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Soldiers of Revolution
Sun, March 27, 2022 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM$3.00 – $11.00
with author Mark Lause
In Soldiers of Revolution, historian Mark A. Lause analyzes changes in European warfare in the closing decades of the 19th century and the consequences for working-class movements. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 introduced new military technologies, transformed the organization of armies, and upset the continental balance of power. The mass armies that became a new standard required mass mobilizations of working people, who exercised a new power through social democratic parties and insurgent movements. The Paris Commune of 1871 grew directly from discontent among radicalized soldiers and civilians pressed into armed service on behalf of institutions they had learned to mistrust. In brutally suppressing the Commune and butchering tens of thousands of Parisians, the French rulers put an end to the old utopian faith that reason and morality could resolve social tensions. War among nations became linked to revolution, and revolution became enmeshed in armed struggle.
“This is military history at its broadest and best. Lause captures events and technologies of destruction to be sure but also the regimented labor of war, the soldier’s experience of larger worlds and new comrades, the coming to know of politics as a life and death matter, and the invitation to interrogate national ideals. These transformations set the stage for the for both the Paris Commune and the brutality of its repression.” —David Roediger
Mark A. Lause has published many works on labor history, including The Great Cowboy Strike: Class, Politics & Violence in the Making of the American West; Free Labor: the Civil War and the Making of the American Working Class, and Long Road to Harpers Ferry: The Rise of the First American Left. He is Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati and has been a socialist for over fifty years.