Communards  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Cadavres de Communards

The Communards were members and supporters of the short-lived 1871 Paris Commune formed in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War and France's defeat.

According to historian Benedict Anderson, thousands fled abroad, roughly 20,000 Communards were executed during the Semaine Sanglante ("Bloody Week") and 7,500 were jailed or deported. Until a general amnesty during the 1880s, this harsh repression, directed by Adolphe Thiers, undermined the French labour movement during the early years of the French Third Republic (1871-1940).

"In March 1871 the Commune took power in the abandoned city and held it for two months. Then Versailles seized the moment to attack and, in one horrifying week, executed roughly 20,000 Communards or suspected sympathizers, a number higher than those killed in the recent war or during Robespierre’s ‘Terror’ of 1793–94. More than 7,500 were jailed or deported to places like New Caledonia. Thousands of others fled to Belgium, England, Italy, Spain and the United States. In 1872, stringent laws were passed that ruled out all possibilities of organizing on the left. Not till 1880 was there a general amnesty for exiled and imprisoned Communards. Meantime, the Third Republic found itself strong enough to renew and reinforce Louis Napoleon’s imperialist expansion—in Indochina, Africa, and Oceania. Many of France’s leading intellectuals and artists had participated in the Commune (Courbet was its quasi-minister of culture, Rimbaud and Pissarro were active propagandists) or were sympathetic to it. The ferocious repression of 1871 and after was probably the key factor in alienating these milieux from the Third Republic and stirring their sympathy for its victims at home and abroad."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Communards" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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