The Greatest Public Relations Coup of All Time

The branding campaign which transformed the labor movement into the "Worldwide Communist Conspiracy"

By Jack Barkstrom

Opening salvos - From Bonn to Berlin

Karl Marx struggled for name recognition until 1871, when he became infamous as the Red Terrorist Doctor. The phrase, forever after associated with his name, came to be linked, not for his most famous works, the 'Communist Manifesto' or 'Das Kapital' but for an address he gave, (later turned into a pamphlet), called 'The Civil War in France,' about the Paris Commune.[1] Marx may have been virtually unknown outside of Europe prior to that time, but not entirely out of sight either. From August 1851 to March 1862, he had served as one of eighteen European correspondents hired by the 'New York Daily Tribune,' a liberal U.S. newspaper edited by Charles Dana.[2]

The German city of Trier, like Marx, was somewhat unknown to the wider world, especially when compared to better-known cities such as Berlin, Munich, or Cologne. Nevertheless it had a long history going back to Roman times. In the third century AD, it had briefly served as the capital of the Roman Empire - known as the Rome of the North.[3] Trier, in the southwestern part of Germany was close to Luxembourg, Belgium, and even the border with France. Brussels, the capital of Belgium, was about the same distance from Trier, as the German cities of Bonn and Cologne, which lay almost directly north of Trier. Its proximity to France put it in the path of Napoleon's armies as they began their advance through Europe. On August 9, 1794, a day after storming Austrian positions above the city, the French army marched into Trier.[4] Before the army moved on, the French required Trier and its inhabitants to support the war effort with a levy of 1.5 million livres. The city borrowed money when its cash contribution fell short, a loan which it was still trying to pay off in 1823, still owing 56,000 Prussian talers.[5]

Karl Marx was born in Trier on May 5, 1818, the third of nine children born to Heinrich and Henriette Marx.[6] [7] Heinrich Marx had been born in 1782, the son of Meier Halevi Marx, who had been rabbi of Trier, and was himself a descendant of a number of rabbis.[8] Heinrich had become a lawyer but decided, after Prussia took control of the region, that he needed to convert to Christianity if he wished to continue with a career in law. (Prussia had been awarded the Rhineland region, which included Trier, as part of the post-Napoleonic settlement.) Although Trier was a majority Catholic city, Heinrich chose to be baptized as a Protestant, some time before August 1817.[9]

In October 1835, a seventeen-year-old Karl Marx enrolled at the University of Bonn, a school the Prussian government had founded only recently, in 1818.[10] It was a relatively small university - the total student enrollment was around 700. His father hoped he would enter the legal profession, and he had registered with the Law Faculty.[11] His studies began well but at the beginning of 1836 he became ill from overwork. That spring he reduced his course load and showed more of an interest in non-academic activities. He joined the 'Trier Tavern Club,' a group of about thirty students from his home town, Trier, who spent most of their time in local drinking establishments. Marx was even elected the club's president. Marx's drinking may have been getting a little out of hand. The university placed him under house arrest for one night, essentially under a 'drunk and disorderly charge' after he made too much noise in the street outside one of the taverns. Apparently the university was more concerned about his disturbing the piece than his drinking, since his friends were allowed to visit him during his confinement. They spent most of the night drinking and playing cards. From drinking, he went to fighting. In August, he received a sabre-cut above his left eye in a duel with one of the aristocratic Prussian students.[12]

Marx did join a poetry club, normally not a political activity. However, the ideas expressed by members may have had political overtones, since the police put most of the clubs in Trier under surveillance. Karl's poetry may not have been particularly political but his activities had come to the attention of someone more influential than the police - his father, Heinrich Marx. Heinrich, who had hopes that his son would follow a more conventional career path into law, decided that, between the drinking, the fighting, and the poetry, it would be better if Karl made a new start in a different city. He was enrolled at the University of Berlin, and left Trier in October 1836.[13]

Moving to Berlin did have one beneficial effect, it reduced Karl's participation in 'tavern clubs.' His father noted that, during his time at the University of Bonn, he had been the "wild ringleader of wild lads." [14] His father however, was not pleased at his lack of focus. Karl still seemed more interested in writing and philosophy than in law. He spent less time attending lectures and was not sitting for exams. His father also thought he should be meeting with people and making connections for career opportunities but he was not interested in networking either.[15] In May 1838 he returned to Trier for a visit. He left on May 7 and three days later his father died from tuberculosis.[16]

If nothing else, his father's death forced Karl to focus on his future career plans. In the short term he decided that completing his studies at Berlin was crucial to any career and he managed to borrow sufficient money from his mother to complete that goal.[17] He reviewed his academic goals as well, and concluded that his job and long-term career prospects in the legal field were low. With a greater interest in philosophy, he thought an academic career was more realistic. Marx had begun an association with a group called the Young Hegelians in the summer of 1837, joining a group called the Doctors' Club, roughly followers of the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who had taught at the University of Berlin but had died in the cholera epidemic of 1831.[18] Marx may have been attracted as much to their intellectual ideas as to their Bohemian lifestyle. If their socializing was less likely to lead to the public drunkenness displays of Bonn, much of the discussion was in local drinking establishments.

While the Young Hegelians encouraged the exploration of new ideas and an examination of traditional beliefs, they may have also fostered a more confrontational atmosphere. They were certainly liberal and almost anti-establishment, particularly in their views of the Prussian government. In addition, many had embraced atheism in a public way, which offended many traditional Protestant believers. The Prussian ministry of religious and cultural affairs, while not pleased with the subversive nature of the ideas, probably needed qualified lecturers and was willing to compromise to some extent. Unfortunately, the Young Hegelians carried their academic debates into the realm of 'office politics,' not simply disagreeing with ministry decisions, but almost going out of their way to provocatively confront, publicly embarrass, or unnecessarily antagonize officials with the power to determine their careers.[19]

Marx had failed to complete his studies at the University of Berlin in the required four years and had also failed to request an extension, so he was dropped as a student.[20] His faculty mentors were gone, and he may have suspected that his writings would face a hostile reception from the faculty at Berlin, if submitted there. Instead he submitted his thesis to the University of Jena, a more liberal environment, on April 6, and was granted a doctorate on April 15, 1841.[21], [22] Jena had the reputation of being something of a degree factory for awarding doctorates by mail. His submittal to Jena may have been the result of his acquaintance with a Professor Wolff, on the faculty of the Department of Literature.[23]

With a degree in hand, Marx had one last chance at an academic career. At the age of twenty-three, he had returned to the University of Bonn. At Berlin he had found a Young Hegelian mentor in a lecturer named Bruno Bauer, who had left Berlin in 1839, after being offered a position as lecturer in Protestant theology at the University of Bonn.[24] They had maintained contact and Bauer encouraged Marx to come to Bonn, once he had his doctorate. A postdoctoral dissertation, known as an habilitation, was a required prerequisite for a professorship and Marx spent his time working on that, in addition to developing a lecture course on logic.[25]

Unfortunately, Bauer got Marx involved as an editor in another project, a journal which was to be called the "Archives of Atheism." While it never reached the publication stage, word of its preliminary stages created something of a scandal, a sometime goal of the Young Hegelians, but perhaps less well received in conservative academic circles of Protestant theology.[26] In 1840, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, succeeded to the Prussian throne, following the death of his father, Friedrich Wilhelm III. Friedrich Wilhelm IV favored a more conservative university environment, not an encouraging development for the rebellious Young Hegelians.

It was not a totally hopeless situation from their perspective, as the newly appointed minister of religious and education affairs, Johann Eichhorn, offered an olive branch. He would provide Bauer a state stipend at the University of Berlin, conducting research on ecclesiastical history. As an alternative he suggested Bauer transfer from the faculty of theology to the faculty of philosophy, or, as a third possibility, he suggested Bauer apply for a position as a professor of ecclesiastical history. Bauer, in a rebellious mood, was determined to burn all his bridges. Rejecting the proposals, he sent Eichhorn a request, or more of a demand, that he be appointed a professor of theology. With little possibility of a compromise, the Prussian government dismissed him from his lectureship in March 1842.[27]

The Rhineland Gazette - A journalistic career begins

In April 1842, with Bauer no longer in a position to help him, with his prospects of an academic career all but gone, and with encounters with his teachers, and now former colleagues, proving an irritation, Marx moved to Cologne, ready to embark on a career in journalism.[28] He had actually begun making contact with like-minded Hegelians there, beginning in 1841. While he had ignored his father's advice about the importance of career contacts in the legal field, he suddenly recognized their value, when it came to an area he was seriously interested in, namely writing. Between Bonn and visits home, to Trier, he found time to travel to Cologne.[29] There he even managed to find a political club, known as the Cologne Circle, almost identical in political views to the Doctors' Club he had joined in Berlin.[30] However, Cologne in 1842 was more expensive than he realized and he soon moved back to Bonn. Bruno Bauer was still there, although he would soon move to Berlin, in an attempt to have his dismissal rescinded.[31]

Before leaving, Bauer persuaded Marx to add a final footnote to the story of their defiance of authority. It was a definite violation of the adage 'pick your battles wisely.' Around Easter time in 1842, Bauer and Marx galloped through the village of Godesberg, near Bonn, on donkeys, parodying Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. [32] Marx may not have been seriously damaged career-wise. In his eyes, and in the eyes of officials, it may have been seen as more of a juvenile prank. Bauer however was out to make a point. The back-and-forth paperwork related to his appeal, was leaked to the press, which scandalized the educational audience of the time. For Bauer, there would be no going back.

For Marx, there was no turning back either. Obsessed with writing, and full of ideas, he would soon prove himself right. His first published writing, although absent his name as author, appeared on May 5, 1842 in the Rheinische Zeitung (Rhineland Gazette). By October 15, 1842, he had become the paper's editor-in-chief.[33] He proved to be an energetic journalist, an astute businessman, and a politically adept master of Prussian politics. He avoided state censorship while publishing articles which the reading public found interesting. He increased paying subscriptions from 400 to 3,500 in the first year and avoided topics which might offend the business investors who backed him.[34] He even defended the paper against charges that it espoused communism. "Communist ideas in their present form..." were not theoretically realistic.[35]

The Rhineland Gazette, in spite of its sometimes radical ideas, was, in part, a business response to Prussia's new censorship laws. The newly emerging business interests also saw the need to modernize Prussia and encourage trade, within the framework of government. The sub-heading of the paper suggested a pro-commerce slant - 'For Politics, Commerce and Industry.'[36] Without antagonizing or threatening the government, they wanted Wilhelm to reform his administrative structure and to allow business a greater say in governmental policy. Frederick William IV had issued the new censorship instruction in December 1841.[37] He recognized the government's need for good press relations, or, as he put it "...frank and loyal publicity."[38] If he found common ground with business interests in the shortcomings of Prussian governmental bureaucracy, he did not share their belief in greater participation and wanted to retain as much personal control as possible. The censorship instruction, as a result, was rather vague. Attacks on the Christian religion were forbidden, as were those against 'discipline, morals and outward loyalty.' If the censors found 'tendencies' or 'intentions,' in writings, they could consider those to be violations as well.[39]

Cologne had become a 'hotbed of political opposition,' not because it attracted rebellious intellectuals, like Paris, but because it was attracting capitalists and entrepreneurs. Cologne was part of the Rhineland, the most economically advanced region in Prussia.[40] The Rhineland Gazette was supported by what would be described as politically liberal individuals, and certainly diverse, from the radical Young Hegelians, to liberal lawyers, doctors, and industrialists. Even a future Prussian prime minister, the banker and railway baron Ludolf Camphausen was a supporter.[41] Organized as a holding company, it raised 30,000 thalers in its initial stock offering.[42] Many of the investors saw the need for a competing newspaper, in a news market served only by the Cologne News. Many were capitalists or affluent entrepreneurs who had migrated from other regions, and felt the 'old' or 'inside' moneyed interests of Cologne were using political connections with the municipal government to shut them out of power. Nationally, they wanted a voice to challenge the privileges enjoyed by the old nobility within the Prussian government itself and, more radically, a constitution which would limit the King's power as well.[43]

Marx, for the most part, if he could irritate Prussian officials at times, managed to maneuver around the state censors, often mid-level bureaucrats or even members of the local police, who were obviously literate, but not necessarily highly educated.[44] What likely put an end to the publication was a piece attacking Czar Nicholas I, which ran on January 4, 1843. It angered the Czar enough that he met with the Prussian ambassador in St. Petersburg and demanded that Prussia rein in its liberal press. If Prussia had its own reasons for disliking the publication, Friedrich William now had additional ammunition to bolster any actions. On January 21, he convened a ministerial council, which decided the Rhineland Gazette should be banned. It would be allowed to operate until the end of March 1843, watched by two censors. Marx decided to leave early, officially resigning on March 17.[45]

1843 - The French-German Yearbook

Marx now made a decision, probably the wrong one, which would seriously restrict his future choices. He turned down two job offers from the Prussian government. The short-lived success of the Rhineland Gazette had been confirmation of his belief in his own writing abilities; it also may have given him a false sense of his powers in the larger world. He seemed incapable of applying the economic lessons he would become famous for, to his own situation. Like Bruno Bauer, he was feeling his oats and saw no reason to compromise. In this elevated state of self-confidence, he had little doubt that he could conquer the world, or, in different terminology, that he was bullet-proof.

One job offer came from the chief privy councilor for the Rhine Court of Appeal in Berlin, a family relation named Esser. It was the type of position his father had hoped Marx would attain had he seriously pursued the conventional career path in law. In some ways, his writings and editorial position at the Rhineland Gazette had provided the type of experience which would make his job 'resume' stand out from other applicants. The Prussian authorities certainly thought so, since they suggested that Esser make the offer. The other offer was probably the work of Ferdinand von Westphalen, the half-brother of Marx's soon-to-be wife Jenny, who was not only a career official within the Prussian government, but would later rise to become Prussian interior minister, responsible for the prosecution of many of Marx's associates.[46]

Marx would turn down these offers for, what seemed to him, the perfect career combination: an actual paying position in a job he loved. He was offered the position of co-editor of a new journal, the German-French Yearbook, at a salary of 550 thalers.[47],[48] The offer was made by Arnold Ruge. Ruge had been editor of the German Yearbook (Deutsche Jahrbücher) in Dresden. He had originally started a paper in Prussia, but its liberal political views attracted the attention of Prussian authorities, who had it banned. His views had also earned him a six year prison sentence.[49] Marx had corresponded with him in 1842, in hopes of having some of his writings published.[50]

Ruge and the German Yearbook, had been protected by the relatively liberal Saxon government in Dresden. In January 1843, pressured by the Prussian government of Frederick William IV, it ordered the paper closed.[51] [52] Ruge decided that Paris, with a reputation as a city which welcomed a wide range of political views and discussion. King Louis-Philippe even fostered such an environment, since a less repressive government gained more popular support and provided an environment which was conducive to business growth.[53]

If Paris seemed the perfect place to express radical political views, publishing was a tough market for anyone trying to run a business selling newspapers, books or academic journals. It was a totally different market than that of Parisian cafe owners, who wanted to attract people interested in discussing radical political ideas, particularly if they spent a lot of money and the talk never went anywhere.

One of the first problems Marx and Ruge encountered was finding French authors willing to write for a French-German publication. Marx spoke very little French and had trouble communicating with the French socialist writers he talked to.[54] Both had assumed, based on the enthusiastic response of German writers to the Rhineland Gazette, that French writers would flock to their journal. They found, instead, that French political writers, of any stature, were not interested.[55] It may have been that French socialists were more interested in gradual change within the framework of the existing political system in France and less inclined to confront or challenge governmental authority. Marx and his German colleagues seemed eager to challenge ideas, to encourage confrontation, and to intentionally provoke their opponents, almost confrontation for its own sake. It also may have been that, even if they admired the political ideas expressed by the Germans, they still resented the Prussian role in the humbling of France.

The other problem was money. Investors were skeptical, from the outset, of the profitability of the venture. It was not a question of ideas. Radical or liberal, even socialist or communist views had not bothered them, in financing the Rhineland Gazette, so long as readers were interested in buying it. Ruge had tried to float a loan in Germany, but no one was interested.[56] Where the Rhineland Gazette had raised 30,000 thalers from investors almost immediately, the new publication started with only 9,000 thalers, and it was not from interested investors. Ruge agreed to put up 6,000 thalers of his own money, and Julius Fröbel, a publisher, contributed 3,000.[57] [58]

In the end, what had started out as an idea for a groundbreaking journal, ended up as a one-time, book-length, double-issue, of a thousand copies, published at the end of February 1844. While it had been expanded in volume to include poetry, it had been reduced in scope to articles written mostly by Germans.[59] [60] No one would buy any of the copies in Paris, the French press ignored it, the journal was banned in Prussia, and the few hundred copies shipped into Germany for sale there were confiscated by the Prussian authorities.[61] [62]

The rough reception had an immediate impact on Marx's seemingly rising fortunes. Julius Fröbel withdrew his support and refused to provide any more funds. The Prussian government, in April, would charge Marx and Ruge with high treason and issue warrants for their arrest if they returned to Prussia.[63] In addition, Ruge decided to discontinue the magazine and refused to pay Marx any of the salary he had promised. He did give him some copies of the just-published issue. [64] This irked Marx because, although Ruge was already independently wealthy by marriage - he had arrived in Paris in a specially-built carriage with his family, supplied with a leg of veal, and had been able to immediately rent two floors of an apartment building - he had recently made a killing speculating in railway stocks.[65] Ruge was himself irritated by a sudden turn in Marx's fortunes. Georg Jung, one of the founders of the Rhineland Gazette had persuaded other investors to send Marx 1,000 thalers, which arrived in mid-March 1844, as a token of their appreciation.[66] It was particularly fortuitous, since Karl and Jenny were expecting their first child, who was born on May 1, 1844.[67]

What about the German-French Yearbook articles had so angered the Prussian authorities in 1844 that they charged Marx with treason? The Rhineland Gazette in 1843 had been shut down without further action against its supporters. For one thing, Marx had chosen to criticize the close connection between the state and religion. The "pronounced Christianity of the state" resulted in a "general lack of political freedom" was an idea expressed in an article titled "On the Jewish Question."[68] [69] He went even further with the accusation that the "so-called Christian state" was the "hypocritical state," an accusation which was clearly at odds with the Prussian government's attempts to portray itself as a promoter of traditional German religious beliefs and values.[70] Prussian censors might also have found phrases such as "The political revolution which overthrew this power of the ruler..." - a reference to the American Revolution - unsettling.[71] Marx, who was Jewish and a descendant of a rabbi, did not shy away from including Judaism in his critique, lumped together with Adam Smith's self-interest, and the economic transformation of everything into a commodity.

Marx may have included references to Judaism, but he was clearly aiming at Capitalism. "The god of practical need and self-interest is money. Money is the jealous god of Israel, beside which no other god may exist. Money abases all the gods of mankind and changes them into commodities. Money is the universal and self-sufficient value of all things. It has, therefore, deprived the whole world, both the human world and nature, of their own proper value."[72]

The Prussian censors may have been more worried by the inflammatory rhetoric and biting sarcasm used in criticism of the government as well as the seemingly direct calls for violent revolution found in a second article: "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction," than they were by his criticisms of Hegel, or even by the propagation of communist ideas, which were expressly forbidden. [73] Marx ridiculed the then-Prussian government, all but calling it illegitimate, throughout the article. "The present German regime... which is an anachronism, a flagrant contradiction of universally accepted axioms -...only imagines that it believes in itself and asks the world to share its illusion."[74] The suggestion that the king viewed his subjects as little more than his personal property, was also ridiculed: "In calling the people his private property the king simply declares that the owner of private property is king." [75] (This idea may have come close to the actual views held by the king toward his subjects but Marx made it sound crass.)

Marx hinted at a revolutionary change coming. "On the eve of its revolution Germany is the abject servant of those who are far inferior to Rome; of Prussia and Austria, of petty squires and philistines."[76] Was he just describing conditions as he saw them or was he openly advocating for change? Another passage came closer to advocacy: "Germany, which likes to get to the bottom of things, can only make a revolution which upsets the whole order of things."[77] If Marx was somewhat vague about who was to be attacked, his inflammatory language throughout the article would have provided the censors with plenty of ammunition. "But war upon the state of affairs in Germany! By all means!"[78] "It is clear that the arm of criticism cannot replace the criticism of arms. Material force can only be overthrown by material force...." [79] "The criticism which deals with this subject-matter is criticism in a hand-to-hand fight; and in such a fight it is of no interest to know whether the adversary is of the same rank, is noble or interesting - all that matters is to strike him." [80]

Had the Prussian censors been serious students of history, they might have noted that the "Critique of Hegel" was the first time Marx used the word proletariat, a derivative of the Latin word proletarius - the lowest class or those without property. [81] [82]

The 1,000 thalers which arrived in mid-March 1844 provided Marx with some short-term financial security, as well as a psychological boost. While his efforts to interest French writers in his endeavors had been a failure, Paris nevertheless held the promise of writing opportunities. There was a German-language journal named Forward!(Vorwärts), a bi-weekly which had begun publication in early 1844. [83] In view of the difficulties experienced by the German-French Yearbook, it may (or may not) have seemed odd that a German-language paper based in the French capital would have the financial resources to publish twice a week. It is believed that the financial backer was a Prussian opera composer named Giacomo Meyerbeer who stayed in contact with the king of Prussia himself, Friedrich William. Meyerbeer was living in Paris and cultivated friendships with the socialists, communists, and liberals residing there. The king may have been interested in the essays which appeared, or he may have been more interested in learning the identities of the writers. There also was an actual Austrian spy and agent provocateur, Adalbert von Bornstedt, paid by the Prussian king, who worked as an editorial assistant.[84]

Paris 1844 - Forward!

In early August 1844 Forward! would publish an essay Marx had written about the Silesian weavers revolt.[85] [86] On June 4, 1844 a crowd of weavers in the Silesian textile district gathered around the headquarters of the Zwanziger Brothers, a textile firm in Peterswaldau. What may have started as a group gathering to demand higher pay and better working conditions turned into a riot, when part of the crowd broke into the residence. Once inside, they smashed everything breakable, such as mirrors, chandeliers, and porcelain, and tore up anything made of paper, including books, records, and bonds and notes. The residence was only part of a larger complex, which included stores, warehouse, and manufacturing buildings. The mob now went through the adjacent buildings, destroying rolling presses and equipment, and finally, the buildings themselves. They were joined by other groups of weavers from nearby villages. By nightfall they had destroyed much of the complex, leaving only a few buildings and some of the roofs, which they proceeded to destroy the next day.[87]

When the mob decided they had finished with the Peterswaldau complex, they decided to move to another facility at the town of Langenbielau. Numbering between 3,000 and 5,000, they assembled at the Dierig family house there. Two infantry companies had arrived outside the house and, when their commander Major Rosenberger believed that the mob was about to attack the house, gave the order to open fire. The troops were able to fire three volleys, killing between thirteen and thirty-five. Infuriated, the mob charged the soldiers and drove them off. Repeating the work of Peterswaldau, the crowd destroyed now everything inside the complex. The damage was estimated at eighty thousand talars. They were dispersed the next day when reinforcements arrived.[88]

The events in Silesia energized the Germans living in Paris. In July they would start meeting at a Paris wine merchant's shop on Sundays. The meetings would certainly widen Marx's circle of socialist friends. He would be introduced to the French anarchist writer Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who was famous for the phrase "Property is Theft" in his 1840 book "What is Property?" The French police decided they needed to keep tabs on the group, and sent their informers. They reported that the topic of killing kings and oppressing the rich came up.[89] The French government was not alarmed enough by the talk to take action, probably because the Germans weren't talking about French kings.

For Marx, one of the more important events during his Paris stay was his meeting with the twenty-three year-old Friedrich Engels, which took place on August 28, 1844.[90] Engels was the heir to a textile fortune who had joined the Prussian military and trained as an artillery officer in 1842 yet, despite his conservative background, was becoming increasingly radicalized by the impact of industrialization on the workers and the poor. Whether his initial interest was motivated by empathy or youthful rebellion, he had described the downside of the factory system - the polluted Wupper river, the factory rooms full of coal dust and fumes, the use of child labor, the terrible housing conditions, and the endemic alcoholism among workers - in his "Letters from Wuppertal," which was published in the Telegraph für Deutschland (German Telegraph) in 1839.[91] Not wishing to embarrass or totally break with his family, he used the name "Friedrich Oswald" rather than his own. His book, "The Condition of the Working Class in England," a description of working and living conditions in Manchester, would be published in Germany in 1845.[92] Finding that they shared many of the same ideas, the August 28th meeting continued for ten days and nights.[93]

If the meeting with Friedrich Engels in Paris had started a lifelong bond, Marx's days in France were numbered. Prussia was feeling threatened by change, although Frederick William IV may have felt more threatened by events inside Prussia in 1844, than by what was being written about him in Paris. The Silesian weavers revolt had taken place in June. On July 26, the deranged former mayor of a small village, named Heinrich Ludwig Tschech, who blamed Frederick William for the lack of support of his campaign against corruption, was able to get close enough to the king to threaten him. He simply walked up to the royal carriage, whereupon he fired two shots into the carriage, both of which missed Frederick William. The king was inclined to grant clemency, in view of the mayor's mental condition, but then had him secretly executed later in the year. [94] Frederick William was further irritated by criticism that was less political and more personal - cartoons and gossip portrayed him as fat with a tendency to drink too much. A judicial official in Halberstadt received a six-month prison sentence after a police informer reported that he had called the king a lush, who drank five or six bottles of champagne a day.[95]

Louis-Philippe, normally tolerant of political refugees and differing political views, was beginning to see the resident Germans as more trouble than they were worth. If nothing else, Marx and his fellow writers had raised the profile of this particular group beyond tolerable limits for the Prussian government. Pulling what political levers they had at their disposal, they even called on the services of the Prussian scientist Alexander von Humboldt (perhaps remembered most for the Humboldt Current), who is said to have offered Louis-Philippe a gift from Frederick William of a rare porcelain vase as a tribute during his visit in exchange for throwing out the troublesome Germans. Whether this was considered a threat or a bribe or merely an indication of the importance the Prussian placed on the request, it worked, at least according to one version.[96]

Another version is that there were lengthy negotiations between Count Arnim, the Prussian ambassador in Paris and François Guizot, the moderate-liberal French prime minister. Guizot was not sympathetic to French radicals and socialists but pushed back against Arnim's demand that all those who had published anti-Prussian articles be expelled. In the end, he agreed to expel only five. Marx and Ruge were among the five ordered out.[97]

Belgium - 1845

There are several versions of how the expulsion order was executed. One version is that the the French Ministry of the Interior did not actually know the location of his residence to serve him and that, when he heard about the order, he turned himself in.[98] According to his wife, a police commissioner showed up at their apartment on a Sunday with the order.[99] The order gave him twenty-four hours to leave Paris and a few more days to be out of France. The French government made one last attempt at compromise. If Marx would sign a statement agreeing not to engage in further political activity, they would allow him to stay, but he would need to agree to police supervision. He refused. It may be that it was a matter of principle, or he may have felt that any prospects of a journalistic and writing career would disappear if he could no longer publish.[100] On February 2 he boarded a stagecoach for Belgium, accompanied by a young journalist Heinrich Bürgers. They arrived in Brussels on February 5, 1845.[101]

Without a job, Marx received help from his former supporters in the Rhineland. They sent nearly 1,000 francs, which allowed Marx to pay a year's rent on a home.[102] He would be joined by Engels, whose agitating activities in the Rhineland worried his father, who gave him money to travel to Belgium, far enough away from Prussia to avoid an arrest warrant.[103] Marx received an additional financial boost with a 1,500 franc advance on a book he planned to write on political economy.[104] He and Engels decided in July to travel to England, where they would stay for six weeks. Most of the time there was spent in Manchester, where they visited working class districts and observed first-hand the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in which workers were forced to live. They visited the slums of London and observed similar conditions there. While in London, they also met with German exiles working on behalf of the working poor, who met as a group calling itself the German Workers' Educational Association (a public affiliate of the secret League of the Just) as well as English leaders of the labor movement. In 1837 they had presented the House of Commons with a list of six demands, which, in 1838, became known as the People's Charter, which was shortened to the Charter, its adherents more popularly known as Chartists.[105]

Marx and Engels returned to Belgium, inspired by the idea of creating an international labor movement. Even though he was yet to publish any new material, Prussian informers in Belgium may have reported his attendance at meetings and Prussia began pressuring Belgian authorities to expel him. Hoping to avoid further harassment, at least from Prussia, he renounced his Prussian citizenship in December 1845.[106] In early 1846 he began organizing a Communist Correspondence Committee. Unfortunately, Marx adopted a dictatorial style in some of his meetings which alienated potential members. Even Proudhon, in France, was reluctant to join unless Marx showed a little more tolerance of others - unless Karl was open to a free exchange of ideas within the group, he wrote him, Proudhon's answer was no to joining.[107]

Marx was not going to let go. When Proudhon came out with a new two-volume book, which Marx received a copy of around Christmas 1846, called the "The System of Economic Contradictions," subtitled "The Philosophy of Poverty," Marx wrote a 100-page response called "The Poverty of Philosophy." [108] While it may have been the first formulation of Marx's overall economic ideas, and his first attempt at French, its bitter tone and sharp criticism of Proudhon, were not a formula for popular success. Proudhon's book was a success in France and was even translated into German. Marx had to use his own money to publish 800 copies of his work, not a wise investment for someone short of funds, and it was a flop, in terms of financial returns - few people were interested in reading or buying it.[109] [110] One copy did reach Proudhon, who wrote notes beside noteworthy paragraphs but never got around to a published defense. He clearly was not pleased with Marx, since he called him "the tape-worm of socialism," in one letter.[111]


(1) Mary Gabriel, "Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution," (New York:Little, Brown and Company, 2011), p. 412.
(2) Gabriel, ibid, p. 215.
(3) Jonathan Sperber, "Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life," (New York:Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2013), p. 3.
(4) Sperber, ibid, p. 7.
(5) Sperber, ibid, p. 9.
(6) David McLellan, "Karl Marx: A Biography," (New York:Palgrave MacMillan, 2006), p. 1.
(7) Sperber, op.cit, p. 23.
(8) McLellan, op.cit., p. 2.
(9) McLellan, ibid., p. 4.
(10) Sperber, op.cit, p. 37.
(11) McLellan, op.cit., p. 13.
(12) McLellan, ibid, p. 14.
(13) McLellan, ibid, p. 15.
(14) Sperber, op.cit, p. 54.
(15) Sperber, ibid, p. 55.
(16) Sperber, ibid, pp. 55-56.
(17) Sperber, ibid, p. 57.
(18) Sperber, ibid, pp. 49-52, 59.
(19) Sperber, ibid, pp. 73-74
(20) Sperber, ibid, p. 69.
(21) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 34
(22) Sperber, op.cit., p. 70.
(23) McLellan, op.cit., p. 33.
(24) Sperber, op.cit., p. 66.
(25) Sperber, ibid, p. 73.
(26) Sperber, ibid, p. 73.
(27) Sperber, ibid, pp. 74-75
(28) McLellan, op.cit., p. 36.
(29) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 35
(30) McLellan, op.cit., p. 38.
(31) McLellan, ibid, p. 37.
(32) Sperber, op.cit., p. 75.
(33) Gabriel, op.cit., pp. 39-41.
(34) Gabriel, ibid, p. 43.
(35) Gabriel, ibid, p. 41.
(36) McLellan, op.cit., p. 38.
(37) McLellan, ibid, p. 35.
(38) McLellan, ibid, p. 36.
(39) McLellan, ibid, p. 36.
(40) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 39.
(41) Gabriel, ibid, p. 39.
(42) McLellan, op.cit., p. 38.
(43) Sperber, op.cit., pp. 79-82.
(44) Sperber, ibid, p. 94.
(45) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 43.
(46) Gabriel, ibid, pp. 44-45.
(47) Gabriel, ibid, p. 44.
(48) McLellan, op.cit., p. 61.
(49) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 38.
(50) McLellan, op.cit., p. 35.
(51) McLellan, ibid, p. 50.
(52) Sperber, op.cit., p. 109.
(53) Gabriel, op.cit., pp. 51-52.
(54) Sperber, op.cit., p. 120.
(55) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 56.
(56) McLellan, op.cit., p. 71.
(57) McLellan, ibid, p. 38.
(58) McLellan, ibid, p. 61.
(59) Sperber, op.cit., p. 121.
(60) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 56.
(61) McLellan, op.cit., p. 89.
(62) Sperber, op.cit., p. 121.
(63) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 56.
(64) McLellan, op.cit., p. 89.
(65) Gabriel, op.cit., pp. 53 & 58.
(66) McLellan, op.cit., p. 89.
(67) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 58.
(68) Robert C. Tucker, ed., "The Marx-Engels Reader" 2nd edition, (New York;W.W. Norton & Company, 1978), from Karl Marx, "On the Jewish Question," p. 28.
(69) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 56.
(70) Marx-Engels Reader, op.cit., from Karl Marx, "On the Jewish Question," p. 36.
(71) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 45.
(72) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 50.
(73) McLellan, op.cit., pp. 88-89.
(74) Marx-Engels Reader, op.cit.,from Karl Marx, "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction," p. 57.
(75) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 65.
(76) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 61.
(77) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 65.
(78) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 55.
(79) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 60.
(80) Marx-Engels Reader, ibid, p. 56.
(81) Gabriel, op.cit., pp. 56-57.
(82) Marx-Engels Reader, op.cit.,from Karl Marx, "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction," pp. 64-65.
(83) Sperber, op.cit., p. 135.
(84) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 67.
(85) McLellan, op.cit., p. 90.
(86) Marx-Engels Reader, op.cit., p. 126.
(87) Christopher Clark, "Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947," (Cambridge, MA:The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 450.
(88) Christopher Clark, ibid, pp. 450-451.
(89) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 66.
(90) Gabriel, ibid, pp. 70-71.
(91) Tristam Hunt, "Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels," (New York:Holt Paperbacks, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2009), p. 36.
(92) Tristam Hunt, ibid, p. 77.
(93) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 70.
(94) Christopher Clark, op.cit., pp. 448-449.
(95) Christopher Clark, ibid, p. 448.
(96) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 76.
(97) Sperber, op.cit., p. 150.
(98) Sperber, ibid, p. 150.
(99) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 76.
(100) Gabriel, ibid, p. 76.
(101) Gabriel, ibid, p. 77.
(102) Gabriel, ibid, p. 80.
(103) Gabriel, ibid, p. 82.
(104) Gabriel, ibid, p. 86.
(105) Gabriel, ibid, p. 91.
(106) Gabriel, ibid, p. 97.
(107) Gabriel, ibid, p. 101.
(108) McLellan, op.cit., p. 148.
(109) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 104.
(110) Sperber, op.cit., p. 175.
(111) McLellan, op.cit., p. 152.