The Paris Commune (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Paris Commune, a failed attempt by French revolutionaries to seize control of France, provides future generations of socialists with an inspirational symbol.
Summary of Event
Bitter civil war between Paris and the national government erupted in the spring of 1871. The background to the revolt included several interrelated factors. Paris had just emerged from the Franco-Prussian War, angry because the so-called Government of National Defense had failed to break the four-month-long siege of the city and defeat the Germans. Traditionally republican Paris was also fearful that the royalist majority in the National Assembly at Bordeaux would attempt to restore a monarchy. Paris was also outraged over the concessions which Adolphe Thiers, president of the National Assembly, had made to Otto von Bismarck, prime minister of Prussia, while negotiating the treaty that ended the war. Moreover, many Parisians were threatened with ruin after the assembly passed several laws that forced immediate payment on overdue promissory notes and ended the moratorium on the payment of back rent.
Disturbed by this growing Parisian hostility, the National Assembly, which had just moved to Versailles, tried to recapture some cannon held by local National Guard units in Paris. The failure of this attempt to disarm Paris on March 18, 1871, marked the beginning of the insurrection. On March 26, elections to the Paris...
(The entire section is 918 words.)
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