Marx-Engels Correspondence 1871

Marx to Wilhelm Liebknecht
In Leipzig


Written: April 6, 1871;
Source: Marx and Engels Correspondence;
Publisher: International Publishers (1968);
First Published: Gestamtausgabe;
Translated: Donna Torr;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan in 1999;
HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.

London, April 6 1871

It appears that the defeat of the Parisians was their own fault, but a fault which really arose from their too great honnêteté [decency]. The Central Committee and later the Commune gave the mischievous abortion Thiers time to centralise hostile forces, in the first place by their folly in trying not to start civil war--as if Thiers had not started it by his attempt at the forcible disarming of Paris, as if the National Assembly, which was only summoned to decide the question of war or peace with the Prussians, had not immediately declared war on the Republic! (2) In order that the appearance of having usurped power should not attach to them they lost precious moments--(they should immediately have advanced on Versailles after the defeat (Place Vendôme) of the reaction in Paris)--by the election of the Commune, the organisation of which, etc., cost yet more time.

You must not believe a word of all the stuff you may see in the papers about the internal events in Paris. It is all lies and deception. Never has the vileness of bourgeois journalism displayed itself more brilliantly.

It is highly characteristic that the German Unity-Emperor and Unity-Parliament in Berlin appear not to exist at all for the outside world. Every breath of wind that stirs in Paris excites more interest.

You must carefully follow what is happening in the Danubian Principalities. If the revolution in France is temporarily defeated--the movement there can only be suppressed for a short time--there will be a new business of war for Europe beginning in the East, and Rumania will offer the orthodox tsar the first pretext for it. So look out on that side.