Versaillais

Versaillais

 

the name given by the participants of the Paris Commune of 1871 to the forces of the counterrevolution that had established themselves in Versailles under the leadership of A. Thiers and their troops under the command of M. MacMahon. The Versaillais, with the support of the Prussian troops, inflicted cruel retributions on the workers of Paris, who had carried out the first proletarian revolution in history. The name “Versaillais” was long a synonym for executioners of revolutionaries.

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That he did fight for the Commune and against the Versaillais is undoubted, but his fame rests much more on the twist of fate that made him the last living protagonist of that chaotic and generous attempt at social revolution.
Communards were motivated by a determination to make economic and political change; the desire for local autonomy and the creation of a federal system across France; the resentment felt by ordinary Parisians toward the government for the recent military defeat to Prussia and her German allies; and, as the fighting between city and nation intensified, the desire of neighbors and coworkers to defend neighborhoods against the Versaillais (the national army attempting to retake the capital).
(5) Un conservateur versaillais, puis antidreyfusard, fier d'etre l'ami du comte de Paris, qui exaltera neanmoins la revolte des Indiens contre les colonisateurs britanniques.
Or were they the Versaillais as the recent bloodshed might quickly have brought to mind?
Camera (color, widescreen), Christophe Beaucarne; editor, Yannick Kergoat; music, Armand Amar; production designer, Taieb Jallouli; art director, Yan Arlaud; costume designers, Edith Vesperini, Stephan Rollot; sound (DTS/Dolby Digital), Marc Engles, Olivier Walczak, Franck Rubio, Thomas Gauder; special effects, Les Versaillais; assistant director, Mathieu Schiffman; casting, Justine Leocadie.
He was particularly drawn to the Mur des Federes, the plot devoted to the memory of the last defenders of the 1871 Paris Commune who had been gunned down in their thousands on that very site by the Versaillais. For the French left, this part of the cemetery has been a hugely significant lieu de memoire (in the influential concept coined by Pierre Nora), testifying to the idea that 'honouring the glorious dead' is as important to atheists as to believers.
The Versaillais surrounded the capital and starved the Communards to death, eventually gunning down those who survived.
By the end of the Commune on May 28, 1871, when a Versaillais firing squad shot remaining National Guard troops against a wall at the Pere Lachaise cemetery, somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 Parisians had been killed.
As the workers were being murdered, executed in batches in the streets by the troops of the Versaillais, Eugene Pottier, an elected member of the Commune, member of the Federation of Artists and the International Workingmen's Association, penned the words to what would become a working-class cry of defiance, the most dangerous song in the world: "L'Internationale" (The International).
The Tuileries and the Bois de Boulogne, as well as the place de la Concorde and the Champs-Elysees, which are also mentioned, all saw some of the fiercest fighting between the Communard National Guard (federes) and the 'regular' army (the Versaillais) but, still in keeping with the fairytale theme, Walker declares that the architect, Adolphe Alphand (who had previously worked for Haussmann), has turned the place de la Concorde into 'an enchanted garden', while the silvery glow cast by the electric lights projected over the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe ('les projections electriques lancees du haut de l'Arc-de-Triomphe') gives the cafes-concerts, restaurants and even all the little kiosks along the Champs-Elysees the semblance of fairytale palaces.
Cela explique d'ailleurs le choix textuel et strategique d'ouvrir sa lettre avec un "Chant de Guerre Parisien" qui prend parti pour la Commune implicitement et ironiquement par le biais d'une cinglante representation satirique des hommes du gouvernement versaillais.
Or were they the Versaillais, as the recent bloodshed might quickly have brought to mind?