The Campaign for the German Imperial Constitution, Frederick Engels 1850

II. Karlsruhe

The uprising in Baden took place under the most favourable circumstances that an insurrection could possibly hope for. The entire people were united in their hatred for a government that broke its word, engaged in duplicity and cruelly persecuted its political adversaries. The reactionary classes, the nobility, the bureaucracy and the big bourgeoisie, were few in numbers. Anyhow a big bourgeoisie exists only embryonically in Baden. With the exception of this handful of nobles, civil servants and bourgeois, with the exception of the Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden shopkeepers who made their living from the Court and from rich foreigners, with the exception of a few Heidelberg professors and a half-dozen peasant villages around Karlsruhe, the whole state was unanimously for the movement. In other uprisings the army had first to be defeated. Here, however, it had been harassed more than anywhere else by its aristocratic officers, worked on for a year by the democratic party and recently permeated even more with rebellious elements by the introduction of a kind of compulsory military service, with the result that it placed itself at the head of the movement and even drove the movement further than the bourgeois leaders of the Offenburg Assembly[154] cared for. It was precisely the army which in Rastatt and Karlsruhe transformed the "movement" into an insurrection.

The insurrectionary government therefore found on acceding to office a ready army, abundantly supplied arsenals, a fully organised state machine, a full exchequer and a virtually unanimous population. What is more, on the left bank of the Rhine, in the Palatinate, it found an insurrection already effectuated covering its left flank; in Rhenish Prussia an insurrection which was admittedly seriously threatened but not yet defeated; and in Wurttemberg, in Franconia, in both parts of Hesse and in Nassau a general mood of unrest, even among the army, which only needed a spark to repeat the Baden uprising in the whole of South and Central Germany and put at least 50,000 to 60,000 regular troops at the disposal of the revolt.

It is so simple and so obvious what should have been done under these circumstances that everybody knows it now, after the suppression of the uprising, and everybody claims to have been saying it from the very start. It was a question of immediately and without a moment's hesitation spreading the uprising to Hesse, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Nassau and Wurttemberg, immediately mustering 8,000 to 10,000 of the available regular troops – by rail that could have been done in two days – and sending them to Frankfurt "for the defence of the National Assembly". The alarmed Hessian government was as if rooted to the spot by the rapid succession of advances made by the uprising; its troops were notoriously well disposed to the people of Baden; it was no more capable than the Frankfurt Senate[155] of offering the slightest resistance. The troops of the electorate of Hesse, Wurttemberg and Darmstadt stationed in Frankfurt were for the movement; the Prussians there (mostly Rhinelanders) were wavering; the Austrians were numerically few. The arrival of the Badeners, whether or not any attempt was made to stop them, would inevitably have carried the insurrection into the heart of both parts of Hesse and Nassau, compelled the Prussians and Austrians to retreat to Mainz, and placed the trembling German so-called National Assembly under the terrorising influence of an insurgent people and an insurgent army. If the insurrection had not then immediately broken out on the Moselle, in the Eifel, in Wurttemberg and in Franconia then there would have been means enough at hand to carry it into these provinces too.

Further, the power of the insurrection should have been centralised, the necessary funds placed at its disposal and through the immediate abolition of all feudal burdens that great majority of the population which tills the soil should have been given a stake in the insurrection. The establishment of a common central authority for war and finance with full powers to issue paper money,[The Baden Chambers had earlier already approved the issue of two million in bank-notes, of which not a penny had been issued.– Note by Engels.] to begin with for Baden and the Palatinate, and the abolition of all feudal burdens in Baden and every area occupied by the insurgent army would for the moment have sufficed to give the uprising quite a different energetic character.

All that had, however, to happen in the first moment if it were to he carried out with the swiftness which alone could guarantee success. A week after the appointment of the provincial committee it was already too late. The Rhenish insurrection was suppressed, Wurttemberg and Hesse did not stir, and those military units which at the beginning had been favourably disposed became unreliable and ended up by once more completely obeying their reactionary officers. The uprising had lost its all-German character and had become a purely local uprising restricted to Baden or to Baden and the Palatinate.

As I learnt after the fighting, the former Baden Second Lieutenant F. Sigel, who during the uprising won more or less equivocal dwarf-laurels as "colonel" and later as "general-in-chief", had at the very outset laid before the provincial committee a plan according to which the offensive was to be assumed. This plan has the merit of containing the correct notion that under all circumstances it is necessary to go over to the attack; in other respects, it is the most adventurist plan that could possibly have been proposed. Sigel wanted first to advance on Hohenzollern with a Baden corps and proclaim the Hohenzollern Republic, then take Stuttgart and from there, after having incited Wurttemberg to revolt, march on Nuremberg and set up a large camp in the heart of a likewise insurgent Franconia. It is easy to see that this plan completely left out of account the moral importance of Frankfurt, without which the insurrection could have no all-German character, and the strategic importance of the Main line. It is also easy to see that it presupposed completely different military forces than were actually available and that in the end, after a completely Quixotic or Schill-like raid,[156] it fizzled out and immediately set the strongest of all the South German armies and the only definitely hostile one, the Bavarian army, in hot pursuit of the insurgents, even before they could procure reinforcements through the defection of the troops of Hesse and Nassau.

The new government undertook no offensive under the pretext that the soldiers had almost all dispersed and gone home. Apart from the fact that this was true only in respect of a few isolated units, in particular the Prince's own regiment, even the soldiers who had dispersed were almost all back with their colours within three days.

Furthermore, the government had quite different reasons for opposing any offensive.

At the head of the agitation for the Imperial Constitution throughout Baden stood Herr Brentano a lawyer, who with the invariably rather mesquin ambition of a man of the people from some petty German state and the seeming political staunchness which in South Germany is the very first condition of all popularity, combined a dash of diplomatic cunning which sufficed to give him full mastery of all around him, with the possible exception of a single person. Herr Brentano (this sounds trivial now, but it is true), Herr Brentano and his party, the strongest in the province, demanded nothing more at the Offenburg Assembly than changes in the policies of the Grand Duke, which were only possible with a Brentano Ministry. The Grand Duke's reply and the general agitation gave rise to the Rastatt military revolt – against the will and the intentions of Brentano. At the very moment that Herr Brentano was placed at the head of the provincial committee he had already been overtaken by the movement and was forced to try and hold it back. Then came the riot in Karlsruhe; the Grand Duke fled, and the same circumstance that had summoned Herr Brentano to the head of the administration, that had furnished him with dictatorial powers as it were, now thwarted all his designs and induced him to use this power against the very movement that had procured it for him. While the people were celebrating the departure of the Grand Duke, Herr Brentano and his faithful provincial committee were sitting upon thorns.

The said committee, consisting almost exclusively of Baden worthies with the staunchest of convictions and the most muddled of heads, of "pure republicans" who trembled with fear at the idea of proclaiming the republic or crossed themselves at the slightest energetic measure, this unadulterated philistine committee was needless to say wholly dependent on Brentano. The role which the lawyer Hochster assumed in Elberfeld was here assumed on a somewhat larger terrain by the lawyer Brentano. Of the three outside elements, Blind, Fickler and Struve, who joined the provincial committee straight from prison, Blind was so ensnared by Brentano's intrigues that he had no other choice, isolated as he was, but to go into exile in Paris as a representative of Baden; Fickler had to undertake a dangerous mission to Stuttgart[157]; and Struve seemed to Herr Brentano to be so harmless that he tolerated him in the provincial committee, kept an eye on him and did his best to make him unpopular, in which he was completely successful. It is well known how Struve with several others founded a "Club of Resolute (or rather, cautious) Progress", which was disbanded after an unsuccessful demonstration.[158] A few days later Struve was in the Palatinate, more or less a "fugitive", and there attempted yet again to publish his Deutscher Zuschauer. The specimen number was scarcely off the press when the Prussians marched in.

The provincial committee, from the very first nothing more than a tool of Brentano, elected an executive committee once again headed by Brentano. This executive committee very soon almost completely replaced the provincial committee, using it at the most to confirm credits and measures taken and getting rid of any of the larger committee's members who looked at all unreliable by sending them on all kinds of minor missions to the districts or the army. Finally it abolished the provincial committee altogether, replacing it with a "constituent assembly", elected completely under Brentano's influence, and transformed itself into a "provisional government", whose leader was needless to say once again Herr Brentano. It was he who appointed the ministers. And what ministers – Florian Mordes and Mayerhofer!

Herr Brentano was the most consummate representative of the Baden petty bourgeoisie. He distinguished himself from the mass of the petty bourgeois and their other representatives only by being too discerning to share all their illusions. Herr Brentano betrayed the insurrection in Baden from the very first. He did so precisely because from the very first he grasped the state of affairs more correctly than any other official person in Baden and because he took the only measures which would uphold the hegemony of the petty bourgeoisie and yet for that very reason meant the inevitable destruction of the insurrection. This is the key to Brentano's unbounded popularity at that time but also the key to the curses which have been heaped on him since July by his former admirers. The petty bourgeoisie of Baden were as a body just as much traitors as Brentano; but at the same time they were duped, which he was not. They betrayed out of cowardice and they allowed themselves to be duped out of stupidity.

In Baden, as in the whole of South Germany, there is hardly any big bourgeoisie at all. The province's industry and trade are of no significance. It follows that the proletariat is not at all numerous, very fragmented and scarcely developed. The mass of the population is divided into peasants (the majority), petty bourgeois and journeymen. These last, the urban workers, scattered in little towns without any big centre where an independent workers' party could develop, are or at least were until now under the dominant social and political influence of the petty bourgeoisie. The peasants, even more scattered over the province and lacking the means of instruction, have interests which partly coincide with and partly run parallel, so to speak, to those of the petty bourgeoisie and for that reason were likewise under the petty bourgeoisie's political tutelage. The petty bourgeoisie, represented by lawyers, doctors, schoolmasters, individual merchants and book-sellers, thus held sway over the entire political movement in Baden, since March 1848, partly directly, partly through its representatives.

It is owing to the absence of an antithesis of bourgeoisie and proletariat and the consequent political domination of the petty bourgeoisie that there has never really been in Baden a movement agitating for socialism. The elements of socialism which came in from outside, either through workers who had been to more developed countries or through the influence of French or German socialist and communist literature, never managed to make any headway in Baden. The red riband and the red flag meant nothing more in Baden than the bourgeois republic, compounded at the most with a little terrorism, and the "six scourges of humanity"[159] discovered by Herr Struve were, for all their bourgeois inoffensiveness, the limit to which one could go without losing the sympathy of the masses. The highest ideal of the Baden petty bourgeois and peasant always remained the little republic of burghers and peasants as it has existed in Switzerland since 1830. A small field of activity for small, modest people, where the state is a somewhat enlarged parish, a "canton"; a small, stable industry, based on handicrafts, which gives rise to an equally stable and sleepy social condition; no great wealth, no great poverty, nothing but middle class and mediocrity; no prince, no civil list, no standing army, next to no taxes; no active participation in history, no foreign policy, nothing but Petty domestic gossip and petty squabbling en famille; no big industry, no railways, no world trade, no social collisions between millionaires and proletarians, but a quiet, cosy life in all godliness and respectability,in the humble unobtrusiveness without a history, of satisfied souls–this is the gentle Arcadia which exists in the greater part of Switzerland and which the Baden petty bourgeois and peasants have been longing for years to see established. And if in moments of more ardent enthusiasm the thoughts of the Baden and, let us say it, of the South German petty bourgeois in general are stretched as far as the notion of the whole of Germany, then the ideal of Germany's future which flickers before their eyes takes the shape of an enlarged Switzerland, a federal republic. Thus Herr Struve has already published a pamphlet" which divides Germany up into twenty-four cantons, each with its own landamman[The highest official in some Swiss cantons.–Ed] and its big and little councils. He even goes so far as to append a map which shows the ready-made boundary lines. If Germany were ever in a position to transform itself into such an Arcadia, then it would thereby have descended to a depth of degradation of which it hitherto had no inkling, even in the times of its greatest humiliations.

The South German petty bourgeoisie had in the meantime more than once experienced that a revolution, even one under their own bourgeois republican banner, can quite easily carry away their beloved and peaceful Arcadia in the vortex of far more colossal conflicts, of real class struggles. Hence the petty-bourgeois fear not only of any sort of revolutionary convulsion but also of their own ideal of a federal tobacco-and-beer republic. Hence their enthusiasm for the Imperial Constitution, which at least satisfied their immediate interests and held out to them the hope, considering the purely suspensive nature of the Kaiser's veto, of ushering in the republic at some opportune moment by means within the bounds of the law. Hence their surprise when the Baden military without being asked handed over to them on a salver a ready-made insurrection, and hence their fear of spreading the insurrection over the frontiers of the future canton of Baden. The conflagration might well have taken hold of regions in which there was a big bourgeoisie and a numerous proletariat, regions in which it would have given power to the proletariat, and then woe to their property!

What did Herr Brentano do in these circumstances?

What the petty bourgeoisie in Rhenish Prussia had done consciously, he did for the petty bourgeoisie in Baden: he betrayed the insurrection, but he saved the petty bourgeoisie.

Brentano did not betray the insurrection by his last actions, by his flight after the defeat on the Murg,[160] as the finally disillusioned petty bourgeoisie of Baden imagined; he had betrayed it from the very first. It was precisely those measures that the Baden philistines, and with them sections of the peasants and even the artisans, cheered most loudly, which betrayed the movement to Prussia. It was precisely by his betrayal that Brentano became so popular and shackled the fanatical enthusiasm of the philistines to his heels. The petty burgher was too taken up with the swift restoration of order and public safety and the immediate suppression of the movement itself to notice the betrayal of the movement; and when it was too late, when, compromised in the movement, he saw that the movement was lost, and himself with it, he cried treason and with all the indignation of cheated respectability fell upon his most faithful servant.

Herr Brentano was cheated, too, of course. He hoped to emerge from the movement as the great man of the "moderate" party, i.e. of none other than the petty bourgeoisie, and instead was ignominiously forced to bolt under cover of darkness from his own party and from his best friends, on whom the terrible truth had suddenly dawned. He even hoped to keep open for himself the possibility of a grand-ducal ministry and instead received by way of thanks for his wisdom a good kicking from all parties and the impossibility of ever again playing even the smallest of roles. But in truth one can be shrewder than the entire petty bourgeoisie of any German robber-state [Raubstaat] and still see one's finest hopes dashed and one's most noble intentions pelted with mud!

From the first day of his government Herr Brentano did everything to keep the movement on the narrow, philistine course which it had scarcely attempted to overstep. Under the protection of the Karlsruhe civic militia, which was devoted to the Grand Duke and had fought against the movement only the day before, he moved into the Standehaus[161] to curb the movement from there. The recall of the deserted soldiers could not have been carried out more sluggishly; the reorganisation of the battalions was pursued with just as little urgency. On the other hand, the Mannheim unarmed philistines, who everyone knew would not fight, and who after the battle of Waghausel[162] even collaborated for the most part with a regiment of dragoons in the betrayal of Mannheim, were immediately armed. There was no question of a march on Frankfurt or Stuttgart or of spreading the insurrection to Nassau or Hesse. If a proposal were made to this effect, it was immediately brushed aside, like Sigel's. To speak of issuing bank-notes would have been considered a crime against the state, tantamount to communism. The Palatinate sent envoy after envoy to say that they were unarmed, that they had no rifles let alone artillery, that they had no ammunition and were without everything needed to carry out an insurrection and in particular to seize the Landau and Germersheim fortresses; but nothing was to be got out of Herr Brentano. The Palatinate proposed the immediate setting up of a joint military command, and even the unification of both provinces under a single joint government. Everything was delayed and deferred. I believe that a small financial contribution is all the Palatinate managed to get; later, when it was too late, eight cannon arrived with a little ammunition but no crew or draught-team, and finally, on a direct order from Mieroslawski, came a Baden battalion and two mortars, only one of which, if I remember rightly, fired a shot.

Because of this policy of delaying and brushing aside those measures most necessary to spread the insurrection, the whole movement was already betrayed. The same nonchalance was displayed in internal matters. There was not a word about abolishing feudal burdens; Herr Brentano knew full well that among the peasantry, especially in Upper Baden, there were elements more revolutionary than he cared for and that he must therefore hold them back rather than hurl them even more deeply into the movement. The new officials were mostly either creatures of Brentano or completely incompetent; the old officials, with the exception of those who had compromised themselves too directly in the reaction of the last twelve months and had hence deserted of themselves, all kept their positions, to the great delight of all the peaceful burghers. Even Herr Struve thought in the last days of May that the "revolution" should be commended for the fact that everything had passed off so very calmly and almost all the officials had been able to remain at their posts. As to the rest, Herr Brentano and his agents worked for the restoration, wherever possible, of the old routine, for a minimum of unrest and agitation and for a speedy removal of the trappings of revolution from the province.

In the military organisation the same routine prevailed. Only that was done which could not possibly remain undone. The troops were left without leaders, without anything to occupy them and without order; the incompetent "Minister of War" Eichfeld and his successor, the traitor Mayerhofer, did not even know how to deploy them properly. The convoys of troops crossed one another aimlessly and futilely on the railway. The battalions were led to one place one day and back the next, nobody could say why. In the garrisons the men went from one tavern to the next because they had nothing else to do. It seemed as if they were being demoralised on purpose, as if the government really wanted to drive out the last remnants of discipline. The organisation of the first call-up of the so-called people's militia, i.e. all men up to thirty years old capable of bearing arms, was assigned to the well-known Joh. Ph. Becker, a naturalised Swiss and an officer of the confederate army. I do not know to what extent Becker was obstructed in the execution of his mission by Brentano. I do know, however, that after the retreat of the Palatinate army onto Baden territory, when the peremptory demands of the badly clothed and badly armed Palatinate forces could no longer be rejected, Brentano washed his hands in innocence and said: "As far as I'm concerned, give them whatever you want; but when the Grand Duke comes back he should at least know who squandered his stores in this manner!" So if the Baden people's militia was organised in part badly and in part not at all, there is no doubt that the main responsibility for this too lies with Brentano and the ill will or ineptitude of his commissaries in the various districts.

When Marx and I first set foot on Baden territory after the suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (it must have been May 20 or 21, that is, more than a week after the flight of the Grand Duke) we were astonished to see how carelessly the border was guarded, or rather not guarded. From Frankfurt to Heppenheim the entire railway was in the hands of Wurttemberg and Hessian imperial troops; Frankfurt and Darmstadt themselves were full of soldiers; all the stations and all the villages were occupied by strong detachments; regular outposts were advanced right up to the border. From the border to Weinheim, by contrast, there was not a single man to be seen; the same was true of Weinheim. The one and only precaution was the demolition of a short stretch of railway between Heppenheim and Weinheim. Only while we were there did a weak detachment of the Prince's own regiment, at the most twenty-five men, arrive at Weinheim. From Weinheim to Mannheim the deepest peace prevailed; at the most there was here and there an odd, more than merry people's militiaman, who looked more like a straggler or a deserter than a soldier on duty. Needless to say, there was no question at all of border control. One went in or out, at will.

Mannheim, however, gave more the impression of being on a war footing. Crowds of soldiers stood around in the streets or sat in the taverns. The people's militia and the civic militia were drilling in the park, although for the most part in a very clumsy fashion and with bad instructors. At the town hall were sitting any number of committees, old and new officers, uniforms and tunics. The people mingled with the soldiers and volunteers and there was a great deal of drinking, laughing and embracing. But it was at once apparent that the initial impetus was spent and that many were unpleasantly disillusioned. The soldiers were discontented; we carried through the insurrection, they said, and now that it is the turn of the civilians to take over the leadership they let everything come to a standstill and go to pieces! The soldiers were also far from satisfied with their new officers; the new officers were on bad terms with those who had previously served the Grand Duke – at that time there were still many of them, although every day some deserted; the old officers found themselves against their will in an awkward situation, from which they did not know how to extricate themselves. Finally, everyone was bemoaning the lack of energetic and competent leadership.

On the other side of the Rhine, in Ludwigshafen, the movement seemed to us to be a much more cheerful affair. Whereas in Mannheim a great many young men who should clearly have been in the first call-up were quietly going about their business as if nothing had happened, here everyone was armed. Admittedly it was not so everywhere in the Palatinate, as later became evident, in Ludwigshafen the greatest unanimity prevailed between volunteers and military. In the taverns, which here too were, of course, overcrowded, the Marseillaise and other such songs rang out. There was no complaining and no grumbling, people were laughing and were body and soul with the movement, and at that time, especially amongst the fusiliers and volunteers, very understandable and innocent illusions prevailed about their own invincibility.

In Karlsruhe things took on a more solemn tone. In the Pariser Hof table d'hote had been announced for one o'clock. But it did not start until "the gentlemen of the provincial committee" had arrived. Little marks of respect of this sort were already giving the movement a reassuring bureaucratic veneer.

In opposition to various gentlemen from the provincial committee we expressed the views developed above, namely, that at the outset a march should have been made on Frankfurt and the insurrection thus extended, that it was most probably by now too late and that unless there were decisive blows in Hungary or a new revolution in Paris the whole movement was already irretrievably lost. It is impossible to imagine the outburst of indignation amongst these burghers of the provincial committee at such heresies. Only Blind and Goegg were on our side. Now that we have been proved right by events these same gentlemen naturally claim that they had all along been pressing for the offensive.

In Karlsruhe at that time there were already the first beginnings of that pretentious place-hunting which, under the equally pretentious title of "concentration of all the democratic forces of Germany", masqueraded as coming to the aid of the fatherland. Anyone who had ever held forth, however confusedly, in some club or other or had once called for hatred of tyrants in some democratic local paper hurried to Karlsruhe or Kaiserslautern, there to become at once a great man. As there is hardly need to emphasise, the performances were fully in keeping with the forces here concentrated. Thus there was in Karlsruhe a certain well-known, allegedly philosophical Atta Troll,[An ironical allusion to Arnold Ruge, an epic poem by Heinrich Heine. – Ed] ex-member of the Frankfurt Assembly and ex-editor of an allegedly democratic paper,[Die Reform. –Ed] suppressed by Manteuffel despite the tenders of our Atta Troll. Atta Troll was angling most assiduously for the little post of Baden envoy to Paris, for which he felt he had a special vocation because he had spent two years there at one time and learnt no French. Having been lucky enough actually to wheedle the credentials out of Herr Brentano, he was just packing his bags when Brentano unexpectedly summoned him and removed the accreditation papers from his pocket. It goes without saying that Atta Troll now made a point of going to Paris in order to spite Herr Brentano. Another staunch burgher who had been threatening Germany for years with revolution and the republic, Herr Heinzen, was also in Karlsruhe. This honourable gentleman was notorious before the February Revolution for calling on people everywhere and at all times to "go at them tooth and nail", and yet, after this revolution, he considered it more discreet to watch the various German insurrections from the neutral mountains of Switzerland. Now, at long last, he appeared to have got the urge to go tooth and nail himself at the "oppressors". After his earlier declared opinion that "Kossuth is a great man, but Kossuth has forgotten about fulminate of silver[A highly volatile explosive compound] it was to be expected that he would immediately organise the most colossal and hitherto unsuspected forces of destruction against the Prussians. He did no such thing. Since more ambitious plans did not appear to be appropriate, our hater of tyrants, as the saying goes, contented himself with setting up a republican elite corps, in the meantime writing articles in favour of Brentano in the Karlsruher Zeitung and frequenting the Club of Resolute Progress. The club was wound up, the republican elite did not put in an appearance and Herr Heinzen finally realised that not even he could defend Brentano's policies any longer. Misunderstood, exhausted and peeved, he first went to Upper Baden and from there to Switzerland, without having struck dead a single "oppressor". He is now taking his revenge on them from London, guillotining them in effigy in their millions.

We left Karlsruhe the next morning to visit the Palatinate.

As far as the conduct of general political matters and civil administration is concerned, there is little that remains to be said about the further course of the Baden insurrection. When Brentano felt strong enough he wiped out in one fell blow the tame opposition presented by the Club of Resolute Progress. The "Constituent Assembly", elected under the influence of the immense popularity of Brentano and the all-ruling petty bourgeoisie, gave its assent and blessing to every measure he took. The "Provisional Government with dictatorial power" (a dictatorship under an alleged convention!) was wholly under his control. Thus he continued to rule, obstructed the revolutionary and military development of the insurrection, had the day-to-day affairs discharged tant bien que mal[After a fashion.–Ed.] and jealously looked after the stores and private property of the Grand Duke, whom he continued to treat as his legitimate sovereign by the grace of God. In the Karlsruher Zeitung he declared that the Grand Duke could return at any time, and indeed the castle remained closed during this whole period, as if its occupant were merely away on a journey. He put off the emissaries from the Palatinate from day to day with vague answers; the most that could be achieved was the joint military command under Mieroslawski and a treaty abolishing the Mannheim-Ludwigshafen bridge-toll, which still did not prevent Herr Brentano from continuing to levy this toll on the Mannheim side.

When Mieroslawski was finally forced after the battle of Waghaeusel and Ubstadt to withdraw the remnants of his army through the mountains to the other side of the Murg, when Karlsruhe had to be abandoned with a mass of provisions, and when the defeat on the Murg settled the fate of the movement, the illusions of the Baden burghers, peasants and soldiers were dispelled and a universal cry went up accusing Brentano of treason. With one fell blow the whole edifice of Brentano's popularity, based on the cowardice of the petty bourgeois, the helplessness of the peasants and the lack of a concentrated working class, was demolished. Brentano fled to Switzerland under cover of darkness, pursued by the accusation of national betrayal with which his own "Constituent Assembly" stigmatised him, and went to ground in Feuerthalen in the canton of Zurich.

One could draw comfort from the thought that Herr Brentano has been punished enough by the total ruin of his political position and the universal contempt of all parties for his betrayal. The collapse of the Baden movement is of little consequence. The 13th June in Paris and Gorgey's refusal to march on Vienna[163] put an end to any hopes that Baden and the Palatinate still had, even if the movement had been successfully transplanted to Hesse, Wurttemberg and Franconia. One would have fallen more honourably, but one would still have fallen. But what the revolutionary party will never forgive Herr Brentano, what it will always remember against the cowardly Baden petty bourgeoisie which supported him, is their direct responsibility for the death of those shot in Karlsruhe, in Freiburg and in Rastatt and of the countless and nameless victims silently executed by the Prussians with the help of typhus in the Rastatt casemates.

In the second issue of this Revue I will describe the conditions in the Palatinate and, to conclude, the Baden-Palatinate campaign.


154 On May 12, 1849, in conditions of general popular ferment and mounting unrest in the army, the leaders of democratic organisations assembled in Offenburg (Baden) and took preparatory measures for calling a popular meeting. The decisions of the assembly, reflecting the attitude of the moderate democrats, were confined to a demand for the resignation of the reactionary Beck Ministry and the convocation of a Constituent Assembly. By the time the popular meeting opened on the following day, however, news had arrived that the army had sided with the people everywhere, that insurgent garrisons had captured the Rastatt fortress on May 11 and later Karlsruhe and other cities, and that Grand Duke Leopold had fled. As a result, more radical decisions were adopted at the meeting, which voted for the dissolution of the Baden Diet, universal arming of the people, liberation of political prisoners, the return of refugees, and other far-reaching measures. At the same time, the republican wing failed to secure approval for a resolution on the introduction of a republican government. A Baden provincial committee was set up, composed mainly of moderate democrats. The committee soon formed a provisional government, the Executive Committee, headed by Lorenz Peter Brentano. Its policy, however, was very moderate and irresolute, and gave rise to differences between the moderate democrats and more radical elements. On June 10, the Constituent Assembly was called in Karlsruhe, which consolidated the dominant position of the moderate democrats. Brentano was again appointed head of the provisional government and vested with extensive powers.

155 The Senate was one of the governing bodies of the free city of Frankfurt; it had both legislative and administrative functions.

156 The Prussian Major Schill first distinguished himself during brave guerrilla actions in the war against Napoleon's army in 1806-07. In April 1809, during Napoleon's war against Austria, Schill, leading a regiment of hussars and a company of riflemen, set out from Berlin on his own account with the aim of drawing "neutral" Prussia into a war against Napoleonic rule. After an abortive attempt to capture Magdeburg, he tried to fight his way to the Baltic, hoping for British support from the sea. At the end of May, his forces were routed at Stralsund, Schill himself falling in action.

157 Fickler was sent to Wurttemberg for talks to ensure the neutrality of the Wurttemberg royal government. On June 3, 1849, he was arrested in Stuttgart by the Wurttemberg authorities.

158 The Club of Resolute Progress, founded in Karlsruhe on June 5, 1849, was the more radical wing of the petty-bourgeois democratic republicans (Struve, Tzschirner, Heinzen and others) discontented with the conciliatory policy of the Brentano Government and the increasing strength of the Rightist elements within it. The Club suggested that Brentano should extend the revolution beyond Baden and the Palatinate and introduce radicals into his government. Brentano refused, so the Club tried, on June 6, to force the government to comply by threatening an armed demonstration. The government, however, supported by the civic militia and other armed units, proved the stronger party in the conflict. The Club of Resolute Progress was disbanded.

159 The six scourges of humanity was the phrase used by Gustav Struve in a letter published in the Deutsche Londoner Zeitung No. 238 (supplement), October 26, 1849, referring to the monarchy, the hereditary nobility, officialdom, the standing army, the clergy, and finance magnates.

160 The Rastatt fortress on the Murg was the scene of the last major battle of the insurgent army against Prussian and imperial forces (June 29 and 30, 1849). The 13,000 Baden soldiers held out for 24 hours against the 60,000-strong enemy, but were ultimately forced to retreat to the Swiss border to avoid encirclement. Engels describes the battle in Chapter Four of his essays.

161 In the Standehaus (House of the Social Estates) in Karlsruhe sittings of the Brentano Government were held.

162 At Waghausel, a major battle took place on June 21, 1849, between the insurgent army and Prussian troops who had captured the Palatinate and invaded Baden. By a vigorous counterattack the insurgents held up the Prussians, thus avoiding encirclement, but they were unable to prevent the Prussian army from advancing. Engels describes the battle in Chapter Four of his essays.

163 This refers to the strategic miscalculation by Gorgey, the commander-in-chief of the Hungarian revolutionary army, in refusing to take advantage of the victories scored by the Hungarians during their spring offensive in 1849 to extend the fighting to Austria and launch operations to capture Vienna.