Why Did the Paris Commune Fail?

Essay by eamonsharkeyCollege, Undergraduate April 2004

download word file, 8 pages 5.0

Downloaded 46 times

Why Did the Paris Commune Fail?

The Paris Commune, as an entity and individual revolutionary body, failed. It can be argued that the Republic, which the Commune had demanded, was implemented and therefore it had some success. But the defeat that the Commune suffered, while the Parisian streets were overrun by Versailles soldiers, is undeniable. Paris would never again hold such power or autonomy and, though it found its place in the history of revolutions, would be remembered for its make up, characteristics and failure, rather than another victory for the Parisian multitudes. The reasons for the collapse of the Commune are many. Both ideological and practical reasons played their part, and also factors within and without Paris.

The Commune is often depicted in extremely inaccurate ways. It has been portrayed as a heroic revolutionary movement and also as a revolt of criminals and savages. Similarly it has been proclaimed a socialist uprising or, in some cases, the Parisian people showing unparalleled patriotism for their city.

Some assumptions do however reflect the actual event quite well. It was, as a whole, extremely disorganised. Each locality had different leaders, many with conflicting views. Romanticism often played a more prominent role than common sense, and extravagant, stirring rhetoric often overpowered the arguments of logic and reason. Military leaders and the Commune's government were rarely stable and their personnel changed much throughout the period of siege. No firm plan or direction was ever decided on and followed by the Commune. This mixture of failings and difficulties are perhaps the most notable of the Commune's problems. This essay will discuss these problems, and others in an attempt to illustrate why the Paris Commune eventually failed.

The Commune, from its foundation was a movement based on reaction rather than springing forth from a spontaneous...