and his followers decided that the population must be reduced by more than half.This began what was known as the reign of terror. War was waged against everything that made up a civilized society. A destructiveness as terrible as any invading army began particularly directed towards the manufacturing towns.
The magnificent city of Lyon was literally demolished as orators incited the working-class to violence against the owners of industry. (Proletariat’s versus the Bourgeoisie perhaps? Another inspiration for Karl for his Manifesto?)
This war on culture (Think Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge and the killing fields for a modern comparison.) did not stop with industry. Education, art, science and literature were all targets. All over France, thousands of books and valuable pictures were destroyed or sold for a pittance.
Men of education were subject to arrest. Even the appearance of culture became dangerous. Some resorted to dressing carelessly and assuming a rough manner to survive. After all, showing politeness and good manners placed one in danger of the guillotine.
To carry out the government plan of population reduction, people were slaughtered by the hundreds and thousands. When the guillotine proved too slow, those rounded up were herded together and blown to pieces with rifle and cannon fire. So great was the slaughter that the Rhone River ran red with the blood of the corpses thrown into it.
Jean-Baptiste Carrier gave orders to butcher 500 children at Nantes. They were driven into a field, shot, clubbed and sabered as they clung to the knees of the assassins crying for mercy. Carrier also came up with the scheme of wholesale drowning. Before the murders ceased, as many as four thousand or more people, including innocent families with women and children, lost their lives in what Carrier himself called “the national bathtub”. It is important to note that the plan of Robespierre was to transform France into the ideal socialist State. No rich, no poor, only egalite. Plans were developed to put every department of life under State control. (Is any of this stuff sounding familiar BTW?) Free love was to replace marriage. Children were considered property of the State with the State determining how they should be raised. (Obamacare anyone? Check out the cradle to grave provisions contained in the Act of 900 pages.)
The result for France? Industries, culture, families, a destruction of the very soul of France.
All leading up to Les Miserables! Now……is the movie making more sense? I hope so because otherwise you are not connecting the dots and highly subject to the spun illusions of the media propaganda machine. Could this same scenario be unfolding now in our own nation piece by piece? Let’s hope not.
But wait….there is more! Let’s now find out what happened to the conspirators next. Maybe there is a God after all and human reason does not rule all.
Read the exciting conclusion of The French Revolution in Part 10.