Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung May 1849

The Approaching Revolution

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 416;
Written: by Engels on May 8, 1849;
First published: in the special supplement to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 293, May 9, 1849.

Cologne, evening of May 8. The revolution is drawing nearer and nearer. While in Dresden the people are displaying the utmost courage in their struggle against the Saxon and Prussian mercenaries,[322] and armed reinforcements are pouring in from all quarters to repulse the Prussian invasion; while in the Palatinate the people are rallying round the Defence Council,[323] the people’s militia is mobilising and arming itself, the military are siding with it and the government officials are acquiescing, the whole of Germany is seething with unrest. Franconia is only waiting for the moment when it, too, can break away from Bavaria; the people there are in a state of great unrest, and the peasantry especially wait with impatience the outbreak of the struggle. We shall be in a position to supply details about this tomorrow. In Baden and Württemberg even the military have declared themselves in favour of the imperial Constitution. Similar reports have been received from Thuringia, Hesse-Cassel and Darmstadt.

Finally in Prussia the movement is gaining momentum with every day that passes and becoming more revolutionary. Breslau is in a state of profound unrest; the minor riots, the mustering of troops, the patrols, the groups of people gathering in the streets, are all harbingers of graver events. The whole of Silesia is in a similar state of tension in anticipation of the news from Hungary and Vienna. Berlin is quiet, held down by the rule of the sabre. On the Rhine and in Westphalia the plans of Hohenzollern despotism are miscarrying because of the resistance of the army reserve which refuses to allow itself to be used as a tool for new coups d'état. The whole of the Berg Country, the District of Hagen, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Krefeld — in short, precisely the regions with the largest number of black-and-white supporters have suddenly gone over to open insurrection.

The Brandenburg-Manteuffel clique is in the meantime doing its best to provoke the people into revolution. The Staats-Anzeiger which arrived today contains a circular addressed to all heads of provincial administrations, calling on them to take energetic measures against all “revolutionary” activities in support of the imperial Constitution, and also correspondence between Imperial Commissioner Bassermann and Herr Brandenburg in which the latter states: 1) Prussia refuses once and for all to recognise the imperial Constitution, and 2) the Central Authority[324] is to abstain from interference in Prussia’s internal affairs, such as dissolution of the Chamber, proclamation of a state of siege etc., once and for all.

We commend these last samples of Hohenzollern arrogance to the people of the Rhine. It seems that through its contemptuous dismissal of even the most trivial concessions the dynasty intends to drive the people into revolution.

If it comes to another revolution, Herr von Hohenzollern, who knows whether the people will leave it at “Hats off!” this time! [325]