The Paris Commune 1871

The Government of National Defense Surrenders

Translated: from the original for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.

The Government of National Defense


The agreement that will put an end to Paris’s resistance has not yet been signed, but it’s only a matter of hours till this is so.

The bases remain fixed, just as we announced them yesterday:

The enemy will not enter within the walls of Paris;

The National Guard will preserve its arms and organization;

A division of 12,000 men will remain intact. As for the other troops, they will remain among us in Paris instead of being, as was first proposed, confined to the suburbs. Officers will keep their swords.

We will publish the articles of the agreement as soon as the signatures are exchanged, and we will at the same time make known the state of our supplies.

Paris wants to be assured that resistance continued till the last possible moment.

The figures we will give will be irrefutable proof, and we challenge anyone to contest them.

We will show that there remains to us just enough bread to hold us over till re-supplied, and that we couldn’t continue the fight without leading two million men, women, and children to death.

The siege of Paris lasted four months and twelve days, the bombardment a solid month. Since January 15 the bread ration has been reduced to 300 grams; the ration of horse meat has been only 30 grams since December 15. The mortality rate has more than tripled. In the midst of so many disasters there was not a single day of discouragement.

The enemy is the first to render homage to the moral energy and courage of which the entire Parisian populace has just given an example.

Paris has suffered much, but the Republic will profit from its long suffering so nobly borne. We come out of the fight that is ending tempered for the fight to come. We come out of it with all our honor, with all our hopes and, despite the sorrows of the present hour, we more than ever have faith in the destiny of the Fatherland.

Paris, January 28, 1871

General Trochu, President; Jules Favre, Vice-president, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Emmanul Arago, Eugene Pelletan, Jules Simon, Jules Ferry, Ernest Picard, Garnier-Pagès, Le Flo, Minister of War; Magnin, Minister of Agriculture and Commerce; Dorian, Minister of Public works