(15 March–26 May 1871)
A revolutionary government in Paris. It consisted of 92 members, who defied the provisional government of Thiers and of the National Assembly. The Commune, which had no connection with communism, was an alliance between middle and working classes. Suspicious of royalist strength and opposing the armistice made with Prussia, the Communards wanted to continue the war and were determined that France should regain the principles of the First Republic. With the victorious German army encamped on the hills outside Paris, government troops were sent to remove all cannons from the city. They were bitterly resisted; Paris, demanding independence, broke into revolt. Thiers decided to suppress the revolt ruthlessly. For six weeks Paris was bombarded by government troops and its centre destroyed. Early in May its defences were breached and a week of bitter street fighting followed. Before surrendering, the Communards murdered their hostages, including the Archbishop of Paris. Over 20,000 people were massacred by the government forces, leaving France deeply divided.
Subjects: World History.