36 The Insurrection of 10 August 1792

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Storming of the Tuileries, 10 August 1792

Paris erupts and the second revolution commences. Amongst the chaos, a new power takes over Paris, and the monarchy falls in a bloody massacre. What compels the revolutionaries to strike on the 10th? How popular was the revolt? Was bloodshed avoidable and can it be justified? 

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  • The massacre of the Swiss Guards was result of the failure of the leadership of the National Guard under Westermann and Fournier, following Mandat’s murder. They ought to have been very cautious about entering the Palace notwithstanding the (weak) indications of capitulation by the Swiss. They were not. The mob and the National Guard apparently just sauntered in, many to their deaths. Those deaths are down to Westermann and Fournier and their failure as military leaders. So too were the deaths of the Swiss. The absence of revolutionary leadership, its failure to order some other course, led directly to those deaths. If it was not a failure of leadership by Westermann and Fournier, then Schama must be right: violence was the the revolution itself. Either way, there is no foundation for the treatment of the massacre by apologists such as Kropotkin and Lefebvre. Congratulations on the podcast. It’s a ripper.

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