[Classics] The Civil War in France

Written by Karl Marx as an address to the General Council of the International, with the aim of distributing to workers of all countries a clear understanding of the character and world-wide significance of the heroic struggle of the Communards and their historical experience to learn from. The book was widely circulated by 1872 it was translated into several languages and published throughout Europe and the United States.

The first address was delivered on July 23rd, 1870, five days after the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War. The second address, delivered on September 9, 1870, gave a historical overview of the events a week after the army of Bonaparte was defeated. The third address, delivered on May 30, 1871, two days after the defeat of the Paris Commune – detailed the significance and the underlining causes of the first workers government ever created.

Publication Information: The Civil War in France was originally published by Marx as only the third address (here comprising Chapters 3 through 6) separated into four chapters. In 1891, on the 20th anniversary of the Paris Commune, Engels put together a new collection of the work. Engels decided to include the first two addresses that Marx made to the International (Chapters 1 and 2) – in this way providing additional historical background to the Civil War; Marx’s account of the Franco-Prussian War (July to September, 1870). In this publication, basic titles have been provided for each numbered chapter, to give the unfamiliar reader a basic guide to the historical events each chapter discusses. Also, Engels' 1891 introduction has been separated into two parts: an introduction and a postscript.

Written: July 1870 - May 1871;
First Published: 1871;
Source: English Edition of 1871;
Copyleft: Marxists Internet Archive;
Marxist.com version: HTML reworked and chapters numbered, December 2019;


  1. The Begining of the Franco-Prussian War
  2. Prussian Occupation of France
  3. France Capitulates & the Government of Thiers
  4. Paris Workers’ Revolution & Thiers’ Reactionary Massacres
  5. The Paris Commune
  6. The Fall of Paris


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