Black and white photograph of a large group of uniformed individuals standing in front of buildings at a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution. Militarized Guard, Belomorkanal Camp.
Few people remember Günter Schabowski. Schabowski, the spokesman for the East German Communist Party Politburo, played a vital role in the toppling of the East German Communist government in the fall of 1989. During a press conference on November 9, 1989, a reporter asked him about new travel regulations issued by the government that seemed to indicate the possibility of easier travel into... Read More »
A poster distributed by the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), a liberal political party founded in 1988 in opposition to the Communist Party in power in Hungary. This poster alludes to the martyrs of the 1956 Soviet invasion to put down the Hungarian revolution. Imre Nagy and his associates who had promoted a "New Course" for socialism were buried in plot "301" of a Budapest cemetary, and... Read More »
In late July 1789, as reports of several thousand separate yet related peasant mobilizations poured into Paris from the countryside, a majority of them against seigneurial property, the deputies of the National Assembly debated reforming not just the fiscal system or the constitution but the very basis of French society. In a dramatic all–night session on 4–5 August, one deputy after another... Read More »
While the world watched the events in Berlin, another Soviet ally in East-Central Europe suddenly collapsed: On November 9-10, after three-and-a-half decades in power, Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov was unceremoniously dumped. This poster - a map of the Bulgarian gulag - was circulated by the opposition Union of Democratic Forces during the spring 1990 election campaign.
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This account of the proceedings in the Convention Hall on the 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794) describes how Robespierre and Saint–Just, facing an organized attack by other members of the Committee of Public Safety, tried one last gamble, appealing to the deputies of the "Right" to come to their aid. These deputies repudiated the appeal, and the Convention unanimously voted for the... Read More »
Bread was the basic staple of most people’s diets, and variations in the price of bread were keenly felt by the poor, especially by women who most frequently bought bread in the marketplace. Women would sometimes protest against what they thought to be unjust price increases for bread in what were known as "bread riots." As this excerpt shows, these were not usually violent, nor did they... Read More »
A British diplomat in Paris here describes, in dispatches back to London, the goings–on in Paris in early September, in light of news of advances by the Duke of Brunswick’s Prussian forces toward the capital. This diplomat was naturally most concerned with reporting the readiness of the Parisians to resist the British, which is evident in his focus on the National Assembly’s call to arms and... Read More »