The Viennese Revolution and the Kolnische Zeitung

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 3 November 1848


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Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 7, p. 496;
First published: in the second supplement to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 133, November 3, 1848.
Collection(s): Neue Rheinische Zeitung

Cologne, November 3. Our readers have never indulged in utopian hopes in regard to Vienna. After the June revolution, we believed in every baseness of the bourgeoisie. We said immediately in the first issue of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung when it reappeared after the state of siege: “The bourgeoisie’s distrust of the working class threatens, if not to wreck the revolution, at least to hamper its development. However that may be, the repercussions of this revolution in Hungary, Italy and Germany foiled the entire plan of campaign devised by the counter-revolution.”

We would therefore not be surprised by a defeat of Vienna. We would only find ourselves called upon to break off any negotiation with the bourgeoisie which measures freedom by the freedom to trade and we would without conciliation and without accommodation oppose the miserable German middle class which gladly relinquishes its own rule on condition that it may continue to trade without a fight. The English and French bourgeoisie is ambitious; the infamy of the German bourgeoisie would be confirmed by Vienna’s defeat.

Thus: at no time have we vouched for. the victory of the Viennese. Their defeat would not come as a surprise to us. It would only convince us that no peace with the bourgeoisie is possible, not even for the period of transition, and that the people must remain indifferent in the battles between the bourgeoisie and the Government and must wait for their victories or defeats in order to exploit them. Once again: our readers have only to consult our back issues in order to satisfy themselves that neither the victory nor the defeat of the Viennese can surprise us.

What does surprise us, however, is the latest special edition of the Kölnische Zeitung. Does the Government deliberately spread false rumours about Vienna in order to calm the excitement in Berlin and the provinces? Does Dumont pay the Prussian state telegraph so that he, Dumont, receives news from the “Berlin” and “Breslau” morning papers which do not reach the “bad press"? And whence did Dumont get his “telegraphic dispatch” this morning, which we did not receive? Has Birk from Trier, a mere cipher who has replaced Wittgenstein, been engaged as editor by Dumont? We do not believe it. For even a Brüggemann, a Wolfers, a Schwanbeck, all that is still no Birk. We doubt that Dumont has engaged such a nonentity.

Today at 6 p. m., Dumont, who lied away the February and March revolutions, carries among his first reports once again a “telegraphic” report according to which Vienna has surrendered to the “Wendish itch”, the “Windischgrätz”.

It is possible. But the possibilities of the once blood-dripping “Brüggemann”, [1] the ex-correspondent of the old Rheinische Zeitung, this worthy whose views always go hand in hand with the “exchange value” of views in general, his possibilities are based upon the Preussische Staats-Anzeiger and the Breslauer Zeitung. The tales of “ Brüggemann” or of the Kölnische Zeitung concerning the February, March and October revolutions will offer their peculiar contribution to history.

Now we shall give the reports which report nothing.[2]

  1. An ironical allusion to the previous political activities of Brüggemann who for his participation in the student opposition movement and his support for freedom of the press at the Harnbach festivities (1832), was sentenced to death for “high treason”. This sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. During the amnesty in 1840 Brüggemann was pardoned
  2. The Neue Rheinische Zeitung gives reports on events in Vienna from the above-mentioned Preussische Staats-Anzeiger, and the Allgemeine Oder-Zeitung