Works of Frederick Engels 1849
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The Revolutionary Uprising in the Palatinate and Baden [387]

Source: MECW Volume 9, p. 474
Written: on June 2, 1849;
First published: in Der Bote für Stadt und Land No. 110, June 3, 1849.

Kaiserslautern, June 2. The counter-revolutionary German newspapers try in every way to cast suspicion on the revolution in the Palatinate and Baden. They are not ashamed to assert that the trend of the entire uprising is tantamount “to betraying” the Palatinate, Baden and, indirectly, the whole of Germany “to the French”. They thereby seek to conjure up afresh the counter-revolutionary hatred of the French stemming from the so-called good old times, believing that in this way they will be able to deprive us of the sympathy of our brothers in North and East Germany. The filthy, lying newspapers which accuse the Palatinate and Baden of having sold themselves to France happen, however, to be precisely those which are in favour of the Russian invasion of Hungary, the Russians march through Prussia, and even the new Holy Alliance[388] between Russia, Austria and Prussia. As proof of this, we name only one of these newspapers: the Kölnische Zeitung.

Thus, the fact that the Russians march into German, into Prussian, territory in order to suppress Hungarian freedom is no betrayal of the country! If the King of Prussia concludes an alliance with the Croats and the Russians in order that the last remnants of German freedom shall he trampled under the hooves of Cossack horses, that is no betrayal of the country! If all of us, if the whole of Germany from the Niemen to the Alps is sold by cowardly despots to the Russian Emperor that is no betrayal of the country! But if the Palatinate enjoys the sympathy of the French and especially of the Alsatian people, if it does not out of foolish self-conceit reject the expression of this sympathy, if it sends persons to Paris to obtain information about the state of feeling in France and about the new turn which will take place in the policy of the French Republic,[389] — that is indeed betrayal of the country, that is high treason, and means selling Germany to France, to the “hereditary enemy”, to the “enemy of the Empire”. That is how the counter-revolutionary newspapers argue.

It is true, gentlemen “by the grace of God”, that the Palatinate and Baden did do all this and neither of them will be ashamed of its actions. Of course, if that is betrayal of the country, then the entire people of the Palatinate and Baden consists of two-and-a-half million traitors to their country. The people of the Palatinate and Baden did certainly not make a revolution in order to support the despots in the imminent great struggle between the free West and the despotic East. The people of the Palatinate, and those of Baden, made their revolution because they do not want to share the guilt of the despicable acts in the destruction of freedom by which Austria, Prussia and Bavaria have so shamefully distinguished themselves in recent months, and because they have not allowed themselves to he misused for the enslavement of their brothers. The army of the Palatinate and Baden joined the movement without reservations; it disclaimed loyalty to the perfidious sovereigns and has to a man sided with the people. Neither the citizens nor the soldiers want to fight in the ranks of the Croats and Cossacks against freedom. If the despots of Olmütz, Berlin and Munich still find soldiers who have sunk so deep as to put themselves on a level with Bashkirs, Pandours,[390] Croats and similar predatory rabble, and to fight under the same flag as such hordes of barbarians, so much the worse. It may occasion us sorrow, but we shall never treat such mercenaries as German brothers; we shall treat them as Cossacks and Bashkirs, and it will not worry us if a treacherous imperial ex-Minister of War stands at their head.[391]

But at the present time when we are on the threshold of a European war, a people’s war, it is altogether ludicrous to speak of “betrayal of the country” and similar accusations smacking of demagogue[392] hunting. In a few weeks,, perhaps even in a few days, the huge armies of the republican West and the enslaved East will advance against each other to fight out a great struggle on German soil. Germany — to such lengths has she been brought by her sovereigns and the bourgeois — Germany will not be asked at all for her permission. Germany does not want the war, the war will be brought into this country without its consent and it will be unable to prevent it. Such is the glorious position of Germany in relation to the imminent European war, thanks to the March rulers, the March Chambers, and not least to the March National Assembly. There can he no talk of German interests, of German freedom, of German unity, of German welfare, when it is a question of the freedom or enslavement, of the weal or woe, of the whole of Europe. Here all questions of nationality cease, here there is only one question! Do you want to be free, or do you want to be Russian? And in this situation the counter-revolutionary newspapers still talk of “betrayal of the country”, as if there was still anything that could be betrayed in relation to the Germany that will soon enough be abandoned to the two contending armies as an inert arena! It is true that last year things were different. Last year the Germans could have undertaken the struggle against Russian oppression, could have liberated the Poles and so waged the war on Russian territory and at Russia’s expense. Now, on the contrary, thanks to our sovereigns, the war will he waged on our soil, and at our expense; as matters stand now, the European war of liberation is for Germany at the same time a civil war in which Germans fight against Germans.

We owe that to the treachery of our sovereigns and the supineness of our people’s representatives, and if anything is betrayal of the country, it is that! In short, in the great struggle for freedom which is spreading through the whole of Europe, the Palatinate and Baden will stand on the side of freedom against slavery, of revolution against counter-revolution, of the people against the sovereigns, of revolutionary France, Hungary and Germany against absolutist Russia, Austria, Prussia and Bavaria; and if the wailers [393] call that betrayal of the country, in the whole of the Palatinate and the whole of Baden nobody cares two hoots about it.