Articles by Marx & Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung

The Censorship

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 70;
Written: Written on March 14, 1849;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 246, March 15, 1849

Cologne, March 14. The German daily press is certainly the flabbiest, sleepiest and most cowardly institution under the sun! The greatest infamies can be perpetrated before its very eyes, even directed against itself, and it will remain silent and conceal everything; if the facts had not become known by accident, one would never have learnt through the press what splendid March violets have been brought into being by divine grace in some places.

Last autumn citizen and communist Drigalski [63] tried to reintroduce censorship in Düsseldorf, on the pretext of the state of siege. The attempt succeeded for two days; but the storm it aroused in public opinion compelled the sabre-bearing gentlemen immediately to abandon their yearning for censorship.

But what does the situation look like in the old provinces?[64]

For three months censorship has existed in all its glory in two different districts, but the entire old-Prussian press calmly passes over this scandalous encroachment on its rights!

Just listen to this:

Rosenberg, in Silesia, March 7. No. 19 of the Rosenberg-Kreuzburger Telegraph publishes the following statement at the top of the page.

"We ask the readers of our newspaper not to blame us for the delay in the appearance of this issue and its incompleteness, but to take into account that we are still under the state of siege and that the Telegraph—which has recently been under the censorship of the local royal district president, Herr Sack, who has been elected as a deputy to the Second Chamber--after his departure to Berlin has now been placed under direct military censorship.

"The editorial board."


Unrestrained censorship has likewise been in existence in Erfurt since November 25. The press there was at first censored by Herr F. W. Huthsteiner, now a police inspector, ex-editor of the Barmer Zeitung that had at one time been liberal under the censorship. Huthsteiner was ostensibly a liberal or democrat, later a subordinate of Duncker and a permanent Prussian policeman. Although this respectable gentleman even deleted articles from the unfortunate Berlin National-Zeitung (!), his official activity was nevertheless considered to be insufficiently Prussian and he was replaced by an officer. Therefore military censorship exists in Erfurt as well.

But that is not all: censorship is introduced also for newspapers and other publications printed abroad, i.e. outside the area under the state of siege. The Erfurter Adressblatt of February 7 contains the following announcement:

"On orders from the royal Commandant's office here, the Erfurt public is warned, on pain of 'appropriate police punishment' and 'immediate arrest', against the distribution or bill-posting of materials printed outside the town which cast suspicion on government measures or launch malicious attacks against them and thereby have the effect of alienating the minds of the population from the existing constitutional government, or which tend to Provoke animosity against specific classes of the population and, consequently, unrest and friction in our town.

Erfurt, February 5, 1849

The Municipal Administration, Police Department."

The restoration of censorship, and the replacement of ordinary by military censorship, are surely things which closely concern the press. Yet the press of neighbouring places—the press of Breslau, Berlin, Leipzig—accept all that as if it were a matter of course! In fact the German press is still the old "good press".

But we ask our somnolent deputies in Berlin: will they still fail to move that the Ministers be promptly brought to trial?