The Greatest Public Relations Coup of All Time

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

By Jack Barkstrom

Revolutionary Violence - Just One Small Spark

In August 1871, Karl Marx got away from London for a short visit to the coast at Brighton. The French army had only liberated Paris from the Commune in May. As he was out walking, Marx noticed a man standing at the corner of his street. After Marx looked directly at him for a few moments, the man doffed his hat, walked off, and was never seen again. Marx recognized him as the same man who had followed Marx and Engels home in London. Most police spies and informers were less obvious but Marx had believed for some time that he was being watched. He may have accurately assessed the situation, or he may have been suffering from paranoia, or an overactive imagination. The Prussian authorities had reasons for knowing his whereabouts, but they were not the only government or person with an interest in his activities.[1]

The Prussian government, if it was behind this incident, had not suddenly taken an interest in Marx, having realized he was no ordinary revolutionary, but the most dangerous kind of revolutionary imaginable - a communist revolutionary. In fact the Prussian government was well acquainted with Karl Marx, had even offered him two government positions in 1843, in hopes of channeling his rebellious energy into a more socially acceptable form.[2] Outside of Prussia he was virtually unknown, his writings almost totally ignored. His name had not even appeared as the author on the Communist Manifesto, when it came out in 1848.

As the Paris Commune was entering its final days, Marx had given an address, which was published in May 1871 as "The Civil War in France."[3] As a result of that publication, Marx was identified - and blamed - for the Paris insurrection and achieved permanent notoriety as the Red Terrorist Doctor.[4] Like other news reports, it would have been noted and filed among the other documents maintained by the Prussian interior ministry.

Karl Marx would have, and did, come to the attention of Prussian authorities, not because communism was a special type of threat or because newspaper reports thrust him into the public eye. The main reason was that his ideology represented a threat and Prussia monitored any activities which it viewed as threatening. At the same time, Marx may have received special attention for another reason. His wife was the sister of Ferdinand von Westphalen, the Prussian interior minister. When Marx had been in Germany, he had escaped punishment for activities which would have landed others in jail. When Marx returned to England, von Westphalen may have feared criticism that his ministry was giving Marx special treatment and for that reason may have had him watched more closely.

An Unpredictable Assassination

On the afternoon of March 23, 1819, Karl Sand, a 24-year-old former student of theology, called at the home of the playwright August von Kotzebue in the city of Mannheim. He waited quietly until the playwright invited him into his living room. They were in the middle of what seemed like an ordinary conversation when Sand suddenly pulled out a dagger from the sleeve of his jacket and, with the statement: "Here, you traitor to the fatherland!" stabbed Kotzebue twice in the chest and slashed him across the face. Kotzebue died within minutes. Sand then stabbed himself twice in the abdomen with a second dagger.[5]

Sand recovered from his wounds, only to be executed by beheading on May 20. The murder created something of a sensation across Germany, giving Sand a certain celebrity status. Even as he made his way to the scaffold at five in the morning, crowds lined the street waiting to see him. Some spectators, following the execution, even approached the scaffold to dip their handkerchiefs in his blood. If many had been horrified by the brutality of the murder, there were others who saw the murder as justified. In their eyes Sand was a patriotic hero. Kotzebue, in nationalist circles, was a hated figure. His sentimental melodramas featured women in prominent roles, attracted numerous female spectators, and were viewed as effeminate and immoral.[6]

Karl Sand's 1819 attack was the type of nightmare scenario governments fear - the 'lone wolf' attack, where an individual's past actions, statements, or associations provide few or no clues indicating the possibility of some violent action. It not only went undetected but, since it was not against a government official or major political figure, could not have easily been predicted or even prevented. If the act itself was unpredictable, authorities had to further contend with the unpredictability of the response. In some cases, a relatively minor incident - a small spark - could quickly grow into a major conflagration. What made things worse for Prussian authorities, in the case of Karl Sand, was the unexpected political response from a seemingly apolitical act. While the murder led to no open revolution, officials were aware that his actions had aroused strong feelings among a growing group of nationalists.

The nightmare scenario was repeated in 1844, only this time, if it was unforeseen, it was a more overtly political act. On July 26, 1844, a former village mayor named Heinrich Ludwig Tschech was able to walk up to the royal carriage in which King Frederick William IV was riding and fire two shots at the carriage. Both missed. Even Prussian authorities conceded that he was mentally disturbed - he believed the King had personally intervened in the mayor's campaign against local corruption. Initially inclined to grant clemency, the King later had Tschech executed, although the execution took place in secret.[7]

The assassination attempt came just a month after the Silesian Weaver's Revolt. In June a mob of several thousand weavers in Peterswaldau had rampaged through the headquarters of the Zwanziger Brothers textile firm, destroying much of the headquarters building and the adjacent manufacturing complex.[8] The attempt by Prussian troops to restore order left thirty-five dead, while the estimated property damage from the rioting was eighty thousand Thalers.[9], [10] It was unclear what sparked the mob action. The weavers clearly had grievances, but their attack had started out as a protest march demanding higher pay.

Governments, almost from the beginning, have had to deal with violence, whether it involved, at the lower end of the scale, criminal activity or, on a large scale, revolutionary violence aimed at overthrowing their rule. The need to learn about and deal with threats required governments to go into the intelligence gathering, or spying, business. They not only needed to gather intelligence, they also needed to analyze it. Analysts had to decide, not only which threats were credible and which could be ignored, but also which government resources were available and when to use them.

The Roman government, in 73 B.C., was taken by surprise when Spartacus, with perhaps 200 gladiators, broke out of their training facility at Capua, and seemingly overnight, raised an army estimated at 90,000.[11] (Small spark indeed!) Rome saw its legions suffer defeat after defeat, before Crassus was able to raise a new army and crush the revolt.

Intelligence and analysis of information could be simple and straightforward, if threats were obvious. Analysis could also be difficult and complex, particularly when intelligence was faulty, informers unreliable, or reports incomplete. Analysis required, not only the ability to assess current conditions, but also an ability to predict the future. Analysis depended on the competence and intelligence of the analyst. Some intelligence departments and agencies were well-run, led by highly competent individuals. Napoleon's intelligence chief, Fouche, proved extremely competent when it came to predicting potential opposition moves.

Governments and intelligence organizations, like people, are more comfortable dealing with routine activities and predictable outcomes. Yet, there are times when, for all their preparation, governments must deal with the unexpected, where individuals or situations which appeared predictable at one time, suddenly become unpredictable. It was a difficult balancing act. Clamp down at the slightest provocation and risk being labeled a tyrant; dismiss or ignore significant threats and end up being overthrown or dead.

Religious strife - Seemingly Small Beginnings

Around midnight on Monday, November 4th or in the early hours of Tuesday, November 5, 1605, a search was conducted of the cellar under the Palace of Westminster in London. The search party encountered a tall individual in a cloak and dark hat. Whether he was acting suspiciously or not, the party arrested and bound him. He gave his name as John Johnson, claiming to be a servant of Thomas Percy. His real name was Guido Fawkes, but he would be known to the world as Guy Fawkes.[12] There was a large amount of firewood heaped up outside the door. A later search revealed that, under the pile of firewood, were thirty-six barrels of gunpowder - estimated at between two and ten thousand pounds in weight.[13] Whatever the exact amount, it was believed sufficient to blow up the House of Lords above the cellar and anyone, including King James I, attending the opening of the parliamentary session, set for November 5th.

The eight convicted of high treason for involvement in the plot were hanged on January 30 and 31, 1606. The Powder Plot, as it was known at the time, would be celebrated through the years as Guy Fawkes Day, on the anniversary date of his arrest, November 5th. Curiously, when the gunpowder had been removed from under the Parliament building and transported to the Tower of London on November 7, the official receipt described the powder as 'decayed,' which meant that the ingredients had separated and its ignition would not have resulted in an explosion.[14]

Religious differences had been at the heart of the political events surrounding the Gunpowder Plot. The eight executions for high treason, intended as a public show of state condemnation, were not the only deaths associated with the Plot. Thirty-six of the plotters, realizing that the plot had been discovered, had fled London, only to be cornered at Holbeach House in Staffordshire on November 8, and either killed or captured in a shoot-out with a force of some two hundred organized by the High Sheriff of Worcestershire.[15]

It was Catholic believers who felt the weight of the English state in 1606. Before that, repression had fallen, equally or not, on one side or the other. The arrival of the Reformation after 1521 had divided England and state. Initially, the English government had sided with the Catholic Church. Richard Bayfield, a former Benedictine monk, was burned at the stake on December 4, 1531, having been found guilty of heresy.[16] John Tewkesbury, would receive the same punishment on December 20, followed by James Bainham, burned at the stake on April 30, 1532. Henry VIII, supportive of the Church, considered Martin Luther a heretic.[17]

On January 25, 1833, Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn. Thomas Cranmer, the newly consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, would pronounce Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon on May 23, and on June 8, 1533, Parliament would affirm the ending of papal authority in England. Those in the Catholic Church who refused to go along with Henry's wishes found themselves condemned. On May 4, 1535, five Carthusian monks were hung, then drawn and quartered for refusing to go along. Bishop John Fisher was beheaded on June 22, followed by Thomas More on July 6.[18] Until his death, on January 28, 1547, seventeen people would be executed by burning.[19]

During the reign of Mary I, from October 1553 to November 1558, it would be the turn of Protestants. An estimated 288 people were burned for heresy.[20] Following Mary's death and the coronation of Elizabeth I, in January 1559, policy would swing again against the Catholics. They were not helped by the intervention of Pope Pius V, who, in 1570, issued a papal bull formally excommunicating Queen Elizabeth and releasing her subjects form allegiance to her. Taking his pronouncement to its logical conclusion, the Pope's bull allowed her to be deposed or even assassinated.[21] If it threatened her life, it also had the effect of placing English Catholics under suspicion. They were not helped that Mary, Queen of Scots, had been executed in 1587 for involvement in a Spanish-linked Catholic plot to murder Elizabeth, or that Spain's King Philip II sent the Armada against England in 1588.

The death of Queen Elizabeth in March 1603 raised the hopes of English Catholics that they might finally escape the cloud hanging over them, particularly when James I, the son of Mary Queen of Scots was offered the Crown. Some even believed that James might openly convert to Catholicism.[22] Short of that, they at least hoped some of the anti-Catholic laws might be eliminated or eased. Among these was the prohibition of the Catholic Mass - either being celebrated or listened to. Hearing the Mass was a felony, punishable by fines or jail. Catholic priests, if discovered, could be jailed, and, if charged with treason, could be sentenced to death.[23]

Whatever hopes Catholics had for a sympathetic hearing from the new monarch were dashed on February 19, 1604 when James publicly announced 'his utter detestation' of the Papist religion, followed three days later by a proclamation ordering all Jesuits and priests out of the country, along with the reinstatement of fines for practicing of Catholic rites. In addition, the King, in the final phases of negotiating an Anglo-Spanish Treaty with Spain, left out any mention of Catholic toleration.[24]

Whether the February 1604 actions by James were the final straw, or merely the latest in a cumulative list of Catholic grievances, they precipitated the fateful meeting of the conspirators. On Sunday, May 20, 1604, five men, including Guy Fawkes, gathered at the Duck and Drake inn in London. It was at this meeting that Robert, known as 'Robin' Gatesby, who proposed blowing up the Parliament House with gunpowder, in hopes of killing both the King and members of Parliament. [25]

The plot came to light on Saturday, October 26, 1604, when a servant of Lord Monteagle, was given a letter warning Lord Monteagle not to attend the November meeting of Parliament. The letter found its way to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, then to the members of the King's Council.[26]

In the aftermath of the Plot, many of those believed to be involved, apart from the plotters executed, were subject to torture.[27] There were also long-term consequences. Catholics were not allowed to practice law or to serve in the Army or Navy as officers. Catholics could not receive a university degree. They could not vote in local elections until 1797 not in Parliamentary elections until 1828, when the Catholic Emancipation Act went into effect.[28]

Germany and the Reformation

Prussian authorities did not have to look to English history for a lesson in the political danger posed by religious beliefs. In May 1618, a Protestant mob had thrown representatives of the newly named Catholic king of Bohemia, Ferdinand of Styria, from the windows of Hradschin Castle in Prague. The "Defenestration of Prague," as the incident became known, marked the start of the Thirty Years' War, which would draw in most of the major powers of Europe. France had seen the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre, beginning on Sunday, August 24, 1572, during which some 10,000 Huguenots, French Protestants, were murdered in Paris by Catholics, leading to a general conflict across France between the warring sides.

The German Peasants' War (1524-1526)

Prussia did not need to look much further back in time for another lesson in the dangers posed by religious beliefs. Germany itself had been the home of Luther and the birthplace of the ideas which would emerge as the Reformation. Just twenty-five years after Columbus' discovery of the New World, Martin Luther, in 1517, would nail his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg. In January 1521, Pope Leo X would excommunicate Luther. In 1523, Huldrych Zwingli, a reformer based in the Swiss city of Zurich authored a series of what became known as The Sixty-Seven Articles for a public debate with a Catholic representative of the bishop of Constance. The Forty-Second Article stated that rulers who failed to act according to the precepts of Christ, could be 'deposed in the name of God,' although he also cautioned it was 'not to be done with killing, war and rioting.'[29] One of Luther's early followers, Thomas Müntzer, and some of his followers in the small market town of Allstedt, in April 1524, would burn down a shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin belonging to a local convent, to which the Allstedters owed dues.[30] In June 1524 peasants in the Black Forest territory of Stühlingen refused to fulfill obligations owed to their lords.[31]

In late February and early March 1525, peasant bands assembled at Memmingen in a rudimentary parliament, during which they summarized their demands in The Twelve Articles. While they took pains to point out that the gospel was not a cause of rebellion, they also sought to justify the rebellion on Christian grounds.[32]

The assembly in Memmingen was peaceful. In fact, the course of the rebellion had been largely peaceful up to that time. Most of the rebellious acts, starting around June 1524 had involved a refusal to pay feudal dues owed to lords or ecclesiastical organizations, combined with protest marches or demonstrations. Beginning in February 1525 however, the rebellion took a violent turn.[33] While the impression of the rebellion is that of spontaneous rioting and looting inspired by wandering preachers traveling from village to village, with attacks against isolated cities, towns, and manors, it actually involved more deliberate planning and coordination. It was spontaneous only in the sense that it spread relatively quickly and caught authorities off guard - they lacked sufficient troops on hand to deal with insurrection on such a wide scale, and could not raise troops on such short notice.

Geographically, the German Peasants' War, extended from the Black Forest region near the Swiss border, on the south, where the revolt began, to Saxony and Thuringia, on the north, not quite as far north as Berlin but the area around Dresden. In the northwest area, the cities of Cologne and Mainz experienced revolts in April 1525. On the west, it involved the Alsace and in the east, it took in the Alpine lands of Tirol, and the archbishopric of Salzburg. At its height in April, May, and June 1525, it involved about three hundred thousand peasants, enrolled in more than a dozen military bands.[34] A band, or Haufen, was both a military unit and a political union, the political unit being named a Bund, a shortened form of the word Bundschuh, which was the name for the peasant's bound shoe - symbolic of the peasant's status and also of a union bound together.[35] Estimates place the total number of peasant deaths during the revolt at around a hundred thousand.[36]

The main part of the revolt was relatively short lived. The commander of the Swabian League's army, Georg of Waldburg, the military force ordered to put down the revolt, confronted one of the peasant armies near the Lake of Constance and quickly negotiated the Treaty of Weingarten on April 17, 1525. Georg had served under Charles V, whose army had defeated the French at the Battle of Pavia in Italy on February 24, 1525. Realizing that he was facing a larger force than his own, Georg declined battle and with the treaty, temporarily neutralized the threat posed by that force. He then attacked other rebel armies piecemeal. On May 12, he defeated a peasant army at Böblingen in Württemberg. To the north, the combined armies of Philip the landgreave of Hesse, the dukes of Saxony, and the counts of Mansfield inflicted a major defeat on the Mühlhausen-Frankenhausen peasant army at the Battle of Frankenhausen. About three thousand peasant combatants were killed. Artillery fire aimed at the supply wagons created a panic among the peasants, causing them to break ranks and flee toward the city. Most were killed in the cavalry pursuit which followed. Thomas Müntzer was captured shortly after, tortured, and executed on May 27. Anthony, the duke of Lorraine, had defeated the peasant army of Alsace at the Battle of Saverne on May 17. The Odenwald peasant army was defeated at the Battle of Königshofen on June 2, and the Franconian army was defeated in the Battle of Ingolstadt on June 4, 1525.[37]

The peasant armies, although often larger than the forces of the nobility and even supplied with weapons, including cannon, as advanced as those of the princes, were at a disadvantage when it came to experience, training, and discipline. They had, in their ranks, some experienced military people, but not enough to train them in time to effectively confront the armies sent against them. One key advantage held by the nobility was the presence of experienced cavalry squadrons, which worked well on flat, open ground. There were military tactics which might have been successful against cavalry - even the location and geography of a battlefield could limit the effectiveness of a cavalry charge - but they required training and time, which the rebel armies did not have. This advantage was lost in the mountainous Alpine regions of the Tirol and Salzburg, where the peasant armies held out until the summer of 1526.[38]

Given the divisive nature of religious beliefs, it was both surprising - and also inevitable - that Prussia would involve itself in religious discussions. Given the continually changing nature of religious thought, it was unlikely that a satisfactory compromise would ever be possible on what beliefs were true or acceptable. There would always be a conflict between traditional ideas, accepted as the norm, and new ideas, which challenged the basis for acceptable behavior. Yet that was what happened in 1788 with the publication of the Edict on Religion.[39]

Frederick the Great died in 1786 and was succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William II.[40] Where Frederick the Great had exercised firm control over government, Frederick William was more free-wheeling and liberal - and easily influenced by those with a talent for manipulation. Johann Christoph Wöllner was both ambitious and talented - talented enough to gain the new king's trust. If the social skills needed to thrive under a more liberal monarch suggest he had an easy-going and tolerant side, he was, in fact, driven to fulfill one particular goal, apart from advancing his own career. He wanted to use his influence to bring the religious community back into line with orthodox beliefs, a goal which suited his background as a pastor.

In 1788, two years after Frederick William II's accession to the throne, Wöllner was appointed minister of culture. He began to implement his program with the issuance of the Edict on Religion of August 9, 1788. His was a thankless, even impossible task. He needed to reverse the general liberal policies of Frederick the Great who, in 1740, when asked about the rights of Catholic subjects, replied that 'all religions are just as good as each other.'[41] If Wöllner was battling a tone of indifference to religious beliefs set by Frederick the Great, he also had to deal with rationalism, something more than a fad, but certainly a fashionable topic of discussion among Prussia's enlightened and educated society members. Rationalism was something of an outgrowth or extension of the same critical analysis which Luther had employed against Catholic church doctrine. Part of Luther's argument had been that the individual could achieve salvation, could even interpret Christian teachings, on his or her own, without the help of the Pope, bishops, or lower members of the church hierarchy. Rationalism took that one step further. Individuals didn't need to look to religious teachings or beliefs for religious truth. Rationalism was a doctrine which held that human reason, unaided by divine revelation, was an adequate or the sole guide to all attainable religious truth.

In his defense, Wöllner's edict was an attempt to standardize doctrine. It also gave some protection to mainstream believers from attacks by newly incorporated religious communities and newly emerging ideas and served to limit conflict in a Prussia attempting to remain neutral and tolerant at a time when its subjects were still deeply divided.[42] Enforcement almost immediately brought him into a confrontation with faculty at the University of Halle, founded in 1691, which had become a center, even hotbed, of rationalism, staffed with rationalist faculty or faculty members sympathetic to rationalist ideas. University officials, either because they were sympathetic to rationalist ideas or valued academic freedom refused to go along and, by 1795, it seemed clear that the policy was going nowhere.[43]

Academic opposition may have derailed Wöllner's program in 1795, but the idea of government control or supervision of academic ideas did not die with it. Neither did the idea of challenging conventional norms either. Rationalism continued on, although it was replaced by the anti-establishment attitudes of the Young Hegelians. After Friedrich Wilhelm IV came to power in 1840, his new minister of religious and educational affairs, Johann Eichhorn, the reincarnated Wöllner of his day, attempted another purge of unorthodox thinkers. His policies would eventually ensnare Karl Marx' mentors, and eventually Karl Marx himself.[44]

The Last Most Serious Threat

Prussian authorities, in the wake of the Karl Sand execution, were aware of the patriotic sentiment which his actions had aroused. However they were initially uncertain about what action they should take. Were patriotic feelings about the creation of an idealized German state helpful to the government or did they pose a threat? They were helpful if the nationalists viewed the government as a partner - an established institution which would help them to achieve their goals. They were dangerous if the government was seen as something obsolete, an obstacle in their path. If that were the case, the Prussian government would have to worry about being overthrown and replaced by a more responsive, even democratic, institution.

In September, 1819, six months after the murder, the Prussian police finally decided that the nationalist movement represented enough of a threat that they needed to deal with it. There was a sense that the nationalists seemed a little too sympathetic to the killer and his cause. Wilhelm de Wette, a professor of theology at the University of Berlin, went so far as to write a letter of condolence to the murderer's mother. While De Wette conceded that the murder was a criminal act, he also described it as 'a beautiful sign of the times' and since her son 'believed it was right to do what he did' then 'he was right.'[45]

After the head of the Prussian police, Prince Wilhelm Ludwig Georg von Wittgenstein, read the letter, de Wette was dismissed from his professorial post, on September 30, 1819. The police also made a number of arrests. This was after the German Confederation meeting in Frankfurt had ratified the Carlsbad Decrees, drafted by Metternich, on September 20, which introduced new and tougher censorship and surveillance measures.[46]

Another teacher would suffer the same fate the following year. A professor of history at the University of Bonn, Ernst Moritz Arndt, would be suspended from his post in November 1820. He had also been subject to an early-morning raid on his house, during which police had confiscated some of his papers. The authorities even found German gymnastic societies, or least one of them, potentially threatening. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn had founded a gymnasts' movement in 1811, aimed at training young men for a future war against France, perhaps with Napoleon's domination of Europe in mind, although it was more concerned with general physical fitness, rather than paramilitary activities or training. [47] In 1819 Jahn's gymnastic societies were closed, an elaborate stadium he had established in Berlin was dismantled, and even the gymnastic uniform he had designed was banned.[48]

Karl Marx, born on May 5, 1818, would have been just one year old when Karl Sand was executed, and Friedrich Engels had not even been born yet. The measures implemented by the Prussian government to curb political expression, following the Karl Sand events, took place under Frederick William III, who would die on July 7, 1840.[49] Marx had only begun his university studies at Bonn in 1835, at seventeen, and received his Jena doctorate in April 1841, when he was twenty-three. Engels' "Letters from Wuppertal," describing conditions of those forced to work in the factories around Wuppertal, was only published in 1839, when Engels was eighteen.[50] Engels would begin his one-year period of military service in September 1841, stationed with the Royal Prussian Guards Artillery, in Berlin. He was 24 years old when he wrote "The Condition of the Working Class in England," published in 1845. Marx's first serious run-in with Prussian authorities would come in February 1844, when they charged him with high treason for what he had written in the first, (and only) issue of the French German Yearbook.[51] "The Communist Manifesto" would come out in February 1848.

Most of the problems Karl Marx would have with Prussian authorities would occur under the reign of Frederick William IV, who was forty-five when he ascended the throne in 1840. He would rule until 1858. He would suffer a stroke in October 1857 and a year later, in October 1858, when it became clear he would not recover, was replaced by his younger brother, William, who served as Regent, until January 1861, when Frederick William IV died, and William became King William I.[52],[53]

If Prussia, or Frederick William IV, saw in Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, or communism, a potentially dangerous threat, there seemed to be a singular lack of interest in, or at least any indication that they took him seriously. Prussian censorship and repression, seemed to go in cycles, with no consistent focus, with the seriousness of threats determined as much by the latest newspaper headlines, as by any rigorous intelligence analysis. One judicial official from near the city of Halberstadt was sentenced to six months in prison for accusing Frederick William of being a drunk. The official may have been a little drunk himself, since the statement was heard by other tavern patrons, as well as a police informer, in a tavern. The king, he said, 'drank five or six bottles of champagne a day,' and continued 'He's a lush, the lush of lushes, he only drinks the really potent stuff.' Apparently accusations of financial improprieties were taken more seriously, as a tailor from Warmburg in Silesia received an eighteen month jail sentence for accusing 'Freddy' of being a 'scoundrel and a swindler.'[54]

Frederick William relaxed literary censorship shortly after he came to the throne, then reimposed the censorship of images. In 1844 a lithograph caricatured him has a rather tipsy child's fairytale character 'Puss-in-Boots,' clutching a bottle of champaign in one paw and a champagne glass in the other, trying to follow in the footsteps of Frederick the Great.[55]

Prussia, when it came to censorship, struggled to meet two different standards. On the one hand, it wanted to have popular support, and was trying to serve as a mirror of what it understood to be contemporary and accepted standards of German beliefs, such as orthodox or traditional forms of Protestantism. On the other hand, it had to maintain control, even if clamping down carried the risk of losing popular support. The academic arena was one area where the conflicting goals had the potential to turn into real conflict. The government needed an educated class to move Prussian society forward, but students were the one group most likely to rebel. In 1794 two members of the Royal Examining Commission traveled to Halle ostensibly to conduct an inspection of the University of Halle, but really intended to pressure university officials into dismissing faculty members expressing unorthodox views. The inspectors found the hotel they were staying in under siege from a group of masked students who chanted rebellious slogans outside their windows until the early morning hours. The next night an even larger group of students bombarded the examiners' hotel rooms with tiles, bricks, and cobblestones. Even worse, the university's academic authorities refused to comply with the censorship decrees - no faculty members were dismissed.[56]

Perhaps because of what Prussia regarded as anti-Prussian bias on the part of Louis XIV and French military attempts to dominate European affairs, the Prussian government did not seem overly concerned about the revolutionary ideas which threatened the French monarchy between 1789 and 1792. Readers in Berlin had access to newspaper reports of events in France, not only during the more liberal period, but also during the Jacobin Terror and after. Coverage of the trial and execution of the French king in 1792-3 found its way to readers. If Prussian authorities worried about the spread of revolutionary ideas generally, between 1789 and 1806, Prussian censors allowed Berlin journals to publish articles which called the French Revolution a 'historic necessity' and blamed it on 'aristocratic arrogance and monarchical mismanagement.'[57] So long as revolutionary ideas stayed within France and were directed at the French monarchy, they didn't appear particularly threatening to Prussian authorities.

Shadowing Karl Marx Across Europe

Was the charge of high treason against Marx a case of Prussian authorities belatedly drawing a connection between the revolutionary ideas which had begun in France in 1789 and those of Marx in 1844? Or had Marx, through his writings, added something ominous which turned ordinary revolutionary thought into the spark which would turn into a conflagration? Or was it just a case of Frederick Williams' inner circle of advisors inflating Karl Marx' importance because of news reporting and tracking him because he maintained a high profile and was relatively easy to find.

Ferdinand von Westphalen, the eldest brother of Karl Marx' wife Jenny, was probably the reason why the Prussian authorities first took notice of Marx. Ferdinand was interested in a career with the Prussian government - he had been appointed to an important government post in Trier in 1838 - and had plenty of connections. His worries about Karl had more to do with Jenny's engagement to Karl in 1836, which Ferdinand opposed.[58] Other than Karl's seeming lack of interest in a conventional career path, there was nothing specific about his political beliefs at the time that would cause authorities to target him for subversive political activities. The investigations revealed that Karl spent more time in Berlin's beer houses and cafes than in the classroom, that he associated with extreme radicals - atheists, liberals, democrats, and socialists - and that he was not making any effort to establish a career path. Excessive drinking, by itself, was not the type of activity Prussian authorities were worried about. The investigation might have provided sufficient ammunition, within the family, to prevent the marriage, but Ferdinand's father, Baron Ludwig von Westphalen, who was sympathetic to liberal, even socialist ideas, sided with his daughter and took no steps to end the engagement. Ferdinand might have had the evidence, but had lost the argument. So long as Karl's activities did not threaten Ferdinand's career, and Karl had the protection of the baron, Ferdinand had to let the matter drop.[59]

Prussian Censorship - All-Seeing and Ironclad or Mostly Hit-and-Miss and Arbitrary

Given Marx's writing skills, pugnacious personality, and desire to turn those skills into a paying career, it was probably inevitable that Marx would eventually come to the attention of Prussian authorities on his own, without the involvement of his brother-in-law. In terms of a writing career, the problem for Marx was that his writing interests lay in a niche market - sarcastic commentary on the hypocrisy of political leadership - which was a small market within the larger writing market. There were a number of markets available to writers, some of which paid well and some of which didn't. Political and economic commentary, as a market, was dwarfed by the market for works of fiction. Novelists or popular story tellers of the Nineteenth Century, such as Charles Dickens or Hans Christian Andersen, had successful careers in that area. Given that reality, a career in political and economic commentary was difficult - but not impossible. The French socialist writer, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, managed to build a successful career with a large following in France. (Particularly galling to Marx was the fact that the opinions of Proudhon, without academic credentials in either economics or philosophy, carried more weight among socialist thinkers of the day, than those of Marx, who considered himself the expert in that field.)[60]

If Marx wanted a paying career in journalism, he could have gone to work as a reporter for any number of organizations, whether pro-government or in opposition to it. Even worse, from his perspective, he could have gone to work directly for one of the government ministers or agencies, if he was interested in using his writing skills. He also could have chosen a conventional career path and found writing opportunities outside his occupation. A study of the "Berlin Monthly" ("Berlinische Monatsschrift"), published between 1783 and 1796, which relied on contributions from readers, found that 15 per cent were noblemen, 27 per cent were professors and school teachers, 20 per cent were senior officials, 17 per cent were clergy, and 3.3 per cent were army officers.[61] Friedrich Engels had chosen a conventional career path, going into his family's business and writing on the side. His 'Letters from Wuppertal,' and 'The Condition of the Working Class in England' had not only been researched and published while he was employed, but had also been well-received.

In spite of the focus by Prussian censors on the unorthodox beliefs and the high-profile writings of university professors - at times the focus seemed to border on obsession - there was a hunger for reading material in almost any subject area across northern Germany. Reading societies formed to pool money in order to buy books and subscriptions to journals. Some had regular meetings in the homes of members. In some towns, book dealers lent books to interested readers at a reduced price. Some bookshops encouraged reading by offering meeting rooms for discussion groups with browsing opportunities for those who wanted to read newspapers, or to borrow, buy or order books.[62]

If the the Prussian government ultimately came to view Marx and his economic theories with hostility, it tolerated other writers willing to do economic research about the plight of the poor, even when that research focused on industrialization and the factory system. The Prussian literate classes became concerned about what was known as 'the Social Question,' which among other things, was concerned about 'pauperization' - the increase in the number of poor who were struggling to support themselves in the changing economy - as well as working conditions in factories, housing problems in urban areas, and the ups and downs of capitalist economies as a result of competition.[63]

One of the censor-approved books which emerged from the Social Question discussions in 1843 was that of Bettina von Arnim. Her book "This Book Belongs to the King," pleaded with the king to devote his reign to alleviating the social crisis. Included in the text were the observations of a 23-year-old Swiss student named Heinrich Grunholzer, who had spent four weeks in one of Berlin's slum areas on the northern outskirts, known as the 'Vogtland.' During that time he interviewed the occupants of some of the tenements, and provided details of their struggles to survive on their meager earnings or government subsidies.[64]

One person who did not escape the notice of Prussian authorities was Bruno Bauer, a lecturer in theology Marx had met while Bauer was teaching at the University of Berlin. The Ministry of Education had attempted to deal with what they considered his radical views by transferring him from Berlin to the University of Bonn in 1839.[65] He represented perhaps the last hope Marx had of finding employment as a university instructor. Marx had received his doctorate from the University of Jena in April 1841 and moved to Bonn to work on his postdoctoral dissertation and the design of a lecture course on logic. Unfortunately Bauer was entered the end game in his own battle. Johann Eichhorn, the new minister of religious and educational affairs, gave him a final chance, offering him a position back in Berlin in ecclesiastical history studies or suggesting he transfer from the faculty of theology to the faculty of philosophy. When he refused he was dismissed from his lectureship in March 1842.[66] Whether Marx could have found an academic position in Bonn without Bauer, he chose not to.

By a curious chance, Marx' interest in writing, his networking efforts, his political (or social) connections came together to provide a job opportunity which almost perfectly matched his talents. Ironically, the position had the support of regional business interests so, in one sense, Marx's first job involved writing for the capitalists he would later attack. In April 1842, shortly after Bruno Bauer's dismissal from the University of Bonn, Marx had moved to Cologne, an expensive city to live in. It was also prosperous, with a vibrant and growing, business community. Marx found one group in particular, the 'Cologne Circle,' an organization which combined an interest in politics and business with, if not quite subversive attitudes toward Prussia's rulers, at least an interest in bringing about change in government policies. They were not interested in overthrowing the government but did want to modernize business rules. In October 1842, they were in need of an editor for their journal, someone who could promote their ideas and Marx, still in need of work, would have the experience and qualifications the job required.

The Rhineland Gazette (Rheinische Zeitung), which began publishing on January 1, 1842, was the brainchild of members of the Cologne Circle. If the Cologne Circle had members whose views were in line with those of Marx, it also attracted conservative financiers and industrialists, which may explain the sub-heading of the Rhineland Gazette: 'For Politics, Commerce, and Industry,' and a major purpose of business-friendly governmental policies which would expand industrial and commercial opportunities. These included the extension of the customs unions, accelerated railway construction, and reduced postal charges. The part of their program which would have appealed to Marx was their opposition to Prussia's religious policies and the government and king's philosophy of absolutism.[67]

Marx had impressed one member of the Cologne Circle in particular, a prosperous young Cologne attorney named Georg Jung, who said of Marx: 'Although a devil of a revolutionary, Dr Marx is one of the most penetrating minds I know.' Another member of the Cologne Circle, Moses Hess, flattered Marx with a similar introduction: "[P]repare to meet the greatest - perhaps the only genuine - philosopher now alive..."[68]

While Marx had shown an early interest in the Rhineland Gazette, and had been involved in discussions around its formation, he did not apply for the editor position immediately, in fact he supported Adolph Rutenberg, the brother-in-law of Bruno Bauer, for the position. Marx himself showed a willingness to learn the business of publishing from the ground up, essentially starting out in the 'mail room.' In February 1842, he sent a letter to Arnold Ruge, editor of the Dresden-based German Yearbook (Deutsche Jahrbücher) offering both to write articles and to review books.[69] While his primary job-hunting efforts and hopes were focused on Dresden and Arnold Ruge, his Cologne networking began to show signs it might be working. In January 1842 Bruno Bauer had asked him why he was not writing for the Rhineland Gazette.[70]

In April 1842 he finally wrote an article, which would be published in August. On May 5, his twenty-fourth birthday, another article of his was published anonymously.[71] Marx's increased involvement and higher profile with the paper coincided with a loss of support, within the paper, for Rutenberg, as editor. The paper was under pressure from the Prussian government, which had serious objections to even having Rutenberg working for the paper. They had him under police surveillance in Berlin and the Prussian minister of the interior hinted at shutting the paper down.[72]

The Cologne district government and the Rhenish provincial governor argued against any such drastic central government action. It would look bad in the eyes of the reading public and, besides, there were questions about the paper's long-term financial viability. If the paper were to go out of business on its own, the Prussian government would find its political problem solved without looking quite as heavy-handed.[73]

The economic argument did carry some validity. The initial investors had put up over 30,000 thalers and within six months of its founding, the paper had gone through three-quarters of that amount.[74] Readership had increased, although not at a pace which the investors might have expected or hoped for, with postal subscriptions going from 264 in the first quarter of 1842 to 1,027 by the end of the third quarter. This was below the break even number of 2,500 subscriptions needed, and well below the figure for the rival Cologne News, whose press run was 8,500.[75]

While the Prussian government was hoping the economic difficulties of the paper would solve the political problem it posed, the investors were looking at the same economic problems as an indication of the need for a shake-up in management. Whether Adolf Rutenberg was entirely to blame for the problems or just a convenient scapegoat, replacing him became the obvious solution to management problems. He did have a reputation as a heavy drinker, although Marx may have later embellished that reputation to suggest he was an alcoholic.[76]

In October Marx was hired by the paper. Whether he was hired as the editor or simply as a member of the editorial staff - a matter of dispute - his hiring did bring a certain energy and organization to the journal. In contrast to his later writings and reputation, he took a more conservative approach, at least in the economic arena. He was an advocate of free trade and an opponent of protectionism. By early 1843, the number of subscriptions had reached 3,300.[77]

Just as the magazine achieved this milestone, the Prussian authorities ordered it closed. On January 31, 1843, they announced that it would cease publication at the beginning of April.[78] Marx's pointed and confrontational writing style may have contributed to the increased circulation figures, but it may also have stepped on too many official Prussian toes. One article had criticized Russia's economic protectionism, a free market view which was seen more as a personal attack on Czar Nicholas I, then an ally of Prussia.[79], [80] In another article, Marx offended a Prussian official, Justus von Schaper, the provincial governor of the Rhineland, who had actually been sympathetic to the journal, when he placed the blame for the economic problems of the Moselle winegrowers on Prussian authorities and their policies, which von Schaper assumed were a criticism of him.[81]

If the general idea behind government censorship was to contain ideas which might serve as a spark for wider rebellion, the demise of the Rhineland Gazette seemed more at the level of office politics. Ironically, it was not the espousal of radical ideas that brought it down, but rather its advocacy of more conservative, almost capitalist positions. The efforts of the paper's stockholders - a promise to fire the responsible editors and a special petition sent to the king - proved futile.[82] Marx himself resigned from the paper on March 17, 1843.[83]

The paper may have fallen victim to Prussian censorship, but Marx himself was not as yet fully in their sights and need not have been considered a victim of the censors. While he was now back searching for work, and had come to the attention of Prussian authorities in a negative way, they did not find his activities to be so subversive as to prevent his working within the government. It was at this time that he received the two government job offers, both of which he turned down.[84] Marx believed that he had a solid job offer from the publisher Arnold Ruge, to co-edit a new journal, called the Franco-German Yearbooks, which would be based in Paris. Marx decided, with what appeared to be a relatively secure financial future, to get married. It would be October 1843 before he would arrive in Paris in hopes of starting a new life there.[85]

Exile in Paris

His new life in Paris would last a little over a year. In January 1845, the French government, under pressure from Prussia, would order him expelled. One story was that the Prussians had enlisted the services of the Prussian scientist Alexander von Humboldt, who met with the French king, and offered him a rare porcelain vase, in return for which the French were to expel the most troublesome of the Germans living in Paris.[86] While Marx had come into contact with some of the leading French socialists and had begun to take an interest in socialist ideas, his revolutionary activities were not particularly noteworthy. In fact, according to one account, French authorities didn't even know where he lived to serve him with the expulsion order, and he turned himself in to the police, once he learned of the order.[87] He tried to negotiate the terms of his expulsion, but, when he was unable to persuade the French government to change its mind, he decided on Belgium as the best alternative. He and Jenny arrived there on February 5, 1845.[88]

Marx may have simply chosen the wrong career path and the wrong location, Paris, at a bad time. He craved the attention, even the notoriety, which his writings brought, even those which hinted at revolution. But the Prussian Interior Ministry in 1844, was trying to digest the implications of two events which had taken place that year. The first had been the Silesian weaver's revolt in June; the second had been the assassination attempt on Frederick William IV, shortly after that, in July. The weaver's revolt had been serious enough to require federal troops, but it was probably a more predictable, or at least more commonplace, occurrence. The assassination attempt was a security failure on two fronts. First, the Prussian Interior Ministry had failed to discover it before it happened. Although the actions of a mentally unbalanced individual, such as the former village mayer Heinrich Tschech, were admittedly difficult to predict, like those of the student Karl Sand in 1819, the attack still represented a failure. The second failure had involved the security detail around the king, which had allowed a would-be assassin to get close enough to fire shots into the king's carriage. Attacks on kings were not unheard of.

With such recent events in mind, the Prussian authorities had to take seriously any writings which threatened or advocated such attacks, even if they were written by German exiles living in a foreign country. It was bad enough having to deal with the actions of insane individuals, but seeing such attitudes becoming part of mainstream thought was another. Marx obliged with an article in Forwards!, which was fairly specific in advocating the murder of a king - not just any king, but the Prussian king - regicide, the piece argued, would provide the proof that the monarch was not divine, but a fallible man.[89]

Did the Prussian authorities at the time consider Forwards! or Karl Marx a serious threat, or were they exaggerating the importance of the German exile community in Paris as a way to demonstrate to the King and his ministers that they now had the situation under control? Was the threat manufactured? One of the founders and supporters of Forwards! was a Prussian spy, who may have helped with funding, while also pushing Marx and the editorial staff in a more openly radical direction.[90] The economic research and writings of Marx at the time, collectively known as the "Paris manuscripts" played no part in the Prussian actions, since they were not published then and would not be published until fifty years after his death.[91] The Franco-German Yearbooks, which had come out with its only issue in February 1844, before the Silesian weaver's revolt and assassination attempt, had contained enough revolutionary, even communist, ideas to have its main supporters, including Marx, charged with high treason and threatened with arrest if they returned to Prussia.[92] Marx could not generate much public interest and lacked the funds to continue operations.[93]

If the French government seemed protective of the German émigré community living in Paris, indifferent or even hostile to Prussian moves against it, it probably viewed threats against the Prussian king as of little concern to France, so long as the threats were not made against the French king. The Prussian attitude at the time of the French Revolution had been one, not of solidarity with the ruling elite of France, but indifference. France had shown hostility to Prussian interests in the past and the French king no-doubt deserved to be overthrown. In 1845, the French probably took the same view, although not publicly. Prussia, after all, had been part of the military alliance which had defeated Napoleon. François Guizot, the French prime minister, may have been uneasy with German revolutionaries hanging around French radicals in Paris, but also may have been reluctant to fully cooperate with the Prussians. He reduced the number of Germans to be expelled to five.[94]


Marx managed to stay out of sight, and out of trouble, in Brussels for a little over three years. Arriving there on February 5, 1845, he would be ordered out of the country on March 2, 1848 when King Leopold I, the Belgian king, signed an expulsion order.[95] He was not expelled for joining the League of the Just, a London-based proletarian organization, in February 1847, or for opening a branch in Brussels. He was not expelled for forming a branch of the Communist League in Belgium during the summer of 1847.[96](When the League of the Just, met in London in June 1847, it had changed its name to the Communist League and adopted the slogan "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!") The Belgian branch of the League at its formation, had all of eighteen members, four of whom were Marx and his relations, and the rest, German and Belgian neighbors of the Marxes who lived nearby.[97] He was not even expelled for writing the Communist Manifesto, which came out in February 1848, attracting little notice or criticism because it arrived in Europe about the time Louis-Philippe fled France and the Springtime of the Peoples began.

Marx stayed out of sight in Belgium, part of the time, by trips to other countries, mainly England. He and Friedrich Engels traveled there in the summer of 1845. Part of the time, he spent looking for another publisher for current or future projects and, part of the time, he spent writing articles critical of, or arguing with, past associates. If there was any positive aspect to these petty fights, it was that Marx put so much time and energy into attacking associates, that he had little time to take on the Prussian government - perhaps to the relief of both sides. Most of the time he spent looking for money - living on funds borrowed from friends or associates while trying to find a way out of his difficult economic circumstances - he still had no steady employment or employment contract. In hopes of appeasing Prussian authorities, he would renounce his Prussian citizenship in December 1845.[98]

What got Marx expelled from Belgium was an actual revolutionary act. Having finally come into some money, an advance on his inheritance of 6,000 French francs, which he received at the end of February 1848, he apparently used part of the funds to buy weapons, or try to, in order to arm rebels in Belgium.[99] A Belgian police spy reported that, on Monday, February 28, he had seen Marx exchanging 2,100 in banknotes with two men.[100] He and his wife were arrested a few days later, then released, but with a non-negotiable order that they were to leave Belgium within 24-hours. Fate, or revolutionary events, came to the rescue. The revolutionary government in France had invited Marx to return to France, the invitation received in Brussels about the time the family was ordered expelled. Marx and his family boarded a train for Paris.

Marx did not remain in Paris for long. This time he would not be expelled by the French government, but invited back, or at least allowed to return, to Germany. The revolutionary movement had reached Berlin on March 18th. Friedrich William agreed to end censorship and institute reforms, however attempts by troops to maintain order led to street fighting between mobs of Berliners and military units. To end the fighting, the king ordered the troops out of the city and also agreed to an amnesty of political prisoners and "enemies of the state."[101] Marx, who was finding himself attacked at meetings of the German community in Paris, decided Paris was no longer such a welcoming place. He decided instead to return to Germany, and the city of Cologne. Officially, he was granted the protection of the Prussian government with a Prussian passport, valid for one year only. He left for Germany in April.[102]

As it turned out, the decision to leave Paris in April proved correct and just in time. Parisians, dissatisfied with the new French government, once again took to the barricades in June. This time, the government responded with force, in what became known as the June Days. Some 1,500 revolutionaries died in the street fighting, another 3,000 in reprisals. [103]


In escaping the fighting in Paris, Marx may have perfectly timed his return to Cologne. Unfortunately, he assumed that he had won the war, that he had a free hand to challenge the government, and that a one-year passport was permanent, or at least for a longer period of time than a year. In fact, the Prussian government was only in retreat. If it had lost a single battle, it would regroup with the idea of continuing the war. It would abide by the agreement, would even tolerate Marx's presence in Cologne, but it did not find his activities, or his revolutionary ideas, acceptable. Marx and his ideas still had the potential to spark a wider revolution. The only other card Marx had to play was his relationship with his brother-in-law, Ferdinand von Westphalen.

Oblivious to the behind-the-scenes political realities, on returning to Cologne, Marx's first major project was to resurrect the 1842-43 Rhineland News. The New Rhineland News (Neue Rheinische Zeitung), came out with its first issue on June 1, 1848.[104] Marx and his friends had the goal of matching the 30,000 thalers raised by the old Rhineland News, but had to settle for 13,000 in 1848.[105]

Marx was able to repeat some of his achievements with the new paper. Circulation reached 5000 subscribers, making the paper one of the largest in Germany. By early 1849, the press run was at 6,000 copies.[106],[107] The final issue, published on May 19, 1849, which became known as the 'Red Number' because it was printed in revolutionary red ink, sold twenty thousand copies.[108], [109] Measured in subscription terms, the paper was a success, although the increased subscriptions did not bring in more money to match the increased expenditures. In early 1849, it was short of funds and struggling financially.[110] Marx also could not resist attacks on the government in some form or another.

In May 1849, the Prussian government had to send in troops to deal with insurgencies across central, western, and southwestern Germany, facing barricades and street fighting in various cities, such as Bonn and Düsseldorf, as well disturbances in the Wupper Valley.[111] The Prussian government came under pressure from military authorities to expel Marx. They were reluctant to expel him based on the mere expiration deadline of the passport they had granted the prior year. Whether true or not, the Ministry of the Interior received a report in May that Marx was involved in a planned insurrection. Subsequently they issued an expulsion order for Marx, as an undesirable alien.[112] He learned of the order on May 9, when he returned to Cologne from a three-week trip through Germany. He did not receive the order until May 16th. The only option he had was Paris, since authorities in Hamburg were ready with a passport valid for Paris only.[113] Marx, together with his family, Engels, and some political associates, left Cologne on May 19, 1849, the day the last issue of the New Rhineland News came out.

Marx was expecting Paris to welcome him once again. The government of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, which had replaced the provisional government, thought otherwise. They would allow him to stay in France, but not in Paris. Their offer was the Department of Morbihan, a coastal district in Brittany, known for its political conservatism and malaria-producing marshes. Given that option, Marx decided England, more tolerant of political refugees, would be a better choice. On August 27 or 28, 1849, he arrived in London.[114] He would remain an exile there until his death, on March 14, 1883.


With Marx exiled in London, the Prussian government lost interest in actively pursuing him. They shifted their focus to Cologne, and the communist members of the Communist League. In May 1851, they began arresting its members. They were held in jail until their trial, which began in October 1852.[115] When the verdict came, on November 12, 1852, seven of the eleven defendants were found guilty of conspiring to overthrow the government and given prison sentences of three to six years in prison.[116] Whatever revolutionary ideas might lead to open rebellion, the Prussian crackdown on the Cologne communists was designed to eliminate at least one potential dangerous source.

Frederick William IV suffered a stroke in October 1857, and would be succeeded, on his death, in January 1861, by William I. William I relaxed some of the political restrictions with an amnesty proclamation, which allowed Marx to travel to Berlin, a journey publicly welcomed in the official government paper, the "Prussian News" as the return to the fatherland of the onetime revolutionary.[117] The Prussian government however, was not inclined to go further by restoring his full Prussian citizenship.[118] Marx had to come to terms with the new reality, on his return to London. He still represented a potential threat, but had been sidelined, when it came to playing a truly active role.

In September 1867, "Capital, Volume I," the political and economic work Marx had started on in 1851, was finally published. It didn't spark much interest, let alone a revolution, prompting Engels to produce seven anonymous reviews, some critical, just to create some press attention to keep the book from totally failing. [119]

On May 30, 1871, two days after the Paris Commune had been crushed, Marx gave an address called "The Civil War in France." When it was later published as a pamphlet it proved to be one of his most popular works, selling thousands of copies, with three editions in two months. It was claimed by some that it was the work that catapulted Marx from near-obscurity into the status of a household name, criticized as the evil architect of the Commune and the father of revolution, sometimes labeled as the Red Terrorist Doctor.[120]

In some ways the accusation was accurate. Karl Marx, with the words of the Communist Manifesto, "Workers of the World Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains." could have inspired a revolution. Those words could have served as the spark which would ignite a conflagration. On the other hand, some mass movements seemed almost spontaneous, where individuals or groups participated in revolutions or engaged in acts of rebellion, with little or no provocation at all. The odds could be changed through experience and analysis, but, in the end, predicting future events, based on past responses, was still a guessing game.

There was another problem related to causation. If it was difficult to predict future actions, it was relatively easy, when it came to the past, to shift the blame, to point fingers at the wrong person or thing, or to substitute one explanation for another. It was easy to re-write history when no one was around to defend themselves or to provide an alternative. Karl Marx and communism were a logical target, when it came to explaining revolutionary movements, but were they really just scapegoats and easy targets because that explanation sounded plausible?


(1) Mary Gabriel, "Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution," New York:Little, Brown and Company, 2011, p. 427.
(2) Gabriel, ibid, p. 44.
(3) Gabriel, ibid, p. 412.
(4) Gabriel, ibid, p. 413.
(5) Christopher Clark, "Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947," (Cambridge, MA:The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 399.
(6) Clark, ibid., p. 399.
(7) Clark, ibid., pp. 448-449.
(8) Clark, ibid., p. 450.
(9) Gabriel, ibid, p. 66.
(10) Clark, op.cit., p. 451.
(11) John Warry, "Warfare in the Classical World: An illustrated encyclopedia of weapons, warriors and warfare in the the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome," (New York:Barnes & Noble Books, 1993), p. 147.
(12) Antonia Fraser, "Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot," (New York:Nan A. Talese - Doubleday, 1996), pp. 168-169.
(13) Fraser, ibid, p. 121.
(14) Fraser, ibid, p. 188.
(15) Fraser, ibid, pp. 183-185.
(16) Virginia Rounding, "The Burning Time: Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, and the Protestant Martyrs of London," (New York:St. Martin's Press, 2017), pp. 15-16.
(17) Rounding, ibid, pp. 25.
(18) Rounding, ibid, p. 71.
(19) Rounding, ibid, p. 8,
(20) Rounding, ibid, p. 8.
(21) Fraser, op.cit., p. 6.
(22) Fraser, ibid, p. xxix.
(23) Fraser, ibid, p. 20.
(24) Fraser, ibid, p. 85.
(25) Fraser, ibid, pp. 97-98.
(26) Fraser, ibid, p. 151.
(27) Fraser, ibid, p. 245.
(28) Fraser, ibid, p. 283.
(29) Michael G. Baylor, "The German Reformation and the Peasants' War: A Brief History with Documents," (Boston:Bedford/St. Martins, 2012), p. 64.
(30) Baylor, ibid, p. 68.
(31) Baylor, ibid, p. 74.
(32) Baylor, ibid, p. 77.
(33) Baylor, ibid, p. 17.
(34) Baylor, ibid, p. 1.
(35) Baylor, ibid, p. 24.
(36) Baylor, ibid, p. 29.
(37) Baylor, ibid, pp. 27-28.
(38) Baylor, ibid, p. 28.
(39) Clark, op.cit., p. 269.
(40) Clark, ibid., p. 267.
(41) Clark, ibid., p. 252.
(42) Clark, ibid., p. 270.
(43) Clark, ibid., pp. 272-273.
(44) Jonathan Sperber, "Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life," (New York:Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2013), p. 74.
(45) Clark, op.cit., p. 401.
(46) Clark, ibid., p. 401.
(47) Clark, ibid., p. 352.
(48) Clark, ibid., pp. 401-402.
(49) Clark, ibid., p. 436.
(50) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 72.
(51) Gabriel, ibid, p. 56.
(52) Sperber, op.cit, p. 337.
(53) David McLellan, "Karl Marx: A Biography," (New York:Palgrave MacMillan, 2006), p. 295.
(54) Clark, op.cit., p. 448.
(55) Clark, ibid., p. 448-449.
(56) Clark, ibid., p. 272.
(57) Clark, ibid., p. 273.
(58) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 38.
(59) Gabriel, ibid, p. 32.
(60) Bertram D. Wolfe, "Marxism: 100 Years in the Life of a Doctrine," (The Dial Press: New York) (1965) p. 262.
(61) Clark, op.cit., p. 252.
(62) Clark, ibid., p. 249-250.
(63) Clark, ibid., p. 452-453.
(64) Clark, ibid., p. 453-454.
(65) McLellan, op.cit., p. 28.
(66) Sperber, op.cit, pp. 74-75.
(67) McLellan, op.cit., p. 38.
(68) McLellan, ibid, p. 39.
(69) McLellan, ibid, p. 35.
(70) McLellan, ibid, p. 39.
(71) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 40.
(72) Sperber, op.cit, p. 89.
(73) Sperber, ibid, p. 90.
(74) McLellan, op.cit., p. 38.
(75) Sperber, op.cit, p. 90.
(76) Sperber, ibid, p. 90.
(77) Sperber, ibid, p. 95.
(78) Sperber, ibid, p. 104.
(79) Sperber, ibid, p. 94.
(80) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 43.
(81) Sperber, op.cit, p. 104.
(82) Sperber, ibid, p. 105.
(83) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 43.
(84) Gabriel, ibid, p. 44.
(85) Sperber, op.cit, pp. 111, 119.
(86) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 76.
(87) Sperber, op.cit, p. 150.
(88) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 77.
(89) Gabriel, ibid, pp. 68-69.
(90) Sperber, op.cit, p. 135.
(91) Sperber, ibid, p. 141.
(92) McLellan, op.cit., p. 88.
(93) Sperber, op.cit, p. 121.
(94) Sperber, ibid, p. 150.
(95) Gabriel, op.cit., pp. 77, 128.
(96) Gabriel, ibid, pp. 106, 109.
(97) Gabriel, ibid, p. 109.
(98) Gabriel, ibid, p. 97.
(99) Sperber, op.cit, p. 215.
(100) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 178.
(101) Gabriel, ibid, pp. 135-136.
(102) McLellan, op.cit., p. 181.
(103) Mark Almond, "Revolution: 500 years of struggle for change," (London:De Agostini Editions, 1996), p. 101.
(104) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 141.
(105) McLellan, op.cit., p. 184.
(106) McLellan, ibid, p. 190.
(107) Sperber, op.cit, p. 232.
(108) McLellan, op.cit., p. 204.
(109) Gabriel, op.cit., p. 164.
(110) Sperber, op.cit., p. 232.
(111) Sperber, ibid, p. 235.
(112) Sperber, ibid, p. 236.
(113) McLellan, op.cit., p. 103.
(114) Sperber, op.cit., p. 243.
(115) Sperber, ibid, p. 279.
(116) Sperber, ibid, p. 284.
(117) Sperber, ibid, pp. 342, 344.
(118) Sperber, ibid, p. 345.
(119) Gabriel, op.cit., pp. 348-349.
(120) Gabriel, ibid, p. 413.