Central Committee of the National Guard

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Central Committee of the National Guard


(French, Comité Central de la Garde Nationale), the directing body of the Republican Federation of the Paris National Guard. The Central Committee of the National Guard was the first revolutionary government of the Paris Commune of 1871. The committee, which assumed its final form on Mar. 15, 1871, included such prominent socialists and members of the First International as A. A. Assi and L. E. Varlin.

On March 18 the Central Committee organized resistance to the government of A. Thiers, which was attempting to disarm the National Guard. From that day until Mar. 28, 1871, the committee functioned as a provisional revolutionary government. It enacted a series of measures in the interests of the working people of Paris; for example, it allowed tenants to defer rent payments.

After it handed over power to the elected representatives of the Paris Commune on March 28, the Central Committee continued to head the National Guard. Friction occasionally arose between the committee and the Military Commission of the Commune, creating obstacles to unified action in the Communards’ struggle against the Versaillais.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Napoleon III declares war on Prussia, which invades and lays siege to Paris, forcing surrender; Adolph Thiers, elected leader of France in a popular plebiscite, attempts but fails to quell Parisian radicalism; revolutionary activists form the Central Committee of the National Guard and secure 400 cannons, relocating them to working class and artisan districts (58); on the famous day of March 18, Thiers sends troops to retrieve the cannons and orders his men to fire on the militants, but they refuse; the Central Committee allows Thiers to return to Versailles and holds an election that votes in the Paris Commune on March 28, 1871, which endures for ten weeks, culminating in a massacre of tens of thousands of Communards.
In mid-March of 1871, the Parisians -- themselves splintered into numerous political camps -- formed a proletarian dictatorship that segued into the Communards via an elected municipal council dubbed the Central Committee of the National Guard. This worker-friendly provisional government passed numerous new laws favoring individual rights, but before they could be enacted, troops were sent from Versailles to crush the uprising.

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