The Paris Commune 1871

Declaration on Reprisals

Written: April 5 1871;
Source: reproduced from the original poster;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.


Every day the bandits of Versailles murder or execute our prisoners, and not a single hour passes without our hearing of one of these killings. And you know that the guilty parties are the gendarmes and sergents de ville of the Empire, the royalists of Charrette and Cathelinau, who march on Paris to the cry of “Long Live the king!” behind the white flag.

The government of Versailles places itself outside the laws of war and humanity. You will have no choice but to resort to reprisals.

If, continuing to fail to recognize the usual conditions of war between civilized peoples our enemies massacre yet one more of our soldiers, we will answer with the execution of either the same or double the number of prisoners.

Ever generous and just, even in its anger, the People abhor blood, just as it abhors civil war. But it has the obligation to protect itself against the savage attacks of its enemies and, whatever it might cost, it will take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Paris, April 5, 1871

The Paris Commune