temple to the Arts-et-Metiers, and the National Guard still had artillery at their strong points at the Buttes-Chaumont and Père-Lachaise, from which they continued to bombard the regular army forces along the Canal Saint-Martin.

As the executions of hundreds of prisoners by the army continued, a contingent of several dozen national guardsmen led by Antoine Clavier, a commissaire and Emile Gois, a colonel of the National Guard, arrived at La Roquette prison and demanded, at gunpoint, the remaining hostages there: ten priests, thirty-five policemen and gendarmes, and two civilians. They took them first to the city hall of the 20th arrondissement; the Commune leader of that district refused to allow his city hall to be used as a place of execution. Clavier and Gois took them instead to Rue Haxo. The procession of hostages was joined by a large and furious crowd of national guardsmen and civilians who insulted, spat upon, and struck the hostages. Arriving at an open yard, they were lined up against a wall and shot in groups of ten. National guardsmen in the crowd opened fire along with the firing squad. The hostages were shot from all directions, then beaten with rifle butts and stabbed with bayonets. A total of 63 people were executed by the Commune during the bloody week.

 
 

Communards defending a barricade on the Rue du Rivoli
 
 
27–28 May: Final battles; massacre at Père-Lachaise Cemetery
On the morning of 27 May, the regular army soldiers of Generals Grenier, Ladmirault and Montaudon launched an attack on the National Guard artillery on the heights of the Buttes-Chaumont. The heights were captured at the end of the afternoon by the first regiment of the French Foreign Legion. The last remaining strongpoint of the National Guard was the cemetery of Père-Lachaise, defended by about 200 men. At 6:00 in the evening, the army used cannon to demolish the gates and the First Regiment of naval infantry stormed into the cemetery. Savage fighting followed around the tombs until nightfall, when the last 150 guardsmen, many of them wounded, were surrounded; and surrendered. The captured guardsmen were taken to the wall of the cemetery, known today as the Communards' Wall, and shot.

On 28 May, the regular army captured the last remaining positions of the Commune, which offered little resistance. In the morning the regular army captured La Roquette prison and freed the remaining 170 hostages. The army took 1,500 prisoners at the National Guard position on Rue Haxo, and 2,000 more at Derroja, near Père-Lachaise. A handful of barricades at Rue Ramponneau and Rue de Tourville held out into the middle of the afternoon, when all resistance ceased.

 
 
Communard prisoners and casualities
Prisoners and exiles

Hundreds of prisoners who had been captured with weapons in their hands or gunpowder on their hands had been shot immediately. Others were taken to the main barracks of the army in Paris and after summary trials, were executed there. They were buried in mass graves in parks and squares. Not all prisoners were shot immediately; the French Army officially recorded the capture of 43,522 prisoners during and immediately after Bloody Week. Of these, 1,054 were women, and 615 were under the age of 16. They were marched in groups of 150 or 200, escorted by cavalrymen, to Versailles or the Camp de Satory where they were held in extremely crowded and unsanitary conditions until they could be tried. More than half of the prisoners, 22,727 to be exact, were released before trial for extenuating circumstances or on humanitarian grounds. Since Paris had been officially under a state of siege during the Commune, the prisoners were tried by military tribunals. Trials were held for 15,895 prisoners, of whom 13,500 were found guilty. Ninety-five were sentenced to death; 251 to forced labour; 1,169 to deportation, usually to New Caledonia; 3,147 to simple deportation; 1,257 to reclusion; 1,305 to prison for more than a year; and 2,054 to prison for less than a year.

A separate and more formal trial was held beginning 7 August for the Commune leaders who survived and had been captured, including Théophile Ferré, who had signed the death warrant for the hostages, and the painter Gustave Courbet, who had proposed the destruction of the column in Place Vendôme. They were tried by a panel of seven senior army officers. Ferré was sentenced to death, and Courbet was sentenced to six months in prison, and later ordered to pay the cost of rebuilding the column.
 
The Commune's prosecutor Théophile Ferré, who handed over six hostages for execution, was executed in November 1871.
 
 
He went into exile in Switzerland and died before making a single payment. Five women were also put on trial for participation in the Commune, including the "Red Virgin" Louise Michel. She demanded the death penalty, but was instead deported to New Caledonia.

In October 1871 a commission of the National Assembly reviewed the sentences; 310 of those convicted were pardoned, 286 had their sentences reduced, and 1,295 commuted. Of the 270 condemned to death—175 in their absence—25 were shot, including Ferré and Gustave Genton, who had selected the hostages for execution. Thousands of Communards, including leaders such as Felix Pyat, succeeded in slipping out of Paris before the end of the battle, and went into exile; some 3,500 going to England, 2,000–3,000 to Belgium, and 1,000 to Switzerland. A partial amnesty was granted on 3 March 1879, allowing 400 of the 600 deportees sent to New Caledonia to return, and 2,000 of the 2,400 prisoners sentenced in their absence. A general amnesty was granted on 11 July 1880, allowing the remaining 543 condemned prisoners, and 262 sentenced in their absence, to return to France.

 
 

Executed National Guards
 
 
Casualties
Participants and historians have long debated the number of Communards killed during Bloody Week. The official army report by General Félix Antoine Appert mentioned only Army casualties, which amounted, from April through May, to 877 killed, 6,454 wounded, and 183 missing. The report assessed information about Communard casualties only as "very incomplete".[3] The issue of casualties during the Bloody Week arose at a National Assembly hearing on 28 August 1871, when Marshal MacMahon testified. Deputy M. Vacherot told him, "A general has told me that the number killed in combat, on the barricades, or after the combat, was as many as 17,000 men." MacMahon responded, "I don't know what that estimate is based upon; it seems exaggerated to me. All I can say is that the insurgents lost a lot more people than we did." Vacherot continued, "Perhaps this number applies to all of the siege, and to the fighting at Forts d'Issy and Vanves." MacMahon replied, "the number is exaggerated." Vacherot persisted, "It was General Appert who gave me that information. Perhaps he meant both dead and wounded." MacMahon replied, "Ah, well, that's different."

In 1876 Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray, who had fought on the barricades during Bloody Week, and had gone into exile in London, wrote a highly popular and sympathetic history of the Commune. At the end, he wrote: "No one knows the exact number of victims of the Bloody Week. The chief of the military justice department claimed seventeen thousand shot." Lissagaray was referring to General Appert, who had reportedly told a National Assembly deputy that there had been 17,000 Commune casualties. "The municipal council of Paris," Lissagaray continued, "paid for the burial of seventeen thousand bodies; but a large number of persons were killed or cremated outside of Paris." "It is no exaggeration," Lissagaray concluded, "to say twenty thousand, a number admitted by the officers." In a new 1896 edition Lissagaray emphasized, "Twenty thousand men, women and children killed after the fighting in Paris and in the provinces." Several historians have accepted the 20,000 figure, among them Pierre Milza, Alfred Cobban[ and Benedict Anderson. Vladimir Lenin seized upon Lissagaray's estimate as emblematic of ruling-class brutality: "20,000 killed in the streets...Lessons: bourgeoisie will stop at nothing."

 
 

Communards killed in 1871
 
 
Between 1878 and 1880, a French historian and member of the Académie française, Maxime Du Camp, wrote Les Convulsions de Paris. Du Camp had witnessed the last days of the Commune, went inside the Tuileries Palace shortly after the fires were put out, witnessed the executions of Communards by soldiers, and the bodies in the streets. He studied the question of the number of dead, and studied the records of the office of inspection of the Paris cemeteries, which was in charge of burying the dead. Based on their records, he reported that between 20 and 30 May, 5,339 corpses of Communards had been taken from the streets or Paris morgue to the city cemeteries for burial. Between 24 May and 6 September, the office of inspection of cemeteries reported that an additional 1,328 corpses were exhumed from temporary graves at 48 sites, including 754 corpses inside the old quarries near Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, for a total of 6,667. Modern Marxist critics attacked du Camp and his book; Collette Wilson called it "a key text in the construction and promulgation of the reactionary memory of the Commune" and Paul Lidsky called it "the bible of the anti-Communard literature." However, In 2012 Robert Tombs, made a new study of the cemetery records and estimated that the number killed was between 6,000 and 7,000, confirming du Camp's research. Jacques Rougerie, who had earlier accepted the 20,000 figure, wrote in 2014, "the number ten thousand victims seems today the most plausible; it remains an enormous number for the time."
 
 

When the battle was over, Parisians buried the bodies of the Communards in temporary mass graves. They were quickly moved to the public cemeteries, where between 6,000 to 7,000 Communards were buried.
 
 
Critique
Contemporary artists and writers

French writers and artists had strong views about the Commune. Gustave Courbet was the most prominent artist to take part in the Commune, and was an enthusiastic participant and supporter, though he criticized its executions of suspected enemies. On the other side, the young Anatole France described the Commune as "A committee of assassins, a band of hooligans [fripouillards], a government of crime and madness." The diarist Edmond de Goncourt, wrote, three days after La Semaine Sanglante, "...the bleeding has been done thoroughly, and a bleeding like that, by killing the rebellious part of a population, postpones the next revolution... The old society has twenty years of peace before it..."

On 23 April George Sand, an ardent republican who had taken part in the 1848 revolution, wrote "The horrible adventure continues. They ransom, they threaten, they arrest, they judge. They have taken over all the city halls, all the public establishments, they’re pillaging the munitions and the food supplies." Soon after the Commune began, Gustave Flaubert wrote Sand, "Austria did not go into Revolution after Sadowa, nor Italy after Novara, nor Russia after Sebastopol! But our good Frenchmen hasten to pull down their house as soon as the chimney takes fire..." Near the end of the Commune, Flaubert wrote her again, "As for the Commune, which is about to die out, it is the last manifestation of the Middle Ages." On 10 June, when the Commune was finished, Flaubert wrote to Sand:

I come from Paris, and I do not know whom to speak to. I am suffocated. I am quite upset, or rather out of heart. The sight of the ruins is nothing compared to the great Parisian insanity. With very rare exceptions, everybody seemed to me only fit for the strait-jacket. One half of the population longs to hang the other half, which returns the compliment. That is clearly to be read in the eyes of the passers-by.

 
 

A barricade on Rue Voltaire, after its capture by the regular army during the Bloody Week
 
 
Victor Hugo was critical of the Commune but sympathetic to the Communards. At the beginning of April, he moved to Brussels to take care of the family of his son, who had just died. On 9 April, he wrote, "In short, this Commune is as idiotic as the National Assembly is ferocious. From both sides, folly." He wrote poems that criticized both the government and the Commune's policy of taking hostages for reprisals, and condemned the destruction of the Vendôme Column. On 25 May, during the Bloody Week, he wrote: "A monstrous act; they’ve set fire to Paris. They’ve been searching for firemen as far away as Brussels." But after the repression, he offered to give sanctuary to members of the Commune, which, he said, "was barely elected, and of which I never approved." He became the most vocal advocate of an amnesty for exiled Communards, finally granted in the 1880s.

Émile Zola, as a journalist for Le Sémaphore de Marseille, reported on the fall of the Commune, and was one of the first reporters to enter the city during Bloody Week. On 25 May he reported: "Never in civilised times has such a terrible crime ravaged a great city... The men of the Hotel de Ville could not be other than assassins and arsonists. They were beaten and fled like robbers from the regular army, and took vengeance upon the monuments and houses.... The fires of Paris have pushed over the limit the exasperation of the army. ...Those who burn and who massacre merit no other justice than the gunshot of a soldier." But on 1 June, when the fighting was over, his tone had changed, "The court martials are still meeting and the summary executions continue, less numerous, it's true. The sound of firing squads, which one still hears in the mournful city, atrociously prolongs the nightmare ... Paris is sick of executions. It seems to Paris that they're shooting everyone. Paris is not complaining about the shooting of the members of the Commune, but of innocent people. It believes that, among the pile, there are innocent people, and that it's time that each execution is preceded by at least an attempt at a serious inquiry ... When the echoes of the last shots have ceased, it will take a great deal of gentleness to heal the million people suffering nightmares, those who have emerged, shivering from the fire and massacre.

 
 

View of the Rue de Rivoli after Bloody Week
 
 
Anarchists
Anarchist historian George Woodcock reports that "The annual Congress of the International had not taken place in 1870 owing to the outbreak of the Paris Commune, and in 1871 the General Council called only a special conference in London. One delegate was able to attend from Spain and none from Italy, while a technical excuse—that they had split away from the Fédération Romande—was used to avoid inviting Bakunin's Swiss supporters.

Thus, only a tiny minority of anarchists was present, and the General Council's resolutions passed almost unanimously. Most of them were clearly directed against Bakunin and his followers." In 1872, the conflict climaxed with a final split between the two groups at the Hague Congress, where Bakunin and James Guillaume were expelled from the International and its headquarters were transferred to New York. In response, the federalist sections formed their own International at the St. Imier Congress, adopting a revolutionary anarchist program.

Anarchists participated actively in the establishment of the Paris Commune. They included "Louise Michel, the Reclus brothers, and Eugène Varlin (the latter murdered in the repression afterwards). As for the reforms initiated by the Commune, such as the re-opening of workplaces as co-operatives, anarchists can see their ideas of associated labour beginning to be realised...Moreover, the Commune's ideas on federation obviously reflected the influence of Proudhon on French radical ideas.

Indeed, the Commune's vision of a communal France based on a federation of delegates bound by imperative mandates issued by their electors and subject to recall at any moment echoes Bakunin's and Proudhon's ideas (Proudhon, like Bakunin, had argued in favour of the 'implementation of the binding mandate' in 1848...and for federation of communes). Thus both economically and politically the Paris Commune was heavily influenced by anarchist ideas."

  George Woodcock manifests that "a notable contribution to the activities of the Commune and particularly to the organization of public services was made by members of various anarchist factions, including the mutualists Courbet, Longuet, and Vermorel, the libertarian collectivists Varlin, Malon, and Lefrangais, and the bakuninists Elie and Elisée Reclus and Louise Michel."

Mikhail Bakunin was a strong supporter of the Commune, which was brutally suppressed by the French government. He saw the Commune as above all a "rebellion against the State," and commended the Communards for rejecting not only the State but also revolutionary dictatorship. In a series of powerful pamphlets, he defended the Commune and the First International against the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini, thereby winning over many Italian republicans to the International and the cause of revolutionary socialism.

Louise Michel was an important anarchist participant in the Paris Commune. Initially she worked as an ambulance woman, treating those injured on the barricades. During the Siege of Paris she untiringly preached resistance to the Prussians. On the establishment of the Commune, she joined the National Guard. She offered to shoot Thiers, and suggested the destruction of Paris by way of vengeance for its surrender. In December 1871, she was brought before the 6th council of war and charged with offences, including trying to overthrow the government, encouraging citizens to arm themselves, and herself using weapons and wearing a military uniform. Defiantly, she vowed to never renounce the Commune, and dared the judges to sentence her to death. Reportedly, Michel told the court, "Since it seems that every heart that beats for freedom has no right to anything but a little slug of lead, I demand my share. If you let me live, I shall never cease to cry for vengeance." Following the 1871 Paris Commune, the anarchist movement, as was the whole of the workers' movement, was decapitated and deeply affected for years.

 
 
Marx, Engels, and Lenin
Communists, left-wing socialists, anarchists, and others have seen the Commune as a model for, or a prefiguration of, a "liberated" society, with a political system based on participatory democracy from the grass roots up. Marx and Engels, Bakunin, and later Lenin and Mao tried to draw major theoretical lessons (in particular as regards the "dictatorship of the proletariat" and the "withering away of the state") from the limited experience of the Commune.

Marx, in The Civil War in France (1871), written during the Commune, praised the Commune's achievements, and described it as the prototype for a revolutionary government of the future, "the form at last discovered" for the emancipation of the proletariat. Marx wrote that, "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 priest will not avail to redeem them."

Engels echoed his partner, maintaining that the absence of a standing army, the self-policing of the "quarters", and other features meant that the Commune was no longer a "state" in the old, repressive sense of the term. It was a transitional form, moving towards the abolition of the state as such. He used the famous term later taken up by Lenin and the Bolsheviks: the Commune was, he said, the first "dictatorship of the proletariat", a state run by workers and in the interests of workers. But Marx and Engels were not entirely uncritical of the Commune. The split between the Marxists and anarchists at the 1872 Hague Congress of the First International (IWA) may in part be traced to Marx's stance that the Commune might have saved itself had it dealt more harshly with reactionaries, instituted conscription, and centralized decision-making in the hands of a revolutionary direction, etc. The other point of disagreement was the anti-authoritarian socialists' opposition to the Communist conception of conquest of power and of a temporary transitional state (the anarchists were in favour of general strike and immediate dismantlement of the state through the constitution of decentralized workers' councils, as those seen in the Commune).

Lenin, like Marx, considered the Commune a living example of the "dictatorship of the proletariat". But he criticized the Communards for not having done enough to secure their position, highlighting two errors in particular. The first was that the Communards "stopped half way ... led astray by dreams of ... establishing a higher [capitalist] justice in the country ... such institutions as the banks, for example, were not taken over". Secondly, he thought their "excessive magnanimity" had prevented them from "destroying" the class enemy. For Lenin, the Communards "underestimated the significance of direct military operations in civil war; and instead of launching a resolute offensive against Versailles that would have crowned its victory in Paris, it tarried and gave the Versailles government time to gather the dark forces and prepare for the blood-soaked week of May."

 
 

A plaque honours the dead of the Commune in Père Lachaise Cemetery.
 
 
Other commentary
The American Ambassador in Paris during the Commune, Elihu Washburne, writing in his personal diary which is quoted at length in noted historian David McCullough's book, The Greater Journey (Simon & Schuster 2011), described the Communards as "brigands", "assassins", and "scoundrels"; "I have no time now to express my detestation.... [T]hey threaten to destroy Paris and bury everybody in its ruins before they will surrender."

Edwin Child, a young Londoner working in Paris, noted that during the Commune, "the women behaved like tigresses, throwing petroleum everywhere and distinguishing themselves by the fury with which they fought". However, it has been argued in recent research that these famous female arsonists of the Commune, or pétroleuses, may have been exaggerated or a myth. Lissagaray claimed that because of this myth, hundreds of working-class women were murdered in Paris in late May, falsely accused of being pétroleuses. Lissagaray also claimed that the artillery fire by the French army was responsible for probably half of the fires that consumed the city during the Bloody Week. However, photographs of the ruins of the Tuileries Palace, the Hotel de Ville, and other prominent government buildings that burned show that the exteriors were untouched by cannon fire, while the interiors were completely gutted by fire; and prominent Communards such as Jules Bergeret, who escaped to live in New York, proudly claimed credit for the most famous acts of arson.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 
1871
 
 
Thiers Adolphe elected French President
 
 

Adolphe Thiers, by Nadar
 
 
 
1871
 
 
Treaty of Washington
 
The Treaty of Washington was a treaty signed and ratified by the United Kingdom and the United States in 1871 that settled various disputes between the countries, in particular the Alabama Claims.
 
Background
In early 1871, the British government sent Sir John Rose to the United States to ascertain whether negotiations to settle the Northwestern boundary dispute would be acceptable to President Ulysses S. Grant. The U.S. government through the adroit and diplomatic abilities of Grant's Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish, cordially received his advances and, on January 26, Sir Edward Thornton, the British Minister at Washington formally proposed the appointment of a joint high commission to meet in Washington to resolve the dispute. The United States readily consented, provided that the differences growing out of the Civil War be among the subjects to be considered. The British government promptly accepted the American proviso and the president appointed commissioners.
 
 

The British and Canadian high commissioners to the Treaty of Washington of 1871. Standing: L. to R.: Lord Tenterden, Sir John A. Macdonald, Mountague Bernard. Seated: L. to R.: Sir Stafford Northcote, Earl de Grey & Ripon, Sir Edward Thornton.
 
 
Joint commission
The British government selected as its commissioners Earl de Grey (Marquess of Ripon), Sir Stafford Northcote, Lord Tenterden, Sir Edward Thornton, Mountague Bernard, and Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. President Grant appointed U.S. commissioners Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, who served as chairman, Robert Schenck, Ebenezer R. Hoar, George Henry Williams, Samuel Nelson, J.C. Bancroft Davis.

Although the treaty was signed in the name of the British Empire, Macdonald's presence established that the newly formed Dominion of Canada would at least take part in settling foreign matters that affected it directly, especially with respect to dealings with the United States. The joint commission entered at once upon its task and on 8 May concluded a treaty which received the prompt approval of the two governments. Aside from the settlement of the dispute growing out of the so-called Alabama Claims, provision was made for the adjustment of the differences with regard to the northeastern fisheries by the appointment of a mixed commission to meet at Halifax and pass upon the relative value of certain reciprocal privileges granted each of the contracting parties.

In 1877, the Halifax Fisheries Commission appointed under the Treaty directed the United States to pay $5,500,000 to the British Government as compensation.

  Finally, provision was made for submitting to the arbitration by William I, German Emperor, of the Pig War dispute concerning the maritime boundary in Puget Sound. Thus, the treaty profoundly affected International Law, with subsequent effects upon the 1878 Congress of Berlin.

At Geneva, in 1872, the United States was awarded $15,500,000 pursuant to the terms of the treaty, and the British apologized for the destruction caused by the British-built Confederate ships, while admitting no guilt.

Compensation for the Fenian raids was not included, and American fishermen were given rights to fish in Canadian waters. This greatly irritated Macdonald, but he nonetheless signed the treaty under the argument that he must as a junior member of the British delegation. The treaty was published in the Canadian press to widespread condemnation, but Macdonald remained silent on the issue. When it came time to debate the treaty in the Canadian House of Commons, he revealed that he had been secretly negotiating for a better deal, and had obtained a cash payment from the Americans for the use of Canadian fishing grounds, and in lieu of any claim against the United States over the Fenians.

Furthermore the British had agreed to a guaranteed loan of £4,000,000 for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. This masterstroke of diplomacy and statecraft allowed an otherwise deeply unpopular treaty to be ratified by the Canadian Parliament.

 
 

The American High Commissioners to the Treaty of Washington. U.S. Secretary of State Hamilton Fish served as chairman. Standing: L. to R.: Ebenezer R. Hoar, George Henry Williams, Bancroft Davis. Seated: L. to R.: Robert C. Schenck, Sec. Hamilton Fish, Samuel Nelson. Brady – 1871
 
 

Impact on international law
The scholar of international law John Bassett Moore called this treaty "the greatest treaty of actual and immediate arbitration the world has ever seen." The so-called rules of Washington agreed upon by the contracting parties for the guidance of the tribunal in the interpretation of certain terms used in the treaty, and of certain principles of international law governing the obligations of neutrals, are:

1. That due diligence "ought to be exercised by neutral governments in exact proportion to the risks to which either of the belligerents may be exposed, from a failure to fulfill the obligations of neutrality on their part."

2. "The effects of a violation of neutrality committed by means of the construction, equipment, and armament of a vessel are not done away with by any commission which the government of the belligerent power benefited by the violation of neutrality may afterward have granted to that vessel; and the ultimate step by which the offense is completed cannot be admissible as a ground for the absolution of the, nor can the consummation of his fraud become the means of establishing his innocence."

3. "The principle of extraterritoriality has been admitted into the laws of nations, not as an absolute right, but solely as a proceeding founded on the principle of courtesy and mutual deference between different nations, and therefore can never be appealed to for the protection of acts done in violation of neutrality."

Those rules affected the 1878 Congress of Berlin. Also,this precedent grew into the League of Nations and the United Nations.

 
Implications
The Treaty of Washington had a significant effect on the United States' long term relationship with Canada, and Britain. With the demilitarization of the U.S.–Canadian border, the resolution of outstanding issues via the Treaty of Washington, and the industrialization of the Great Lakes region, war between the United States, and Canada and/or Britain became highly unlikely. The treaty laid the foundation for The Great Rapprochement or convergence of interests between Britain and the United States.

In agreeing to Macdonald's inclusion to the British delegation as well as his title of prime minister of the Dominion of Canada, the treaty also had the effect of de facto recognition by the United States of the Dominion.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
 
1871
 
 
Law of Guarantees
 
Law of Guarantees, Italian Legge Delle Guarentigie, (May 13, 1871), attempt by the Italian government to settle the question of its relationship with the pope, who had been deprived of his lands in central Italy in the process of national unification.
 
A name given to the law passed by the senate and chamber of the Italian parliament, 13 May, 1871, concerning the prerogatives of the Holy See, and the relations between State and Church in the Kingdom of Italy. The principal stipulations of the law may be summed up as follows:
 

1. the pope's person to be sacred and inviolable;
2. insult or injury to the pope to be treated on a par with insult or injury to the king's person; discussion of religious matters to be absolutely free;
3. royal honours to be paid to the pope; that he have the right to the customary guards;
4. the pope to be given an annual endowment of 3,225,000 lire ($622,425 or £127,933) to cover all the needs of the Holy See (college of cardinals, Roman congregations, embassies, etc.) and the maintenance of church buildings;
5. the Vatican and Lateran palaces, as well as the Villa of Castel Gandolfo, to remain the property of the pope; these articles assure the pope and all engaged in the spiritual government of the Church, as well as the college of cardinals assembled in conclave, complete liberty of communication with the Catholic world, exempt them from all interference with their letters, papers, etc.;
6. the clergy to have freedom of assembly;
7. the government to renounce the "Apostolic Legation" in Sicily, and the right of nomination to major benefices, with reservation, however, of the royal patronage; the bishops are not obliged to take the oath (of allegiance) on appointment;
8. the Exequatur to be maintained only for the major benefices (except in Rome, and in the suburbicarian sees) and for acts affecting the disposition of ecclesiastical property;
9. in spiritual matters no appeal to be allowed against ecclesiastical authority; the civil courts, however, to be competent to pass judgment on the juridical effects of ecclesiastical sentences. Provision to be made, by a future law, for the reorganization, conservation, and administration of all the church property in the kingdom.

 
The Italian government, which had declared that it entered Rome to safeguard the person of the Holy Father (Visconti-Venosta, circular of 7 September, 1870; the autograph letter of Victor Emanuel to Pius IX, dated 29 Aug., received 10 Sept.; again the king's answer to the Roman deputation which brought him the result of the plebiscite), and which, in the very act of invading pontifical territory, had assured the people that the independence of the Holy See would remain inviolate (General Cadorna's proclamation at Terni, 11 Sept.), felt obliged to secure in a legal and solemn way the executions of its aforesaid intention. It owed no less to its own Catholic subjects, and to Catholics the world over. Two ways were open to it for keeping its promise. It might call an international congress of all nations having a very large Catholic population, or it might pass a domestic Italian law. In the aforesaid circular of the minister Visconti-Venosta, addressed to all the powers, the former way was hinted at. But the unconcern of Catholic governments over the events that ended in the occupation of Rome put an end to all thought of consulting them; and so a domestic law was passed. Before its adoption, however, Pius IX, by a letter of his cardinal vicar, dated 2 March, 1871, protested against the law "in which", he said, "it was no easy task to decide whether absurdity, cunning, or contempt played the largest part".

The pope refused to recognize in the Italian government any right to grant him prerogatives, or to make laws for him. Indeed, each of the "concessions carried with it a special servitude, while later events proved that they were not intended to be seriously observed. In the Encyclical of 15 May following, the pope declared that no guarantees could secure him the liberty and independence necessary in the exercise of his power and authority. He renewed this protest at the consistory of 27 October. And it stands to reason that a law voted by two houses of Parliament could with equal ease be abrogated by them at will. Indeed, it has ever been part of the programme of the "Left" party in the Italian Parliament to suppress the Law of Guarantees. Pius IX, moreover, was unwilling to accept formally the arrangements made concerning the relations of Church and State, especially the Exequatur and the administration of ecclesiastical property.
  Moreover, if, as he hoped, the occupation of Rome was to be only temporary, the acceptance of this law seemed useless. Doubtless, too, such acceptance on his part would have been interpreted as at least a tacit recognition of accomplished facts, as a renunciation of the temporal power, and the property which had been taken from the Holy See (e.g. the Quirinal Palace).

The abandonment of the "Apostolic Legation" in Sicily, for eight centuries an apple of discord between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Sicily (Sentis, "La Monarchia Sicula", Freiburg im Br., 1864), and the endowment granted the pope, were truly but slight compensation for all that had been taken from him.
Consequently neither Pius IX nor his two successors have ever touched the aforesaid annual endowment, preferring to depend on the offerings of the faithful throughout the Catholic world. It may be added that the endowment was not sufficient to meet the needs of the Church, nor with their multiplication could it be increased.

A few years ago the question arose as to whether this untouched endowment would be confiscated by the Italian treasury at the end of every five years, as is usual with other public debts of the Kingdom of Italy.

The "Civiltà Cattolica" maintained that it could not be confiscated, but the Italian courts long ago decided differently, when they rejected the claims of the heirs of Pius IX on the ground that as he had not accepted the endowment he had never come into possession of it. What need then of confiscating it? Pius IX expressly rejected this income, 13 November, 1872.

There is occasional controversy between writers on international law and on Italian ecclesiastical legislation over various matters connected with this law: whether in the eyes of the Italian government the pope is a sovereign, whether he enjoys the privilege of extraterritoriality (not expressly recognized to him, though granted to foreign embassies to the Holy See), etc. As far as the Holy See is concerned these controversies have no meaning; it has never ceased to maintain its sovereign rights.

Catholic Encyclopedia
 
 
 
1871
 
 
British North America Act, 1871
 
This Act gave Canada the power to establish new provinces and territories, and to change provincial boundaries with the affected province's consent.
The act recognized the creation of the Province of Manitoba, and also the incorporation of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories into Canada. This Act also allowed the Canadian parliament and the legislatures of Ontario and Quebec to redraw the boundaries of the Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec in order to include parts of these land acquisitions, specifically in northern (Arctic) Canada around Hudson Bay. In 1982, this Act was renamed the Constitution Act, 1871.
 
 

British North America Act, 1871, 34-35 Vict., c. 28 (U.K.)

An Act respecting the establishment of Provinces in the Dominion of Canada.

[29th June 1871]

WHEREAS doubts have been entertained respecting the powers of the Parliament of Canada to establish Provinces in Territories admitted, or which may hereafter be admitted into the Dominion of Canada, and to provide for the representation of such Provinces in the said Parliament, and it is expedient to remove such doubts, and to vest such powers in the said Parliament:

1. This Act may be cited for all purposes as "The British North America Act, 1871."

2. The Parliament of Canada may from time to time establish new Provinces in any territories forming for the time being part of the Dominion of Canada, but not included in any Province thereof, and may, at the time of such establishment, make provision for the constitution and administration of any such Province, and for the passing of laws for the peace, order, and good government of such Province, and for its representation in the said Parliament. Parliament of Canada may establish new Provinces and provide for the constitution etc., thereof.

3. Alteration of limits of Provinces.
The Parliament of Canada may from time to time, with the consent of the Legislature of any Province of the said Dominion, increase, diminish, or otherwise alter the limits of such Province, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said Legislature, and may, with the like consent, make provision respecting the effect and operation of any such increase or diminution or alteration of territory in relation to any Province affected thereby.

4. Parliament of Canada may legislate for any territory not included in a Province.
The Parliament of Canada may from time to time make provision for the administration, peace, order, and good government of any territory not for the time being included in any Province.

5. Confirmation of Acts of Parliament of Canada, 32 & 33 Vict., (Canadian) cap. 3, 33 Vict., (Canadian) cap. 3.
The following Acts passed by the said Parliament of Canada, and intituled respectively: "An Act for the temporary government of Rupert's Land and the North Western Territory when united with Canada," and "An Act to amend and continue the Act thirty-two and thirty-three Victoria, chapter three, and to establish and provide for the government of the Province of Manitoba," shall be and be deemed to have been valid and effectual for all purposes whatsoever from the date at which they respectively received the assent, in the Queen's name, of the Governor General of the said Dominion of Canada.

6. Limitation of powers of Parliament of Canada to legislate for an established Province.
Except as provided by the third section of this Act, it shall not be competent for the Parliament of Canada to alter the provisions of the last mentioned Act of the said Parliament, in so far as it relates to the Province of Manitoba, or of any other Act hereafter establishing new Provinces in the said Dominion, subject always to the right of the Legislature of the Province of Manitoba to alter from time to time the provisions of any law respecting the qualification of electors and members of the Legislative Assembly, and to make laws respecting elections in the said Province.

 
 
 
1871
 
 
"Kulturkampf"
 
Kulturkampf, (German: “culture struggle”), the bitter struggle (c. 1871–87) on the part of the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck to subject the Roman Catholic church to state controls. The term came into use in 1873, when the scientist and Prussian liberal statesman Rudolf Virchow declared that the battle with the Roman Catholics was assuming “the character of a great struggle in the interest of humanity.”
 
Bismarck, a staunch Protestant, never fully trusted the loyalty of the Roman Catholics within his newly created German Empire and became concerned by the Vatican Council’s proclamation of 1870 concerning papal infallibility. The Roman Catholics, who were represented politically by the Centre Party, distrusted the predominance of Protestant Prussia within the empire and often opposed Bismarck’s policies.
 
 

"Between Berlin and Rome", with Bismarck on the left and the Pope on the right, from the German satirical magazine Kladderadatsch, 1875. Pope: "Admittedly, the last move was unpleasant for me; but the game still isn't lost. I still have a very beautiful secret move." Bismarck: "That will also be the last one, and then you'll be mated in a few moves — at least in Germany."
 
 
The conflict began in July 1871, when Bismarck, supported by the liberals, abolished the Roman Catholic bureau in the Prussian Ministry of Culture (i.e., ministry of education and ecclesiastical affairs) and in November forbade priests from voicing political opinions from the pulpit. In March 1872 all religious schools became subject to state inspection; in June all religious teachers were excluded from state schools, and the Jesuit order was dissolved in Germany; and in December diplomatic relations with the Vatican were severed. In 1873 the May Laws, promulgated by the Prussian minister of culture, Adalbert Falk, placed strict state controls over religious training and even over ecclesiastical appointments within the church. The climax of the struggle came in 1875, when civil marriage was made obligatory throughout Germany. Dioceses that failed to comply with state regulations were cut off from state aid, and noncompliant clergy were exiled.

Roman Catholics, however, strongly resisted Bismarck’s measures and opposed him effectively in the German parliament, where they doubled their representation in the 1874 elections. Bismarck, a pragmatist, decided to retreat. He conceded that many of the measures were excessive and served only to strengthen the resistance of the Centre Party, whose support he needed for his new thrust against the Social Democrats. The advent of a new pope in 1878 eased compromise. By 1887, when Leo XIII declared the conflict over, most of the anti-Catholic legislation had been repealed or reduced in severity. The struggle had the consequence of assuring state control over education and public records, but it also alienated a generation of Roman Catholics from German national life.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 
1871
 
 
Ebert Friedrich
 
Friedrich Ebert, (born February 4, 1871, Heidelberg, Germany—died February 28, 1925, Berlin), leader of the Social Democratic movement in Germany and a moderate socialist, who was a leader in bringing about the constitution of the Weimar Republic, which attempted to unite Germany after its defeat in World War I. He was president of the Weimar Republic from 1919 to 1925.
 

Friedrich Ebert
  Ebert was the son of a master tailor. He learned the saddler’s trade and traveled through Germany as a journeyman saddler. He soon became a Social Democrat and trade unionist, representing so-called revisionist—gradualist, liberal—“trade-union” socialism, without, however, displaying a deep interest in the ideological struggles of Marxism. His attention was always directed toward practical improvement in the living conditions of the German working class and, above all, its social and moral betterment.

In 1905 Ebert became secretary general of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The party had steadily increased in membership and electoral support and had accumulated physical assets and property. He updated party administration, introducing typewriters and filing systems that the party had lacked until that time due to its fear of house searches.

Ebert succeeded August Bebel as party chairman in 1913. Under his leadership, the SPD gained increasing influence in German national politics. It was Ebert, in particular, who on August 3, 1914, prevailed upon German Social Democrats to support the war appropriations.

The action of the German SPD did not differ from that of the other socialist parties of Europe, in which nationalist feelings remained stronger than internationalist convictions.

 
 
To its own detriment, Ebert’s party gave the “Fatherland” its unconditional support without requiring that Germany adopt a genuine peace policy. In consequence, it lacked the power to force the government to adopt a policy through which Germany might have escaped the crushing defeat that was to destroy the empire and also eventually Ebert’s postwar policy.

Ebert could not hold the entire party to his course for long. In March 1917 a left-wing faction left the party to become the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), strenuously rejecting war appropriations and Germany’s war policy. Another group split from the SPD to form the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). The leftists who had withdrawn from the SPD sought a social revolution, while Ebert and his party wanted to establish a German parliamentary democracy. Even in the midst of the war, the Catholic Centre Party, the Democratic Party (previously the Progressive Party), and the Social Democrats had formed the so-called Black–Red–Gold (Weimar) coalition, named after the colours of the flag of the liberal revolution of 1848.

With Ebert’s active cooperation, a new government, headed by Maximilian, the Prince of Baden, and supported by the three parties of the Black–Red–Gold coalition, was organized in October 1918 through a sweeping constitutional reform that in essential respects foreshadowed the Weimar Constitution. Because Ebert was convinced that Germany did not need a revolution to achieve parliamentary democratic reform, he did everything he could to prevent such a revolution from occurring. “I hate the revolution like sin,” he later said to Chancellor Maximilian. But the revolution of November 1918 was not made by Germans to bring about the advent of the republic, democracy, or even socialism. For nearly all Germans, the revolution had only one aim: peace. Rightly or wrongly, the German people believed that Emperor William II (Kaiser Wilhelm II) would not secure peace for Germany.

 
 

People's Deputies Otto Landsberg, Philipp Scheidemann, Gustav Noske, Friedrich Ebert and Rudolf Wissell after the USPD had left the Council at the end of 1918.
 
 
The revolution, winning its race with peace, came three days before the armistice. It triumphed in Berlin on November 9, and on the same day Maximilian, acting on his own authority, asked Ebert to replace him as chancellor. Ebert, who still hoped to establish a regency for the emperor, actually held office as chancellor for one day. On November 10 he yielded to the fait accompli of the revolution and set up an entirely socialist government, with representatives from the SPD and USPD. Calling itself the Council of People’s Representatives, the government derived its authority from the Workers and Soldiers Council, which claimed to speak for Germany and the German Republic but in truth had been elected rather arbitrarily by the factories and regiments of Berlin alone. Ebert was determined to place the power of the Council of People’s Representatives and the Workers and Soldiers Council in the hands of a freely elected German parliament as soon as possible. He wished to see a moderate coalition government rather than a socialist regime in power.
 
 

Ebert, right, with Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno (1923)
  The elections of January 1919 gave the Black–Red–Gold coalition a majority of 85 percent. The republic’s first government, under Ebert’s fellow party member Philipp Scheidemann, was based on this tripartite coalition, and the new German constitution, the Weimar Constitution, so called after the town in which it was drawn up, was the work of the coalition. By the votes of the three parties forming the coalition, Ebert was elected the first president of the republic.

Ebert and Hugo Preuss, a professor of constitutional law whom he had charged with the task of drafting the constitution, wished to alter the organic structure of the Reich. But the old German states (the Länder, or territories) successfully resisted the “unitary state” (Einheitsstaat) of Ebert and Preuss. Prussia in particular continued to exist as a state. The groups and forces that had until then been the pillars of the old Germany also remained intact, for the first years of the Weimar Republic were taken up by the bloody civil war which the government, under Ebert’s presidency, waged against the leftist socialists and communists, who had been Ebert’s former comrades. The republic exhausted itself in the civil war against communism and lacked the strength to carry out the basic changes in the Reich that might have placed the republic on a lasting foundation.
The workers did not want to make an armed defense of the democratic republic. So Ebert and his friend Gustav Noske, the defense minister, had recourse to volunteer groups, the Freikorps, which were principally composed of officers of the old army, and suppressed the communist uprising out of hatred of communism rather than love of the republic. The old officer corps formed the backbone of the Reichswehr, the republic’s army. Together with the officer class and the old officialdom, the Junkers—the landed gentry east of the Elbe River—with their great estates and influence in social and political life, also survived the revolution.

 
 
With the elections to the republic’s first parliament on June 6, 1920, the Black–Red–Gold coalition lost its majority and was never to regain it. The Social Democratic Party thereby lost its commanding position in the Reich, and the political constellation on which Ebert’s leadership had been based dissolved. The electoral defeat was a direct result of the Treaty of Versailles. At that time many Germans, including Ebert, were convinced that the peace of Versailles aimed at the destruction of Germany. The resulting loss of confidence in the Black–Red–Gold coalition was the deathblow of the Weimar Republic, although in fact the country’s strength and stability had remained untouched.

Nevertheless, the first consequence of the Treaty of Versailles was the Kapp Putsch, a coup d’état against the republic by radical nationalists, a part of the Reichswehr, and the Freikorps, which were to be disbanded under the provisions of the peace treaty. The coup of March 13, 1920, led by Wolfgang Kapp, a provincial bureaucrat who planned a restoration of the monarchy, collapsed after a few days, but Ebert’s dream of a reconciliation between the army and the Social Democrats was shattered.

Soon thereafter, the government was confronted by a near-fatal crisis. In January 1923 Germany was declared in default of coal deliveries under the reparations provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, prompting France to settle the reparations question decisively by occupying the Ruhr territory. Ebert, as did nearly all Germans at that time, supported national resistance and the general strike in the Ruhr, which was directed toward ending foreign military control. But Germany suffered as a result of the strike, in which eventually millions became idle. Inflation assumed staggering proportions, and the country experienced its most severe social and political crisis. Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in seizing power in Bavaria. Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno, an independent, appointed on the eve of the Ruhr struggle as a man whom Ebert particularly trusted, was helpless in the face of the crisis. Gustav Stresemann, of the right-of-centre People’s Party, succeeded Cuno and brought the crisis under control. Ebert initially appointed him only with hesitation and treated him with reserve but finally gave him his full support. He bitterly rebuked his own party when, protesting Stresemann’s move to a more rightist position, it dropped out of the governing coalition and thus brought about the chancellor’s resignation in November 1923. In point of fact, Ebert’s party had thereby eliminated itself from active participation in German national politics for many years to come.

The unity of the Reich was preserved. Inflation was ended through monetary reform, and a means for resolving the reparations question was partially resolved in an American proposal providing for their reduction. The evacuation of the Ruhr district was in sight. Yet much of the German right persisted in its defamation of Friedrich Ebert. The judgment of a German court, which ruled that Ebert had committed high treason, at least in the legal sense, during the war by his support of a munition workers’ strike, contributed to his early death.

Ebert’s writings, speeches, and notes may be found in Friedrich Ebert: Schriften, Aufzeichnungen, Reden, with previously unpublished material from his estate, compiled by Friedrick Ebert, Jr., with a brief biography by Paul Kampffmeyer, 2 vol. (1926).

Michael Freund

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
 

 
 
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