Fiasco at Lyons

  • E. H. Carr


The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war on July 16th, 1870, almost exactly coincided with Nechaev’s flight from Switzerland; and for more than a fortnight Bakunin was so much absorbed in the humiliation and disgrace of the rupture with “Boy” that he scarcely noticed the more important conflict. He could not, however, long remain blind to the revolutionary potentialities of the struggle. On August 11th he wrote to Ogarev from Locarno that “events had thrown him into a regular fever”, and that during the last three days he had written twenty-three letters. But even now his mood was sufficiently detached. He hailed with satisfaction “the rout of French braggadocio by Prussian scientific brutality”, and was delighted that Caliban (Bismarck) was giving Robert Macaire (Napoleon) “a sound hiding”. He thought that “another great Prussian victory under the walls of Metz” would settle the fate of Napoleon and “Madame Eugénie”; and thereafter he would wish “every possible disaster to the Pomeranian heroes”. In any case it would be a “splendid opportunity” to bring to fruition his revolutionary designs.


National Guard Municipal Council Revolutionary Potentiality Unholy Alliance Free Federation 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1975

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  • E. H. Carr

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