The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 6 November 1848


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Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 136
Translated by the Marx-Engels Institute

Published in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 7
Collection(s): Neue Rheinische Zeitung

Cologne, November 6. Croatian freedom and order has won the day, and this victory was celebrated with arson, rape, looting and other atrocities. Vienna is in the hands of Windischgratz, Jellachich and Auersperg. Hecatombs of victims are sacrificed on the grave of the aged traitor Latour.

The gloomy forecasts of our Vienna correspondent [Muller-Tellering. See Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 127, October 27, 1848. -- Ed.] have come true, and by now he himself may have become a victim of the butchery.

For a while we hoped Vienna could be liberated by Hungarian reinforcements, and we are still in the dark regarding the movements of the Hungarian army.

Treachery of every kind prepared the way for Vienna's fall. The entire performance of the Imperial Diet and the town council since October 6 is a tale of continuous treachery. Who are the people represented in the Imperial Diet and the town council?

The bourgeoisie.

A part of the Viennese National Guard openly sided with the camarilla from the very beginning of the October revolution. Towards the end of the October revolution another part of the National Guard in collusion with the imperial bandits fought against the proletariat and the Academic Legion. To which strata do these groups of the National Guard belong?

To the bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie in France, however, headed the counterrevolution only after it had broken down all obstacles to the rule of its own class. The bourgeoisie in Germany meekly joins the retinue of the absolute monarchy and of feudalism before securing even the first conditions of existence necessary for its own civic freedom and its rule. In France it played the part of a tyrant and made its own counter-revolution. In Germany it acts like a slave and carries out the counter-revolution for its own tyrants. The bourgeoisie in France won its victory in order to humble the people. In Germany it humbled itself to prevent the victory of the people. History presents no example of greater wretchedness than that of the German bourgeoisie.

Who fled from Vienna in large numbers leaving their wealth to be watched over by the magnanimous people, the people whom, in reward for their watchman's duties, they maligned While away and whose massacre they witnessed on their return?

The bourgeoisie.

Whose innermost secrets were revealed by the thermometer which dropped whenever the people of Vienna showed signs of life, and rose whenever the people were in the throes of death? Who used the runic script of the stock exchange quotations?

The bourgeoisie.

The "German National Assembly" and its "central authority" have betrayed Vienna. Whom do they represent?

Mainly the bourgeoisie.

The victory of "Croatian order and freedom" at Vienna depended on the victory of the "genteel" republic in Paris. Who won the day in June?

The bourgeoisie.

European counter-revolution began its debaucheries with its victory in Paris.

In February and March armed force was beaten everywhere. Why? Because it represented only the government. After June it was everywhere victorious because the bourgeoisie everywhere had come to a secret understanding with it, while retaining official leadership of the revolutionary movement and introducing all those half measures which by the very nature of things were bound to miscarry.

The national fanaticism of the Czechs was the most powerful instrument the Viennese camarilla possessed. The allies are already at loggerheads. In this issue our readers will find the protest of the Prague delegation against the insolent rudeness with which it was greeted in Olmutz.

This is the first symptom of the struggle which is going to break out between the Slav party and its hero Jellachich on the one hand, and the party of the plain camarilla, which stands above all nationality, and its hero Windischgratz on the other. Moreover the German peasants in Austria are not yet pacified. Their voice will be loudly heard above the caterwauling of the Austrian nationalities. And from a third quarter the voice of the Tsar, the friend of the people, reaches as far as Pest; his henchmen are waiting for the word of command in the Danubian principalities.

Finally, the last decision of the German National Assembly at Frankfurt, which incorporates German Austria into the German empire, should lead to a gigantic conflict, unless the German central authority and the German National Assembly see it as their task to enter the arena in order to be hissed off the boards by European public. For all their pious resignation the struggle in Austria will assume gigantic dimensions such as world history has never yet witnessed.

The second act of the drama has just been performed in Vienna, its first act having been staged in Paris under the title of The June Days. In Paris the Guarde mobile, in Vienna "Croats" -- in both cases lazzaroni, lumpenproletariat hired and armed -- were used against the working and thinking proletarians. We shall soon see the third act performed in Berlin.

Assuming that arms will enable the counter-revolution to establish itself in the whole of Europe, money would then kill it in the whole of Europe. European bankruptcy, national bankruptcy would be the fate nullifying the victory. Bayonets crumble like tinder when they come into contact with the salient "economic" facts.

But developments will not wait for the bills of exchange drawn by the European states on European society to expire. The crushing counter-blow of the June revolution will be struck in Paris. With the victory of the "red republic" in Paris, armies will be rushed from the interior of their countries to the frontiers and across them, and the real strength of the fighting parties will become evident. We shall then remember this June and this October and we too shall exclaim:

Vae victis!

The purposeless massacres perpetrated since the June and October events, the tedious offering of sacrifices since February and March, the very cannibalism of the counterrevolution will convince the nations that there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.