Author Topic: Reign of Terror  (Read 15460 times)

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Offline Imperial.Opal

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Reign of Terror
« on: December 04, 2007, 04:21:15 AM »
 Did the Reign of Terror phrase originate during the French Revolution or was created later. I remember reading a Classic Illustrated magazine with this title, when I was at school in the last century  :)

Offline Mari

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2007, 07:00:03 AM »
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Reign of Terror lasted from September 1793 until the fall of Robespierre  in 1794. Its purpose was to purge France of enemies of the Revolution.  From January 1793-July 1794, France was governed by the Committee of Public Safety, in which Danton and Robespierre were influential members. In the course of nine months, 16, 000 people were guillotined, but executions of those labeled "internal enemies" of France took place throughout the country.
 A man (and his family) might go to the guillotine  for saying something critical of the revolutionary government. If an informer happened to overhear, that was all the tribunal needed. Watch Committees around the nation were encouraged to arrest "suspected persons, ... those who, either by their conduct or their relationships, by their remarks or by their writing, are shown to be partisans of tyranny and federalism and enemies of liberty" (Law of Suspects, 1793). Civil liberties were suspended. The Convention ordered that "if material or moral proof exists, independently of the evidence of witnesses, the latter will not be heard, unless this formality should appear necessary, either to discover accomplices or for other important reasons concerning the public interest." The promises of the Declaration of the Rights of Man were forgotten. Terror was the order of the day. In the words of Maximilien Robespierre, "Softness to traitors will destroy us all."

 It has been estimated that around 40,000 died by the Guillotine during Sept. 1793 and 1794. The Family of Samson which were Executioners for around two hundred years were so methodical that at one point in three days the one serving  executed several hundred People.  I hope the below link in not too gruesome for you but it provides more information. Under the Marie Antoinette thread I put a link to an ebook that is the "Last Days of Marie Antoinette." Under the Princess Lamballe thread there is more discussion of her particular treatment during this period. Put into prison She was given a mock trial and then murdered violently and gruesomely without benefit of the guillotine. Her head was carried on a pike and the group was screaming "let the Queen kiss her on the lips" as the Princess Lamballe had been one of the Queen's best friends.



http://www.blastmilk.com/decollete/guillotine/

Offline Vecchiolarry

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2007, 08:57:25 PM »
Hi,

I always thought that 'The Reign of Terror' dated from 1792 (when the guillotine first went into use) till 1795 (after Robespierre was executed)....  A full 3 years!!!
This is what we were tought in school back in the 50's.  Maybe there's been a reassessment of time lines since then!!

What's the current thinking on this??

Larry

Offline britt.25

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2007, 03:38:41 AM »
Quote
Reign of Terror lasted from September 1793 until the fall of Robespierre  in 1794. Its purpose was to purge France of enemies of the Revolution.  From January 1793-July 1794, France was governed by the Committee of Public Safety, in which Danton and Robespierre were influential members. In the course of nine months, 16, 000 people were guillotined, but executions of those labeled "internal enemies" of France took place throughout the country.
 A man (and his family) might go to the guillotine  for saying something critical of the revolutionary government. If an informer happened to overhear, that was all the tribunal needed. Watch Committees around the nation were encouraged to arrest "suspected persons, ... those who, either by their conduct or their relationships, by their remarks or by their writing, are shown to be partisans of tyranny and federalism and enemies of liberty" (Law of Suspects, 1793). Civil liberties were suspended. The Convention ordered that "if material or moral proof exists, independently of the evidence of witnesses, the latter will not be heard, unless this formality should appear necessary, either to discover accomplices or for other important reasons concerning the public interest." The promises of the Declaration of the Rights of Man were forgotten. Terror was the order of the day. In the words of Maximilien Robespierre, "Softness to traitors will destroy us all."

 It has been estimated that around 40,000 died by the Guillotine during Sept. 1793 and 1794. The Family of Samson which were Executioners for around two hundred years were so methodical that at one point in three days the one serving  executed several hundred People.  I hope the below link in not too gruesome for you but it provides more information. Under the Marie Antoinette thread I put a link to an ebook that is the "Last Days of Marie Antoinette." Under the Princess Lamballe thread there is more discussion of her particular treatment during this period. Put into prison She was given a mock trial and then murdered violently and gruesomely without benefit of the guillotine. Her head was carried on a pike and the group was screaming "let the Queen kiss her on the lips" as the Princess Lamballe had been one of the Queen's best friends.



http://www.blastmilk.com/decollete/guillotine/


I also learned already at school that the time of Terror was from 1793 until 1794 (death of Robespierre), it was the time in which Robespierre was having the power.
The site you posted Mari, is really wonderful and interesting, and in English, too. Thank you. Need only more time to read through all....!
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Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2007, 04:33:00 AM »
La Terreur was the result of the struggles between rival factions which led to mutual radicalization and mass executions by the guillotine. It is generally associated with the figures of Maximilien Robespierre and Georges Danton. The "hardest" part was between June and July 1794, a period named la Grande Terreur (The Great Terror), when the most of the executions took place.

It was a time of paranoia, as it was felt that all the monarchies were trying to destroy the new-born Republic, secret conspiracies trying to return Louis XVI to power and so on, food shortages.

Then Charlotte Corday killed Marat and madness started.

Ironically, 70% of the victims of the Terror were of workers or peasants.

Offline Dmitry Russian

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2007, 06:13:39 PM »
I have some questions.
1) How many French soldiers were lost during the Napoleonic wars?
2) How many people in Europe were lost during the Napoleonic wars?
3) What were demographical conseguences of the Jacobin terror and Napoleonic wars for the French nation?
4) Is it really true that 15 - 16-year-old youthes took part in Napoleon's some late battles in 1814 - 1815?

These youthes were nick-named as "Maries-Louises".
This is Drako Malfoy. This is my most favorite hero.

Offline Kurt Steiner

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2007, 03:06:12 AM »
1. It is said that 400,000 died in action and 600,000 from illnesses, but some authors claim higher numbers.
2. Numbers go from one to three million and a half.
3. Hard to tell. Not my field, sto to speak.
4. It is true. They weren't quite enthusiastic about it. During the battle of France (1814) many youngsters were called to the ranks. Napoleon had reached to bottom of his manpower reserve after Russia. For his campaign in Germany (1813) he called to arms all the available men. From the Garde National he used 78,000 men whose ages ranged from 20 to 27. He also mobilized 137,000 men of about 19-years old (the ones who would have been caled to arms in 1813, but they were mobilized in late 1812), 180,000 of about 20 and 27 (from had been mobilized in 1807-12), 150,000 of bout 18-19 years old (to be called to arms in 1814).

Talking about the 1814 campaign... after the disaster of Leipzig his army was in worst shape that after the catastrophe of Russia, so, just imagine what he had to did.

Offline Mari

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2007, 03:34:51 AM »

These Pamphlets can be copied from the Princeton University Library for a minor amount and here is the contact information
http://library.princeton.edu/
I hope this helps a little....


55:30561 Lothe, Jean. Population dynamics in Metz under the revolution and the empire: growth or recovery? [Variation de la population de Metz sous la revolution et l'empire: accroissement ou recuperation?] DH: Bulletin d'Information, No. 52, Jun 1989. 35-51 pp. Paris, France. In Fre.
The author examines the demographic impact of the French Revolution and of the subsequent empire of Napoleon I on the city of Metz, France.
Location: Princeton University Library (SPR).

55:30562 Martin, Jean-Clement. The mysterious disappearances of the population of the Vendee. [Les disparitions mysterieuses de la population de la Vendee.] DH: Bulletin d'Information, No. 52, Jun 1989. 20-34 pp. Paris, France. In Fre.
Problems involved in estimating population losses in the Vendee region of France during the revolutionary period are discussed.
Location: Princeton University Library (SPR).

Offline Aliocha

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2007, 10:46:27 AM »
Here my answer to Dmitry: They use to call the young french soldiers mobilized in 1814-15, the "Marie-Louise"...
The general consequence for France after the Napoleon's defeat was decided by the Allies at the Vienna congress (with Talleyrand)

Offline Mari

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2007, 04:13:09 AM »
Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, December 6, 1721 – April 23, 1794) was a French statesman, minister, and afterwards counsel for the defence of Louis XVI. He was one of three Lawyers that defended Louis XVI. The other two were François Tronchet and Raymond Desèze. However Malesherbes is the only one that was executed along with his family at the age of 73 during the Reign of Terror.
 
Quote
Nevertheless, in December 1792, in spite of the fair excuse his old age and long retirement would have given him, he voluntarily left his asylum and undertook, with François Tronchet and Raymond Desèze, the defence of the king before the Convention, and it was his painful task to break the news of his condemnation to the king. After this effort he returned once more to the country, but in December 1793 he was arrested with his daughter, his son-in-law M. de Rosambô, and his grandchildren, and on the April 23, 1794 he was guillotined, after having seen all whom he loved in the world executed before his eyes for their relationship to him.
Malesherbes is one of the sweetest characters of the 18th century; though no man of action, hardly a man of the world, by his charity and unfeigned goodness he became one of the most popular men in France, and it was an act of truest self-devotion in him to sacrifice himself for a king who had done little or nothing for him."
Quote

I wonder if there is more information out there in original documents?  Deseze went to prison but was released!  Tronchet who was Louis XVI second choice, after a Lawyer who refused to defend Louis XVI, apparently was not arrested or even put into prison? It seems odd....

Offline Ilias_of_John

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2008, 04:19:50 AM »
Today is the anniversary of the execution of M.Robespierre. 28th July.
The more I read of this bloke, the less I like him and the more of a constituional monarchist do I become.
He demanded the death of his King and the entire Royal family as a safeguard for the revolution and as punishment for the whole dynasty's crimes,  and then proceded to enrich himself in power and execute many thousands of others to ensure his position and influence.
The world would have been a better place without him and his fellow regicidal maniacs.
(Talleyrand once said to Napoleon that the first service he ever did for him was to vote for the death of Louis.)

Below is the wiki article on him.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilien_Robespierre
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Honour the king.
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Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2008, 06:48:12 AM »
Good riddance to Robespierre! I'm always delighted to recall that he got his just desserts! :) Am I right in thinking that it was Robespierre that helped onto Marie Antoniettes last letter, and, following his execution, it was discovered under his bed??!
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Offline LillyO

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2008, 02:56:14 PM »
Yes, you are correct that Robespierre was found after his execution to have hidden Marie Antoinette's last letter to Madame Elizabeth under his mattress. What a scoundrel!
It is said that you can still see where Marie Antoinette's tears smeared some of the ink while she was writing it.
I just finished Stanley Loomis' "Paris in the Terror",  it seems to give a pretty good picture of what went on during the Terror. How frightnening to have lived in Paris especially during this peroid.

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2008, 03:04:56 PM »
Thank you Lilly! I would love a copy of that book. I have Madame du Barry and The Fatal Friendship both by Stanley Loomis and both very interesting books! :) :)
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Offline Mari

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Re: Reign of Terror
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2008, 12:54:23 AM »
The more horrifying scenes are described by Loomis and others aptly.  As the second paragraph states the Anarchy served Robespierre's purpose... neither rational nor moral!
 
Quote
Historical distance and revolutionary rhetoric must not be allowed to obscure the Terror’s savagery. The descriptions that follow are only a few among many that could be given. Stanley Loomis writes in Paris in the Terror that, in the September massacres of 1792, “the bloody work went on for five . . . days and nights. On the morning of the third, the prison of La Force was entered and here took place the murder of the Princesse de Lamballe. . . . The frenzy of the crazed and drunken murderers appears to have reached its highest pitch at La Force. Cannibalism, disembowelment and acts of indescribable ferocity took place here. The Princess . . . refused to swear her hatred of the King and Queen and was duly handed over to the mob. She was dispatched with a pike thrust, her still beating heart was ripped from her body and devoured, her legs and arms were severed from her body and shot through cannon. The horrors that were then perpetrated on her disemboweled torso are indescribable. .

What Robespierre had unloosed were the most depraved urges of society’s dregs. The resulting anarchy temporarily served his purpose, much as the Kristallnacht served Hitler’s, the purges Stalin’s, and the cultural revolution Mao’s. Each perpetrated the terror to frighten opponents into abject submission and establish himself more firmly in power.

Having secured Paris, in 1793 Robespierre appointed commissioners to enforce his interpretation of the Revolution outside the capital. In the city of Lyon, writes Simon Schama in Citizens, the guillotine began its work, but it was found to be “a messy and inconvenient way of disposing of the political garbage. . . . A number of the condemned, then, were executed in mass shootings. . . . [A]s many as sixty prisoners were tied in a line by ropes and shot at with cannon. Those who were not killed outright by the fire were finished off with sabers, bayonets, and rifles. . . . By the time that the killings . . . had finished, one thousand nine hundred and five people had met their end.” The commissioner in Nantes “supplemented the guillotine with . . . Ωvertical deportations.≈ . . . Holes were punched in the sides of . . . barges. . . . Prisoners were put in with their hands and feet tied and the boats pushed into the center of the river. . . . [The] victims helplessly watched the water rise about them. . . . [P]risoners were stripped of their clothes and belongings . . . [Y]oung men and women [were] tied naked together in the boats. Estimates of those who perished in this manner vary greatly, but there were certainly no fewer than two thousand.”
n the Vendéan massacre, recounts Schama, “Every atrocity the time could imagine was meted out to the defenseless population. Women were routinely raped, children killed, both mutilated. . . . At Gonnord . . . two hundred old people, along with mothers and children, [were forced] to kneel in front of a large pit they had dug; they were then shot so as to tumble into their own grave. . . . Thirty children and two women were buried alive when earth was shoveled onto the pit.” In Paris, Loomis writes, Robespierre ordered the kangaroo court, known as the Revolutionary Tribunal, to be “as active as crime itself and conclude every case within twenty-four hours.” “The victims were shepherded to the courtroom in the morning and, no matter how many of them there might be, their fate was settled by no later than two in the afternoon of that same day. By three o’clock their hair had been cut, their hands bound and they were in the death carts on their way to the scaffold.” “Between June 10 and July 27 [1793] . . . 1,366 victims perished.” Most of these people were innocent of any crime and were unable to defend themselves against accusations of which they were not even informed.

These atrocities were not unfortunate excesses unintended by Robespierre and his henchmen but the predictable consequences of the ideology that divided the world into “friends” and less-than-human “enemies.” The ideology was the repository of the true and the good, the key to the welfare of humanity. Its enemies had to be exterminated without mercy because they stood in the way. As the ideologues saw it, the future of mankind was a high enough stake to justify any deed that served their purpose. As Loomis puts it, “[A]ll who played a role in the drama . . . believed themselves motivated by patriotic and altruistic impulses. All . . . were able to value their good intentions more highly than human life. . . . There is no crime, no murder, no massacre that cannot be justified, provided it be committed in the name of an Ideal.”

The ideal, however, was simply what Robespierre said it was. And the law was what Robespierre and his followers willed it to be. They changed it at will and determined whether its application in a particular case was just. The justification of monstrous actions by appealing to a passionately held ideal, elevated as the standard of reason and morality, is a characteristic feature of political ideologies in power. For the Communists, it was a classless society; for the Nazis, racial purity; for Islamic terrorists, their interpretation of the Koran. The shared feature is that the ideal, according to its true believers, is immune from rational or moral criticism, because it determines what is reasonable and moral.

ttp://www.city-journal.org/html/16_2_urbanities-robespierre.html
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 01:03:41 AM by Mari »