Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Assassination of Jaurès, Paris, 31 July 1914

Jean Jaurès was a socialist and French nationalist who found in the French Revolution a universal message. He was fervently antiwar and was the one man in the powerful socialist movement who could speak for European workers whatever their nationality. His oratorical power was legendary. In the summer of 1914, Jaurès tried to rally the forces of international socialism against going to war, but events were moving to fast for him to do anything about it. He was assassinated in a Paris café days before war broke out by a crazed nationalist fearful of Jaurès's power to prevent France from going to war.



  1. Jaures was more than a French Socialist & Pacist, he was in reality the chief spokesman for the international Socialist movement. He was the keynote speaker at the last international trade-unionists meeting in Brussels on 28 June. Many of the beligerant governments were fearful of general strikes in opposition to the call to arms (ongoing mobilization) and Juares had believed the working classes would spontaniously strike thus preventing war. The irony here is there were no strikes-nationalism trumped socialism. When the call came, the worker identified with nation and not class.

  2. The Café du Croissants is still very much in business, with the slogans "Restaurant Historique" and "Jean Jaures - 21 Juillet 1914" prominently displayed.